Eliot Sumner may occasionally go by the nickname "Coco," but she wants to make clear that her old moniker, I Blame Coco, is a thing of the past. In October 2010, the 25-year-old British singer—and daughter of musician Sting and actress Trudie Styler—released her debut album, The Constant, a melange of indie pop and electro, under the artist name, to mixed reviews.
Now, she's reinventing herself with a new sound (which she dubs "krautrock-influenced industrial pop"), a new LP, Information, and a noticeably new androgynous look. "I was always supposed to make this album," she told InStyle after her electrifying set at Governors Ball in N.Y.C. this weekend. Below, she discusses writing and getting constructive feedback from her famous dad.
Growing up, were you always interested in music?
I went through phases. I started listening to a lot of Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young when I was 8 or 9 years old—I had siblings that gave me good music instead of the crap that was on the radio in the '90s. Then I progressively started listening to more underground music, and I discovered the krautrock movement and cool psychedelic bands like Kraftwerk.
Did you feel any pressure to follow in your father's footsteps?
Not at all. He wanted us all to become doctors and lawyers! You don't want your kids going into this mad world of excess. But he's been incredibly supportive. We always talk about music together. And he's a good critique—he's one of the few people I take advice from.
You wrote all the songs on Information. Where do you find creative inspiration?
It's always best to challenge yourself and go to a place out of your comfort zone. I lived in total isolation in [England's] Lake District for about six months. It's where Game of Thrones things happen. It's very isolating. [William] Wordsworth has written there; [Samuel Taylor] Coleridge has written there—all of my favorite writers wrote there. It felt like the right place.
How is fashion important to you as an artist?
It's become more important to me now than ever before. I grew up in the countryside, where people never really paid attention. I tend to like very minimal, simplistic designers, like Boris Bidjan Saberi, Rick Owens, and Raf Simons. I only wear black. I think it suits me.
Listen to "I Followed You Home" below, and purchase Information ($10) via the iTunes Store.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.