I Read Girli’s Tarot Cards
What exactly does the future hold for London's pink-haired cyberpunk popstar? Quite a lot, apparently.
All photography by Bekky Lonsdale
Why bother asking musicians interview questions when we can just ask the tarot instead? Welcome to 'WTF (WHAT THE FUTURE)', a new format in which VICE's resident planet obsessive Daisy Jones uses ancient divinatory methods to find out stuff about popstars.
Tarot cards are very knowledgeable – definitely more so than any human. They can tell when someone is about to wrong you (‘Nine of Swords’? Always knew Sarah was a little snake). They can tell whether you’re going to get laid (‘The Hermit’ or ‘Pleasure’?). And they can tell when your landlord is about to hike the rent up (‘The Tower’ in your future? Start saving for that deposit babe.) In other words, those 78 humble cards know everything. They’re great for making sense of your own life. But they’re also very good for nosing into the business of other people.
All of this got me thinking. Regular interviews with musicians can get really boring. You can ask them “so like, when did you get into making music?” as much as you want, but that’s not going to tell anybody anything new about their life. What about their deepest secrets? Their dreams? Their hopes and fears for the future? That which haunts them at night? It’s kind of awkward to ask these questions to someone you just met while someone else takes photos. Throw in a tarot reading, though, and it becomes a lot easier. Plus, they get free life advice. Literally nobody loses.
All I needed was a tarot deck and a willing participant. Luckily, I had both. I have been reading tarot for years with the Aleister Crowley Thoth deck (yeah I know he was a problematic occultist, but he’s been dead for decades). And GIRLI – the 21-year-old pink-haired popstar who you most likely know from tracks like “Hot Mess”, “Girl I Met On the Internet” and most recently “Deal With It” – was well up for it. She’s on the brink of her debut album, Odd One Out, out 5 April, so her future is full of expectations and surprises. Plus her music – loud, sugary, cyber-pop for the Snapchat generation – is exactly the sort of thing the tarot gods are probably well into. Or I would imagine so anyway.
With all that in mind, we meet on a Friday afternoon at Dalston Superstore – London’s best queer club, and a regular hangout for both of us. GIRLI strides in right on time wearing a long coat and sunglasses covered in plastic sequins (“my friend made them for me!”), before ordering herself an orange juice. I get a Bloody Mary and a green tea, then we take a seat in the corner of the club usually reserved for deep and meaningful chats at 2AM. Once she gives the cards a good shuffle, I lay them out in the Celtic Cross formation and we take a good long look at her past, present and future:
Noisey: Right, let’s get to it.
GIRLI: I’m so nervous. What if it says ‘impending doom’? Is this spread good or bad?
Neither – it’s never good or bad. Okay, let’s start with your past, which is ‘Success’ (Six of Disks). All the disk cards represent money and material things – and actually, a lot of your spread is to do with material things, there aren’t many people around. To me, it looks as if things in your past happened the way you wanted them to and the things you worked for came into fruition.
It’s interesting, doing what I do, because you always get to certain points that you dreamed of and wanted a year ago, but once you get to that point, you move past it and you’re onto the next thing. If 15-year-old me, who was starting her first band, could see me now she’d be like “yeah boiii.” But it’s easy to forget that, and to focus on where you haven’t got to.
I know what you mean. I feel like "success" is really hard to absorb in the moment because it's kind of an aspirational concept, rather than a current state of being. Shall we take a look at your present? It looks... complicated.
It’s hard to make sense of. While you’ve got a lot of things moving very quickly, and situations which are positive, there’s also this feeling of oppression lurking at the centre of current events. Everything's going well, and you’ve got it under control. But yeah, there is this ‘Oppression’ (‘Ten of Wands’) card here, and the combination makes it looks like you’re feeling slightly hemmed in by the pace of things?
Then you’ve got ‘The Fool’ as your current influence from below, which means that at the same time as all this is happening, you’re right at the beginning of a journey, and you have absolutely no idea how it will turn out. ‘The Fool’ is the first card in the deck, so it’s like you're coming from a place of no prior knowledge. You’re moving forwards in the dark.
This is so true. I’m definitely feeling as if… things are happening in the way I wanted them to, and I’m working towards them. But I do sometimes feel oppressed by the fact I still live in the city I grew up in. I’m keen to break away and do new things. I guess also, in having success in your past, or things that you dreamt of coming into fruition, you then feel trapped in that because it’s like... what if I change what I want? Sometimes you can feel trapped by what you want.
And then ‘The Fool’, oh my god yeah. I’m coming out of my first album, I don’t know if I want to stay in London or not, there are all these questions that are like, I don’t know what the fuck is going to happen.
You’ve also lived in London all your life, right? I’ve definitely started getting that feeling where it’s like, ugh, I know these streets so well. It’s these fucking streets again!
Totally, totally! And it’s like, music is happening for me, and it gives me cause to stay here because the epicentre is London, but at the same time I don’t necessarily want to be here. So I’m tossing and turning about that.
So let’s take a look at your future…
Oh my god, there’s a 'Sorrow' card. That’s scary.
Yeah, but your future looks good! And by the way, I’m seeing this spread as the next few months rather than years.
Bring it on!
Your future is similar to your present. Things are going to change, and you’re going to be working really hard. But again, there’s this bittersweet feeling. On the one hand, all the things you’ve wanted will go exactly as planned. Your future conclusion is ‘Gain’ (Nine of Disks), which is a really nice card, and means everything will come into fruition, in a material sense.
And to top things off, your future projections are ‘Lust’. In other words, you’re going to be really feeling yourself while all this is happening.
Oh my god, this sexy lady. She’s riding a lion. Sick.
Yeah, you’re basically going to be riding on a lion into your future. Your future environment is ‘Work’ (Three of Disks), which isn’t a super fun card, but just means that you’re going to be grinding away and making that cash. The wheels will be turning, and though that might be boring, you’ll be doing so with total confidence.
On a lion, with my tits out.
Exactly! So let’s get to this ‘Sorrow’ card, which is also in your future. You don't need to worry about this card. As you can see, the illustration is of clouds, and clouds can be blown away. But there is going to be a slight melancholy in your future. Maybe you’ll be feeling sad for some things you’ve left behind, as you’ll be working so hard. It’s going to be bittersweet.
Yeah, when you’re working hard and sacrificing stuff.
Exactly. But everything will pay off. As I said, your conclusion is ‘Gain’, so none of this is bad. You just win some and lose some.
I think this is really cool. This whole thing actually made a lot of sense.
Oh good! I am pleased. So on a level, how are you feeling about the new album? It’s been a long time coming.
I guess, going back to the tarot, the whole thing about ‘Success’ and ‘Oppression’ at the same time, I’m super excited because it’s like finally, but I’m also nervous about how people will receive it. For me, I’ve had a habit of putting out music and then being like “oh that doesn’t feel like me anymore.” But with the album, it’s been in it’s form for six months now, and I’m still fucking hyped about it – it feels like the right time.
I started releasing music as Girli at 17, and 17 to 21 is such rapid growth. Someone commented on my last video being like “Why did none of your videos make any consecutive sense?” and I was like honestly, I don’t make consecutive sense. As I change, I write different things, I get influenced by different things, my taste changes, the only thing that’s stayed the same is my hair colour. I used to wear a lot of pink, I don’t really wear pink anymore. I used to make a different kind of music. I’m a pop artist I guess, but at the same time, I’m making my version of it. Not in an “I transcend genre” kind of way, but a lot of artists who I love – Kate Bush, Madonna, David Bowie – made wildly different pieces of work, and make albums that didn’t sound like the other, but it was tied together by their personality.
Absolutely. What is your favourite Madonna era?
I did a massive Madonna music video purge the other day with my friend and it took us four hours. I’ll always love transitional 80s-90s Madonna, when she’s still punky and grungy, but getting a bit sexy too. I love that because she’s just embracing her change, and that’s what makes her iconic I think.
Oh my god same. Like the “Vogue”, “Justify My Love” era when she gets a bit darker, wears some crucifixes. Although I also have a personal predication for millennium cowboy Madonna. Before we go, I need to ask you a really important question. What's your star sign?
Sagittarius! Pisces moon. Which is weird because a lot of the people I've dated have been Pisces' and it's gone horrible wrong.
Never trust a Pisces, that's what they say...
Yeah, my friend Berry is always like... I don't fuck with Pisces.
She's wise. Thanks for this convo Girli, it's been real.
No thank you. It's been very eye-opening.