Chloé is one of a small but growing number of artists taking dance music out of the rave and into the arts world.
Forever one of dance music’s coolest customers, Chloé broke through in 2002 and along with artists like Ivan Smagghe and Black Strobe was a key figurehead for the ice cold, minimal Parisian electro sound. New album ‘Endless Revisions’ is her third album, and finds the producer once again connecting with the experimental world where the arts scene and dance music collide.
Most DJ albums feel like a club track by numbers excuse to push a touring schedule, yours feels like an event. Do you think the art of making an album is little lost in the genre?
Chloé: I grew up with falling in love with albums, the covers, and the stories behind them. This is how I get carried away. My first EP, ‘Erosoft’ in 2002, was produced without thinking that I should make a techno or club EP. It goes from slow, low-fi music to more up tempo techno(ish) music. I later did some club tracks, and decided all my introspective music will end up on albums.
It is true today a lot of energy is put on media, marketing, promotion. It is mainly all about what you are doing, with who, and now.
Sometimes it seems even more important than the art itself. It can put the level lower, but it can also be creative as it forces you to question art, and find some other new ways to get heard. Each artist reacts differently to this.
Three albums in a relatively long career (for dance music).. why the lengthy delays for someone who seems to take such great pride in writing an album? Is this down to a perfectionist streak (as the title hints), or does it just take that long to make it to your satisfaction?
What I like as DJ and producer is to have this freedom in the life style, the freedom to shape my sound my way, by playing music I have searched deeply for, or to produce music I feel deeply.
After my latest album, seven years ago, I had the feeling I didn’t want to go back on the long process of producing tracks for an album.
I needed some productions to be done and released faster. So I did a few EPs (Throne of Blood, My Favorite Robot, Bpitch Control) and remixes. Also, I got some nice collaboration proposals like producing some music for a Franco Chiliean band called Nova Materia, but also got into the production of some original soundtracks for documentaries and movies.
This year I did my first soundtrack for a long feature called ‘Paris La Blanche’ by Lidia Leber Terki. It is also good and helpful to give a piece of yourself in something more important than you. So I learnt a lot since and also got some new and diverse technical [gear] and was inspired by those nice collaborations. So I was very pleased to approach a new album. Putting too much strategy into the production of an album doesn’t help my creativity.
Jeff Mills recently commented that most artists are not ambitious enough in extending the boundaries of how far dance music can artistically go. Would you agree?
I feel the boundaries of electronic music are opening more and more. Which doesn’t mean everyone in the electronic music scene wishes to be open to other fields. Some are only focussed on club [music], which is also respectable. I feel I couldn’t only work on club music.
It feels like albums like yours have a home outside of traditional dance music venues and deserve to be playing the kind of venues classical artists might play. Do you think dance music has evolved to the point where it deserves to be more welcomed onto that kind of stage?
My new live show ‘Endless Revisions LIVE’ will be shown also in diverse places, mainly in concert places. It is a different proposal to my DJ sets. Institutional places are open to new types of projects that involve electronic music. I played two special live performances at Centre Pompidou in Paris, and I am going to play again there. Recently I played in an Opéra in Rennes (France) with our duo live project with a marimba player called Vassilena Serafimova.
The DJ who wants to retire their headphones to write music for film is a bit of cliché. You’ve done both in your career so far, what is the industry of composing for film really like for a dance music artist?
I am a dance music artist, but not only because I am open to many spectrums of electronic music. I was producing weirdo folk music before I entered the electronic music world, then started to DJ club music, and therefore produce music going from low-fi, weirdo electronic music to functional club tracks.
I started to work on some short movies for French director Lidia Terki in 2002. This year she asked me to soundtrack her first long feature ‘Paris La Blanche.’ She wanted to have electronic music mixed with [traditional Algerian] instruments. It was challenging but it was a great experience. We released the soundtrack on my label. Also, these last two years I produced music for short films (Le Pérou, by Marie Kremer), a longer movie (Je Ne Suis Pas un Salaud by Emmanuel Finkiel), or even documentaries (Guru, Axelle le Dauphin and Laurie Colson). All these directors have a very, deep touch that I liked a lot. I felt I was contributing to the story.
ou’ve employed some interesting production techniques on your album. Can you run through some of these for us?
Two tracks from my album (‘The Dawn’ and ‘Because It’s There’) as well as being mixed in stereo, were also mixed in binaural sound (3D surround mix) by the National French Radio. It will be soon available on one of their websites dedicated to binaural sound.
When I met them, I was working on ‘The Dawn.’ I finished it by adding much more textures, to intensify the [listening] space in 3D and really feel all these textures.
For ‘Because It’s There,’ the process was different. National French Radio offered to produce the track directly in binaural sound. Then I had to make a stereo mix for the album.
The idea was to see how the 3D sound mix could influence the production of a track, I can say this technical had therefore influenced my music, while i was producing it.
The collaboration with the National French Radio went a bit further as they asked a few artists, Ns Dos, Molecule, and I, to play live in 3D in their auditorium, and that was a real deep experience.
Tell us about the recording of the album.. it differed from the usual ‘producer sits alone in small studio’ blueprint and featured an interesting cast of collaborators?
That album was all mainly recorded in my studio, but I also found ideas on my laptop while I was travelling. I have to adapt my productions to my lifestyle, as I move a lot. But at the end, it all ended up at my studio.
Did any personal experiences inspire any of the songs in the album?
‘The Dawn’ is about memory. I am very touched by what constitutes each person. Souvenirs build each one of us. That track is built like a story in a book that you open and close.
After nearly two decades of DJing, are you still in love with clubs?
I am in love to play music to people yes, I love to find interaction with the public, big crowds or small clubs. Long sets are good so I have time to really build something.
What’s the question you always wish you were asked in interviews and please tell us the answer?
Did you know each planet has a vibration? The answer is yes and I’ve heard the Sun has a vibration in G#!