Andrew MacLean

The Girl of The Year: An Xclusive Look at Allie X’s Girl With No Face Tour

Andrew MacLean
Jun 11, 2024
14 min read

I’ve been following Allie X since before she put out her EP Super Sunset. A Canadian-grown artist with a unique sound and aesthetic who caught my eye the moment I found her song “Science” on a random SoundCloud playlist. I had followed her out to watch her open up for an artist in Montreal and had the wonderful chance to meet her there. We spoke, and I was able to set up a one-on-one photoshoot with her. Later that summer, she invited my friends and I to a private concert event for Mercedes Benz (which you can watch on YouTube), and finally, in the fall of 2019, her and I met once again, and we did our photoshoot together at the AGO (Art Gallery Ontario). That will be a day I will never forget. Allie X hugged me after the photoshoot and told me that no one believed in her at the beginning of her career, but knowing I was at the beginning of mine, she let me know that she would believe in me and all my future photographic endeavors. Fast forward five years, and keeping hold of what she said to me in my heart, I persisted, was accepted to my first publication, and now I get to have a full circle moment of photographing her again and interviewing her on her Girl With No Face Tour.

I was escorted down by her tour manager, Connor, behind the scenes of The Opera House in Toronto, where I was taken to her dressing room. Allie X was sitting in a chair, doing her hair and make-up getting ready for tonight’s show. She smiled and welcomed me inside. I was happy to find out she had remembered who I was after the five years since last meeting her. She gave me a hug, and we quickly dived into the interview.

So, Girl With No Face is your latest studio album. Now that the album has been out for a little bit, what are you feeling?

I'm feeling very relieved that it's done, because it was quite a torturous process to make it, and the thing I'm feeling more than anything is how well it translates live. Of all my albums, I feel like this one works the best on stage, so I've been having a lot of fun with that and feeling just grateful that I made something that's so fun to perform.

When you start the process of creating new music, do you go in with a fresh mind and newly found ideas, or do they start with ideas from previous eras that could possibly change and evolve into their own things?

Both, I think. I'm definitely one to, if I couldn't crack an idea for one album, I'll sort of keep at it, like the song “Girl With No Face” is an example of that. That's existed for a long time, since 2014, so it took this long for me to figure that one out. But usually, conceptually and overall, I have sort of a vision for sound design and concept that's quite distinct for each album.

I know you mentioned in a Tweet earlier this year that “Weird World” was the first song written for the album, and that the track “Girl With No Face” started off as a demo in 2014 with no lyrics. Are there any other songs you have written that you come back to years later and think, “this is it, this is for the album”?

The song “Vintage” on Collextion II, that was kicking around for a while. “Devil I Know” was around for a while. “Super Duper Party People” was around for a while and then I decided last minute that would be on the album. “Susie Save Your Love” was around for years, actually. That was around for three years. Collextion I is sort of the exception because all that stuff, I wrote really quickly. “Casanova” had been around for a few years. The melody of “Lifted” had been around for a while. I'm just naming songs that weren't written specifically for that album that I sort of took off the shelf and finished them. Oh, and Super Sunset, “Girl of the Year”, it almost wasn't on that album. Then I realized last minute, oh my god, this song has to be on this album. So, I put lyrics to it and finished it last minute.

I know Girl with No Face is still very fresh. Yeah. Have you been considering a deluxe version of the album similar to the deluxe of Cape God?

I've been considering. I don't have as many songs that were written for this one because every song just took me so damn long. There's a few that I'm considering for deluxe.

how does it feel to be back on stage? I've seen you live a few times before. You always take the stage and make it your home. Does this tour feel different to previous shows and to how you performed around the world before?

This one feels more natural on stage. It feels like I don't have to think too hard. Like it just comes to me really naturally. It's really eccentric in a very theatrical sort of vocal performance on this record. I've always had that tendency, but I've never been able to make my theatricality work on any other record. And for this, for this record, it really did. And so I think all those eccentricities and the screams and the squeals and the high notes and like, it's just really fun for me to like, yeah, sing out Louise, you know, for this show.

I saw your Tweet about creating the setlist for the Girl With No Face tour. What was the most challenging part of creating it? Were there songs you wanted to include but couldn't? Or were there any songs that you include included with zero questions asked?

I knew for sure that like, I mean, most of the Girl With No Face record had to be on it. I did feel like “Truly Dreams” I wanted to do it, but it competed with “Girl of The Year” from Super Sunset in vibes. I was like, I don't think I can do both. Like one of them needs to be kind of a closer.

So I just opted for “Girl of The Year” instead of “Truly Dreams”. I actually had “Saddest Smile” in the set, and it was great, but it didn't fit very well in the flow. It sort of slowed everything down. So I ended up cutting that out. And then just from past touring experience, like I kind of know what goes over well live and what the kids like.

So I included like, you know, I won't give away the whole set list, but like “Science” is always in there. “Susie's” always in there. I always open with “BITCH”. It's like a security thing, but it's just a great opener as well. It's not a dance song, but it's like got that intenseness. I just go for the jugular from the beginning of the set. I take no prisoners, honey.

From “Too Much To Dream” to “Not So Bad in LA” to “Sarah Come Home”, you have many, many great songs you've performed over your career. Is there one that you're going to perform at every show? No matter what?

I mean, I think “BITCH” is one of those. I think there's certain songs from this album that I think how could I not do them anymore? They're just so fun. Like “Weird World” and “Black Eye” are such a thrill to do live. Tits (“Off With Her Tits”) is so fun to do live But yeah, ask me in a few years. We'll see. I think “BITCH” will always be in my set though. 

When you look back so many years ago, how would you say your career or the industry has changed or influenced your growth in yourself?

I've become a hardened person in some ways just to survive. It's funny. There's going to be a lot of my old Toronto friends here tonight, and like I was seeing one of my Toronto friends, who is opening tonight, Maylee Todd. She's on the crew of this tour. And I was talking to her, I was like, do I seem different? I feel different. I feel like I was a sort of a sillier and a softer person before I moved to LA and went through this whole thing.

I've also, you know, I don't really look back with regret. I'm really proud of how strong I've been and all the sort of difficult circumstances I've managed to survive and the endless never ending rejection and you know, the shady people and like, it just goes on and on. I'm proud of where I'm at now. And I'm like, I'm okay with getting older as well. I'm kind of just accepting it all these days and like giving myself a pat on the back, you know?

Are there any songs in your discography, kind of like how we were talking, how, you were saying, “Truly Dreams” and Girl of The Year” kind of match with one another. Could you see any of the songs from different albums being interloped into any other of your albums, like a song from Super Sunset on Girl With No Face, or songs from Collextion II on Cape God?

Yeah. I mean, Cape God is really, it feels sort of like a standalone album. I do feel like maybe “Super Duper” was like a sore thumb on that album that could have fit on this one. Almost if it had been a bit new wavier or something, but in general, Cape God was so distinct because it was such a collaboration between Oscar Görres as a producer and I, like it was so much of his taste in there that yeah, it almost doesn't, it doesn't work very well with the other records.

It was hard in this set to fit in Cape God songs because they're so reflective and live sounding. And this record is like drum machines and synths. And it's just like, you know, so that's like, um, it's more like an ethereal. I just trust that I'm the cohesive part, you know, that's in all of it. But the sound always changes. I have some like demos potentially for the next thing, and that already sounds so different from this one. So yeah, I think like I'm the common thread, you know, and I think people that are my fans, they feel that. And maybe people that aren't that into my music, that would be an issue for them, too.

So looking into your discography, I was reading the lyrics over “Weird World”. I could almost see that this was almost a sister song to “Too Much to Dream”. I was looking between the lyrics were in “Too Much to Dream” you say, “a cruel reality when you've had too much to dream” and in “Weird World”, you say “I used to be a dream girl, but the world interfered”. Are there any songs on your discography you could say are kind of sisters from different albums?

I think there's always like recurring themes of identity and definitely isolation, dreams. Being someone that's sort of like an outsider is definitely a recurring theme.

Touring must be very exciting getting to meet and perform fans for all kinds of people, different cities and countries. What's your favorite city and country to perform in? And are there any things you miss from home when you're on the road?

Well, I'm a high maintenance girly. So I miss having all my like routine things. I'm on this like very restrictive diet, so I'm literally like cooking in hotel rooms right now. It helps with my my autoimmune stuff. So that's tricky. I miss having like acupuncturist, my Aire One. I'm just gonna sound like a complete douche saying this, but it's true. So it's like, all those sort of creature comforts that as someone who's chronically ill, like those things kind of make me feel safe. And they make me feel nourished and stuff. So that probably, but at the same time, I think it's good.

I think I got I got really scared about touring because of a lot of bad experiences being sick on the road, or all this shit that went down in 2022. And so in some ways, I think it's really good for me to be out here proving to myself that like, it's not the world Actually in Dublin, they forgot my personal luggage. So I had no clothes, none of my creams, none of the snacks that I brought, none of my supplements, and I was fine, you know, so I feel like that was good for me.

What song have you been most excited to perform from Girl With No Face on this tour?

I think the ones that you'll see tonight, the ones that really go off are “Weird World” and “Off With Her Tits". Those ones are really fun. Sort of like when those start when I hear those in my ear counting and I'm like, yeah, let's go. 

And finally, just for fun. Could you name me any three artists, if you could collab with them right now, alive or dead, who would they be? And why? 

I'd love to collaborate with Tegan and Sarah. I've been admiring them for a long time. I love all the work they do. I love their longevity. I love how they know how to cross over into pop. They keep it classy. I don't know if you would want to collaborate with me, but I would have loved to collaborate with Ian Curtis from Joy Division. And maybe like Robert Smith from The Cure.

After the interview, Allie X and I had a quick conversation, and I thanked her for everything she had done to help further my motivation for me pursuing my career. I left backstage and positioned myself and my camera on the floor in preparation for the night to begin!

Maylee Todd took the stage at 8pm performing songs of theirs like “Show Me” and “Lonely”. Maylee Todd’s sounds featured very simple electronic beats, that also featured very complex melodies. Her music seemed to also have a mysterious sound to it. The stage lit up with a multitude of colours, each track having their own unique colour pallet that showed high contrast. Her set up included a stand with a laptop, and a beat pad that had lights on the back that would move to the sounds of which track they were playing.

Speaking to the crowd, Maylee told everyone she had known Allie X for a long time and laughed and said, “The two bitches are at it again.” Maylee also explained that she also is an animator and that all visuals she posts online for her songs are animated herself. Towards the end of her set, Maylee came down into the crowd and got everyone to make a circle around her while she sang, performed and danced with the crowd. She then asked everyone to get closer together and danced while everyone was packed shoulder to shoulder. Getting back up on stage she performed one final song, before thanking everyone and calling Toronto “a big beautiful bitch”.

After Maylee Todd departed from the stage, a guitarist and bassist made their way to the stage and picked up their instruments. They played the instrumental to Allie X’s song “Hardware Software”. A computer generated voice softly spoke saying, “Welcome to the show, lets destroy the system. Let’s have fun”. The synth chords to “BITCH” started playing as Allie X walked across the stage to her keyboard and the concert started in full swing. Allie X wasted no time on getting into her show, performing songs from Girl With No Face such as “Black Eye”, “Weird World”, and title track “Girl With No Face”.

Stopping to speak with the crowd, Allie X explained she hadn’t been to The Opera house since she was a teenager watching a battle of the band’s performance. She also informed us that she had many friends from Toronto in the audience, as well as her mother and sister. Before heading back into her set, she also wished the crowd a happy pride. Changing up the vibe from the hardcore electronic 80s synth vibes of Girl With No Face, Allie X stood at her keyboard and went into a solo version of her song with Mitski from Cape God, “Susie Save Your Love”. As the night continued Allie X performed more songs from Girl With No Face and Super Sunset, like “John and Johnathan”, “You Slept On Me”, and “Science”. During this time I noticed how Allie X did play around with different vocal styles, from belting out notes, doing some fun vocal pops and screams that fit the vibes of the songs perfectly.  

I also observed during the night the different tones of colours that she used for each song, and how they reflected off her beautifully designed white outfit. Every so often too, Allie X had some fun playing around the stage with a tambourine and getting the crowd screaming and riled up. Between dancing and twirling her way around the stage, Allie X also found a way to include her piano and synth skills in almost every song. I enjoyed the stage set up that featured three sets of back lights, and an array of black stands with red rope creating a unique stage pattern that matched the colours of the Girl With No Face album cover.

Slowing things down, Allie X went on to perform her song “Galina”. She didn’t expect this track to become such a fan favourite, but is happy that the fans could resonate with that song. Standing at her keyboard she went straight into an acoustic version of the song, and after the first chorus the song perfectly transitioned into the album version. Grooving her way back around the stage and connecting with fans on both sides of the theatre Allie X performed more of her iconic tracks like “Super Duper Party People”, “Staying Power”, and sang a new demo she had been working on titled “Bon Voyage”.

Ending the main set, the crowd fell into hysterics when Allie X announced she was performing her “cuntiest song”, “Off With Her Tits”. Afterward, Allie X thanked the crowd and slipped backstage for a moment before returning for her encore of performing Super Sunset’s track “Girl Of The Year”, and songs from Collxtion II “Paper Love” and her hit “Casanova”. Allie X’s stop was an unforgettable night for me, as it truly felt like a full circle moment in life. I’m sure that many other people in the crowd felt the exact same way I did as Allie X and her incredible performance she created at The Opera House. There are not many stops left for the Girl With No Face tour, but make sure if she is stopping in a city near you, take the time to go such a true, genuine, and professional artist at work.

You can stream her latest album Girl With No Face below on Spotify:

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