Allie X has been in Montreal for about two weeks now. Sitting in the Phi Centre with her signature round sunglasses covering her eyes, she prepares to return to another rehearsal. She’s getting ready for her first live performance as Allie X at the Phi Centre this week. The mysterious artist has been recognized recently by the likes of Katy Perry, and has been called pop’s next big thing by many critics. Nevertheless, it is clear Allie X is carving her own path as an outsider.
The 48H Xperience is the first step in Allie X’s takeover. The mysterious pop singer is turning the Phi Centre into her own universe with interactive multimedia installations and a live performance, giving Montreal the earliest access into the World of X. Her residency will culminate in this two-day-long event, revealing the beginning of the Story of X in a trippy audiovisual dreamworld.
We sat down with Allie to find out more about her philosophy, her freshly-dropped album COLLXTION I, and what to expect from the Xperience.
What’s Montreal been like so far? Had you been here before you started this residency?
Yeah, I’m from Canada, from Toronto. I actually did the video for CATCH in Montreal.
Could you talk a bit about the whole “X” thing; what the variable of “X” means to you and what “feeling X” means?
In mathematics, X represents an unknown quantity. With that in mind, X is the identity that I take on on my journey to becoming my full self, in the journey to solving the equation of my life. So, Allie X, you can think of it as the unsolved equation. And, if I ever find that missing part of myself I would just be Allie.
We like the way you invite fan participation through your art Xhibit online. Why is that important for you to do?
X is something that I’ve adopted into my own life but what I really want people to understand is that no one should try to be Allie X, they should adopt X into their own lives. I guess I’m just trying to provide inspiration for other people to become X and a way to do that is to put art into the world and have them respond with more art. That’s at least the way I know how to communicate with people, creatively.
How crucial is art and the visual to your music? Do you think that people need to experience your videos and things like the art installations that you’ll be doing here to fully understand your music?
Yeah. What people always tell me is that they enjoy the juxtaposition between the bright and the dark in my music. I think the visuals demonstrate [the dark undertones in my music] more clearly than the lyrics themselves. I feel like it’s very important to have the visuals married with the music for people to really fully understand, for lack of a better word, the vibe that I’m putting out there.
Have you ever done an Xperience like you’ll be doing here at the Phi Centre before?
No, this is the first one! I’ve been dreaming of doing something like this but I had to find the means to do it and the right collaborator. It was really fortunate that I was introduced to this group of people because we have such a likeminded vision for what we want to do. I’m very excited to be able to do a full multimedia Xperience.
How can you describe the Xperience in a few sentences without giving too much away?
The happenings of the event will be a live performance, digital installations, and interactive multimedia. The real story behind it is Chapter 1 in the Story of X, which is the story of my life that I’ll be telling with every COLLXTION that I release. So, COLLXTION I, [the album] that I just put out also has Chapter 1 of the Story of X. The Story of X is the story of a girl who spins too hard and ends up switching worlds with her shadow and their journey to reunite. At Phi, we’ve been taking the story and sort of filming all the different molecules of it and there’s a lot of symbolism, abstraction and different ways we’ve represented the story through different media, and that will be the overall theme of the content throughout the building.
Will you actually be here for 48 hours?
In some form.