Listening to Chloe Frieda on NTS is like sifting through a time capsule that’s come crashing to Earth with a cloud of fire behind it. Tonight, she completes an all star, interstellar line up for Fade to Zaire at Corsica Studios – bringing her distinct brand of contorted electronics to the party.
We caught up with Chloe to talk about her radio show, its transition into a label and tapes from outer space.
Nearing 8 years in with Alien Jams on NTS, in many ways you have grown with that station as one of its original DJs. How would you describe the journey so far?
Crazy to think it’s been 8 years! The station has had a huge impact on the music scene here, from nurturing new artists to fostering community/ connections in the scene, it’s been a major force in London (and worldwide), way beyond what many expected from it’s humble beginnings in 2011.
When I was studying in Washington, I started my first radio show on KUGS.FM, which impacted me in a big way. After moving to the UK, I was keen to get back into radio and contacted NTS for a show when they were setting up the station. I was very lucky to get one of the last remaining slots, and did a weekly show for around five years. I’ve since moved to monthly, I honestly don’t know how I managed with a weekly show for so long, but I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity. Radio has impacted me in a lot of different ways, it motivated me to search for new music each week, introduced me to musicians and promoters and inspired me to start djing out.
I have read that you first started getting into UK electronic music while growing up in Seattle. What were the first releases you remember coming across? How did they present themselves to you?
It’s hard to pinpoint a specific moment, I was mostly into UK post-punk at the start which inevitably led to the discovery of other electronic artists. I think I went from UK post punk to German electronic acts (influenced by Kraftwerk etc.) I also did a four month stint in Iceland during my studies (back in 2007) which definitely opened my eyes to alot of new sounds/ experimentation.
Was it a love of music that prompted your initial move to Europe? If so, why?
I was born in London so I’ve always wanted to come back and experience the city, music was definitely an exciting part of it, but I also have relatives here so it made sense for me to come back.
Alien Jams is now also a record label. What is it like running a label?
I love it. It can drive you crazy sometimes but overall it’s worth the frustration/ hustle.
How would you say it is going so far?
I’m really proud of all the releases and events I’ve had the chance to work on throughout the last few years and it all comes down to the amazing artists I’ve worked with. Relationships have been central to building the label and I’m glad that it’s been able to grow over time.
What have you got in the pipeline for the label that you are looking forward to?
I have a few more releases planned this year and some more events. Sorry a bit vague I know!
Personally I’m looking forward to djing at Corsica on Friday for Fade to Zaire w/ Manfredas, Bawrut, Timothy Clerkin, MLE and Patrisha :)
Do you think running a label has changed your approach to music at all?
It has made me appreciate all the time that goes in to make a release happen…
What was your initial impetus to start the label?
I think ultimately, having the radio show gave me a platform to start the label, and the confidence to take this next step of releasing. I was continually inspired by the artists around me, Alien Jams was a way to get the music out there, be it through the radio, events or eventually releases.
I’m still one of the few women running labels, though recently it has become less rare. When Alien Jams started there were very few examples of female label heads, it’s great to see more female-run labels start up and I hope that by running a label I can be part of that shift.
You have just released Cafe Kotti which sees the first collaborative release between Nick Klein & Wilted Woman. How did the release come about?
I had released Home Listener with Wilted Woman in 2017 and was hoping to work with Lizzie again. I was thinking of potential collaborations that might be interesting and I suggested the idea to Lizzie as I knew she has been friends with Nick for a while. Turns out they beat me to it, they had already been working together and had recorded a live performance to Domingo Castillo’s exhibition at the end of 2018.
Have you got any more releases planned between the pair?
Not at the moment! Hopefully we can organize a live gig soon though…
Cafe Kotti is released on cassette and digital. Do you have a favourite tape? What is it about the release that lends itself to being put out on tape? Generally speaking, what can you accomplish on tapes that you can’t on another format?
There is a wonderful tape by my friend Stephen McLaughlin aka An Trinse called Corpses From the North that I would highly recommend!
I decided cassette would be best for the Cafe Kotti release as it’s a 50 minute live recording that works well split into two long tracks, which seemed perfect for tape. I think the format works well with the aesthetic of the music, and of course tapes put less pressure on labels with significantly lower production costs and shorter turn-around times. Most of Alien Jams releases have come out on vinyl, so it’s fun to branch out to a different format, and enjoy the many benefits of cassettes!
See you down at the wiggle – Fade to Zaire ~ Manfredas / Bawrut / Timothy Clerkin (Live) / Chloe Frieda / MLE / Patrisha