The first thing I learned in Grimes’s interview with the Wall Street Journal Magazine is that Grimes doesn’t want to go by Grimes anymore, and wishes to be called c, as in the speed of light, a nerdy holdover from her relationship with spaceship hobbyist Elon Musk.
The profile is filled with moments like these—moments that made me stop and briefly consider moving to the moon—although none of them top the fact that Grimes’s single “We Appreciate Power” was inspired by Moranbong Band, the “North Korean pop band constructed by the totalitarian regime” that has been considered “Kim Jong Un’s personal girl group.”
Almost as interesting to learn is that Grimes feels stifled by her whole thing, which I can relate to:
“I’m super bound by the limits I’ve set for myself [with Grimes],” the 31-year-old says. “It would be easier for me if I wasn’t stuck with the branding I made in 2009, you know?”
She thinks of herself as a feminist—or at least, she feels some sense of feminist obligation, to audibly groan whenever Musk’s name is mentioned—which, same, but probably for different reasons.
“Don’t tell him I groaned just now,” she says. “I groaned out of, I don’t know, feminism. I mean, he’s a super-interesting goddamn person.” Then she stops. Up to this point, conversation has raced at a speed-of-light clip. Now there are vast pauses, chasms of ellipses while she talks around an entire aspect of her life she seems to still be figuring out how to navigate. (Musk says via email, “I love c’s wild fae artistic creativity and hyper intense work ethic.”)
She’s either not over her ex, or they could still be together, but either way she doesn’t want to talk about it:
Then, a moment later, “And look, I love him;”—she won’t even say his name, but she’s talking about Musk—“he’s great. There’s got to be some reason. I just think....” And now, starting and stopping again, she begins to contort her body slightly smaller, as if disappearing into a ball. “I wish.” Another stop. “Yeah. It doesn’t matter.” More thinking. Contorting. Shrinking. Then she straightens up. She has moved on. “Cool,” she says. And that is all she will say about that.
Grimes wants to be free, but is she? Let’s check in with what the writer of the profile thinks:
She seems happy and thoughtful and most of all free.
Killer stuff! What about her music? What does it sound like?
There are the literal layers—sounds on top of sounds—
Ah yes, I’m familiar with both layers and sounds in their many forms.
Perhaps most interesting is Grimes’s plan for her upcoming album, which she hopes—and I am just repeating what she says here—will get people excited about climate change:
Most of those thoughts these days are related to the art around the new album, which is titled Miss_ Anthropocene. “It’s a concept album, about anthropomorphizing climate change,” she says. Miss Anthropocene is “like, this death god.” But also: “It’s fun. I want to make climate change fun. People don’t care about it, because we’re being guilted. I see the polar bear and want to kill myself. No one wants to look at it, you know? I want to make a reason to look at it. I want to make it beautiful.”
I leave you with this, Grimes’s description of her own musical persona, the one she now wishes would go away forever:
Grimes was [...] edgy and alt (her words)
Best of luck to Grimes in vanquishing her self.