• 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. 

  • Even if you don’t have a badge or wristband, you can still benefit from SXSW. Need some new T-shirts? Maybe some branded sunglasses or a new flash drive? Just wander around aimlessly downtown for long enough and all these things will magically appear in your #Wordpress tote bag. 

    This is a list of the four things I am building with all the free stuff they handed to me at SXSW.

    1. A sail

    I got probably 75 free T-shirts at this year’s festival. None of these are necessarily my size and almost all of them have a hashtag or techy slogan on them. Instead of wearing these to class next week, I plan on tying them all together and fashioning a sail out of them. Maybe that way I’ll have an escape plan just in case this rain never stops. 

    2.  A new hard drive

    I’ve been looking to upgrade to a terabyte of memory, and I’m pretty sure I can combine all of the 2 GB USB drives I received walking around the SXSW Tradeshow to make my own terabyte hard drive. I may have had to give thirty different startup companies my email address, but that is what spam folders are for.

    3. Tinted car windows    

    I plan on removing the lenses from all of the sunglasses I was handed while walking around the Convention Center and melting them together to create new windows for my car. Having your windows tinted is expensive. Nikon and Wordpress sponsored sunglasses are free.

    4. A parachute

    Once I remove all the other free stuff from the tote bags, I will sew them all together to make a DIY parachute. I’m not sure how safe and effective this parachute will be, but it should be good enough for a short fall.