Credit: Claudia Sutiono
With (nearly) three albums, a Beats1 radio show and all-new recording label, I was really surprised to learn you are just 24-years-old…
“I’ve been around for a long time [Laughs] so I don’t know if people are surprised or ask. I always feel like I’m 21 though. I think ever since I turned 22 – and its not that I’m uncomfortable with my age, I like being 24 – but whenever anyone asks me, I say, ‘I’m 21!’ Then I’m like, ‘No, that’s a lie’’…Maybe I’m biogenetically frozen, who knows?”
You’re putting the finishing touches on your third album. Could we say your single After The AfterParty is a prelude to what we can expect on your album?
“I would say After The AfterParty is definitely a taste of what the album sounds like, it’s the most kind of pop sound on the record. But there’s also a whole other sound to it, it’s much more electronic and much more – I don’t want to say like a rave because it’s not that full on – and more like a club. It’s like a party album.”
One thing I love about you is from album to album, we feel like we’re hearing a reinvention of sound. You’ve said in the past that the goal for you is to make “progressive” pop music. Can you explain this a little more? And does this mean that you feel like we’re hearing the same thing from the artists at the top of the pop charts at the moment?
“I feel like we definitely do hear a lot of the same stuff on the radio, which is not bad at all, as long as it’s good pop music. But for me, like, I like to work with people who aren’t necessarily the particularly on-trend producers who are always having the biggest hits or the most success, those people have a formula that usually works. I’m more interested in bringing new producers and underground producers into the world of the pop music I make. I’ve always curated my own records and put different producers from different worlds together and I think that’s really important because it makes things sound more progressive and it can sometimes maybe, like, start trends of what the next big thing is you know.”
What will the future landscape of pop music look like do you think?
“I’ve been working with these guys form a record label called PC Music and they make kind of club, aggressive, very visual sounding music and I feel like they are on cusp of something…”
When music journalists write that you “typify the pop rebel”, how does that make you feel? Is it an accurate assumption?
“[Laughs] I don’t know! I’m always trying to kind of annoy people in some way. I’m never trying to just be presentable and stay within the lines. I enjoy annoying people a bit. I like having fun and it’s fun for me to be a little bit difficult. I’d rather rock the boat than be just average and nice.”
Credit: Claudia Sutiono
You penned Selena Gomez’s Same Old Love and Icona Pop’s global smash I Love It. Do you ever write a track for an artist and then think, ‘Oh gosh, I wish this track was my own and I don’t want to give it away?’
“Yeah! There’s been some songs I wished I’d kept. Actually Same Old Love was one of those songs that once I’d heard Selena sing it – and she sounded so great – I was like, ‘Oh my god, I want this song for myself.’
“But then, I kind of realised it was actually the perfect home for that song because coming from [Gomez], it meant kind of a lot more than coming from me.”
“Partly because she had such a high profile relationship which was all over the press, it felt very real coming from her and I think a lot of the audience could really connect because of what had been going on. It was cool that really brought that song to life.”
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How does the singer-songwriter process go? Did Selena sit down with you and tell you how she felt before you wrote it?
“That definitely happens sometimes for sure. But this particularly song was something I had written and she loved it and felt it related to her and that’s really how that came about.”
Iggy Azaelia is in Australia at the moment, will you be catching up with her?
“Well, yeah, I was doing the X Factor and obviously she’s a judge so I’m sure we will hang, have some girl talk, that kind of thing.”
At awards shows we tend to see particular artists hang together in what’s been termed “squads”, who’s on your after party guest list?
“[Laughs] I don’t have a famous squad because I don’t know, I can’t deal with it.”
“There are definitely people I like hanging with at parties. I like hanging with Rita Ora, she’s a laugh. Also, Zara Larsson is my new favourite person to hang with. We were at the Europe Music Awards together and she’s just so fun and great.”
A couple of years ago, you said to Time “I want to make music and stay in weird, trashy stripper hotels because I find that glamorous”. The more famous you’ve become, do you still feel like that?
“Yeah, I mean, this definitely isn’t a trashy stripper hotel but I do like that vibe for sure! I feel like some of my most favourite places are not like the typical favourite pop star places. There’s this really strip club in Florida called Pure Platinum which is not the best strip club in the world but very fun and trashy and I like that whole trashbag kind of thing. I am a bit of a trashbag!”
Videography: Claudia Sutiono
Editor: Claudia Sutiono
Production assistant: Liam Pratt