Annie Clark tells us what to expect from her joyous new live show, plus the chances of her playing Glastonbury and dreams of making a heavy metal record
St. Vincent has announced details of a UK and European tour for 2022. Check out full dates and ticket details below, along with our exclusive interview with Annie Clark.
In support of her acclaimed sixth album ‘Daddy’s Home‘, St. Vincent will be hitting the road next summer flanked by The Down And Out Downtown Band, who made their debut with Clark on Saturday Night Live earlier this year.
Alongside previously announced festival appearances at Mad Cool in Madrid and NOS Alive in Lisbon, St Vincent will now be hitting the continent for a run of her own shows next June – including her biggest UK headline show to date at London’s Hammersmith Eventim Apollo. Speaking to NME, she explained just how much these gigs will mean.
“Honestly, the reason people go to see live shows is the same reason why people go to church,” she told NME. “It’s to be taken some place else for an hour and a half.
“In not being on the road for a long time, I’ve definitely realised that there is absolutely no substitute for the communion, the mystery, the high stakes, the feeling that anything could happen and that connection. You can’t beat it.”
With previous tours having been quite “high concept” – especially the launch of 2017’s ‘MASSEDUCTION‘ with her divisive show at London’s O2 Academy in Brixton – this time St. Vincent is looking for more of a back-to-basics approach.
“I’m thinking less in terms of digital and more in terms of practical – and I mean that in the theatre-craft sense,” said Clark. “The band are so killer and at the end of a day it’s a show. In the past with what I’ve been it’s been like you might love it or might hate it but you won’t forget it. In this go-round, I want people to be like, ‘What the hell just happened to me?’ If people walk away going, ‘Oh, that was a nice show’ – then I’ve failed.”
Clark continued: “We’ve been cooped up for nearly two years and we need an exorcism. I need to truly leave it all on the stage. Emotionally, we’re not even sure how much we have inside of us. It’s been a while!”
To celebrate her return to the road, we asked St. Vincent about what fans can expect from these shows, the online noise around her new album, and her dreams of going full metal after covering Nine Inch Nails and Metallica…
Hi Annie. Your new album has really captured the free and easy ’70s vibe of the new album. Do you think that will rub off on the old songs on this tour too?
Annie Clark: “I’m with Bruce Springsteen on this, who said: ‘Your job as a performer is to shock and console’. That means that sometimes you play an old song and it’s cool and exciting, and sometimes you just play it exactly like someone wants to hear it. Other times you need to surprise them, other times you need to embrace them.”
So maybe we’ll hear another version of ‘Slow Disco’, perhaps a ’70s take?
“Absolutely not! I think I’ve reached the limit of reimagining anything off ‘MASSEDUCTION’. I think I’m done!”
We notice that there’s a Glastonbury-shaped gap in your upcoming tour schedule. Maybe we’ll see there in 2022?
“I’d have to ask my agent! I’ve been so busy prepping for the live show that I’m in my own head a little bit. I’m sure that if it’s not this time then it’ll be next time.”
Do you feel like ‘Daddy’s Home’ has “shocked and consoled” people how you’d hoped?
“The honest answer is I don’t know. Usually I’m out there with the people, playing the songs and then feeling the feelings in real time to see which songs really hit and how they hit. However, we’ve been living in a vacuum and people’s reactions to the record have been just via Instagram comments and stuff. It just feels like we’re all in the ether, and I won’t know how people are really feeling until I can see their faces and feel their energy.”
Have you noticed people online trying to put together more clues about your life having included some more autobiographical details on this last album?
“The funny thing is, that if they’ve listened to my music then they know the real me. They know my fears, my concerns, my hopes and my heart. Really what we’re in right now is a moment in time where there’s a lot of music that sounds ‘confessional’ – in that there’s a lot of detail to it about people’s lives. That’s a style and it’s a cool style, but that’s not often my style. People are mistaking the idea of this particular style of confessional writing for being more or less heartfelt than before.”
So it’s not like you’ve given away anything new?
“On ‘Daddy’s Home’, only one song really has anything to do with the incarnation of my father and all that stuff. I was able to write about it with humour, but with pain within the humour and criticism – but I’d already written about the deep pain side of it on other records. There’s probably been a bit too much made of the autobiographical story, in that I’m writing about it from a place of having come full circle.”
Your upcoming Record Store release features covers of ‘Sad But True’ by Metallica and ‘Piggy’ by Nine Inch Nails. What can you tell us about your relationship to those songs?
“Metallica to me are a bit more of a nostalgic love. I played bass in a metal band when I was 13 and always wanted to be the guitar player! Bass was the only position that no one wanted. They have a very specific personality type. If you need a friend, then a bass player is always solid. You can’t really fuck around with drummers and lead guitars, but it’s in a bassist’s personality type to be deeply supportive and bring everyone together. Anyway, we played those songs at junior high talent shows. It was fun to get under the hood. You think you know a song, then you really play it and it’s so interesting. I really found that with ‘Piggy’.”
It’s a pretty out-there song…
“That’s one of the things that people forget about Nails. They’re not just culling from industrial beats – it’s a deep understanding of all kinds of rhythm filtered through that lens. ‘Piggy’ is like reggae.”
It makes a lot of sense that you’re a Nine Inch Nails fan
“Look, if you’re talking about great songs, epic production and perfect fucking shows – there are only a few names and Trent Reznor is always in there! You will never go to a Nails show and be disappointed. I was playing Roskilde a few years ago, got changed out of my latex stage gear and into more sensible festival clothing, went out and watched Nine Inch Nails from the crowd. This really sweet kid came up and told me he was a fan and we had a nice talk, then ‘March Of The Pigs’ came on and me this kid just started really raging and going for it! It’s inescapable, you can’t not be physically moved by Nine Inch Nails. Trent’s a genius and how many of those do we get?”
The heavier sound of these songs feels so natural to you. Does that make you want to make a full on metal album?
“Yeah, it does – because I’m angry again! I want to make that record. There’s a season for all of it. There’s a season for warmth and then there’s a season for ‘fuck you’!”
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St. Vincent’s 2022 UK and European headline tour dates are below. Tickets will be on sale from 10am on Friday July 11 and available here.
Tuesday 14 – LJUBIJANA, SI, Center urbane culture Kino Siska
Thursday 16 – PRAGUE, CZ, Lucerna Music Bar
Friday 17 – WARSAW, PL, Stodola
Sunday 19 – BERLIN, DE, Tempodrom
Tuesday 21 – KOLN, DE, Kantine
Sunday 26 – DUBLIN, IR, Fairview Park
Tuesday 28 – EDINBURGH, UK, Usher Hall
Wednesday 29 – LONDON, UK, Eventim Apollo