Over the course of five albums, Annie Clark has established herself as an eminently adventurous and artful musician and songwriter.
In October, Clark, who performs as St. Vincent, released “Masseduction,” which, in candid details, addresses themes like loss, grief and imperiled relationships.
Clark, who performs at the Uptown Theater on Sunday, talked to The Star recently about the album, about her love of heavy metal and about her budding career as a film director.
“Masseduction” has been praised widely and is getting some of the best reviews of your career. Do you read reviews and do you take any stock in them?
I love this record so much and my heart is so in it that I think this time more than ever I was not dependent on reviews to color or validate my feelings about it. I love it and I’m glad other people love it, but if they didn’t get it, I didn’t care.
Why do you love it so much and what are you proudest of?
I think it has the straightest line from my heart to other people’s hearts without sacrificing any of the “bonkers” aesthetic.
It has been called your most personal and transparent record. Do you agree?
I think it’s my most literal record. Every record to me is incredibly personal and every song was some kind of a code and Rubik’s Cube. But this is more in the King’s English relatable.
Your tour just started. How is it performing these very personal songs in front of people?
There’s nothing about the human experience that I’m ashamed of and nothing that I wrote about that I’m ashamed to share. It’s a funny thing to sometimes get to feel joyful and ecstatic singing about the lowest moments of your life, but there’s a triumph in that. You’re riding the wave instead of being buried beneath it.
Some of my favorite songwriters write songs that are very sad and melancholic. Have any songwriters like that inspired you?
One could die happy knowing they’d written “Famous Blue Raincoat.” So, yes, definitely. Leonard Cohen, Polly Harvey, Tori Amos: all the great sad ones. Elliott Smith.
I read an interview you did with a guitar magazine in which you expressed your affinity for heavy metal and bands like Slayer and Metallica and especially for Dimebag Darrell. What did you take from that music and does it still apply today?
Some of my favorite memories of music are sitting in somebody’s living room with a Peavey amp turned up too loud playing metal or just rock music. There’s nothing so visceral. So yeah. It’s a funny thing sometimes that the music that kind of naturally comes out of me goes a lot of different places, a lot of different tempos and colors and moods. But, man, it would be fun to just play rock music. It’s so much fun. I love it. It’s just not the thing as a writer that I gravitate toward.
You have already directed a short film, “The Birthday Party,” and have been enlisted to direct a feature film, a remake of “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” How long have you had an interest in film?
Some of the things that have inspired me more than anything have been films. I wrote a whole record that was really inspired by Disney films and French new wave. I think now more than ever our entertainment culture has the ability to change lives. Telling stories has the ability to change hearts and minds.
I say yes to things that are scary, always – creatively, I mean. I don’t know what can be gained artistically by jumping out of a plane. But creatively I’ll try things that I think are scary. So when I got the opportunity to do (a film) I instinctively said yes because I didn’t know if I could do it.
Does filmmaking have any similarities to creating music and leading a band?
Through the process of doing it, I fell in love with filmmaking and all of the creative decisions. And in a lot of ways, it is akin to being a bandleader or musician like I am — a solo artist — because I’m a consummate multi-tasker. More than any skills you have to have ideas and a point of view. That’s why we love the artists we love, because they had ideas and a point of view, not because they were the best technicians. To have the opportunity to flex that creative muscle is such an incredible opportunity I couldn’t pass it up.
You seem to have a pretty strong visual streak. Did you have any formal education in the visual arts?
No. The most formal education I had in visual arts was an art history class in high school. Other than that, I go to museums and I look up things. My love of art is definitely post-modern and my approach to knowing about art is the post-modern approach.
The last time I saw you perform was in 2013 when you were on tour with David Byrne. What did you take away from that tour and how did it change your perspective on live performance?
That is one of the few tours I wish I could go back and re-live. I had so much fun. I mean, if you need an example of the perfect nexus of theater, choreography, modern art and music, look no further than “Stop Making Sense.” Because I came up in the early ’90s, to do anything other than be four people in the clothes you wore all day playing music was sacrilege. I grew up with very strict ideas of what authentic music was and what entertainment music was. And I abandoned all of that once I started touring with David and started having more fun than ever. It was really joyful. I loved doing those shows and seeing how happy they made people.
St. Vincent performs Sunday night at the Uptown Theater. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $39.