DJ Lily got the chance to sit down and chat with Allie Crow Buckley who is opening for Declan Mckenna's 2023 tour. In this interview, Allie, the whimsical, down-to-earth Joni Mitchell super-fan talks about her newest album Utopian Fantasy, how her tour with Declan McKenna is going, and takes a deep dive into her inspirations and music-making process.
[Lily] Introduce yourself - where are you from?
[Allie] My name is Allie Crow Buckley, I am from Los Angeles originally and I am based out of there and also England which is where I met Declan.
[Lily] So, you know Declan Personally?
[Allie] We became friends because we met on a writing session, and that song became Dreamboat Soulmate which is on my record Utopian Fantasy.
[Lily] When did you first start making music?
[Allie] I first started making music when I was 23 or so. I have been writing poetry for a while. Songwriting has always been sort of an inward process. I put my first music out when I was 24 and played my first shows when I was 24 as well.
[Lily] Growing up, was music always an interest of yours?
[Allie] I was always a big music fan. Growing up, my parents were big fans of music as well. I was always very interested in writing, I studied a lot of poetry and mythology and was always interested in those forms of creativity. I’d always loved music and I decided to pursue it since I felt it is the combination of all these different art forms that I love. You can incorporate music, dance, paintings, visuals, films. It’s this awesome sort of all-encompassing art form - being a musician.
[Lily] How would you best describe the music you make?
[Ally] I would say, whimsical sass, maybe. We say, “Black Sabbath meets Joni Mitchell, sort of that more ethereal top-line folk-like songwriting. The heavier more-rooted, low-end foundation.
[Lily] What is your creative process like?
[Allie] It Sort of depends. I do find that my records come to my all at once. This whole words gets downloaded, if you will. So then I kind of write from that place. It kind of all starts to weave together. Generally, songwriting wise, it depends. Sometimes I’ll have full poems written and I will add melody to them or sing to them. Other times I might have a melody with no words and I’ll find a rythm or cadence from some of the words that I have written down. I have a going notebook of phrases and things. That’s usually how it works for me. Sometimes I wont write anything anything for a couple months, and then a new world will trickle in. A sonic idea or a visual idea, words and themes will be reoccurinhg in my life and they all collect and converge into this one body of work that ends of being the record.
[Lily] How would you describe “the world” that is your most recent record you’ve put out?
[Allie] I wrote most of Utopian Fantasy in the English countryside. I think that record is very inspired by Greco-Roman mythology, but I was also very inspired by the mythology from within the United Kingdom. So, a lot of Arthurian Legend, Fairy realms, and all of those worlds. It was really interesting diving into that. When a lot of people think about the fairy world they see it as very light and whimsical, but it also has this wonderful underbelly and depth. I think that that’s the world of Utopian Fantasy. It’s about being taken on this journey among the realm of the fairy where you relinquish control and let yourself go.
[Lily] Who are your biggest inspirations?
[Allie] I love Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin. I also really love the poet Robert graves. I have read a lot of his poetry and also one of his books is a huge influence for me. I love all kinds of 18th and 19th c european paintings. Any kind of Immersion in nature is very inspiring to me, so I do a lot of walks through the woods. I love swimming in the ocean.
[Lily] What is your favorite song or album you’ve ever written?
[Allie] From my first record I really love - Under The Sun. I also really love Greatest Hits which opens my newest record Utopian Fantasy. I really love songs that come through more stream of consciousness. They feel more free to me, and a more pure expression of emotion. Sort of an unedited version that allows the creative inspiration to come through.
[Lily] What has your experience been like touring for Declan McKenna so far?
[Allie] We've only had one show together so far. We start really on the 1st of October through November. It’s incredible, he’s such an amazing performer. So charismatic. His band is Incredible. It’s wonderful. The audience has been awesome so far. They’re so receptive, so open, happy and excited. It’s a really great atmosphere.
[Lily] What are you most looking forward to with this tour?
[Allie] I’m looking forward to seeing more of their set. I’m very much looking forward to going to a lot of places I’ve never been in the United States. That will be wonderful, I’m very excited about going to Mexico as well. I’m really excited to be playing so so so many shows, and getting to bring this record to so many places that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to otherwise.
[Lily] If you could see any artist in concert at any point in time, who would it be?
[Allie] I would love to see Joni Mitchell play in the late 70s shortly after she released Hissing of Summer Lawns. Theres a live album where they play a lot of those songs
[Lily] what specific mythology was your inspiration for Utopian Fantasy?
[Allie] For this last album I was very into the myth of Cupid and Psyche and the Dionysian Mysteries. Those were the two that I was really reading into. They’re both full of incredible emotion and imagery. Cupid and Psyche is such a strange myth and I loved the idea of being dropped into an alternate reality and you need to come to terms with it immediately. That was a lot of the themes that were coming up for me when writing the record. Where you have to realize “Okay, this is your life now.” Where it’s totally different and very trippy. On the sweeter side, Cupid and Psyche were whispering to each other. She could hear Cupid’s voice through the ether. I really loved that imagery. For the Dionysian mysteries, I was super inspired for a lot of the record. I was very interested in Dionysus being eaten alive by his followers. Naked at the Feast is about that. It’s quite a vulnerable feeling for me. It comes back to that theme that most of the record is about – totally letting everything be as it’s supposed to be. The idea of Dionysus letting go and letting everyone eat him alive is very evocative.
About: Allie Crow Buckley’s music is a world unto itself; a paradox, capturing the gentle folk of Joni Mitchell alongside the pagan allure of Black Sabbath. She is known for her balance of ethereal, soaring melodies, strong rhythmic elements, and heavy, rooted low end. This balance, coupled with her allegorical sense of lyricism, lends itself to being both beautifully meditative and unsettling at times. Following the release of her acclaimed debut 2019 EP So Romantic, she released her debut LP, Moonlit and Devious, in 2021 to praise from The New Yorker, NPR, Under The Radar, Paste, and more. She has opened for the likes of Jenny Lewis and Maggie Rogers on tour.
You can find out more about Allie on her socials!
Hi y’all, I’m Lily! I’m a double major in Anthropology and Classics going into my junior year here at the South Carolina Honors College. I have been with WUSC since my freshman year & have loved every minute! Some of my favorite genres I listen to are folk and indie & my all-time favorite artist is Fleetwood Mac. I’m having a specialty folk show this semester! Tune in to hear all about the history of folk & listen to some jiggy tunes! I can’t wait to give y’all some cool content to read on the blog!