Annie Clark Explains the Origins of St. Vincent and David Byrne's Collaborative Partnership

Annie Clark Explains the Origins of St. Vincent and David Byrne's Collaborative Partnership
St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark) and David Byrne's new collaboration, Love This Giant, is a gloriously strange amalgamation of influences: big band sounds, horns, electronic flourishes and chunky, scuzzy guitars. And fans have Revenge of the Nerds to thank for it.

"We laughed because the first time I heard the Talking Heads was in a movie called Revenge of the Nerds," Clark tells Exclaim! over the phone in the midst of rehearsals for the pair's recently launched North American tour. "It's one of my favourite movies. It's such a good movie. And you know, 'Burning Down the House' plays when there's the literal frat house burning down... I've been a fan since I was really little since Revenge of the Nerds."

Fast-forward 20 or so years, when Clark and Byrne joined forces in 2009 to write a night of new music for a charity benefit for Housing Works. They exchanged ideas via email, and it blossomed into two years of on-and-off writing and recording. They penned 10 of the album's songs together and wrote one each individually. Clark credits the collaboration with forcing her to re-examine her own creative process.

"The thing with collaboration is, it's really a big exercise in saying 'yes,'" Clark explains. "If you're working, say, by yourself, you end up kind of saying no more than you end up saying yes. Because you have to be your own self-censor: 'That sounds like a good idea, that melody's not that strong,' whatever.

"When you're working with somebody else, you're able to turn off that bit of judgment and go, 'Okay, I'm not sure about this idea, I think it's cool, but I'll send it to David and see what he thinks and maybe if it inspires him, that's great.' And that happened a lot. And vice versa. I was given ideas from him and I'd think, 'Oh, I would never have thought of this or done a song this way with this music.'"

Love This Giant is out now through 4AD/Todo Mundo. As previously reported, the pair play Toronto tonight (September 20) and in Montreal tomorrow as part of Pop Montreal, with a Vancouver show set for October 20. You can see all Byrne and Clark's joint dates below.

Tour dates:

9/20 Toronto, ON - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
9/21 Montreal, QC - Eglise St-Jean Baptiste (Pop Montreal)
9/23 Boston, MA - Orpheum Theatre
9/25 New York, NY - Beacon Theater
9/26 New York, NY - Beacon Theater
9/27 Philadelphia, PA - Tower Theater
9/29 Brooklyn, NY - Williamsburg Park
9/30 N. Bethesda MD - The Music Center at Strathmore
10/2 Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
10/3 Atlanta, GA - Cobb Energy Center
10/5 Austin, TX - Bass Concert Hall
10/6 Houston, TX - Hobby Center
10/7 Dallas, TX - McFarlin Memorial Auditorium (SMU)
10/10 San Diego, CA - Humphrey's
10/11 Santa Barbara, CA - Arlington Theatre
10/12 Costa Mesa, CA - Segerstrom Theater for the Arts
10/13 Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theater
10/15 San Francisco, CA - Orpheum Theatre
10/17 Seattle, WA - Moore Theatre
10/18 Portland, OR - Arlene Schnitzer Auditorium
10/20 Vancouver, BC - Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts