Ellie Hewitt, London - United Kingdom - on 10/10/12
For ten years now, Parisian treasure Chloé’s killer EPs and charming remixes have established her as not just a regular DJ-Producer, but as a creative artist yearning to break out of the box, focusing on the details, structure and output of each release, producing a varied body of work whilst constantly challenging herself and her output – or what people perceive of it, anyway.
Collaborating with other artists – not to mention choreographers, performers and films makers and even producing a new live AV show in the Pompidou centre - she has carefully nurtured relationships with promoters and like-minded thinkers in exotic, far-away lands, whilst also remaining a local heroine hailed as a pillar of the underground electronic music scene in her home city and French capital. She’s something of an intrepid, brave explorer in the world of music, keen to discover and champion the merits of sounds you’ve never even heard of. Even after being at the forefront of the scene for a decade, her creative output is still forging partnerships; and in typical Chloe style, it’s still in a multitude of ways.
Having released on seminal labels like Bpitch control, Chloe is co founder of the label, Kill The DJ alongside the legendary Ivan Smagghe, and other friends from Pulp. Whilst working hard to maintain her status as one of the forerunners of underground French music Kill The DJ is something that that takes up a large portion of her schedule. Her newest collaboration is on Lisa Li Lund's 'The Big Crunch Theory’ project, and sees her explore and take influences outside of the boundaries of electronic music, before forging them with her own unique electronic, musical stamp. “Well my album was two years ago now, and Lisa Li-Lund, who I'm working on this project with, is very into folk music.”
Although it is Lisa Li Lund's project, Chloe has produced four tracks for the album so far “She loved what I did with my last album and I really need something that was a bit different, that's how this came about” explains Chloe about this unique and surprising partnership with folk artist Lisa Li-Lund. And never one to shy away from experimenting with new things and forging new close bonds, Chloé goes further in explaining the dynamic in the studio with Lisa, where she has been spending considerable time. “Lisa is open to ideas and it's so lovely and interesting to work closely with someone like that. We are seeing how it goes in the studio at the moment but it's really growing, becoming fascinating. We have four tracks so far and I'm looking forward to the finished piece which will hopefully be an album, it's so lovely to be involved in something unique.”
Even more surprising than the partnership itself is the dedication that Chloe approaches the project with, focusing on it with as much energy as her other endeavours. Between being a label owner, being part of an integral, artistic collective and of course a DJ schedule, it's hard to imagine that Chloé has time for much else, never mind taking the time to experiment and let creativity flow. ‘Well, I am in the studio a lot, sometimes for ten hours at a time” she reflects. “I really have to focus, I spend a lot of time mixing. Music is always dominating me - but in a positive manner” she continues. “Between home and the studio I listen to promos, I'm always listening, trying to find new things. I have to be very organized. [Laughs] When I do take time out of music I love being outside, I do when I can, I love to read and walk, spend time with friends in cafes”.
Kill The DJ - her aptly named label ran alongside the aforementioned Smagghe - goes to the same lengths to represent that same boundary pushing, non-conforming approach to house and techno that both bosses share, exploring fresh avenues with avant-garde contortions of the dance music template (such as the Eyes In Heat’s latest album). Or in the words of the sassy French starlet, it’s a simple case of “…loving everything, from rock to electro. Kill The DJ is not just about club music”.
How did Chloe and Ivan bring this idea of creating their music without boundaries or regulations? or did it all begin? The same reason that so many artists find themselves searching for - a proper, understanding outlet and platform to create, questioned by no-one for producing their own work in their own way. “At the beginning, it started as a party at Pulp, a club that closed three years ago” she details. “Ivan, myself and some others were all resident DJs there, then it came down to it and we decided we wanted to put out our own music, without any restraints” she concurs. “To release things without having to answer to anyone…well, you can’t beat it, it’s lovely to have so much creative freedom” she gleefully exclaims of the situation. It also seems that Kill The DJ is definitely a collective of very supportive friends and like-minded people: almost like a family. "My friend Tomas More’s Antibody EP on WetYourSelf I really enjoyed, I really do think he’s of the best producers around at the moment. "He’s so interesting, he has his own identity, this fresh balance between techno and electro. The EP he’s done for Kill The DJ is incredible, I remixed one of the tracks" she teases.
This summer past, Chloé has toured extensively, and not just around the normal European circuit. She’s also been exploring the more exotic destinations in newly formed and emerging clubbing hotspots like Johannesburg and Tel Aviv, subsequently building up a loyal and diverse fanbase who’re often a far cry from the standardised norm of dance music enthusiasts found in places like Ibiza, London and Berlin. There’s a whole world of undiscovered plains and unchartered territories for dance music – Chloe is one of the intrepid, contemporary musicians interested in seeking these gems out and bringing them to the fore.
‘It requires a special relationship to keep it up, and the people I’ve played for in Africa and Israel, India too, I’ve been playing out there for 8/9 years and have worked on nurturing this special relationship, spreading my work and ideas; it’s amazing” she flurries. “The atmospheres out there have a real strong party vibe, it’s very different to the normal attitude” she reveals.
For other aspiring producers, Chloé reminds everyone to stay true to themselves “People ask: what is good music? It’s important to be honest with yourself. Be open to all sounds” she advises, a key ingredient to the diverse, identity and reputation now associated with her. “There are so many artists now and each one needs to strive to carve their own identity. There is a huge hype with house music now and it can be disappointing that so much of it all sounds the same” she comments. “Build who you are; the rest will follow”.
(Header image: © Marco dos Santos; feature images: © Thomas Pirel)
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