Friday, July 2, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Interview & Mix w/ Chloe Harris - Seattle's Finest

It's with great pleasure I bring to you - Chloe Harris. Chloe has been working the EDM circuit for a good 10 years now... treating us with trippy as all hell music. She's the kind of DJ who really lets her music do the talking for her. Having literally grown up in record stores - this Seattle based hipster has a knowledge of electronica that surpasses the best of DJs. This isn't the girl who was inspired by her trendy disc jockey ex-boyfriend or someone who wanted to be more than just a pretty face in a club, this is a person who has dedicated a lifetime to discovering new sounds. An artist who has well and truly immersed herself in the music. 

Discussing her music is interesting because (without sounding like a twat), I really consider it IDM. You can't stick her sets into a single genre. Her x-factor is in her diverse programming. She follows the old school take on progressive -  where it's not necessary to bust your nut, but rather to calmly and patiently build to a point of bass driven euphoria. Control is very much her forte. Not shying away from using psychedelic ambient to start things off, her sound usually simmers with tension, slowly but surely building to throbbing progno madness. It's a trip. 

In terms of her laurels, there are few female DJs out there who Digweed takes notice of and picks to tour with. Chloe is one of them. Not only has she toured with the man, she's had several guest appearances on his Transitions radio show as well. Mustn't forget to mention that Diggers has also featured a few of her tunes from her record label Further on his mixes. Recently, Further got voted Label of the Month on the prestigious underground website - RA, as well (check it out! haha). This isn't even half of it. I really shouldn't have to say more for you to figure it out, she really is a staple and superstar within the realm of electronic dance music.
click title for details
Chloe was kind enough to give us a taste of her music with one of her legendary sets. Even though she is yet to play in India (promoters make this HAPPEN!), she did a little research on the country and put together a mix she thought would be ideal for Indian listeners. She's quick to tell me that she has the versatility to take any direction she likes; be it banging it out proper or playing loungey downtempo ambient. Right here is a pure journey, encompassing an array of trippy dance friendly sounds; intelligently progressive, if you will.

01. Andrew Benson - Before Glow (James Warren Ambient) [Olaris]
02. Boon Dang - In Your Mood
03. Klartraum - Growth
04. Tim Jirgenson & Ben Morris - Phone (Steve Jones Remix)
05. Fabian Kamb - Electric Room (Ross Couch Remix)
06. David West - Swagger
07. Silky - Paranoid featuring Rainy Payne (Dub Mix)
08/09. Max Demand - Rollercoaster (Santiago Garcia/Evren & Sezer Remixes)
10. Spin Science - Runaway (Riccio Remix)
11/12. Juan Deminicis - Rhapsody (Original/Pablo Acenso Remixes)
13. Ju.n - Corner Of Your Room (Soundprank Remix)
Download Chloe Harris' YHIHF Mix: Click here

In an exclusive interview with YHIHF, Chloe Harris talks about her hometown Seattle, her record label Further and it's cassette tape concept, playing alongside Diggers, the one annoying aspect of being a female DJ, her four year stint in London and much more!

As a DJ, record label owner and producer - can you describe the sound you strive to push.
I really just try to have good music I enjoy listening to. I like everything and could never be a genre DJ. We do deep house, tech house, ambient, techno, house, IDM, dub, jazz, hip hop, electronic, etc etc... basically just music that sounds good and that's interesting.

Who have been your main sources of influence and inspiration as an artist and person over the years?
My mum was a huge influence to me. She's unfortunately passed on now, but she was so much fun. She came to my shows often and I remember seeing her out in the crowd when I was opening on NYE for The Crystal Method dancing her ass off. She was a good one.
I take in influences from everything though, from the sound of the sink draining to bees humping (which I actually just saw live about 4 inches from me a couple days ago).

You've been a DJ for many years now, started with your own radio show called 'Further' and now you've set up a label of the same name, can you tell us the story behind Further as a brand and now label?
Further first started in 1999 as an idea me and a friend had. We set out to make music and use Further as the idea. Furthering sound, furthering art, etc. etc. Just trying to take all sorts of creativity further than it had been before. I started a radio show on (RIP) that used the name and just kept it until 2009, when I finally started the label. 
I didn't want to jump into anything with the label and I wanted to know what I really wanted to share. I wanted to not only do digital but cassettes, CDs, vinyls, clothes, paintings; just share art and create a good crew of people who like to also.

'B-Sides' on Proton Radio - what's this show all about?
I started my B-Sides show when Groovetech was closing the radio station portion of the shop. On my weekly radio show, I'd play industrial, new wave, techno, house, IDM, electronic, ambient techno, etc. All sorts and was looking for a place where I could still showcase my affinity for weird music. Sam and team Proton obliged and gave me a weekly show on Proton where I can play all my weird crap. It's about 10 years old and unfortunately I've just had to change my show from weekly to monthly.

Further Records was nominated Label of the Month on the RA website recently, it's also getting some major play time from the big league DJs.
Being label of the month is really special. I'm glad they recognized what we are doing. It's really nice of them and I really appreciate them helping us get some exposure. I have had big DJs laugh at me about the cassette idea, and I've had one big DJ who told me the tape I gave him was the best promo he's received in four years. Our MP3s have been doing well also with lots of support from DJs and producers, but I really think our physical product is a huge highlight and what makes us different.

Tell us about your upcoming projects?
I have my project called Raica just about ready to drop. Its an electronic thing I do. Album electronics. Hopefully people will enjoy it and then I have many remixes and singles coming out too. Just finished a remix for Proton of Ryan Davis that will be out in July. Then some remixes of our releases on Further of Stripsounds and Darius Bassiray due out soon, and then two more new singles of my own, 'Sashala and Dollar,' which will feature remixes too.

Could you also tell us about the Further's Cassette Tape concept?
I grew up with tapes. I love them and I always will. They are small, portable and you can make them anyway you want. I used to make them when I didn't DJ. It was just the easiest way to share music back then. I used to do all sorts of things with tape players. And so from that love spawned the idea of bringing tapes back and getting artists  to do music without worrying about selling thousands or worrying about dance singles. It's the only thing I would change in the world, people's patience. People now just want to skip to the next track if it's not an instant like and I want them to suffer through it, because they may just end up liking what they heard.
From a financial perspective, is the label doing well? Are you getting yourself a healthy, stable amount of gigs? If yes, what's your secret?
The label is luckily doing well. I would love an agent and more gigs so I could provide myself with the added luxury of eating. 
My secret to making it in this business, eat once a week.

For someone who grew up working in a record store and now an owner of a record label - with a bit of hindsight and looking towards the future, what are your thoughts on the digital revolution? Does Further records press vinyl?
I see why digital is a good thing in that you can put out people who maybe aren't huge and take a bit more chances on certain releases, but then you also have an influx of too much music and you have people who love to share music so it's a double edged sword really. Further will have its first vinyl out in September, Donato Dozzy's album K, which came out on tape this June.

Further is based in Seattle - you've spent most of your childhood there and in many ways you're a leading figure in the dance scene there, can you tell us a little bit about your city?  The culture, the people, the influence of EDM in what was the birthplace of Grunge?
Seattle is a gorgeous place. We're wrapped in lakes, mountains and forests. The city is growing and growing. We've always had a great little underground electronic music scene, but just recently it has been taking off and getting more exposure. We have some fun little clubs like the See Sound Lounge and The Living Room, and bigger places like Trinity and Showbox SODO. I think Seattle still has a very rock and jazz background, but it seems to be opening up a lot. Kids like everything and we are lucky to have a lot of mixed music going on. A lot of chillwave, ambient, noise, and light space indie stuff like Head Like A Kite and The Sight Below, or very cosmic conscious hip hop like Champagne Champagne. Pezzner, Hanssen and The Lawnchair Generals are all doing their own thing with their own style and I think that reflects the creativity in our sound. I think people here will always like the dirty, the grimy, the more interesting and twisted. The more you push them, they more they want to listen.

You've done your fair share of sets for John Digweed's Transitions show - what's that like?  He's probably the first name on your mailing list for all your new music, what kind of feedback and advice do you get from the man, when you're the lucky few he takes notice of?
John is awesome. He's just one of those people; an awesome people.

You've also gone on tour with him a few times, what was that like and what were the tours?
I went out with him a couple times during his Transitions 1 and Transitions 3 tours and then a few other random dates in Tenerife and couple other places. T1 tour was amazing. Playing at Buzz in DC right before it was about to close was incredible. The energy was phenomenal and John played a set that ended right about 9 am. At Stereo in Montreal on the 3rd tour John sounded so comfortable on that system that I'm pretty sure it was one of the best times I've heard him play. And I've heard him a gazillion times. I love when he just builds and builds and builds and builds and I love when I can't hear the tune coming or going. I think what I liked most about going out with him on tour is just seeing how he builds the night, how he reacts to his fans and punters and how he is one with basically everyone. He is top.

Digweed described his recent Essential Mix as a 'Vortex in Full Effect' - can we set the record straight and confirm you were the first person to coin the term 'vortex?'  Never has a description been so apt.
Yes, I'll take credit. It's the moment when you just fucking lose yourself in his sounds. You lose time and then he's on his last song. I don't know how he does it.
In your opinion, what constitutes a great warm up set? How do you go about planning yours - particularly when you're opening for someone you believe is a legend?
I think we've all gone over this one. Being a warm up DJ can sometimes be harder than being the headliner. When you headline you know you are going to play it big and people expect that, but when you are warming up you have to take the time to build, not get excited, and just basically play what i like to call 'waiting for' music. Not music that is boring and dull, but music that isn't in your face or super apparent. You need good creepers and good slight builder movers. You want to move people slightly, but you can't wear them out. You are not the star. And you don't need to play above 125, unless you are opening for Tiesto in which you should play at 128 to start. 

Can you tell us the difference in your sound and outlook when you play a warm up versus a headline set?
Well the obvious difference for my music really is that when I open for someone I don't let go and when I am playing peaktime, I let shit out and hope people want to bust some moves.

You've DJed alongside Jimmy Van M - what's it like warming up for one of the greatest warm up DJs out there?
I like playing with Jimbo. its fun. I was nervous the first time in Mexico City because all my music was stolen a few hours before so I had only an hour or so to get all new music, but it worked out and Rioma was amazing that night. I've played with him many times since and its great to hear him play peak time. When he's on it, he's on it, but he should never play New Order again. EVER. (it's a joke joke)

From what I remember, you did a little stint in London, what was it like being a Seattle girl trying to make in England?
I lived in London for about 4 years. I really enjoyed it. I loved being able to jet around throughout Europe to play and wish I was able to now. I love European culture and the cities, a couple favorites being; Kosovo, Budapest, and Vilinus and really loved the fashion of England. You can get a whole new wardobe for about two quid at Primark. Insanely fun to wonder around the markets and find goodies too. Very special to London. The creative energy in that city is awesome. I went to the London School of Sound for a little while and it turns out the building was Pink Floyd's old practice space. I love that sort of history. Also English TV.  How much better is the sarcasm and the way they target their audiences. No laugh tracks, just very uncomfortable moments. I really do love England for Alan Partridge. He should be knighted soon. As for Seattle, it totally rules.

You're successful and you've made it, can I ask you the obligatory 'the pros and cons of being a female in a male dominated industry?'
I'm successful and made it? Who said that? They lie. lol. The biggest pro I can see is that I don't need to regularly shave my face. 

You've done your bit on various forums, what are your thoughts on forum culture in dance music and on the internet in general?
Message boards have died. Thankfully. Having said that, the internet is my best friend. 

Who are the producers, record labels and DJs you think have truly stood the test of the time?
Oh wow, that's a hard one. I respect and value Jeff Mills on a huge level. He's extraterrestrial. He's magic. He's so creative and underground and he has the coolest hands and look ever. Mr. C is still a fun character. Diggers has done ok too. ;)

What's your favourite restaurant in Seattle and why?
My one favorite restaurant, are you crazy? There are a million great ones. We have amazing food here. La Spiga, Aoki Japanese, Red Mill Burgers, Siam Thai, 13 Coins for late night, Coastal Kitchen, Acropolis and Mama's Pizza are all great.

You seem to have a very unique style of dressing - what are your favourite everyday wear brands?
I guess my everday wear brands would be 'some random name' in my vintage stuff. I mostly wear clothes I find second hand, I'm a total hunter. You could put me in a bait and tackle store and I could come up with an outfit. I do tend to love jeans tho! Back into acid wash. I feel like I am 10 again! 

Three movies you can watch over and over again.
I have to do this one in two parts... new movies and old ones.

New movies - No Country For Old Men, Donnie Darko, American Psycho (I LOVE Christian Bale)
Old movies - Fast Times At Ridgemont High, 16 Candles, Dazed and Confused. 
PS: The best TV show ever in history - The Wire.

You are stuck on a deserted island with a life supply of batteries and a boom box, list out 6 life changing must-have albums you’d like to have with you and why?
1. Skinny Puppy: Remission - Because it's so ahead of its time. Electro industrial mentalness I grew up with and will take with me to my grave.
2. Autechre: Incunabula or Amber - It's a toss up here, I would be happy with either but think Incunabula may just edge it due to it being segued together but Amber has my favorite song Nine. Beautiful lush soundscapes and cool electronic music before electronic music was cool. Glad they are getting back to the sound they used to make. Their new album is very good.
3. Washed Out: A Life Of Leisure - Ernest Greene is so talented. Lo-fi No-fi. Spaced out bliss. This is also the only new thing on my list.  ooooerrrrrr!
4. Slick Rick: The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick - I love him so much. I remember being in 6th grade my first time I went on a holiday and we went to Mexico. I listened to that tape and the D.O.C. No One Can Do It Better, the entire time. I sooo miss good hip hop.
5. Eazy-E: Eazy Does It -  I have the best memory of my old friend Angie Hover and I running away and shooting our friends while singing, NO-Ba-DY Move NO-Ba-By Get HURT and then I fell really bad and hurt myself of course. HAha.
6. Dr. Dre: 2001 - Dre's second stoner album is exactly what I want in my music. Funk, soul, electronics and just one big heady groove with Nate Dogg singing his heart out. Hittman and Kurupt are amazing here. And Mc Ren. It's just such a great album.

um last one and I know that's seven, but you are asking a music nut!

Kraftwerk: Man Machine - My life changed when my dad gave me this at his record store. My life became electronic. And it's probably one of the most important albums anyone can ever listen to for some electronic music history.

I can't thank Chloe enough for taking the time to answer the plethora of questions and for making YHIHF's FIRST exclusive mix. What a beast of mix... a true honour to feature her and her music on my blog. She needs to play a proper tour in India STAT! - SG

Download Chloe Harris' exclusive mix for You Heard It Here First (India): Click here
Preview and purchase Chloe Harris' music on Beatport: Click here
Check out Chloe Harris' label Further: Click here
Join Chloe's Facebook Fan page: Click here
Follow Chloe on Twitter: Click here


  1. Loving the humour and her short, breathless pace of sentences. Quality first write-up too man.

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  2. Thanks Az! Yeah the interview made for an awesome read. How dope was the mix... :D

  3. Like this post very much, fantastic interview. I was looking for some information about india's first female dj, and through this post, I can get some information.


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