French-born, London-based artist and producer COUCOU CHLOE chops beats and creates her music away from the spotlight. An introspective extrovert, she weaves warped animal samples and deep, diaristic lyrics into austere, skeletal beats, futuristic compositions, and pounding club anthems best enjoyed in the dark. There, she delivers the finished product centre stage, with explosive live performances for writhing mosh pits of fans.
Out of dank Soho streets and pelting spring showers, Erika Jane, AKA COUCOU CHLOE, walks into the London Edition hotel bar, unassumingly cool yet electrifying the space. Dressed in baby blue co-ord, she takes a seat against a backdrop of rich tapestries, a pool table and a ceiling of twinkling chandeliers, flashing her pitch-black eyes in my direction with a warm smile.
“If you ask me how I describe my performance style, I’m not Mariah Carey, but I hold a mic in front of a crowd and let the magic happen. When I perform, I want the crowd to feel special, free, to connect. I want them to find a home for their feelings in my music. I want them to feel like they belong,” she beams. “My passion for live performance stems from the energy and response of the audience. I’m myself on stage. I know the crowd is here for me, and I’m here for them. And when that connection is at a maximum during a gig, I’ve been like, ‘Damn, that was a cool exchange; I felt something.’” Recently she’s been experimenting beyond her usual sets laced with dancefloor belters to test out emotive, ballad-driven, unreleased material, and the audience reception was so overwhelmingly supportive she was moved to tears off stage.
“I’m inspired by a chaotic mix of life and isolation. I like to disconnect and make music in the studio, away from the club. Unless I’m performing or watching a specific set, I hate clubs. They make me anxious,” she laughs. “I’m also not the type of artist in the corner of the party with her laptop out making music. I feel like making music is like writing your personal diary and showing it to the world. So when I put together my last EP ‘ONE’ I did it in a very intimate way so that I could figure out what was going on in my head and spit it out without questioning what I was expressing.”