Photo: Alexandre Guirkinger (Chloé)
Nowadays, there’s two distinctive sounds affiliated with Paris. On the one hand, there’s a strain of modern-yet-traditional Deep House and on the other there’s no-nonsense Techno indebted to the great Jeff Mills. The city’s rich musical tapestry however has always been informed by far more than that and no-one has quite left a mark on the local scene like Chloé. First as a resident at Le Pulp and one of the founders of the Kill The DJ label, Chloé Thévenin is one of the French capitol’s most influential figures. With her albums however, the producer has regularly explored other fields of music and her forthcoming Endless Revisions LP owes a lot to Chloé’s recent endeavours in Classical and Minimal Music. Similarly, the Lumière Noire founder’s contribution to our Groove podcast is an adventurous exploration of the many facets and Chloé’s musical interests.
The press release for your new album Endless Revisions quotes a dictum by the German philosopher (and music enthusiast) Theodor W. Adorno, “the task of art today is to bring chaos into order”. Which chaos needed to be brought into order?
My chaos is the well establishment.It should be put in order, by adding a dose of unconventionality. I’m always looking for a balance between those two, it helps me feel in harmony and peace, it is my way of feeling in order.
For Endless Revisions, you have invited a slew of other artists and also used a recording of your mother speaking. Why did you bring in so many people – and what constitutes a fruitful collaboration?
Each person I’ve asked to collaborate is someone who I do love musically, and/or personally. I wanted to open a bit more my door to collaborations on this new album and see where it could go. I met some of them through other projects, and asked them to contribute just to continue some collaboration, keep some of them close to me, and for some others it was spontaneous requests.
Even I had a precise idea for each collaboration, I have the feeling they all brought a big part of them, which I’m very happy about.
Together with the Franco-Bulgarian percussionist Vassilena Serafimova, you have performed a tribute show to Steve Reich and your new album features Rhys Chatham, who draws on the tradition of Minimal Music that Reich helped giving birth to. What draws you to this particular musical tradition?
Last year, french collective Sourdoreille proposed a project to perform a live with Vassilena, and play a 25 minute live performance inspired by Steve Reich. Steve Reich is a pioneer in minimalism music, and did many pieces based on repetition, using some techniques of phasing before it was massively used by the electronic scene that came later. Probably Reich is one of the major link between electronic music and contemporary music, I thought it could therefore work to play electronic music with a marimba player, since it would be easier to collaborate and to speak on same level. We‘ve chosen to improvise around some patterns of his piece Music for 18 Musicians. For a year now, we have matured our duo, and now we work more and more on some new productions, more personal. It is a work in progress. This is where our project is today. I met Rhys Chatham recently, he lives in Paris. He is such an interesting & talented person. I love his music. I wouldn’t define his style as minimalism music, as he is more open to mix styles, and play with the boundaries of many styles such as jazz, rock and experimentation. I was finishing my album, I had the idea to propose him to do something on a track, which is now the opener of my album, the track name is “Solarhys”. I’ve always listened to versatile music. When I was a teenager, I remember listening to some of the punk rock bands who were using electronic music. Also Brian Eno, Kraftwerk, Joy Division… I like the mixture of electronics and instruments. Since my very first EP, Erosoft in 2002, I’ve always mixed some organic sounds, mainly guitar, as it’s the only instrument I can play, with electronic music.
Endless Revisions is being released on Lumière Noire, which is both the name of a Kill The DJ subseries and your regular Rex club nights. Why did you start the label and what are your plans with it?
Lumière Noire first started few years ago as a club night at Rex Club. I thought maybe it would become a label, but i didnt want to go into this as it is also a responsibility to release other artists productions. After a while, I realised I wanted Lumière Noire to become a proper label to make regular releases of music I fall in love with. When I’d finished my album, I was starting my label, and I thought it was a good timing meaning I should maybe try to release it myself. The idea is to continue to release other artists and continue my club night.
After starting out at Le Pulp, an important space for the Parisian queer scene, you’ve been playing at Rex for over 15 years now. In your experience, how has the city’s scene developped both musically and socially in the past few years?
Pulp was one of the rare queer places, it closed 10 years ago and have the feeling there aren’t so many places like this anymore. For a while, the Parisian night life was going slow. But few years ago, new parties started in new clubs & new spaces, today the night life is amazing, and I find this positively very surprising.
Your contribution to our Groove podcast explores a wide spectrum of sounds. What was your idea behind it?
I am open to a wide spectrum of sounds in general, I find podcasts more open to listening styles, or at least it shouldn’t be only club. The perfect balance between home and club.
Last but not least: Where can we see you behind the decks and what are your plans as a producer?
I will tour live with the visual artists Scale and I have a duo live project besides the one with the marimba performer, Vassilena Serafimova. We have recorded some music at Xavier Veilhan’s Studio Venezia for the French pavilion at the Venice Biennale. I’ll be playing this week-end in Porto at club Piano B & at Rex Club b2b with Superpitcher at my Lumière Noire residency. Next week I’m in Mexico for Mutek festival and Cervantino Festival, on the 28th of October at Blitz in Munich for a DJ set, on the 9th of November I’ll present my cine live performance on Hitchcock’s silent movie Blackmail from 1929 at the International Film Festival in Geneva. On the 11th of November, I’ll play a DJ set at Badaboum, Paris and on the 2nd of December we will perform our tribute to Steve Reich live performance at Gaîté Lyrique Paris.
Stream: Chloé – Groove Podcast 127
01. Matt Karmil – be gentle
02 Bboy202 – Drama graden
03. Roman Flügel – People and places
04. The Mole – Braineater Returns
05. Iñigo Vontier- Aluxes
06. Zombie Zombie – HIPPOCAMPE
07. Zombie Nation – Worldwise
08. Future Beat Alliance – Chemical Cloud
09. Bon Voyage – Wouter de Moor
10. The Explosion – Disco Blind
11. /Ambiance\ – Ciudad Jardin
12. Krikor Kouchian – Zulette