St Vincent joined Matt Wilkinson in the studio on Apple Music 1 to discuss forthcoming album, All Born Screaming, out on 26th April. St Vincent discusses making the album at Electric Lady studios, and how it felt to produce an album on her own for the first time. She also talks about what it was like to have Dave Grohl and Mark Guiliana play drums on the record, and her feelings on her fans and where she is currently as an artist.

St Vincent on self producing her new album All Born Screaming…
Yeah, of course you go crazy. I mean you go crazy because you have these sounds in your head that you have to render. You have to get them out and only you know when it's correct and only you know when it's done and there's nobody who's going to go like, "Oh yeah, that's good. That was good enough."

[Matt] That must become such a crutch when someone is there to do that. You look up through the glass and you're like, "Did I get it?"

[St Vincent] It can be. And my joke with that, with every producer I've ever worked with, but especially my friend John Cannelton, was like, "Do you love me now Daddy? Did I do good Daddy? Was that good?" And it's like, no when you're in the room alone, you're making sure that you get to the guttural essence of something and only you know what that, only you know what, oh, when it's quite exactly right.

St Vincent on recording at Electric Lady studios…
I sang it a lot of times because when you produce a record yourself and when you're alone in the studio, alone at Electric Lady at 1:00 in the morning.

[Matt] Were you completely alone? No engineers or anything?

[St Vincent] No, I didn't need an engineer. I engineered it. I mean I had an engineer, my friend Keyan Reardon engineered a lot of the record, engineered the drums because that's a level of physics that I'm not hip to, right? But yeah, with vocals and stuff and a lot of guitars and various synths, I engineered it.

St Vincent on making her new album…
I was at a place of, one, a lot of sonic exploration. I've all my records, but I wanted to really find my sonic lexicon and get really just hone in on, I just wanted to spend a lot of hours in the studio alone, basically whether it was working with modular synths and drum machines and anything that was tactile for me.
So everything about the initial part of this process was like it's not, I'm not playing, it's not plugins. It's like this is some crusty piece of machinery and it's electricity moving through circuitry and on some level I'm a God playing with lightning and I'm harnessing chaos and I'm turning oscillators and I'm turning knobs and I'm doing all this. And then hours and hours of jamming and jamming it. Maybe there were psychedelics involved. It doesn't matter, who's asking? But then going, "Okay, I jammed for that many hours. What's the four seconds that's so exciting to me that I want to hear it over and over again and build a whole song around it?"
So that was one part of the process, and so it's a bit tedious. It's a little bit ass backwards, but that's what I needed. But in that I just go, you go sound is hidden, like oblique strategies, right? Sound is hidden intention. These sounds that I'm generating, they can only be generated just like this and then you could never replicate it ever again. You could get really close, but you could never get exactly what this is. So catch it and then build something on top of it that's mountainous.

St Vincent on Dave Grohl and Mark Guiliana playing drums on two album tracks…
Mark Guiliana is on [album track] Broken Man, and I recorded him at Electrical Audio, which is Steve Albini's place, and I have very great footage of Mark Guiliana playing with these plastic drumsticks, but the only plastic drumsticks we could find were light up for children, but plastic sounds actually quite cool. He's playing plastic drumsticks on, he's doing rim clicks with plastic drumsticks and it's just a very cool sound. So we record that at Albini's place, Mark doing the bridge and doing part of the end with this very open.

But then we go, "You know what, let's be wild and pitch this snare up pretty high. Turn the snares off. "You know that nineties? "Okay, let's go there." Nineties snare and this Adobe room. Wild. I'm a wild, wild girl. So I had the song and then I was like, "The song rips, but it needs to level up even more. We need to go just to where it's we're just completely in the fucking red." Right? So I called Dave Grohl over and he came over to the studio and he's the best hang ever, as you know, and smoking some parliaments, drink some coffee, just telling war stories. We're having a laugh, great time. And then he's like, "Okay." Goes in. Game face. And played [album track] Flea top to bottom.

St Vincent on her fans and current status as a songwriter and performer…
It's liberating, also, I have a career where the shape of it is just like a slow trek up the mountain. I mean, there are certainly going to be records with fans that some fans really love and the next one they don't love or they whatever. It's going to be a complicated relationship I'm sure, but I also feel very lucky for that fact. It means that I think that people are smart and I think they want to be challenged and they want to be consoled and they want to have a place to lay their burden down. I know because that's what I want and that's what I want from music. And I think I feel very lucky to have a a fan base who feels like they're just down for whatever.

Because I don't know what's going to happen next. I don't know what thing will be super inspiring to me. You never know. That's part of the joy of it. So I feel just lucky, frankly to still be in the game. I've seen a lot of people come and go.