The French EDM producer overcame terrifying stage fright and sought out music in strange places as a way to make beats for herself and the people around her
ARISE Music Festival | August 3
Story by Sarah Baranauskas
Photo by Lionel Pesque
“I never thought I would be a musician,” Chloé Herry, better known as CloZee, reflected. “Being alone on stage was not even possible for me when I was a teenager. I didn’t like to be in the spotlight. Even when I was in my rock band when I was 16 or 17, I was the guitarist, but I was in the back just doing the main chords. I wouldn’t solo. But then when music production became my passion and I started making my own tunes and putting them on SoundCloud, I saw that people really liked it. I really loved to share that music with people and wanted to do that in the real world. So, I started to try to look for DJ sets and make contacts in Toulouse.”
Getting over her stage fright was, as she described it, “very tough. But my passion took over,” she said. “I was too passionate. So, even though I was scared as hell, it was like therapy. Learning to believe in yourself by being on stage is big therapy.”
From conquering her fears to conquering stages around the world, Herry has risen in the Global Bass scene. Combining her club-banging sensibility with her well-traveled soul, she creates distinctive tracks that are sonically and emotionally expansive, and not only are they danceable, they’re dance-inspiring.
Growing up in a household where music was constantly playing, and with her mother’s world music interests serving as an early influence, Herry started playing classical guitar when she was 11. But her natural curiosity eventually led her into a larger musical world. “I was just a big fan of music in general,” she said, during a recent interview with The Marquee, from her home in Toulouse, France. “I was spending my time on YouTube at the library. I was curious about finding anything related to music. So, when I found some of the craziest electronic music, I fell in love with it.”
She still does some of her initial composition work on guitar, finding the instrument an inspiring springboard in the home studio where she produces her tracks. Even in this intimate creative environment, her mind stays constantly tuned to how her music will translate in a live setting.
“With the experience of just being a music lover and going to concerts, I always a have a critical mind and ear on what I’m doing,” she explained. “I’m always imagining how this may end up sounding live — and how it could sound better. From being in the crowd at different festivals or playing on different types of sound systems, those experiences craft your ear so you know what’s going to sound good live.”
Another crucial part of crafting that musical ear is learning how to let go — that old artistic conundrum of knowing when to put down the paintbrush, so to speak. By not overthinking the production, her tracks can retain that feeling of being in the moment.
“I have realized that the songs that people prefer the most are the ones I made in one or two nights. You can do a lot on one track and people are like, ‘Meh,’” she said, with a laugh. “It’s often the simple stuff [that works best]. When you don’t touch the track, you keep that sense of the main idea. The more you work on it, the more you can lose sight of the roots that inspired it. You always want to add more and more but you have to be able to stop yourself and know when to say no.”
Herry is currently working on tracks for a new, as of now untitled album, set to be released sometime in the next year. Meanwhile, Colorado audiences can catch her at the ARISE Music Festival, which returns to the dreamy grounds of Sunrise Ranch in Loveland the first weekend in August. Joined by Colorado’s own City Boy Laser on visuals, it will be Herry’s second time playing the festival. It is another chapter in her love affair with Colorado. Thanks to the engaged music sharing of the EDM community, her first stateside fans were in the Denver area, she recalled.
“My first listeners online were all from Colorado,” she said. “So, there is always a very strong energy anytime I play there. The scene is just incredible to me. Listeners there have a very open mind and are ready to hear whatever the artist is creating in the moment because audiences are present for the whole experience.”
Her first Colorado show was also an incredibly inspiring experience for the then up-and-coming artist. Booked to play a supporting slot at a 2014 show at the One Up, after the headliner canceled at the last minute, Herry found herself suddenly at the top of the bill. She and her friend DJedi decided to make it a free show to encourage attendance. As she described, “It became such an amazing headlining show — and it wasn’t supposed to even happen that way! The energy was crazy. I was like, ‘Whoa! Denver is really cool.’”
Wherever she may travel, it’s clear Herry has never lost that teenage sparking excitement that drove her to seek out the most compelling sounds for the pure love of music on a library computer in Toulouse. Whether it’s France, Denver or any number of the places she has journeyed, she also sees a common thread in both the music that inspires her and the music she creates herself. “The role of music is always the same to me,” she said. “It allows people to escape their reality so we are not always thinking about what is going on in the world. We can’t change the whole world, it’s not possible. But you find ways to take care of yourself and the people around you. I think music is also doing that.”
ARISE Music Festival | August 3
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