“IF I EXIST, IT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW”: IN CONVERSATION WITH COUCOU CHLOE

Erika Jane, known by her stage name COUCOU CHLOE, belongs to a new wave of experimental music that opens new worlds of sounds to properly dive into and disappear for a brief second. Born and growing up in a village in the South of France, it felt a little bit like coming home when we met her in the creative spheres of Marseille, location of the ninth global festival Porsche SCOPES 2024. This year’s french edition showcased about 40 artists’ artwork and performances, including an art car, large-scale installations, live bands, DJ sets, panel discussions and workshops at Ateliers Jeanne Barret, a space dedicated to artistic experimentation and production. Next to COUCOU CHLOE, guests were invited to celebrate with among others Jäde, Bonnie Banane, Lala &ce, artist Delphine Dénéréaz‘s or DJ sets by Orisha and Rorre Ecco.

Shortly before her performance, we caught COUCOU CHLOE  – whose name actually originates from for a song her younger brother Leo recorded in a card for her birthday – for a quick photoshoot and interview. Her austere beats and look has gotten us a while ago and it is obvious why: The musician and co-founding member of music collective and record label Nuxxe (pronounced “newksie”), alongside Sega Bodega and Shygirl, is a one of a kind artist, creating her work on a laptop with Logic Pro, an external keyboard, and a microphone. There is a lot she cares about but if we were to name something that she doesn’t then it would be overthinking to fit into an industry she tries to believe to not even understand. This was our quick exchange about why art is not meant to be overcomplicated. A life lesson.

How was Marseille and your performance at the Porsche SCOPES event?

Being from the south of France, it always feels special coming back. The event was great, loved the scenography of the place and the Porsche SCOPES people were amazing. And…I liked the cars.

Who was your favorite from the lineup (apart from yourself ;-))?

I’ve had the occasion to see Bonnie Banane perform for the first time and I can’t lie this was something.

Do you come to Marseille more often? What do you think about its creative scene currently?

I know Marseille as I grew up near by, but I don’t often go there, no. I honestly don’t know nothing about the scene there, beside my old time friends who’ve started this radio, Shabba Radio, I only know them, I think.

What role does an audience play for you when you perform? How do you perceive them?

I like a dark room, and i don’t often wear glasses nor contacts so I don’t always literally perceive them. But I surely feel them. It’s an exchange, otherwise I’ll just play for myself, alone in my studio. It’s always special to connect with people, in a different way.

In 2016, you DJ’d your first set at Boiler Room in Berlin, tell us about that experience.

Oh, funny one. I’ve been asked to perform a Boiler Room straight after I released my first EP. They’ve asked me if I wanted to play live or DJ, well I only had 3 songs at that moment so I think live would have been a bit thin. I’ve never DJd and always wanted to. I didn’t know how to use CDJs so I thought it was a great occasion to learn. So I’ve learned to use CDJs a few days before my Boiler Room. I played it like almost choreographic. Went well, I didn’t fuck up. Would have been funny to do so, I really wouldn’t have known what do to.

What makes a good DJ in your opinion?

Someone that likes what they play and that’s not pretentious about it.

What was your most memorable experience in Berlin?

I love the kebab places in Berlin. I was drinking prosecco late at night, sited at a table outside a kebab place. I think that’s my favorite memory.

Which city and music scene does inspire you most for your work, currently?

I like being in NY, I always feel inspired and I wanna do stuff there. Otherwise I like to play video games, watching documentaries and read books.

With FEVER DREAM you wanted to explore time and loss. Has this album brought you to new answers and perspectives?

No, it hasn’t. I mean, it just helped me to spit some things out so undeniably helped me process some things. So yeah, ultimately, it brought me answers and perspectives.

You like the idea of periods of isolation to work on music, why and when do you feel the need to isolate and how do you establish a healthy balance of isolating and being out?

Sometimes I feel too isolated, and really need life, and sometimes I feel too visible and overwhelmed, and need to disappear. I always try to balance between those feelings.

What do you do if you have moments of not being inspired at all?

Whenever this could happen to me I remind myself that I don’t have to be consciously inspired constantly. Sometimes there’s not much going on in my head, or if I think so then it’s ok. I don’t like to feel the pressure of being inspired constantly, that’s not natural. Then I realise I actually been inspired.

Which next wave / potentials in the music industry excited you, especially for yourself? What would you like to explore more in near future?

I wanna produce new genres of music. I’ve got some ideas, but I wouldn’t wanna spoil it for myself.

Something that really bothers you about the music industry in general & lately?
I want to believe that I don’t understand the music industry.
What would be your first advice for young artist?

As long as you’re able to create a sound, with your mouth, with a rock, with whatever, then you’re able to express a thought. Don’t overcomplicate it, you’ve got it already.

 

What would you consider to be your biggest life lesson so far?

If I exist, it’s happening right now.

You have worked with big fashion houses such as Prada and Gucci. How did you experience these collaborations?

As moments where I do something outside my personal sphere. I’d like to push more. I’d love to compose for fashion shows, that would be something.

How do you nurture your personal style?

That’s a good question. I’m not sure. I like how what I wear makes me feel, physically. I like to play with silhouette and materials. It feels like a sculpture of myself, a kind of extension. Right now I like to wear all black again.

How do you personally consume music?

Lately I’ve been playing a lot of music in the background of my house, a lot of Animal Crossing, Spongebob music. Or in planes, I got about 5 songs I play on loop.

What was the last album you listened to that really excited you?

Baby Smoove ‘I’m still serious 2’ and the new Bladee, I love that song ‘DONT WANNA HANG OUT’ because, you know.

Can you name that one album you can listen to endless times?

Ween – Pure Guava

Which artists have inspired you to do music?

Ween for sure. And Chopin.

What are you hoping 2024 to bring to your life?

A lot of music, and Life.

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