CloZee talks inspirations, her defining moment, and debut studio album at Electric Forest [Interview]
The afternoon Michigan sun is beating down on Sherwood Forest. It’s the hottest time of the day as CloZee makes her countless interview rounds following what many would call a break-out performance at Electric Forest 2018. After all, the French world producer played the Tripolee and Jubilee stages over two weekends; not to mention, she filled a prime time slot on the Ranch Arena main stage when Acton Bronson canceled. Despite having played on multiple continents at festivals like Coachella and Oregon Eclipse, this marked the moment that the CloZee moniker began spreading like wildfire to the dance music masses.
Hailing from Toulouse, France, Chloé Herry’s love of music began at the age of 11 with the acoustic guitar. She even cites her guitar teacher as a major influence during her teen years. It wasn’t until she began working on electronic music production in her college dorm room that electronic music took over. “I was doing music in tandem with my studies so I was not sleeping and working on music all night and sleeping in classes,” says Henry.
As a young Sound Engineering major, she would pull all-nighters not to ace a test but to experiment with sounds. “I was thinking about music all the time and I knew this is what made me happy,” CloZee continues. “So when I graduated, instead of trying to find a job and doing something I probably wouldn’t like, I just wanted to struggle with making my own music and trying to do something with it. So I started working hard every day and it happened. It’s nice.”
As for drawing musical inspiration, CloZee’s approach to music creation can be described as a method of broad humility: “Everything inspires me. Traveling, experiencing new things, just every day life. But traveling is what gives me the most inspiration when I’m creating music. Traveling is my biggest influence…and dancing.” She chuckles, “I don’t dance but I watch dancers.”
CloZee’s main goal is to transport her audience to another time and space, to paint a picture and tell a tale like somewhere out of a story book. “During the creating process,” as Henry elaborates, “I’d say having visions of where I want to take the listeners, taking the time to remember what story I want to tell with each sound, is what make me finish a track.”
CloZee has become a standout talent on her two labels — Gravitas Recordings and Otodayo Records — if not for the bold simplicity of her tribal, low-end bass sound stamp. Informed by her classical musical training in the guitar, CloZee’s eclectic sound emanates from a place of love, travel, and adventure. It is the culmination of her past experiences, her love of the “now” moments, and where she sees herself going.
Chloé says she rarely lays down only electronic sounds. Her favorite sources are the organic and the real.
“I’ve always had this organic feel. My first projects were always based on my guitar — just guitar riffs — and then I added a bunch of electronic sounds. Over time, it became more glitch-hop, and then a little bit funkier — but still with a lot of organic instruments.”
Her bass-infused sound rests simultaneously between glitch-hop and the melodic space that draws influence from flamenco to edIT of The Glitch Mob. It’s cinematic and robust, yet simplistic and real. It’s melting pot of instrumentation that simply puts listeners in the mood to move, with international crowds now cultivating the evolution of her genre. Call it indie electronic; call it tribal bass; call it “whatever the fuck you want,” according to Henry.
“[Eventually] I got into something a little bit deeper and more free where I don’t give a fuck about what I’m doing, I just do whatever I want so it can go wherever, sometimes its a little more trappy, sometimes a little more glitchy, sometimes a little more downtempo. For now, I just do whatever I like doing in the moment. Not trying to be in one particular genre or follow the hype of what is blowing up.”
Conscious Electronic sat down with the rising world producer to discuss her forthcoming debut album, her love of Japan, her favorite artists and collaborative hopefuls, and her overwhelming sense of gratitude for the creative process.
CE: So everyone knows you have an album coming out soon called EVASION and we wanted to hear some of your inspiration behind that. Are you going with similar styles as in the past or trying for a new direction?
Clozee: For this album, the thing is that I didn’t really have any barriers for myself. I had many, many inspirations: Going to Japan, mainly. A dancer. A person close to me. A landscape. A personal experience. A festival…festivals inspire me a lot. So it’s the culmination of all the things that I experienced over these past few years that made me want to do this album. It’s just a mix of all of my experiences and I didn’t put any barriers in my sounds.
CE: What about Japan in particular?
Clozee: I went to Tokyo and Kyoto. It’s such a different culture and it inspires me a lot.
CE: And that’s definitely the vibe you get with this whole tribal bass element, so you picked that up from there?
Clozee: Yea, just traveling to India, Israel, Ukraine, Costa Rica, North America; and listening to a lot of world music as well.
CE: Oh, definitely. I love how you incorporate these natural, organic elements into your music, like raindrops or water droplets for instance. It’s almost meditative and relaxing. Do you have something you’re trying to say to your listeners with these elements?
Clozee: So I don’t have a particular message. I just want the traveler to go wherever the music takes them. I just want people to be transported somewhere else, to not just be in their rooms listening to music. I want them to close their eyes and imagine themselves wherever they want. That’s why I like to include a lot of organic sounds as well because it reminds them of something they know and can relate to
CE: That’s amazing — especially in such a highly technological society where electronic music especially is thought of as “robot sounds.”
Clozee: Like you said, drops of water. Not just electronic sounds, not just digital sounds. I want this organic feeling so it’s a little more earthy.
CE: And it’s something that’s really catching on right now. For instance, at your performance yesterday at Tripolee, the crowd was enormous for a day time set and the photographers came out in full force. It really felt like this was your moment and we’re really excited to see where you go.
Clozee: Thank you.
CE: So we know you have a new album coming out and we’d like to get more details if there is anything you can tell us.
Clozee: Yea so it’s going to be 10 tracks. I made all the tunes in the past few months, so it’s not just a compilation of tunes that I’ve been piling up over two years or so. It’s something that I made from beginning to end and it’s a whole story, which is different from the past EPs and past projects that I’ve done because it was always so short.
CE: Do you feel like this album is a statement project for you? Because you’ve got a big and burgeoning platform right now.
Clozee: Sorry, what do you mean by “statement”?
CE: Like a defining thing…
Clozee: Oh, like an important moment. Yea, yea for sure. It’s a big step for me to do a full album because I never took the time to do it before. I was exploring my sounds, I was just trying to improve and find my inspirations and now I’ve got it. I’ve had a lot of experiences and I’ve got a story to tell and this is what the album is about.
CE: So on finding your inspiration, do you have any artists that you are really inspired or moved by that have informed your sound.
Clozee: Oh yea. So when I started music, Bonobo was the first artist that I really, really loved. The Glitch Mob. Amon Tobin. The Flashbulb. I’d love to collaborate with The Glitch Mob.
CE: Do you have a favorite venue or festival that has been your ultimate favorite experience to perform at?
Clozee: Electric Forest is one of the top for sure. Shambhala, LIB, Envision, Bonnaroo, so many.
CE: So to close, what piece of advice would you give to new producers?
Clozee: I’d just say, don’t copy anyone, make your own music and create your own path. Put your heart into it, and a lot of work.
Information seeker. Dog dad. PhD drop out. Avid collector of pashminas, plants, and experiences. College professor by day, EDM photographer by night.