St. Vincent: ‘We ate garbage, I have no idea how we survived’ – Music News

This week St Vincent joines Jessie and Lennie for the latest episode of Table Manners.

Talking to Annie in her LA studio over zoom, they chat about going blonde, growing up in Dallas with her family and eating – by her own admission – some questionable canned food and meat. Annie even pulled in the help of Taylor Swift to teach her some culinary skills.

Where did you grow up/ Around the dinner table?
I grew up in Dallas. Around the dinner table would’ve been my Mum and my Step-Dad and my two older sisters. We would have been eating just depression era ration food. Everything was from a can.

It was either large sums of meat from a BBQ, and the sides were weird things from cans. I don’t know why but we always ate like we were on a crazy budget.

With lots of love and appreciation to my mother and step father who always kept us fed, we ate garbage. We went to Sam’s club one time, which is a place like Costco where you can buy things in bulk. It was very exciting we got to get 2 things of 24 packet of crunch bars and snickers bars. I think we ploughed through both of those in 2 days. We ate garbage, I have no idea how we survived.

If you were going to invite somebody round. Would you just order in?
Oh god yes. It would be no treat…Here’s a story; so around, I think it was probably 2015 Taylor Swift, who you might know, she invited me over to teach me how to cook a steak and asparagus and cauliflower. Something like that. And it’s very sweet of her to have done that and I don’t remember exactly why… I don’t remember if she experienced that I couldn’t cook and thought “I’m going to help this girl.” I’m not really sure how it came about but she brought me home and she taught me how to do the thing. So flashforward, a couple months later, I’m at my Laurel Canyons studio and I’m like “ you know what, I’m going to have a couple of friends over, make this meal that Taylor showed me how to make.” And my friends still mock me for it, to this day. I hear of them basically being “raw, crusty cauliflower” and “hockey puck steaks.” And these are people who one; they’re in the hospitality industry, they know how to cook. They know how to eat. You know, just people know how to like “here come over” and there’s candles lit and there’s all the things that make an experience wonderful… I didn’t do any of that shit and I made them terrible food. They still mock me for it to this day.

What kind of kid were you in school?
I started playing guitar when I was 12. And so I was just obsessed with music and luckily I had three really good girlfriends who were all obsessed with music. And we were all secret ragtag misfits. We weren’t going to get pushed into lockers or anything but there was just something a little off about the four of us, in the best way. They’re still my best friends, we go way back like that. So we were all just obsessed with music and movies and culture in this way and that was really formative because not that many people in Dallas Texas during that time were. I mean most people…it could be said that there was like “the preppy group” and “the misfits” and “the athletes” and “the jocks” it was kind of like that. So I played bass in a metal band in 8th grade. So I played bass in that band but it wasn’t really because I loved metal music, although I could totally get into it. It was because it was the only band that I knew of that was kind of happening and the only role that could be taken was bass because everybody wants to be the guitar player. And so I was like “ok, if there’s a role for bass I can buy a bass and figure out how to play bass.” So I did that which was fun. I mean I played like school talent shows and stuff. And then let’s see…I tried out for pop vocal choir in 8th and 9th grade.

Pop choir rejection
“So, here’s the thing. So the pop choir, it was called ‘Limited Edition’ and it was probably like 8 boys and 8 girls and they would stand up and do awkward choreographed dances and sing the hits of like Carole King…I think it was more like Glee because it was co-ed. So I tried out in 8th grade, but I didn’t really get the memo of like I should have sang Natalie Cole or something because I went in and I sang Fleetwood Mac. I sang Dreams….Well, apparently not. But also, I remember it being, the way you had to try out was, it was after school and you have to try out in front of the whole school. So I just remember getting up there feeling like up until the moment I got on stage like ‘ok this will be alright’ but just getting up on stage and being just complete nerves. I guess I don’t blame them for not choosing me”

Do you still get nervous?/starting choreography
“I do still get nervous, but actually, playing guitar and singing takes a lot…it’s like the thing where you pat your head and rub your stomach, so now I actually really like just singing. It’s just so, I can give my whole body to singing”

“I love it so much. I love organising my body. It takes like, what would be the kind of energy you have can just be unfocused and weird. The first time I ever did choreography was when I was on tour with David Byrne and the show we put together was completely choreographed and at first I was like ‘I don’t know about this’. I probably had some chip on my shoulder like, I don’t know, I just like to go in the moment or whatever, which is like no I don’t. I’ve never liked to go with the moment”

“We worked with a choreographer called Annie B Parson who I worked with since and I love her but David is a great choreographer. He’s a great dancer”

“It is fun. It’s hectic in a fun way. It’s like ok dress rehearsal and now this and now they’re calling. It’s so crazy because they’ll do a dress rehearsal and then change which sketches they’re doing before showtime sometimes. Everybody’s on their toes and then add Covid into that…”

Writing the record
“I started Daddy’s Home in the fall of 2019 and I was working on it with my friend Jack…he’s wonderful, you would love him…yeah there are definitely a few songs on there that are co-writes with him”

“I knew that I wanted to do something that was down and out downtown, 70s, a bit sleazy, that kind of vibe. So we had about half of the record done and in a place and I just wrote the rest of it in quarantine. And between the two of us, we could really play most of the instruments, and it was a lot of doing that and I’d record the vocal parts for the background singers to do, they would record them at their house and send it back to me. We got creative with it, but I think it still manages to sound really played and live”

Did Covid make you more creative?
“I think I let certain things marinate a bit more, and I was able to work on it, step away from it, come back to it, see it with more vision and what I really need to do to it if that makes sense, instead of just like barrelling through on one thing which sometimes you can be blinded by sight in that way”

Listen to the latest episode here.

You can view the original article HERE.

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