Grimes is making her mark on electronic pop

By Jake Kreczowski October 22, 2012 9:16PM
Originally Appeared For Chicago Sun-Times

Things have been going well lately for Clare Boucher.

The past year has seen the Canadian-born artist, better known as Grimes, rise to the top of the contemporary electronic music scene through her specific style she refers to as “experimental pop music.”

Grimes created waves in the music world on the heels of her critically acclaimed 2012 release “Visions.” She visits Metro on Tuesday to share some of that success with Chicago.

In the computer-dominated world of electronic music, Grimes is a refreshing change of pace, forgoing more advanced recording software, opting to produce “Visions” entirely on Garageband, the free music production software provided on every Mac.

It wasn’t an attempt at irony, simply an artist going with what she knows. “I had only been making music for about a year,” she said. “I literally didn’t know how to use anything else. [Garageband] was there, it was free.”

Thriftiness seems to be a big part of Grimes’ decision-making. She moved to Montreal from her native Vancouver in 2006 not so much for the rising music scene, but simply because it was a practical situation for her.

“The cost of living is extremely cheap and that helped me,” said Boucher. “You can get a nice apartment where you can be loud and no one complains.”

The creative space allowed Boucher to cultivate her unique sound that she describes as not fitting in any one particular genre.

Known for her colorful production paired with trance-like vocals, Grimes got a taste of the electronic dance music scene this summer when Grammy-winning artist Skrillex invited her to join him on the Full Flex Express tour, a weeklong train tour across Canada.

Grimes found herself among the likes of EDM headliners such as Diplo and Pretty Lights, and, as one of the only women on the train, opening for them to audiences she wasn’t much used to.

“A lot of my shows before that, the crowd was very withdrawn,” she said, “and it was fun to perform for a bunch of teenagers just having a good time.”

While her live show likely won’t involve spaceships and glowstick cannons like a Skrillex concert, he did help her realize an important aspect of the industry.

“From talking to Sonny [Skrillex] I found that if you’re willing to take charge of a situation you have a lot of power over how you’re perceived and how things are done,” said Boucher. “It inspired me to say, ‘Screw it, I’m taking over everything. I have the power to make this how I want to be.’ ”


Jake Kreczowski is a local free-lance writer.

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