How did you start getting into dance music? Did you ever have a dancefloor epiphany moment?
100%. I was living in Paris at the time when the Ed Banger scene started to rise up in the city at Social Club. There was one moment I’ll never forget actually – I went to Concrete with my crew, we [would go] every week and I remember listening to all this crazy Romanian minimal and progressive house. I was like: “What is this sound?” It was super cool. Then I moved to Bristol where I got into dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass – every weekend I would go out to Lakota or Motion and that was another epiphany. But with the Ed Banger scene, the Romanian minimal stuff and the Bristol dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass, that’s all stuff I love.
How do you think it feeds into the music that you play and make?
Coming from a background of rock ‘n’ roll, then getting into the more psychedelic rock and blues and all these different genres within the rock space and then getting into electronic rhythms, it’s all influenced me so much. The UK has a really specific sound, I also love breakbeat and UKG – so all these things I feel like today influence the way that I play, the music I make, the music I look for, the artist I love to go see. It’s all a part of my heritage.
And how did you get into DJing? You had been in and around the music industry for a while right?
Yeah, so I was actually in the music business in New York working on the back end first. I was at a label, then I was on the management side, then I did musical direction for a hotel, then I had my own creative agency doing creative direction for different artists. And I was always organising parties in New York, booking DJs at clubs, doing playlists for people – I had always collected records, and deep down kind of wanted to be an artist but I didn’t think it was possible.
Then one day my friend was just like: “Chloé, you should just DJ. You know a lot of people in the nightlife business, you’ll be able to get yourself booked – just pick up a couple pay cheques a week.” I ended up getting a residency at a lounge in New York at the PUBLIC Hotel and just moved from opening slots at these more corporate places to actually getting club gigs and more underground bookings in Brooklyn. That then moved to Europe and translated to more things, and from there really I was just like: “I love this so much, I cant believe that literally this is my job to play music I love to people – it’s mad.”
You’ve had quite the 12 months as an artist, with your profile blowing up and playing at so many of electronic music’s most prized venues and festivals (even New York’s Madison Square Gardens) – how has it been for you?
I mean, it’s been unreal. I’m super grateful for all of the support and everyone who just consistently shows up to my sets, listens to my music. It’s been a really incredible response, because I was apprehensive about releasing music. Music is very personal to me, it’s something I love to do and when you start sharing it with the world, it’s like “whoa”. But it’s been good, it’s motivated me to do more. I feel like I’m travelling more, meeting amazing people, connecting with more artists – it’s just been an amazing effect. I just spent quite a bit of time in South America, in Brazil and that just opened another world.
I feel like right now, I’m just absorbing a lot of information, and just trying to stay healthy and balanced and keep up the music making, because I feel like when you start to tour a lot, you start to lack a bit of the creative output, so I’m just making sure that’s still being implemented.
What sort of ways do you try and keep yourself balanced in that way?
I mean lots of ways, I have a pretty strict tour policy of exercise and eating well, I have pretty consistent meditation work. Trying not to stay out late after gigs, trying not to drink – just taking it as a proper job, being like: “You know what? I have that 9:AM flight and it’s already 4:AM, and even if I can get two hours sleep it’s better than not sleeping.” I’ve also got an amazing team behind me who have really been conscious of making sure that the routings are really good, that there’s enough time between shows to recover.
You’ve been labelled as a “rising star” quite a lot in the last couple of years or so. How does that make you feel when you hear that?
It’s weird, haha. It’s like: “What, me? Crazy.” I had my mum call me being like “Chloé, you’re in a French magazine!” The one that she buys and reads in print. Some of it is quite surreal, like I think some of it hasn’t sunk in yet – because I just feel like I’ve been focused on making music, playing good shows and travelling that a lot of things that I read kind of goes over my head. But again I’m just so grateful, I now feel like there’s pressure – I need to keep delivering great music and music that I love.
Pressure in a good way?
Yeah, I like pressure. It keeps me engaged, it keeps me focused, it makes me feel like I’ve got goals to reach. Sometimes in the past I could sit on a record for a year and a half and not get it done. I mean it has to be healthy pressure, but as I said I’ve got an amazing team and a great group of friends and support network that just keeps all of the fun in the job too.
Who’s Chloé Caillet’s artist to watch in 2023?
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Written by: Tim Hopkins