The passion of St. Vincent


Movie scenes helped indie chanteuse Annie Clark veer from heavenly to hellish on her career-making sophomore album, "Actor."

I'd watch a scene and think, "How could I rescore that?" There's the scene in "Stardust Memories" where it's a closeup on Charlotte Rampling's face, and Woody Allen's talking to her. That scene was very much in mind when I wrote some of the music.

Q: To which song?

A: I'll never tell which songs are from which scenes. But some of it was very literal, and some of it was really more influenced by just certain film scores.

Q: I understand some classic Disney movies, in particular, played a role. Not exactly typical rock 'n' roll fodder. How did that work?

A: Everyone has seen those movies, from the 1930s-40s on up. I found myself watching them, thinking, "This music is so beautiful. There's no room to be cynical in any of this." You can just get swept away in the grandiosity of the music in "Sleeping Beauty" or "Snow White." Those songs are just magic.

Q: When you played with Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens, were you sort of biding your time until you got to do your own thing?

A: I always was writing and working on my own recordings, but I was lucky enough to be involved with two projects like that, ones that had such vitality. I learned a lot from those projects. Some of the press with "Marry Me" sort of painted this as my side project. No, this is my main thing.

Q: Will you always record as St. Vincent, or is there a proper Annie Clark record to come, too?

A: It remains to be seen, but I don't think so. It would be too much of a schizophrenic divide. St. Vincent is not like an alter ego.

Q: What's been the high point of St. Vincent's career so far?

A: I love just getting to do this. I'm so lucky. Touring -- while not glamorous from an amenities standpoint -- is really fun. It's so rewarding getting to play for people every night. And then I got to meet Nick Cave a couple months ago. That was pretty cool. I was backstage in Australia at All Tomorrow's Parties. I was a little intimidated, but I didn't get to talk to him long enough to say something stupid.

Q: You're playing bigger rooms this tour, like First Avenue in Minneapolis. Is the move up at all intimidating?

A: No, I'm very excited. I played 7th Street Entry a couple times, and then the Cedar Cultural Center last time, that was really wonderful. But now I get to do the "Purple Rain" stage. Yes!