Interview: Brooke Candy Talks “XXXTC” Video, ‘Sexorcism’ & Charli XCX Collab
Brooke Candy has big plans for the rest of the year. The 29-year-old is gearing up to release her debut album Sexorcism. Earlier this month she kicked off the era by unveiling “XXXTC.” Featuring vocals from Charli XCX and Maliibu Miitch, the addictive and NSFW banger has been described as “a female-empowering stripper anthem.” And it goes very, very hard. Today (July 23) the track comes to life with the unveiling of an official video. Directed by Luke Abby and Dejan Jovanovic, the release (which makes use of CGI and appropriately seductive costuming) takes Brooke one step closer to her goal of reclaiming the title Freaky Princess.
Last week I had an opportunity to hop on the phone and talk all things “XXXTC” and Sexorcism with Brooke. The “Das Me” diva opened up about her goal of creating a sex-positive soundscape on the LP. She spilled the tea about how she got Charli and Maliibu on the lead single and confirmed that she had additional collaborations with the likes of Iggy Azalea and Rico Nasty. And that’s not all. We also talked about her song on Charli’s self-titled third album, plans to tour and so much more. Dive into our interview and press play on the eye-popping video below.
“XXXTC” is such a banger. I was wondering why you thought it made the most sense as the lead single off Sexorcism?
You know what – it was a group decision. I weighed in with obviously the other writer, my friend Ashnikko, who helped on the track. And Oscar Scheller who produced it. I played it for some friends. I played my whole album for some friends, and it was kind of a group effort. But I felt it was just a simple and easy, fun way to ease into this new era. And of course, it was a dream for me to collaborate with Charli and Maliibu on the same track. So I just wanted to… For one to come out with a bang. Because I think it’s kind of like a banger. And also to just come out with an easy, breezy fun song that everyone can enjoy. You know?
Can you talk about how you got Charli and Maliibu Miitch on the track together?
It just comes about by asking. I made all of these songs, right? I made them with Oscar Scheller and this artist signed to Polygraph named Ashnikko. She’s amazing. We made this album in like four days in London. We made like 12 or 13 tracks, and I have a couple other tracks from producers to that mix. And I kind of knew from the beginning that I wanted certain features in certain places.
For that song, because that was my favorite from the beginning, I just wanted Charli. We’ve been collaborating since I started making music. In like 2012 or 2013 I think making “Cloud Aura.” She seriously raps it in the song. I knew I wanted her, and then Maliibu right now is my favorite rapper. My favorite rapper in general. So I wanted her on that song. Because it’s also my favorite song on the album.
Sonically and lyrically it drew comparisons to some of your earlier work. I’ve seen it compared to “Das Me” a lot.
Do you think so?
That’s something I’ve read, and it’s something I see. It’s very confident, and it’s very sexual. Was that something you were consciously thinking about doing while working on it?
Oh yeah. I think we went into the studio with the notion to create an album specifically for strippers or for sex workers. And that was kind of what “Das Me” was about. “Das Me” was about sexual freedom and not feeling frightened to own your body and own your sexuality and walk with your shoulders held high. And walk with pride and fuck who you wanna fuck, you know. I guess… Yeah, I went back to that mentality. To that idea with this entire album. But this song in particular, especially is overtly sexual. But like in a good light. We’re owning it. We’re owning our pussy.
Sexual liberation is a recurring theme that pops up in your music. Can you talk about why you feel it’s so important to display that?
I feel like it’s just for me a really, really, really therapeutic thing. And I feel like women have been told that it’s not ok for them to feel these urges. These impulses. Almost animalistic impulses. And to feel guilty just for feeling something that’s completely natural. It’s ingrained in our minds. We’re programmed to think and feel that way. And I’ve never understood it. I don’t know if it’s how I was brought up or my natural sense of self and being. But I’ve always been a sexual person.
And I just feel like if women could access that part of themselves, and it wasn’t so taboo that maybe consciousness as a whole could have evolved. Or elevate. I think we need to be 100% fully sexually liberated because it’s the most human thing. What’s more human than that? And then on top of that women are made to feel less than for something that is the most humanistic trait on the planet. So it’s just if women were more empowered and more empowered when they felt that feeling, I think humanity as a whole would be a whole lot better. A lot softer.
It’s a great message that really comes across in the video, too. What was it like working on the set for that?
It was amazing. I had an amazing opportunity presented to me. I have a friend named Luke Abby, and we’ve made a lot of art together. He shot me for different magazines. We’re working on a book together. And he has a friend who owns a production company. His name is Dejan Jovanovic. DE-YAN, that’s the name of his production company. And they asked me… Me and Luke had always wanted, after shooting together so often, had always wanted to make something more. He wanted to shoot a music video. And I had this whole body of work that really had no visuals yet. So we talked about it and were like should we make a music video?
It started off just with the idea of yeah let’s do something. And it can be low budget, and it doesn’t have to be about the video. Let’s just focus on the song. Then Dejan kind of stepped in and really let me… He helped so much just with production and giving me so much more. And giving Luke so much more to work with. That I got to experiment and create something that I am so proud of. Because I feel like I was given the tools to make something that I’ve always been capable of making but haven’t had the right tools around me. It hasn’t been the right time.
I love the video. It looks so expensive and luxurious. And the effects are the great.
Thank you! Yeah, I’m obsessed with I guess 3-D and 4-D technology. 3-D graphics, 4-D graphics. Being able to incorporate that within the rest of the video, which I think is fairly simple. It’s a lot of looks but being able to incorporate so much CGI was such a great thing. Because I’m just so obsessed with that technology. I’m a tech freak. And that to me is the thing I don’t understand, also. I can direct like a documentary style film or I can act in a music video just in front of a white wall. But the CGI aspect of that is so foreign to me. So that’s what made this particular video and project so special.
I think another thing that I liked about it was that there were so many really interesting details that were incorporated. For instance, I loved the Playboy Bunny filling and that tattoos on the snake at the end. I was wondering, what do the butterflies represent?
The butterflies represent transformation, I guess. I think I’ve made quite a few. I was telling my friend Sega Bodega… Yesterday he sent me a voice note on my phone, my phones all cracked, so I can only send voice notes… And he said “Brooke how many lives have you lived?” I thought that was just the craziest question, but I mean it’s true. I feel like I’ve lived about a billion.
That’s a really interesting concept, and something you see a lot in music careers. So that’s an interesting parallel.
Yes. At least for me that’s why. I’m also obsessed with how delicate butterflies are. There’s something innate within me on a cellular level that connects with butterflies. Also they’re known to represent that theory where you’re reincarnated. Before you’re reincarnated you’re a butterfly. When you die you become a butterfly before your reincarnated back into being a human. But yeah, I feel an innate connection to them. And they do represent transformation for me. Good transformation. I’m really happy with the place I’m in now.
I love that. I wanted to talk a little bit more about your album, too. I was wondering how did you come up with the title Sexorcism?
Oh my god. You know, initially it was going to be called Songs For Strippers. But then I didn’t want to alienate anyone. You know, we want everyone to enjoy the body of work. So I shot the album artwork before I even named the album. Before the album was even mixed. I was doing things backwards. I always do things backwards. Like taking 10 steps forward but working backwards. Really, it’s bizarre.
So we shot the cover art, and it’s very insane and risqué. And immediately it just reminded me of The Exorcist. But not in a scary way. It’s not scary. It’s actually really funny. So it reminded me of The Exorcist. Then obviously the tone of the album is sex positive. And so I just kind of combined the two things that represent this body of work: The Exorcist and sex. Sex and horror.
That’s iconic. Then you mentioned that the majority of the album came together in only four days, which is an incredible turnaround time. What was that like making that much music in such a short period of time?
It felt like… Now looking back it’s almost like it never happened. Like it wasn’t real. In the moment it was so fluid and organic and fun that it felt simple for all of us. We kept listening to each other. We’ve never done this. The writer I was working with was like “I’ve never been able to write more than one or two songs in a day. And we’re doing like four a day here. What’s going on here?” The producer was like the same. And I’ve never done that.
When I was with Sony I recorded a ton of music, but it was spaced out. Like I had studio seasons. This was all recorded in my friends house. It was very lo-fi. We just did it for fun, and that’s why I think it felt so organic and natural. I don’t know if it would feel easy again. But I think this time because it was a new venture all around, uncharted territory. It was exciting, I guess.
It was probably a bit of a fever dream where you finished and were just like how did that come together so quickly.
100%. I went in actually just planning on… I asked my friend Ashnikko who helped write everything “why don’t we try for an EP? Like a three song EP.” I haven’t even put out a body of work like that since Opulence and then ended up with a full-length album.
Do you have plans to release any more songs before the album?
Oh yeah. So this will come out, and then I think we were planning on releasing a few more. Two or three and then the album.
I also wanted to ask about your new song on Charli’s album. You’re on a song called “Shake It,” which is also with Big Freedia, CupCakKe and Pabllo Vittar. What should we expect from that?
I don’t know if I can say anything, but it’s so crazy. I just listened to it actually. It’s nut. Also to be on a track with those artists is an honor. Like I bow down to all of them. They’re all incredible. I listened to the entire song and was like “oh my part is the worst part of this track.” Everyone is amazing. It’s good. I can’t wait for her album; I pre-ordered.
It’s going to be a great album I think.
She’s amazing. She’s probably my favorite pop artist. Actually I just looked on my iTunes, and I have a lot of like Loretta Lynne. Dolly Parton. Cher. And then the only new pop I have is Charli. I think she is doing something that is so unique, and I think it’s really cool.
And this will make… I think it’s your fourth collaboration with her. Why do you guys keep coming back to each other? Is it just that mutual respect?
I think it’s just mutual admiration. Mutual love and admiration for each other’s craft. She always told me she thinks that I’m a great artist. And that people don’t understand it but she sees it. I love what she does. And she’s a genius. I just think we have just known each other for a long time. I think sees what I do and there’s something about it that resonates with her. Every time she asks me to collaborate I feel really honored and really grateful. I am super grateful that she collaborated on something of mine for the first time, which is really exciting.
I love when artists keep working together. I was just talking to Kim Petras who is kind of in the same situation with Charli.
And I love that you have that collaborative collection with another artist. Because it is so cool to see how your work grows together.
You know what, that’s such a great way to look at it. Who else has done that in the history of music.
There are a couple. Diplo and MO are always working together. And J.Lo and Pitbull. And it’s really great to see how the work differs over the years.
It’s cool. I’ve never really looked at it from that perspective. But it’s so interesting. I wonder how long we will continue to grow and collaborate. Hopefully forever or until we stop making art.
That would be great. Twenty years from now your 15th Charli collab.
No literally we have colostomy bags, and we’re in our 80s. And we’re still putting out music. That would be cool, you know. Why ever stop making art? I’ll make art until I die.
I love it. Then I have one last question for you. You’re also going on tour with Charli. What should fans expect from your set? Will we be getting more new material or more of your older stuff?
It’s going to be a combination. I’m going to make sure to keep all the original hard core fans happy and do all the old stuff. But I want to introduce most of the new stuff, too. So that they get a chance to take it in and I get a chance to practice it. It’s exciting that that will be the first time that it’s really heard on any stage. I’m excited to see how it goes over. I think… I hope that everyone loves it. I’m just so excited to go on tour. We’ve done it before, and it’s so fun. Her shows are so fun. They’re so pure. They’re so filled with love. It’s such a safe space. It feels like you’re in a room filled with angels. I know it’s kind of corny but…
No, that’s awesome. I love that. Thank you so much for talking to me.