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Grimes Dazed Beauty
Concept and creative direction Isamaya Ffrench & Ben Ditto, artwork Jon Emmony, digital beauty Sam Fuller, CGI and AI tech Ryan Vautier, soundtrack James Kelly

Supernatural: Grimes on searching for her final form

The producer and artist’s Dazed Beauty cover story

Creative DirectorIsamaya FfrenchCreative DirectorBen DittoArtistJon Emmony

Welcome to Witch Week, a campaign dedicated to exploring how witchcraft, magick and beauty intersect. Discover photo stories shot featuring real witches in NYC, a modern reimagining of the witch, and one witch’s mission to get a tan, as well as in-depth features exploring herbology, science and alchemy, and male witches. Elsewhere, we’ve created four special covers to celebrate the campaign and our one year anniversary – something wicked this way comes.

Can you describe your surroundings right now as you answer these questions?

Grimes: I don’t give away my location data!

What did you make of the wild reactions to the training regiment you shared? And pleaseee tell me – how much truth is in it, where does the satire start and stop? How do you look after your body? Is sword fighting how you stay fit?

Grimes: the training regimen is 100% real.  But real is a subjective term.  Perception is subjective.  All I can say is I’m much happier now that I’ve had my eye surgery.  

You talked about killing off your Grimes persona previously. What is the current dissonance between your own person, c, and Grimes the producer and musician? Through different album cycles and your own personal evolution, how the media has portrayed you and zoned in on aspects of your life over the years, how have you squared off with your sense of identity and personhood?

Grimes: my previous self got too distorted by the media.  It was a real war zone for a minute! Some of it was certainly my fault, but it turned into a runaway train and I didn’t really have a team at the time to help me correct the narrative.  I didn’t really know how to handle it, so I just let it go crazy and focussed on my real life.  After a while, you disengage entirely from the persona that is being covered and enter a chill zone without a real sense of identity.  I got to a real quiet ..real place.  Mentally hit reset.  Lost myself again.  

I mean, I see why people were mad, saying things like I abandoned my old self.  Cuz I did.  I do that a lot, actually.  

Every time theres a big dangerous jump in front of me, I take it.  It’s my rule.  Run into the scary future and never think twice.  Thats what an artist has to do.  Ultimately this gets me in a lot of trouble, and leads to a lot of life-resets.  Maybe I let people down, because they think change is disingenuous.  But the only consistent thing in my life is change.  And sometimes I look back at Claire and Grimes and c and whoever else I’ve been, and those names feel so loaded.  Those stories are all quite heavy.  I don’t want to be what I was.  I want to make new things

I’m not in the business of drama.. if people want to fight me, I won’t fight back.  So a lot of weird stuff stands unchallenged.  But I’m here to make art.  My proximity to drama is an unfortunate side-effect of the path I had to take to make the best art.  But pain gives me a lot.  And luckily, I’m about to release a lot of the stuff I’Ve been working on, so yeah.  I feel like a new person now. 

I know you love Euphoria and Riverdale (me too – Maddie! Cheryl!!). What do you love about them? What are your favourite looks?  

Grimes: Wow.  2 modern masterpieces.  

Euphoria is a masterpiece for the ages.  One of the best things ever committed to film.  Startlingly similar to my childhood.  I don’t know if I’ve ever related to anything so much as Euphoria.  Plus, I’ve always wanted a dark drama that ends in a random musical number.  I thought thats where American sniper was headed when he picked up the cowboy boot at the end.  I was like “no! is he about to pivot into country music??”  Unfortunately it did not end that way. 

You’ve also talked about using your voice more, stepping back from production – how have you got to grips with this change?

Grimes: I haven’t spoken about that.  I would never step back from production!  I did mention that I’d like to allow some other producers into my creative zone because it feels like a good time to expand my sonic horizons.  But I produced every song on my upcoming album on my own, besides one that we added right at the end.  

I’ve spent ten years working alone in part cuz I knew if I just produced all my own beats with no help no one could say there’s secretly some mastermind dude responsible for Grimes.  (They’ve still tried a few times, but I defeated them haha).   yeah..  I derive a great sense of power from having made my way alone.  But I get lonely and tired and I love working with friends and people I admire!   I want to delicately open Grimes up to more collaborators, without “stepping back”.

You know, when you’ve spent 20 hours on a beat, the last thing you want to do is cut vocals.  I’d like to, on occasion, just  sing.  It feels amazing!!!!  Singing does feel like direct communion with another world.  Conversely, its so euphoric when a great vocalist steps in the booth over one of my instrumentals.  All I meant to say is, I’d like to work with others more. Take some of the pressure off.  

Are you thinking about how fans will consume your new era, and does it concern you at all? How do you think fans will embrace it?

Grimes: they will love it or hate it.  I am at peace either way.  

Are you dressing up for Halloween? (I went as you in the Flesh Without Blood video two years ago!). What’s your best Halloween costume?

Grimes: sick!! Haha.  I plan on being a Gallic/ Celtic Barbarian or a techno-faery.  My best costume was snake sneaking in the box from metal gear.  

This is all part of Dazed Beauty’s Magic Week – what was your first experience of the supernatural, or the most profound? Have you ever performed a spell? Are you into horoscopes?

Grimes: Embarrassingly and unscientifically I have had many experiences with the supernatural but I’ve also been prescribed anti-psychotics and don’t take them so we’ll never really know.  I have performed many spells.  most recently I performed a spell to save the life of someone important to me and it dramatically worked.  Meh on horoscopes, but I dig the Chinese zodiac.  

How do you chill out and unwind?

Grimes: I love to hit the rifle range, altho I’m a proponent of implementing extensive background checks/ mental health checks etc. etc. re: fire-arms  

I also enjoy bio-haque-ing (tm), drawing, scheming and gambling. 

How can music as an industry and art affect climate action? Is offsetting your carbon footprint (flying and touring) something you do, or how do you work at being sustainable?

Grimes: I don’t tour anymore in part for this reason.  The music industry needs to be better, but the current economic model does not incentivize this.  Once we all move fully into our digital avatars, view concerts in the digital space and buy Digital merch, things will be better.  Ideally powered by solar tho.  

You wrote this beauty routine blog post a few years ago. Where is that routine at now, and do you have any tips? How important is sustainable, cruelty free products in your routine?

Grimes: No one will admit to seeking out unsustainable, cruel products.  If I knew I was using them, id be sad.  That said, most products come in plastic which isn’t sustainable even if what’s inside is.  Facetune is probably the most sustainable beauty product.  Best if powered by solar.  

How does biohacking interest you? If you could hack your body more without any confines, what would you do?

Grimes: i think bio-hacking is a creatively under-developed field.  I am extremely excited that becoming post-human isn’t necessarily out of range.  I started bio hacking as a joke with my friends and quickly became addicted to the benefits.  I would love to look and feel better than human.  Live to 250, have a neural transplant, fuse with AI, and anything else I can do.  But a lot of stuff is bio hacking that we dont think about.  Medicine, ur phone… its all just life extension and body/mind-enhancement.  Some of these things are just more socially acceptable than others.  Society lurches into the future either way.  BIO-HAQUE (tm) luxury raving: coming soon. 

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