A choppy SXSW interview didn't stop St. Vincent from being awesome


Hot off of her newly released, self-titled album St. Vincent, Annie Clark sat down at the Austin Convention Center Wednesday and spoke about the creative process she goes through when songwriting. 

Her latest release has been called her most accessible work, focusing more on aesthetic and groove than she did in previous works. Clark said the key to writing an album this way was finding the perfect balance between accessibility and complexity. 

"In terms of being a songwriter, that's the ultimate goal," Clark said. "To create a world that's singular but leave enough room for a listener to put themselves in it."

Clark spoke about growing up around music and taking lessons from metal heads at GuitarCenter-type stores. She confessed to being a metal-lover herself. 

"I was in a metal cover band as the bass player," Clark said. "I have a soft spot for metal."

Through her career, St. Vincent has evolved from raw, organic instrumentations to a more digital, electronic focus. She said there's no specific formula for figuring out which instruments to use when songwriting, though — that it more depends on what she's going through, physically and emotionally. 

"I look at it all as tools, and everything as a means to an end so I can make anything in my head feel tangible," Clark said. 

The interview itself, though, was far from seamless. The interviewer's questions were self-indulgent. She frequently didn't even ask a question, instead using the interview time to air conclusions she sometimes phrased as quasi-questions.

The interviewer's questions got so dense at a certain point that Clark tried to change the subject. 

"Let's skip this interview and talk about the last episode of True Detective, actually," Clark semi-joked.

The interviewer continued talking in circles, flaunting her knowledge of music and often taking longer to phrase her question than it took for Clark to respond. 

The interviewer also haphazardly attempted to delve into Clark's sexuality with a few questions about her sexual candor in her lyrics. The questions fell flat on their faces and made for some thoroughly awkward moments. 

Odd interviewer aside, the crowd seemed excited to simply be in the room with Clark and listen to her navigate the questions. Clark was good-humored, eloquent and when the question was phrased well enough, she answered thoroughly and skillfully.