Schon mit ihrer Debüt-EP katapultierten sich Kllo in unsere Wahrnehmung, war das Melbourner Duo doch darauf schon für elektronisch-poppige Kompositionen gut, wie sie anscheinend nur aus Australien kommen können. Dieses Jahr erschien nun ihr erstes Album und wir trafen Chloe und Simon auf ihrer Tour, um mit ihnen über das Familiengeschäft, Aufnahmesessions in Bungalows, sowie Melbourne zu reden!
Why are you called Kllo?
Chloe: In the end of the day we wanted to find something that wasn’t taken and that was easy to write down. Originally we sat down with the computer for 3 hours looking at space items and trying to get a 3 lettered word done. KLO happened, but it meant toilet in german. So then the L came in.
Even though you’re cousins, you didn’t spend that much time together growing up I read. Do you feel like your family background has still shaped your way of collaborating?
Chloe: I think so. Our moms are both very manic and full on and we both learned things from them that got engrained in us. We know that we’re comfortable with each other and can work together because of the unusual upbringings.
Simon: I think it’s affected us in a way that we’ve both become very relaxed as a result. The two of us have the opposite energies to our moms and a similar temperament, when we work together.
And it was your mom, who suggested you to start making music together? Did it all naturally evolve from there?
Chloe: Simon was studying sound engineering and I was making my own folk music and needed my songs recorded. So his mom suggested, that he should record me. Knocking two things down. Simon made an experimental electronic piece out of the song that I had made, by sampling my voice. I was actually a bit unsure about it at first, but wanted to give it a shot. It was all really organic.
Simon: I hadn’t really seen Chloe in a long time at that point. I’ve never reached out to anyone like that before and had hardly collaborated music wise, apart from with really close friends. I’m not sure why. I had a track and needed some samples.
Chloe: It ended up being the first song we ever made. It was False Calls and one of the first songs we’ve released. Everything we’ve made from that point we’ve put out into the world. From then we’ve learned along the way of being exposed to the world without much hiding.
Is that still the process you’re going for or what has changed since, in the way you’re producing music?
Simon: That first track has been the most separated it’s ever been. Since then everything has happened in the same room, every track has started together and ended together.
So when you’re in the mood for writing music you call up each other? Or are you planning it all out? Hey Thursday, 4-5, meet me at the studio?
Chloe: We used to do that. Whenever we felt like writing, we met up. But then we started being out a lot during the production of the last album and the writing process ended up nearly having a uni structure.
Simon: Yeah. It had to become a day job, just to keep on top of it.
Did you write much of it while being on tour then?
Chloe: It was just that we didn’t have enough time. We had to meet the deadlines, so we could be on this tour.
Simon: It’s funny, now that you mentioned it, it’s been so long since we’ve organised a day to write together. As we’re always together now, we’re always writing. So it’s gonna be different going back to normal life and having to book days to write in.
Chloe: I think right now we don’t care any more, just because we’ve stressed so much through the album. We’ll see where that goes. It could either go terrible or it could work for us.
Well, it clearly doesn’t sound like this is gonna go anywhere terrible.
Simon: Never say never.
Chloe: It’s feeling good.
How are you coming up with the lyrics? Are there songwriters who particularly inspire you?
Chloe: A lot of this album was personal experiences. And being on tour influenced it. My headspace and things that were happening in my relationship at the time and feeling homesick and feeling like I had writers block. A lot of it is about feeling stuck in the progressing environment and I think Simon felt many of those feelings as well. We both sort of felt this together and felt each others energy.
Backwater is triggering the imagination of isolation. Of something racing past. Can you explain why you chose that track as the title?
Chloe: We were thinking of what all the songs meant and looking for a word that related to all of the songs. A backwater is part of a river and in a progressive environment we were growing so much as a band, that we both put a lot of our own personal stuff on hold. Backwater seemed to work with that.
I read that you’re trying to not overly control things, but trust in improvisation a lot. Can you describe the moment, the feeling you get when you finished a song? When do you know, right that’s it now?
Chloe: It’s hard. Cruising forward, I think we’re gonna have to be a bit more headstrong and not be too influenced by the people outside of the band. We need to become stronger in what we think works. And we should know best, because it’s our music.
Simon: A lot of the times we’ve added more than needed to be in there. And then unfortunately to know when a song is done, you have to pass that point. It’ll be completed, but you won’t know that and you’ll push it further and realise that it was done a few versions or weeks ago. You have to backtrack and undo all the work until you got back to the point, where it feels like the song communicates its purpose clearly and doesn’t overcomplicate it.
Chloe: You have to take it too far, in order to realise.
Simon: Hopefully that’s something we can stop doing. It’s just our personalities; we can’t leave any stone unturned, until we’re satisfied. Whereas hopefully we can get to a point, where we’re confident to say, okay that’s it.
Chloe: It’ll come, it’s all just a learning curve and I think every creative goes through that. Not knowing what direction to go in. The more you do it, the more confident you are. And let’s be honest, some people are gonna love it and some people are gonna hate it. So you always have to write for yourself, without thinking about what people could like.
Was it hard to stop letting the opinions around you get to you?
Chloe: It was scary. We were both quite petrified by this album. Because we very fast went from writing in Simon’s bungalow to having three record labels and three booking agents and two managers pushing us. We’re both good under pressure, because it pushes us, but it was destructing at first. Now that we’re in it and have done it all, it seems easier for the next time and it’s not as scary any more.
Simon: And we’re also at this point as a band, where you’re so close to breaking through. With a first album there’s so much anticipation.
Chloe: This tour especially gave us extra confidence that what we’re doing people are resonating with.
Do you feel like you can turn the reactions you’re getting from the crowds into new material too?
Chloe: We know what we like to make a lot more now, but it’s nice to see the crowd and what they react to, to see what direction works for us as well. It’s really the best written songs, that they react with though.
Simon: It’s different, songs on record compared to live I think. There are some I like a lot more live than as the recorded version.
Have you got a favourite?
Simon: Last Yearn I really like on record, but we’re not even playing that one live.
Chloe: We keep forgetting.
Why is that?
Chloe: Firstly we have our set now, that we change every now and then though to keep ourselves entertained. But hey it’s going towards the end of our tour now, so maybe we should pack it in.
With the finished album in hands, does it feel like a summary of all you’ve been through with Kllo so far or rather like a starting point?
Simon: I don’t think ‘so far’. I think it’s very much that last year and a half.
Chloe: It feels in a way like a starting point in my eyes. Because I feel like I finally get it a lot more.
Simon: A new starting point. Where we actually started, there wasn’t much thought put into it, but rather just doing it. Which is fine, but this is the first time we’ve really considered what we’re putting out and what we are as a duo and what we want to continue with. There are a few things on the first EP’s that we would never revisit.
What music is on your own playlists?
Chloe: I feel like I always had my idols that I stick to. I appreciate a lot of beautiful new music, but I always go back to my favourites: Little Dragon, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Kelela. I love soulful, husky voices.
Simon: Stuff I’ve been listening to on this trip was some Tessela and his other project Overmono, Ski Mask, and the new Four Tet record.
Tell me about Melbourne. The city seems to attract such free spirits and has such an open-minded vibe about it. Are you connected with a lot of other musicians there and do you feel like the city has had an impact on yourself and your music?
Chloe: I don’t think it’s as free-minded as Berlin, but the community is pretty strong. There’s a lot of different scenes, but everyone knows each other. Everyone is really approving and progressing, at least in the last three years since we’ve started. Everyone’s growing together and becoming more supportive and connecting with each other as time goes on.
Simon: Melbourne is definitely in a golden period at the moment. The music scene has always been strong, but now it’s a bit more meaningful and it feels like all the music is having a bit of a political and social impact as well. The social norms are getting restructured, which is exciting. There are a lot of things that need to change in the entertainment industry and I feel like this is really a focus there right now.
Chloe: And we’re getting a lot more recognition that we deserve. With Australia being so far away, I felt like people forgot about it for a bit. But light will shine on them, because a few big artists came out of Australia recently with Flume, Chet Faker and the likes. That electronic sound really started with them..
Simon: Tash Sultana, Amy Shark, Courtney Barnett.
The path has been set.
Chloe: Yeah. Everywhere you go now everyone’s like Australia’s music is incredible. Something is happening, it’s cool.