Coucou Chloe | Conceptual Club Hopping

Via the 25th Anniversary Issue, Under the Silver Moon

Written by

Photographed by

Carlos Duro Yagüe

Styled by

Luca Wowczyna

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HYACYN shirt and shorts and talent’s own earrings, necklace, and ring.

When French-electronic music producer and singer COUCOU CHLOE first moved to London, it was the city’s sense of collectivity that resonated with her the most. “Everything blends together,” she says, “You sit in one room and all of your senses are alert.” For the same reason that she was inspired by London, her music resonates with others—they both invite the potential for community, collectivity, and a heightened sensibility. However, a specific aspect of the city finds weight through her paradoxical relationship to it: nightlife. While her music lends itself to clubs and raves, crowded dance floors have never appealed to her. “I very rarely enjoy being in clubs, or crowded spaces. I find it overwhelming and not especially necessary, for me. I am, myself, surprised of that contrast. I think I make club music in a conceptual way. I’m still experiencing how it resonates with me, but it feels more twisted than liberating.”

This conflict could be assessed simply as a contradiction in taste, and in many ways, it is. And yet her acknowledgment of its twisted quality seems to point to its depth, or at least to its thematic role in her music. Though she is still grappling with the nature of its resonance, the dilemma finds its exploration in her newest album FEVER DREAM—her largest work to date featuring an assortment of genres and personnel including 645AR and Eartheater to name a few. Despite her distaste for clubbing, there is one venue that she does frequent: an illusory club with no location except perhaps on the moon, filled with conceptual club music and a flickering sign above its entrance that reads “FEVER DREAM.”

Before she was releasing music under the name COUCOU CHLOE, she was fostering her ability to use music as a catalyst for world-building—beginning with the simple act of listening. “From the moment I discovered music as a child, I developed a whole world in my head. Music largely helped me build and understand myself. This is where I started creating.” The type of engaged and interactive listening exemplified in her childhood is a fact that is not only indicative of her precocity, but one which colors the music she makes now. “Every song itself is a different process, every time,” the artist shares on the new album’s creative process. “Putting all those songs in the same body of work allowed me to immerse myself into this FEVER DREAM world. It helped me to create a limited space: 10 songs. 10 songs that created FEVER DREAM, where I allowed myself to dive in and get lost. Every project is a different world, every song is a different space.” And this “limited space” isn’t exclusive to her sonic endeavors. Instead, the mindset is carried over into her music videos, fashion, and album artwork.

Having gone to art school briefly at Villa Arson to study contemporary and modern art, she quickly became more interested in performance, video, and sound–enough so to convince her that music was not only a path, but the path for her. It didn’t take her long to realize just how sterile the environment of Villa Arson felt, sparking the decision to relocate to London. Immediately COUCOU CHLOE was thrust into a web of creative vitality and energy, meeting people working in a variety of disciplines that helped fuel her own creative practice.

Alongside the energy of London came a new conception of life between dusk and dawn—“Nightlife is so different than daylife. It feels like an altered reality, everything moves differently at night. People change at night, everything smells and taste different. When it’s dark people release things, they let go of things in the dark. It’s definitely an aspect of my music.” In FEVER DREAM, this terrain is explored through murky sonics and pleasure-seeking lyrics that repeat until their content comes into question—phrases which often regress into mere phonetic devices as the words and their delivery become less and less sober.

This process of distortion not only mimics the tones, qualities, and habits characteristic of the night, but also helps manifest her interest in the role of perception. Her reckoning with perception and image is not only illustrated in the music itself but on the album cover too, which features a caricature drawing of her in the center.

When asked about the role of persona and image in her creative output she replied, “I absolutely do not think about it. I am not trying to build any persona. It’s me the whole way. But I do believe that what I’m reflecting through my music could contrast with what I’m reflecting when you meet me at the bakery. Through music, I guess I just express things that I don’t get to express with words in my everyday life—I get to touch some part of myself, the ones I decide to talk about through the music, and live them.” Rather than a pseudonym offering her the chance to contrive a new identity, she uses it instead as an opportunity to excavate aspects of herself and the world around her in ways that can’t be expressed through the everyday.

In her work, concept and content are left open for misinterpretation—the lyrics are not didactic or overindulgent. “I don’t feel the need for people to clearly understand everything I am referring to. There’s a poetry to it, and I’d rather for people to interpret what I’m saying the way they want, and make the reflection of my own experiences, a reflection of theirs in their own way. They can make my words resonate with what feels familiar to them. I think that’s a beautiful and powerful thing that art offers you.” In the figurative club of COUCOU CHLOE’s making, to let the work exist in the world without justification is a form of justification in itself, and as long as she maintains this, her sign will continue to flicker from the cosmos. 

JORDANLUCA dress and pants and MAISON MARGIELA shoes.

Photographed by Carlos Duro Yagüe

Styled by Luca Wowczyna

Written by Izzy Einstein

Hair: Christopher Gatt

Makeup: Oonah Anderson

Stylist Assistant: Laurelle Bedeau-Rider 

Location: Blown Away Studios

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Coucou Chloe, Flaunt Magazine, Under the Silver Moon Issue, Issue 190, The 25th Anniversary Issue, Izzy Einstein, Carlos Duro Yagüe, Luca Wowczyna