Allie X & VERITE Talk “Casanova” Remix & State Of Pop Music: Interview
Allie X and VERITE are two of the brightest up and coming faces in pop. Armed with compelling voices and some of the most innovative productions, they have been staking their place in the industry for the last few years. 2017 has been filled with important landmarks as they released their first full length studio albums and toured the country to interact with fans in new locations.
Although Allie, born in Canada and based in Los Angeles lives across the country from VERITE (who hails from New York), the pair have traced similar career paths. They are also two of the most fiercely independent female acts releasing music as they eschew traditional sounds and rules in order to create content that speaks to them.
That is why is comes as no surprise that the twosome recently teamed up for a remix of Allie’s “Casanova.” On it Allie sings about the disinterested lovers whom she finds herself attracted to. It rapidly became a fan favorite on CollXtion II so she decided to revisit it after finishing a promotional campaign for the buoyant “Paper Love.” However, instead of releasing the original recording she brought on VERITE for an empowering new version.
Released today (November 3), the updated track goes as hard as before, but VERITE’s delivery adds a new dimension as the pair trade off lyrics and find some enticing harmonies. “You’re no Casanova, got to let you go. Hit me on my blind side, left me on the floor. Now I can see a bright light, body getting cold. There’s something ’bout your touch that I can’t leave alone,” the pair sing with crystalline conviction. There is a stark beauty in their voices as they do battle with their harrowing lovers, and the production is lush with frenetic energy. It is a solid hit from the twosome and has the potential to bring them both even more exposure.
I recently had the chance to chat with the pair about their collaboration. Allie explained what drew her to the song and the appeal of working with VERITE, and both gave some insight into the recording process. They alluded to some potential surprises in the near future. The duo gave some advice for up and coming artists looking to replicate their ascent, and we also discussed the ever-changing sound of pop music. Get to know them both a little better and stream their evocative new remix below!
Allie, how did you select “Casanova” as the next track to visit from CollXtion II?
Allie X: Well “Casanova” is one that really goes off live. On the tour, I think it was like the third song on the set, and that was kind of like the real ice breaker like where people would start to go ham and be screaming out the lyrics and stuff. So that was a good indicator. On streaming platforms it’s never had a proper push or anything but it’s organically the track that’s just had the biggest growth. That answer’s a little more boring.
What made you think about reaching out to VERITE when you wanted to do a remix?
Allie X: VERITE I admire so much and relate to so much because we’re both independent, and I think we both run our own ships. We’re super involved in every aspect of what we do on the business side, and on the creative side and on the music side obviously. And I just thought, yeah. I thought her voice was perfect for a feature for what I saw on this song. I don’t think I’ve ever collaborated publicly with a female before so that’s something that I really wanted to do.
VERITE, what drew you to the song when Allie reached out?
VERITE: Well, I feel like when Allie reached out initially it was presented from my people as like “pick the song” in a way. And I didn’t know she was choosing “Casanova,” and I came forth and I said “I want to do ‘Casanova'” because I had heard it before and the drop on that, it just made me very happy. It was just the song that I was drawn to. And how crisp you say “fuck me over;” it was perfect.
It’s a bop.
VERITE: It’s a bop. It’s definitely a bop.
When you guys recorded, clearly Allie your lyrics were already recorded, but did you guys get in the studio together at all?
VERITE: So I recorded the vocals in New York randomly. Allie and I actually haven’t met in person. We’ve texted and known each other for years, but everything’s kind of been done remotely for us.
Allie X: Yeah, we’ve both been on the road for most of this process so like on and off. I was just traveling. And of course VERITE’s based in New York, and I’m here. So we’ve had to do it all remotely.
In the future do you think there will be any performances together?
Allie X: I mean I hope so. We’ve got a few plans I can’t really announce yet, but we’ve definitely got some ideas there.
Both of you in the past have worked on very visual projects. I’m wondering, do you have a video in the works for the project? If so can you give any teasers and if not off the top of your heads do you have any thoughts on what a visual would look like?
Allie X: I can say that there might be something in the works, and I can’t really say more than that.
Keep us guessing. And in the past both of you have worked on similar remixes like this before. Allie in particular you just worked on Leland’s “Mattress” remix. What is the appeal in revisiting a track in this way?
Allie X: I mean from a streaming perspective it definitely has its advantages. And I don’t know. I think fans are always here to hear collaborations and their favorite songs reimagined.
VERITE: And for me it’s interesting. Obviously I’m stepping into Allie’s world. And it was a fun, creative challenge to figure out how to insert myself in a way that kind of paid tribute to the original song and vibe but also made the parts that I added my own in a way. And so I love it when people come collaborate with me in my world, and I love kind of moving into their’s in a way.
Allie X: I was just going to say it’s one of the best parts of being an artist. I think it’s collaborating and combining different people’s skill sets and voices and talents, and just that sort of magic that can happen when you put two artists together in that sense. I always think that as a writer as well. I like to write by myself, but I also really like co-writing. It’s kind of like a weird science project. The results are always different and cool. It’s exciting.
And Allie, you in particular have worked really extensively with artists, well Leland and Troye Sivan are two obvious examples, where you develop a real chemistry together in the studio. What is it like working together again after taking some time off between projects?
Allie X: It’s always a ball with those guys. We’re just good friends at this point. We actually all have the same management at this point so we’re just like a little family. We actually just did a week together. We got a place in Malibu, it was really fun. It’s always a really good time. There’s a lot of, how would I describe, we did these sort of stripper dances to the most inappropriate songs. I wish I had a video I could show you. Actually, Troye posted something without any audio. If you look on his Twitter there’s one of us doing this dance.
In the studio xx pic.twitter.com/mP5pwXAWkR
— troye sivan (@troyesivan) October 9, 2017
That sounds utterly magical, and I love that. Both of you have managed to carve out very distinct paths in the music industry while remaining fiercely independent. Do you have any advice for up and coming artists who are looking to take a similar path?
Allie X: VERITE, what do you think?
VERITE: Oh god. I mean, yes I have so much advice. I think it’s interesting. I think outside perspectives of just people’s lives in general, you always kind of see this veneered exterior of how polished and everything. And I think probably Allie would agree, it’s like running with an intended project, I feel the mechanics, the mechanical feeling. And it’s kind of just this practice, this process of putting one foot in front of the other at all times and pushing yourself to create better music and create better art. And to push yourself to stay engaged and committed even with things being hard. But ultimately what the payoff is is that I think I make the music that I want when I want to and release it when I want to and continue to grow and engage people and share things. So I think like resilience and perseverance is really important and not kind of comparing yourself to the people next to you in a way.
Allie X: I completely echo that. I agree with everything that she said. Yeah. It’s been really funny making the transition from being like a young kid that dreamed of being a singer to where I am now. And just seeing, there’s definitely like lots of glamour. But there’s all, you really get to know yourself and it’s just such a journey trying to be an artist. Even if you’re not an independent artist. It’s just a fucking trip. And I think the advice I would give to someone is pretty much persistence. Some people are fortunate for it to work out right away, but in most cases you just have to chip away for a long time. Really look into yourself. Find your sound. Don’t listen to other people unless it makes sense to you in your gut. But yeah, just go, go, go go go and don’t give up.
Absolutely. And coming back to “Casanova” and moving forward from there, what other song on CollXtion II would you like to release in a remix form like this and who else would you want to collaborate with?
Allie X: Jeeze, I don’t want to say anything that gets me in trouble. One thing I’ll say is my song “True Love Is Violent,” that’s one of my favorite songs on the album, and I think I would love to release just a purely piano version of that in a higher key. That’s one thing I’m kind of thinking about. I’m also just very focused now writing new music right now. So my head is kind of there.
What about you VERITE with Somewhere In Between. is there a track that you’d like to revisit on the project?
VERITE: Yes. There are a few that I’m starting to kind of take a look at. And I’m in the same boat as Allie; I don’t want to say anything that will get me in trouble, but I’m kind of in the same boat where I feel like album cycles now are so short in a way. That in a way my focus, I just showed up to LA and I’m here for three weeks and writing new music and kind of seeing what the next chapter looks like or what the bridge to the next chapter looks like.
As creators and writers do either of you have a song that you worked on that you’d say is the one that got away in a way?
Allie X: No. I’m pretty selfish.
Allie X: I’ve not been in that position. Usually if something is for me I know it’s for me and the writers that wrote it know it’s for me. And if it is for me it seems like people don’t want to pick those kinds of songs anyway. I don’t know. I feel like it’s kind of like a first class problem that I haven’t gotten to that stage yet. I feel like Charli XCX Or Sia have those problems but not little old me.
Are there any tracks that you included on the Unsolved collection on Spotify that didn’t make CollXtion II that you would think about revisiting?
Allie X: Yeah. I think I have a real soft spot for my song “Too Much To Dream.” When I made that I think I hadn’t found the sonics of CollXtion II yet, and I kind of have toyed with how that would sound reproduced. That’s something I’ve thought about.
Allie you’ve expressed an appreciation for the direction that pop music is traveling in right now, but clearly that is always changing. And it’s changing fast. What do you think is coming next and how do you think you’ll fit in the new direction that we’re traveling in?
Allie X: What a question! Honestly that’s like if you go into any LA writing session, and today there’s probably like hundreds, that’s what everybody is trying to figure out. I don’t know. It’s such a jungle of music and it’s really exciting but also kind of… Right now because of the streaming platforms you don’t really know. We’ve definitely heard, I think were starting to have heard enough of the, like Diplo vocal sample. Like the “Lean On” sort of sound. I think it’s been kind of overdone and we’re moving into a new phase. Definitely urban music is taking over, which is cool. Lyrics are getting more abstract, which I also like a lot. Yes, I don’t know, we’ll just have to see. But it’s definitely something that I’m conscious of. It’s like a challenge because as I’m writing new material I don’t want to be thinking about any of that. I just want to do stuff that comes naturally and means something and makes me feel something. But at the same time, if you’re trying to exist in a pop sphere you really have to sort of consider what the sound is and where it’s going.
And VERITE same question for you. Where do you think you fit into the sonic direction right now?
VERITE: I feel like I always feel like the red headed step child of pop music in a way. But it’s like, for instance, right now, and I really love reggaeton, but there’s this big reggaeton vibe. And I feel like what happens is you have great music come, and then you have the leaders of a new sound or a new interpretation of the sound, and then you have a hundred people in writing sessions trying to write the next. What I’ve always done is consciously ignore all that, and maybe to my detriment, with hopes of creating a community of people and a sound that resonates with them. And growing that way rather than just kind of pandering to whatever’s popular in the moment. Because it’s never going to have the public’s ear for forever. The goal is to make shit that’s timeless versus trendy in a way. But there’s just so much that’s good. I’m very happy like Allie said too that the high-pitched chopped-up vocals are dying a slow death.
Allie X: I think that what VERITE said, that’s like the respectful approach. And from that approach always comes the song that pioneers the next sound. Like I’d call like, you know “Royals” was like that song or “Pumped Up Kicks” was like that song. There’s kind of one every year or every couple years.
VERITE: I feel like Portugal. The Man is like that now. I feel like that’s [their song] kind of a revamped “Pumped up Kicks” though. That song is definitely breaking the mold of what’s on radio now.