Grimes Talks the "Medieval Times" of Halfaxa

Grimes Talks the "Medieval Times" of <i>Halfaxa</i>
Performing under the name Grimes, experimental Montreal-based songstress Claire Boucher released her first album, a collection of abstract, enchanted outsider pop, in January. Called Geidi Primes, the record brought Grimes a lot of acclaim as it spread across the blogosphere. Now, Boucher is preparing to release its follow-up with Halfaxa.

With Halfaxa marking Grimes second album to come out this year, Boucher credits this productivity to her uniquely intuitive writing process. "I'm not super proficient at playing any instruments, so generally when I write a song, I'll record it first and then I'll figure out how to play it," she explains in a recent Exclaim! interview. "The recording process is how I write it. I'll try a vocal line, it won't work so I'll delete it, and then I'll try another one. The recording will be done the day I write the song. In that regard, it's a really quick process for me."

Since writing and recording are a direct part of Boucher learning her way around musical instruments, she feels a little strange about Geidi Primes. "At this point I feel a bit embarrassed by my first album because I listen to it and it sounds really amateur," she confesses. "Since then, I figured out a lot of things about recording, like not to peak the microphone. I learned a lot about MIDI, and I learned a lot about time signatures than I knew on the first album. A lot of basic stuff that I should have known.. .On the first album I recorded everything on the white piano keys, but I figured out how to write on the black and white keys together, so it's more diverse."

In addition to the recording quality, Halfaxa also shows Grimes exploring new thematic territory. "This album is more like medieval times," she explains. "I feel like there's this vague aesthetic idea that pervades the album. It's not totally gimmicky, it's just sort of this weird abstract idea of what is medieval and what the dark ages would sound like if they could be interpreted in an electronic means... I want to combine the feeling of sitting in a beautiful church with a reverb-y choir, but I want to combine that with the feeling of dancing to really good music. They're both really animalistic interpretations of beauty but I wanted them to happen at the same time for the listener."

Grimes' Halfaxa will be released by Arbutus Records on September 30. The album's release will coincide with Grimes' performance at Pop Montreal for the Arbutus Records showcase on the same night (which also features Silly Kissers, Pop Winds and Blue Hawaii). Fans outside of Montreal can pre-order Halfaxa here and receive a free poster. The album track "Devon" can be streamed below.

Halfaxa:

1. "Outer"
2. "Intor / Flowers"
3. "Weregild"
4. "∆∆∆∆rasik∆∆∆∆"
5. "sagrad прекрасный"
6. "Dragvandil"
7. "Devon"
8. "Dream Fortress"
9. "world ♡ princess"
10. "† River †"
11. "Swan Song"
12. "≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈"
13. "My Sister Says The Saddest Things"
14. "Hallways"
15. "Favriel"