Cut Yourself Some Slack: Interview with COUCOU CHLOE

December 3, 2019
Text by Kasia Jaroch

While COUCOU CHLOE is a sought-after producer and performer in the loose category of club music, she herself has an ambivalent relationship to nightlife. For the production of her latest release, she has even moved further away from it by allowing herself to be influenced by pop more than ever before. Thematically »Naughty Dog« remains rather melancholic, revolving around themes like numbness and reclusion. Above all, however, the EP represents the growing self-confidence of an artist, who has built her own musical universe upon friendship and trust. An interview by Kasia Jaroch with polaroids by Lola Banet.

What’s your first club memories?

I think my first club memory is from when I was 13 and lived in Southern France. That was exciting! My introduction to the outside world. Clubbing was a weird way to approach it, because of having to experience really annoying guys at a very young age. Nightlife, yeah, guys in Southern France are really intense. I began to know what’s up pretty early. I was not even 14. I just wanted to feel how the music sounds live with a sound system, but I never really got that, so somehow I always hated it. I started making music when I arrived in London.

You said in an interview for Crack Magazine that you’d like to build your own universe. How would it look like?

Just me making the beats, the vocals, the videos, releasing music out on my label. I’d like to expand, try new stuff, but in my way, you know. I’d like to show what’s in my head rather than giving that job to the art director. I have my precise vision. Yes, I need to develop it all with friends, but most of all I want to know that it’s me.

Can you tell us about your collaborative label nuxxe and how you manage to set your own tempo?

The fact that we started nuxxe and why we started to make music together is because we hang out with each other all the time. We wanted to find the name for our crew and maybe get bookings together. Eventually, it worked.

I always had to slow things down when it comes to my music. I made music with others, like Kablam or Dinamarca, because not only they’re great friends, but also inspire me. Sometimes people send me beats, and I use them after two years or something. I don’t want to force things. I don’t want to release that much stuff, and I don’t feel guilty about it. It took me a lot of time to understand that I need to feel something, that I have to experience being alive, and then I spit it out. Live it, spit it out, work on it, and take your time. In the end, all my music, like my tattoos, is a sign of what I experience. Checkpoint.

How would you describe the evolution of your artistic aesthetics?

All the moments are essential. »Erika Jane« was really me. On »Halo«, Sega Bodega really helped me, but the second one was really me. That’s why I self-named it. I don’t really think that my aesthetics, even for »Erika Jane«, are dark. It’s something that I hear a lot.

It’s been three years since I’ve started to produce, and ok, I would say that my stage presence has changed, but not my aesthetics. Today I feel much more comfortable, I enjoy performing in front of the crowd. It’s intimidating when you put out music. People start to respond and you keep asking why. It’s still me, yet I grew up as a person. Yes, I was in a dark place, but I’m better now. I got my confidence. When I look back to the beginning, I started to perform the moment I started making music. It happened really quickly. I had to slow down somewhere in between because I felt that I want to be a live performer. So, it was a huge »No, please wait until I make more music.«

Do you believe that your presence made an impact on club culture?

Even when I’m headlining and when the room is packed, I can’t get the idea that it’s changing. Also, when I try, they say I’m making deconstructed club music; I don’t even know what that means. Musicians have been deconstructing music for some time. It was here. Today people are so confused. Ok, come up with the new words, but stop telling me it’s post-internet music, it’s not 2000, you know.

What was the origin of your latest EP »Naughty Dog« and what is it about?

It’s about evolving and trying to bring more structure into my music. I stopped going to clubs, I had more time alone and listened to pop songs. While working on »Naugty Dog«, I was high as fuck, mostly alone, so the EP is dense, almost boring. »Laid-Back« may sound like fun, but it’s actually really dramatic. It’s about being so high that you don’t feel your body. You’re just going round and round, but you don’t feel yourself, and that’s what I’ve been experiencing.

Where do you have the best memories from and which situations are you most interested in?

My favorite place is my room when people are coming by. It’s been a long time since I really enjoyed going out. Especially since I’m a performer, I don’t want to be in clubs when I don’t have to. I feel awkward and have this full flight of thoughts, I’m obsessed. I’m enjoying it in my corner, but I have the feeling that if you don’t interact, people think you’re not having fun. I still go out sometimes when an artist I really look up to performs. I did this show in London where they asked me who I would like to play with, that was great. With nuxxe, whenever we create our own line-ups, it’s incredible. In the end, I just want to be with my loved ones.

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Photo by Babette Mangolte

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