How would you describe your summer so far?
Really, really weird. But good! The more exciting stuff happens, the more I distance myself from the whole idea of fame, because otherwise I’d turn into a crazy person. After I worked on [Icona Pop’s 2012 smash] ”I Love It,” I got kind of caught up in the whole idea of writing a hit — it made me hate pop music for a while and unable to write any good songs. I’m just not caring what people think right now.
You’re on the radio all the time. Is that still a big deal to you?
I always scream and freak out. I suck at playing it cool. [Laughs]
What was your first impression of Iggy Azalea?
She’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. She’s so dry, and she’s 100 percent doing her. I really admire that about people, when they just don’t give a f—.
What about the ”Fancy” video stands out the most to you?
Iggy said she wanted to do [a takeoff on] Clueless, and I was like, ”Of course! That’s amazing.” It’s one of my favorite movies of all time. Every little girl wants to be Cher Horowitz at some point in her life.
What was the creative process for ”Boom Clap”?
I was in Stockholm with Patrik Berger, a longtime collaborator of mine. We had been listening to loads of French yé-yé pop and the Flying Lizards and Bow Wow Wow, and we were saying how all those songs have dumb, hooky, shouty choruses. They’re all sort of childlike. So we wanted to make a song like that.
Did it feel like a hit right away?
If I knew, I’d become like a factory and wouldn’t enjoy what I do anymore. Everyone in the studio will be like, ”This is a hit!” But no one f—ing knows.
What do the VMAs [airing Aug. 24 on MTV] mean to you?
To be honest, I didn’t have MTV growing up. I feel like that was something I missed, so I had to rewatch the epic python moment with Britney Spears and all that…. I know it’s a big deal, and I think ”Fancy” deserves to win some awards.
You’re nominated for an Artist to Watch VMA alongside 5 Seconds of Summer, Sam Smith, Schoolboy Q, and Fifth Harmony. Who would you want to win if you don’t?
Sam Smith, definitely. We’re actually from the same town. He went to school literally up the road from my school. He’s such a talented singer and musician, and one of the nicest and realest people in this industry.
What can you tell us about your upcoming album?
I’ve been working with Rostam [Batmanglij] from Vampire Weekend, Rivers Cuomo from Weezer, Stargate, Benny Blanco…. But it all started off with me and Patrik in Sweden. We kept getting asked to replicate ”I Love It,” and we felt stuck. People just wanted a formula that worked. So I went to Stockholm, turned my phone off, and made some angry music. That kind of set me free. The record is very feminine, it’s raw — I see it as being like the color red when I listen to it.