Fun Fun Fun Fest Interviews: Sunday

Succumbing to darkness

Fun Fun Fun Fest Interviews: Sunday

St. Vincent

6:30pm, Stage 1

One of the most surreal moments of the 2007 Austin City Limits Music Festival was St. Vincent's last-minute Saturday afternoon set. Standing alone onstage in a white dress and torn fishnet stockings, Annie Clark began ripping the strings from her guitar. "Now I'm bleeding," the Dallas native declared in her fey, abstract manner. "I'm always bleeding."

"The truth of the matter was that I had tuned my guitar to play 'Now Now,' but because the sun was very bright on my tuner, I tuned the guitar wrong," confesses Clark. "The guitar was in a minor [key], and it was way darker. I was into the spirit of it, getting increasingly darker. And I have these impulses, like: 'Well, just go there. It's already messed up, so let's just pull the strings off the guitar.' It's sort of like a fun nihilism."

Clark's songs often wander into inadvertently darker terrain, the glimmering surface of her lush and swooning pop cut with a twisted, sardonic edge. St. Vincent's 2007 debut, Marry Me, balanced an intoxicating, cabaret-tilting smoothness with her experimental and brooding guitar work. Though recently moved to Brooklyn, Clark returned to Dallas to record her follow-up with producer John Congleton, which she's hoping to release by next spring.

"I'm working on my sophomore slump," she laughs. "I feel like I'm stretching and growing in terms of being an arranger and songwriter. Marry Me was recorded over two years, kind of a hodgepodge. My hope for this album is that it will be more consistent, more a collection of work and less like an enthusiastic toddler."

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