Claire Boucher, 27, otherwise known as electro-pop star Grimes, is legit nervous that we’re not going to get into PDT, one of the East Village’s numerous speakeasy-themed bars, entered through a phone booth in a hot dog joint. Crammed inside the booth, she panics. “Shit, I hope I have ID,” she says, rummaging through a messy cross-body bag, pulling out loose licenses—one from Vancouver, where she was born and raised, another from Los Angeles, where she’s spent the past year working on a follow-up to Visions (her 2012 breakout album), the anticipation for which is palpable. “Is it past March? What year is it? Have we passed March 2015?”
We have. Her knees shake as she waits for the secret door to open, gripping two expired IDs and several baller-status credit cards to corroborate her identity, a fitting juxtaposition for an artist formed in the scrappy, DIY warehouse spaces of Montreal’s Mile End section, canonized on legendary indie label 4AD, and then made fodder for Illuminati conspiracists upon hooking up with Roc Nation’s management team two years ago.
One can’t necessarily blame the girl for not having a spare minute to spend in line at the DMV. After closing out the Endless Summer Tour with Lana Del Rey this past June, she jumped right back into recording mode. Her main reason for being in New York City, in fact, is to complete one of the last pieces of that puzzle: “Tomorrow, I’m going to an unspecified location to record an unspecified artist—I’ve been lugging around a really giant, really expensive microphone everywhere, upsetting all the airport security.” She’s hush-hush on the name of her vocal muse, who’s slated to sing one of two “producer tracks” on her new album (the title of which is also a secret). She’s not being coy; it’s just that the last person she was hoping to work with got sick, and she doesn’t want to jinx this session.
Click through the gallery to read the rest of Grimes’s cover story.