“Guitar’s versatility is unparalleled. But it’s also an instrument with a lot of baggage. We all know the tropes we’re trying to avoid”: St. Vincent on returning to real amps, stealing Josh Homme’s secret weapon – and how she overcame her fear of Strats

St. Vincent performs onstage during 2024 BottleRock Napa Valley at Napa Valley Expo on May 24, 2024 in Napa, California.
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images)

Annie Clark – aka St. Vincent – is finished, for now at least, with digital guitar tones. “I’ve done enough direct guitar sounds,” she declares. “I wanted to move some air again.” The result helps St. Vincent’s latest album, All Born Screaming, sound extremely human. “It sounds real because it is real,” Annie says of the record’s emotional content, but she could also be talking about the Marshall she used to express some of those emotions. 

When she wrote this record, Clark explains: “I personally was metabolising inward and outward violence. How do you make sense of the human condition? It’s wild and fraught. I’m lucky in the way I get to try to make sense of everything, by making work that takes chaos and puts it into some kind of order, whether that’s literally, with electricity through circuitry, or in more esoteric ways.”

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Jenna Scaramanga

Jenna writes for Total Guitar and Guitar World, and is the former classic rock columnist for Guitar Techniques. She studied with Guthrie Govan at BIMM, and has taught guitar for 15 years. She's toured in 10 countries and played on a Top 10 album (in Sweden).