In Conversation With Allie Crow Buckley

Photo by Aly Westrin

WLUW sat down to chat with, singer-songwriter, Allie Crow Buckley. We discuss inspirations, the English countryside, touring, and a love for Chicago. Check out the interview below!

Interview by Aly Westrin

Do you want to tell our audience a little bit about who you are?

Sure. I’m Allie Crow Buckley. I’m a singer songwriter based out of Los Angeles and more recently, sort of the greater London area and I’m here playing in Chicago for the very first time.

Yay. Wait, so do you live in London right now?

We have been living in the English countryside actually, sort of bopping between the English countryside and the Los Angeles area for the last year or so. So it’s been really fun and a nice change.

That sounds so fun. What made you move there?

Well, it’s just pretty majestic. So I started going there as a friend lived in the area and just sort of fell in love with the place where we are now and so have started spending half the time there and then half the time in California.

Which one do you like better? How are they…I’d imagine they’re really different, right?

Very different. I don’t know if we could choose right now I’m really loving the countryside just because the pace of life is so sweet. But when we’re in California, we’re usually in this very beautiful little town, where I wrote a lot of the record, where my mom lives called Ojai, and it’s this sort of majestic little village nestled in the mountains. And it’s about an hour and a half from Los Angeles.

Beautiful, I love that. So let’s go a little bit back to the beginning. How did your music career start and was writing music and performing always a goal of yours or something you wanted to do?

It wasn’t actually. I was always writing, more so poetry. I was interested in a lot of different art forms dancing, painting, as I said, writing, and it wasn’t until I was about 21, or so that I decided I wanted to start putting those sorts of poems into song form. And I didn’t put out my first music until I was about 24-25. And I didn’t play my first show until I was about 24-25. So no, it wasn’t always something I thought I would do. I grew up dancing. So I love performing in that way. But no, I never thought that. I would say I was quite shy at the beginning and more inward. I did a lot of song writing, but never thought I would be performing.

How was it different going from performing via dancing to singing? I feel like it’s more vulnerable to singing.

Much more vulnerable and you’re performing your own art piece. Whereas with dance ballet or dancing, you’re usually in a troupe, and you have you know, you’re carrying out someone else’s vision and whereas when it’s your music singing I find to be much more vulnerable. And, and yeah, sharing your personal art, of course, it’s going to be more vulnerable.

Yeah, of course. Do you have like a specific artists that was kind of your awakening of like, “Oh, I think I want to do music.”

Oh, well, I grew up in a very musical household. My parents are great music fans and they have really wonderful tastes. So music was always a huge part of my life. So there were many different influences that struck a chord pun intended. But let’s see My favorites are Joni Mitchell. I love Black Sabbath. I love Led Zeppelin. I grew up listening to a lot of you know, Lucinda Williams, my dad loved King Crimson and more prog stuff. So it was an eclectic mix.

Very well rounded.

And now you’re finishing up tour with Lord Huron. How has that been for you?

Wonderful. They’re just, I mean, the kindest people. It’s been so, so wonderful to get to play these incredibly beautiful places. So excited to be playing Evanston on Friday. And, yeah, I mean, it really has been incredible and to play to their fans. Their fans are extremely receptive and kind and attentive. So it’s been wonderful.

I feel like it’s a perfect mix for you to be opening for them. How’s that been, though? Have these been the largest venues you’ve been playing?

Absolutely, it’s been insane.

Has that been scary at all? Do you have any stage fright?

I don’t think so. It’s almost easier to play, I think for me, to more people than an intimate setting.


well yeah, because an intimate setting is, well, intimate.

I can definitely understand that. Sometimes I feel nervous being in the audience when it’s like such a small venue.

Anyway, So earlier this year, you came out with your album Utopian Fantasy, I Love that title, do you want to tell us a little bit about the writing process of that album and some of your inspirations when writing it.

Yes, absolutely. So I started writing the record in the English countryside where we are now. And I was very inspired by the landscape there, I would just sort of walk around the forest for hours, without seeing anyone, it’s a very quiet area. It’s very beautiful. And so it was inspired a lot by the scenery and mythology and history of the United Kingdom, as well as a little bit of California, where I wrote the other half, as I mentioned earlier, sort of in the Ojai area. So, I think it has that balance of those two places. And as always, inspired by a various myth that called to me at the time, it was very inspired by the sort of Dionysian mysteries and the myth of Cupid and Psyche. So all of those elements are sort of what inspired the writing process of the record.

Do you find that you’re more so, when writing an album, trying to tell a story or encapsulating a feeling? And how does it all come together?

It’s a good question. Let’s see, I think that the encapsulation of emotion is a byproduct of the writing process for me, you know, I think that there’s a lot of emotion behind the words, and it just depends on the song. Sometimes, it’s a story. Sometimes it’s a personal experience. And sometimes the songs come through sort of more stream of consciousness, and I try and just follow that urge and allow that to just be exactly what it is. So I think that those songs tend to have a different kind of emotion too, because it’s almost more of a pure emotion, when you allow the songs to just come through in the moment. It could be within five minutes, or I could be working on a song for a couple of months. And usually, if I’m working on a song for longer, it’s because you want to sort of hammer out the details of a story. Whereas maybe this other songs that are more stream of consciousness and come through quick are, maybe you can feel the emotion a little more, or encapsulate the feeling.

Yeah, for sure. Do you do anything different when performing live to like, further tell a story or encapsulate a feeling?

I try and just allow each show to be whatever it wants to be. So almost like holding space for, for the creation, we don’t play anything to a track. So it’s all very, it’s all very in the moment. And that’s how I like to orchestrate the shows. It’s sort of ceremony, if you will.

So excited to see it tonight. I also know you mentioned that you find a lot of inspiration from other art forms like painting. And I find that really interesting. I’m just wondering, like, what kind of ideas are flowing through your mind when you look at a painting? Or is it just the act of seeing someone else being creative and that like motivates you to be creative? Or do you get genuine ideas from the art?

interesting, I think, because the way, my favorite, my favorite records, for example, are records that create a world. So you put them on and you can just be totally in someone else’s world that they’ve created. And I think that paintings are just this incredible encapsulation of a world, a moment in a world. And so depending on what painting, of course, it’ll inspire either a whole song or just the emotion that it brings forth will inspire an emotion within a song. I feel the same about dancing, live dance, because that’s almost all emotion. You know, when you’re watching live dance, it’s pure emotion through the body. I mean, it’s such an incredible experience. So yeah, I think that I’m inspired by whatever I’m feeling whilst looking at the various art forms.

And then do you also translate that when doing or creating the album art for your pieces? And, like, how involved are you in that process? are you kind of like the creative mind behind it all?

I’m very, very involved, maybe to a fault. But usually, the sort of world if you will, comes through all at once. So I’ll start writing a body of work. And oftentimes, all of the visuals will also sort of come through as as download, if you will. So the feeling and a lot of the references or ideas around, the visuals come through as I’m writing it. So you end up sort of riding around this world or all becomes one thing. So yes, I’m very involved in the creative process, all of the creative processes in making the record and the artwork. And I really enjoy working with various art directors as well because it’s interesting. I love collaborating and getting to communicate what I feel the world is, and then, you know, seeing what comes through for them as well. So, I do have incredible collaborators that I get to work with. So that’s been really wonderful.

I love that. And I also I just think it’s so fitting like, the album art and your album as a whole, like I knew right when I saw it, because we were sent it, and I was like, I’m gonna like this. So I really love it.

How would you describe your music to someone who’s never listened to it before?

Let’s see, I would describe my music as or like, maybe Joni Mitchell meets Black Sabbath. So they’re sort of heavier, under current, and then a lighter, more ethereal top end, if you will. So the melodies and things and songwriting while having that sort of heavy, more Black Sabbath esque base, if you will.

Sweet. Do you have any songs that are your favorite to perform live and what makes a song a favorite to perform live?

I think what makes a song a favorite to perform live is the feeling it evokes in the moment. And certain songs definitely evoke more of a sort of meditative trance state even for the players. So I think that those are always my favorite to perform, and the one that we’ve really been enjoying playing. Well, we played “Cupid and Psyche” off of the new record for the first time just last week, that was really special. And then we always really enjoy playing one from my last my first record, my last record and my first record, called “Under The Sun,” that one’s been really fun to perform live as well. So I think those have been our two favorite and “Angel” is pretty fun for different reasons, because it’s a bit more upbeat.

Yeah, Angel get’s the crowd moving. Do you have any pre performance rituals before a show to, I don’t know, make it go better. Or I guess, Do you have any superstitions when it comes to performing?

I don’t have any superstitions. And as we talked about earlier, I, I enjoy whatever has happened during that day, and bringing that to the performance allowing it to be this sort of malleable, live experience. But I tend to like to make the dressing room as vibey as possible. I bring my diffuser with me and play music. Yeah, and sort of get ready to perform. And yeah, and it’s wonderful, because it’s such an exchange, you know, depending on the crowd or the day, or the weather or how everyone’s feeling in the van, in all, you know, is a recipe or an ingredient into the recipe of the show.

Yeah, so now we have a few like rapid fire questions.

Rapid fire! Let me drink some water.

Of course! and not, like, you have to answer them super quickly, these are just like, a little bit more fun questions. And there’s only five so don’t worry.

What was the last thing you listened to voluntarily?

I just listened to, I’m not sure, I think it’s called My kind of Town by Frank Sinatra. So that was the last thing we listen to on the way here just dancing in the car.

Very fitting. Do you prefer coffee or tea? Coffee?


How do you like your coffee?

Heavy cream.

Heavy cream. Me too.

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?

Okay, best concert I’ve ever been to. Hold on. Let me just take a moment here. It should be faster, but it’s just not. I’m scanning. I think one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to was Bob Dylan at the Santa Barbara bowl.

That sounds like a good one.

It was spectacular. And he, as you know, I’m sure some of you may know, plays whatever he wants all of the time. So when you get to see him and he plays something that you love, it’s very exciting. He’s usually doing Sinatra covers, so.

Amazing, we love that.

If you could collaborate with one artist, who would it be?

I would love to collaborate with Jarvis Cocker. I love him.

Sweet. What does your ideal day off look like?

My ideal day off is swimming somewhere in a natural body of water, anywhere. I love to swim. Eating something delicious and going for an evening walk.

Beautiful. And you’re in Chicago for a few days now. Do you have anything that you’re like, “I want to do this when I’m in Chicago.”

God, well, I’m, I’m sort of obsessed with Chicago. I’m a huge Chicago fan. It’s a little dramatic. So I just plan on walking around and finding new, magical little spots. And I feel like every time I come here, I happen upon a road. That’s just feel so good. I think it feels so great in Chicago.

When was your first time in Chicago?

Only 2019.

Is that when your obsession started?


How did it start? Was it just the environment that did it?

I just landed here and I think it feels so good here. It felt right. Everything’s so aligned here. I love Chicago.

Yeah, me too. I love it, too. All right. Well, that is all that I have for you today. So thank you so much for joining us.

Thank you. Yeah, it’s been wonderful.

Well, good luck on the rest of your tour. I’m so excited for your show tonight.

Check out Allie Crow Buckley on Instagram and Spotify below!

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