French DJ, producer and Lumiere Noire label-head Chloé‘s schedule not only looks rather busy but is completely dedicated to music. Shortly she released the first anniversary compilation for her label, ‘Lumiere Noire presents From Above Vol.1′, an exquisite 13-tracker with music from artists that the Parisian loves and respects and depicts her wide and deep approach to electronic music. But as Chloé is perceived as a tasteful creative mastermind, the artists admits that all the matters regarding her music have not come just come to her but are the result of daily and foremost hard work. The latter seems to pay off as Chloé contributed ‘Through the Bells’ to Munich based in-demand label Permanent Vacation‘s alike called compilation, which was released last week. It’s safe to say that the film- and music enthusiast is on the rise, if not to say making her way to the top DJ-squad. Torture the Artist had the chance to speak Chloé on a Sunday off musical duties about cinematic imaginations, how her latest album came about, Tom Bioly and Benjaman Fröhlich’s proposal to be part of Permanent Vacation 5, being creative and much more.
I wish I could tell you that I’m creative every day, but it wouldn’t be true.
Torture the Artist: Hello Chloe, tell us something about your day.
Chloé: Hi! Today is Sunday and I had a free weekend – the first one in quite a while. I didn’t do anything special, but the time off is special to me.
Torture the Artist: You are a DJ, producer and label-owner; how do manage juggling that all? What part of being an electronic music artist takes up the most of your time, and are you happy with that ratio?
Chloé: All my days are related to music. I usually spend most of the time during the week in my studio; it goes from producing music to editing, but I’ve also been working on some live performances. I do also very casual things there such as cleaning, organising and making (good!) coffee. I also take time regularly during the week to listen to demos I receive for the label – or to listen to some music to play.
Torture the Artist: Your track ‘Through the Bells’ is part of the upcoming Permanent Vacation 5 compilation. What would you like to tell your listeners ‘through the bells’ and does the track title derive from the bell-sounds within the track?
Chloé: I was excited when Benjamin Fröhlich proposed for me to be part of the new Permanent Vacation compilation. It really means something special to me as I’ve always loved, respected and followed Permanent Vacation since the beginning. I started the track by finding those bells randomly – this is how it happens sometimes. I wanted all the elements to surround those bells, and then I developed the whole track around them. So yes – the title is completely related to the track itself.
Torture the Artist: Last year saw you releasing your third album ‘Endless Revisions’, a few weeks ago you released the first anniversary compilation on and of your label Lumiere Noire and in between you released an EP with Ben Shemie. How do you remain musically creative?
Chloé: I wish I could tell you that I’m creative every day, but it wouldn’t be true. It isn’t something I can really control, and I have to work hard every day to sometimes bring about cool things. I try to connect the work from my label into the my DJ sets, and somehow in my productions, too. Preparing a various artists compilation isn’t the same thing as producing music, but it is a good reason (or excuse) to ask some artists whose music I love to contribute to the compilation.
I’ve produced my latest album on and off, between gigs as a DJ. It wasn’t really possible to do it any different way really – I couldn’t take months off to focus only on that. I also had the chance to do some collaborations – like creating the music for several short movies – but also a long feature film from the French director Lidia Leber Terki. The film’s called ‘Paris La Blanche’, on which I worked with kabyle musicians.
Those exercices made me produce some new music outside of what I normally do and made me think about some of my own productions for personal projects. All of this probably gives me energy.
Torture the Artist: Name an artist you would like to collaborate with, and why.
Chloé: I’d choose Canadian director Denis Villeneuve. He made some movies I really loved: Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, Premier Contact, Blade Runner 2049. I am very touched by the space and time he gives between image, sound design and music.
I miss this kind of innocent approach that I had when I produced a track.
Torture the Artist: You’ve been releasing music since the early noughties – in which year of your artistic creativity would you want to re-live, and why?
Chloé: I’ve listened recently to some very first demos that I made even before being into electronic music. I used to produce music with a guitar and a 4-tracks mixer; I realised that I was much less demanding on how it should sound! I have to admit I miss this kind of innocent approach that I had when I produced a track – even I found the sound cheap!
Torture the Artist: Whilst producing music what is a sound or studio device that always does the job when you perhaps found yourself stuck creatively?
Chloe: I try not to have a specific idea when I start a track. I like to begin a track in a plane or a train when I tour – with some very limited software – and then I develop and finish it in my studio, as much as I like to start a track in my studio (just because I get inspired by a new synthetizer I’ve bought or a new pedal guitar). When I’m stuck, I just persist over and over again until I get a little but positive outcome, but it doesn’t mean that this works all the time.
Torture the Artist: Aside from producing music for or in a club context, you’ve also produced music for films and documentaries. What’s a movie that you would have loved to have produced the soundtrack for, and why?
Chloé: I used to watch a lot of old movies when I was young. There was a French TV programme called ‘Le cinema de minuit’ that was programming old movies from the likes of Sidney Lumet, Hitchcock, Eric Rohmer and Mankiewicz. I was a big fan of Jane Fonda’s movies; my favourite one remains ‘Klute’ from Alan J. Pakula, where the music is still one of my big inspirations.
I also adore Mica Levi’s music on ‘Under The Skin’, but I’m not really sure that I would have loved to do it myself, as I’m amazed by the result.
Torture the Artist: If you could star in any movie, which one would it be and what kind of character would you like to play?
Chloé: I would play Clint Eastwood in ‘Play Misty for Me’, a movie from 1971. Clint plays the role of a disc jockey on a radio show in California. The whole movie is about someone calling over and over again to request ‘Misty’. I myself have some obsessions with some of the music that I love!
Whatever the development may be, at the end, people will always need to listen to music.
Torture the Artist: Coming back to music, how does your imagined musical future correspond with the current developments in the electronic music scene?
Chloé: I don’t really see how the future of our industry will evolve – it’s difficult to take the time to analyse, as things are just moving so fast. Even the software and tools to make music have improved very quickly, and are still moving even now. However, whatever the development may be, at the end, people will always need to listen to music, and will always need to go in a place where they can listen to music to be altogether.
Torture the Artist: As mentioned before, your life is basically based around music. Which one of the musical experiences – for example, producing music for a film, with a band, working on your album etc. – has come closest to stretching you to the limit?
Chloé: I find an interest in every aspect of music that I’m doing; in the end though, it is performing which is the most exciting – DJing or live performances. When I produce music, I’m always really looking forward to then play it or perform it live.
Torture the Artist: Aside from music, what’s a personal outlet for you and what would you rather express with words than music?
Chloé: Besides music, I sometimes try to take time to drink coffee, read books, watch movies, or play sports. But my main thing is to go hiking in the mountains.
My perception of music changed when I entered the electronic music scene.
Torture the Artist: What’s the one track or event that has changed your perception of music?
Chloé: My perception of music changed when I entered the electronic music scene. I understood that there were different ways to express music.
Torture the Artist: What would be a musical extravagance you would pay for, if you were super-wealthy?
Chloé: I would build some studios in the countryside, or close to the sea, or in the mountains, for myself and for some friends/artists that I could invite there.
It reminded me of how small we are.
Torture the Artist: What was the last thing that deeply touched you?
Chloé: Probably when I was in Nepal and saw the 8000 meter-high Annapurna mountain when I was hiking. I was touched by the immensity of those mountains; it reminded me of how small we are.
Torture the Artist: Thank you for taking your time to talk with us Chloé.
Interview by Holger Breuer