Allie X Credits Cloud Slippers For Getting Her Through Her New Album

The pop-goth musician breaks down the moodboard behind her incendiary record Girl With No Face.

by Sophia June
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On her first album in four years, Allie X is reinventing herself. After working with Troye Sivan and Mitski for her past projects, the musician decided to shut the door on collaborators for her latest, Girl With No Face, opting to make the record alone. She condensed her team and took over her own management, pivoting to DIY punk sensibility inspired by her obsession with British New Wave, a genre she’s taken refuge in over the last few years.

This reverence screams through every synth on Girl With No Face, Allie X’s most referential album yet, one that feels like a direct cosmic line to bands like New Order, Joy Division, The Human League, Depeche Mode, Kate Bush, and early Madonna. Rebelliousness, experimentation, and non-acceptance of the norm guide every note. “The feelings in the album to me are anger, wit, and heartbreak with the world,” says Allie X. “Living in Los Angeles, in this commercial, money-driven place, makes for a real watering-down of ideas. DIY is about something more raw and instinctual.”

Over Zoom, Allie X broke down six of the major influences that inspired Girl With No Face — from cloud slippers to ‘70s German cinema to the U.K.

Ian Curtis

ALLIE X: Ian Curtis is a part of one of the most important bands of this transition from punk to post-punk and synth pop: Joy Division. But his story really gets me, too. He’s this young man who, just as Joy Division was starting to succeed, started having fits and was diagnosed as an epileptic as he would collapse on stage, convulsing. Nobody really gave him the compassion or proper support he needed; he just kept going. It breaks my heart, but I really relate to it. I’ve had health issues since I was a young kid, and I’ve been in so many situations where I had to be really silent about it and be uncomfortable and scared onstage. Ian Curtis is also so important because had Ian not existed, then the next band that came out of the Joy Division members — New Order — wouldn’t have happened. New Order really encapsulates the mood I’m after on this record.

Christiane F.

ALLIE X: I've only seen [this movie] once, but it made such an impression. I watched it the day Bowie died. My partner, who was also very influential [to the creation of this album], introduced me to a lot of these ideas, books, movies, and albums.

Christiane F. is set in Berlin in the ‘70s [and is] about a kid who got involved in a scene and then became a junkie and had this crazy experience. It's not the specifics of the story or the main character, but the mood of the film was one of the things I was picturing when I was writing. The harshness and violence and aggression made its way into my subconscious.

Dave Smith’s Mopho Synth

ALLIE X: This synth has a magic power to it. When I moved to Los Angeles in 2013, I got a publishing deal. [This company] moved me into this big house they were renting. It was a crazy experience because so many people were living there and none of us had bedrooms; I slept in the corner on the floor. I was so scared they were going to send me back so I just wrote song after song. One day, I shut myself in one of the studios. I didn't have any collaborators or co-writers, and that synth was there and I proceeded to write my song “Bitch,” which came out really quickly. At the time I didn't even think much of it. Over the years, it’s become the song I’m known for.

That song was one of the main things that gave me the bravery to take on this idea of doing a whole body of work by myself. I thought, “Here’s this song I didn't really think much about while I was doing it. I used all my natural instincts; nobody else was involved.” None of those songs have ever been as successful as this one song I did by myself with this spirit. So what if I did a whole album like that?


ALLIE X: I didn't drink coffee until 2021. I saw this doctor who told me, “You have this gene that makes you more likely to get Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.” I was like, “What should I do?” He [said] the best preventative action is drinking coffee. So I was like, “Okay, I'll try it.” I had a session with Tove Lo that day and had a cup of the weakest, watery coffee. I was buzzing the whole day. I was like, “This is crazy. I feel like I'm on cocaine. This is nuts.”

I was writing this album when I discovered coffee and I'd have a routine where I'd get up, take my time to get into a nice look, do all my skincare, feel cute, then I would make my coffee and I would sit down at my computer with my big monitor and watch YouTube videos about the bands I was referencing. I would get so excited and caffeinated, and then I would start working.

Cloud Slippers

ALLIE X: I had never been into slippers because they would make my feet sweaty and clammy. But I was in Canada at my parents’ house when I wrote a lot of this [album]. My mom was like, “I just got these things called cloud slippers on Amazon. They're so comfortable. I ordered you and George a pair.” I have cold hands and feet, but they stopped being cold. They added 5% more comfort to my state of being.

The U.K.

ALLIE X: The movement I'm talking about, punk to post-punk, really did happen in the U.K. Some would argue New York City, but that doesn’t interest me as much.

My dad is from the U.K. He’s from Coventry. As a kid, I went there a lot and always felt this real connection to my uncles, aunts, and cousins over there. I’ve always been the kid that would get made fun of for being weird, and going there, I felt like they all understood me and we had the same sense of humor and I really belonged. My sister has now moved to London, so I’ve spent a lot of time there; it’s my biggest market. I’ve rekindled my love and connection for the U.K. as I’ve made this [record] and reconnected with a lot of my family whom I hadn’t seen in so long.

Allie X’s ‘Girl With No Face’ is out Feb. 23.