In the hind shadows of The Fox Theatre Oakland, a separate hole-in-the-wall venue squats with modest curb appeal. The New Parish, despite it’s minimalist external appearance, has hosted a rich, albeit short, history of live music and comedy so far. Tonight, CloZee is en route from Costa Rica to spin for a congregation of free soul Burners, light throwers, and hoop dancers.
CloZee, based in Toulouse, is France’s next top glitch producer. If glitch were a cold robot, CloZee is the flesh and soul, breathing new life into the genre. She’s already signed with Gravitas Recordings and checked Coachella off the bucket list last year. As a glitch artist, she uses sounds so organic that her music seemingly transports listeners deep into lush, exotic realms. For this reason, CloZee is quickly becoming the MVP on the lineups of many transformational festivals.
Just past the ID check and ticket counter, in the open courtyard lined with local merchants and nom vendors, a dense crowd mingles – vaping, noshing, and awaiting the arrival of the night’s main attraction. With a quick text upon arrival, CloZee and EARMILK rendezvous. In search for a quiet space, CloZee takes the lead up a discrete set of stairs to the green room and private loft. She collapses onto a worn leather sectional but hesitates to get too comfortable. Whether the hesitation is for fear of giving in to much needed REM sleep or to keep professionalism is unclear. Her voice, dressed with a charming French accent, is almost totally spent, reduced to a hoarse whisper.
With little prompt, CloZee reflects on her recent departure from the Envision festival still close in her rear view. “It was one of the best festivals I’ve ever played. I did Coachella, so that was… (pantomimes her mind exploding). But Envision Festival is unique. It brings together the best things to make a festival. It’s in the jungle, it’s near the ocean, super good music… good people… good food. Everything was perfect together. It’s the perfect time, despite the heat,” she laughs. CloZee gushes with nostalgia but the opportunity to perpetuate the cloud nine vibe is still present. After this brief touchdown in Oakland, CloZee hops the Pacific to perform in Hawaii. “This is my first time! I’ll be going to Maui and Honolulu – those are islands right?” Chloe blushes. “ I don’t want to expect anything. I just want to be blown away discovering the trees, animals, the ocean, and the general vibe. I like to feel that.”
Just the way CloZee speaks of the natural environment resonates, alluding to a possible core-level tether between her musical fibers and the wild. “I never [think] about it, but I have been asked before if I am spiritual. Maybe I am connected this way. I love nature, so maybe that connection can be explained as spiritual. It’s real, it’s organic. [So], I use organic instruments. It’s very rare that I use only electronic sounds in my music.”
Although she has been playing guitar for twelve years, CloZee didn’t always see herself on a musical path. By the way she explains it in her second language, Chloé Herry was an athlete first, with little early indication that she’d gravitate toward music production to become CloZee. “I was very sportive,” she says. “I did boxing and handball competitively for years. Nothing was… predictable… for me to be in music. I love music but no one in my family was a musician. I started with guitar. I love John Williams and flamenco guitar songs, so I decided to learn how to play the guitar. And I wanted to perform because I saw so many amazing artists on stage and I said, I want to do that!”
That burning curiosity swiftly drove CloZee from playing guitar to electronic experimentation. “I love electronic music. I found amazing downtempo producers like Bonobo, and Emancipator, and EdIT from The Glitch Mob. They really inspired me to start. I wanted to add [electronic music] to my guitar compositions. So, I bought a computer, a sim card, and a microphone, everything to do electronic music, and that’s how I started.”
From there, experimentation rapidly evolved into full-time audio production, mingling guitar riffs with world instruments and sounds styled after her glitch influences.
CloZee humbly admits, her digital endeavors did not produce gold right away. “At the beginning it sounds like shit. I think that was the biggest struggle. Just to put myself in front of the computer and practice, practice, practice. I practice everyday. The full days, I wake up around noon, get started at 2pm and end at 6am. So, sixteen hours.”
The hard work and bat cave hours are paying off. CloZee’s music is now getting well deserved attention. Her top single, "Koto," has hit 1.04M hits on Soundcloud, to date of post.
"Everything that sounds exotic. Sitar, violin, mandolin, oud, duduk, …I consider my music a melting pot where there can be African instruments, Indian instruments, instruments from China. Everything that reminds me of another country and makes me travel while listening to it. I want to incorporate it to tell a story and make the listener feel the same, transported.”
After entering a dj competition, CloZee was discovered by fellow French producer, Scarfinger.
“He is also from Toulouse.” she shares, “I’ve known him since 2012. There was a contest – each artist was to post a song – he found my music on the event page and he reached out to me.” She dropped her voice slightly for a Scarfinger impression. “‘I like your music, it’s real nice, we should jam.’ I brought my guitar to his apartment and the connection was great. The first song we put together was a blues track, “The Bandits.” CloZinger is more of a good vibe, more electronic pop than CloZee. We will have, very soon, a new CloZinger EP. It’s almost all done, just mastering and that’s it.”
Glitch fans and anyone pregaming for Lightning In A Bottle and/or Sonic Bloom should hone in on her latest mixtape, via Synchronize. CloZee is currently on her festival-heavy headlining tour, hitting destinations of her dreams. She just performed Envision Festival, Serenity Gathering, and venues in Maui and Honolulu. Now Lightning In A Bottle and Sonic Bloom are on deck.