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Pop Girls Takeover Interview: Chlöe Howl

There haven’t been many young voices in the pop that have spent more time gracing our office speakers this year than fresh-faced songstress Chlöe Howl. Her witty, Brit-centric songs of village hall make-out sessions and the more awkward, less publicised side of youth today have been gaining plaudits in all the right places, thanks largely to her meteoric debut single ‘No Strings‘, which you can check out below:

Notion’s Rob Copsey caught up with the lady herself for our Pop Girls feature in Notion 065. You can read the transcript of Rob’s interview with Chlöe below:

PlanetNotion: Everything seems to be going very well for you at the moment; you must be pleased?
Chlöe Howl: It does seem to be going quite well. I’ve just come off playing a load of festivals and then I did a couple of shows in Germany and Sweden. I love Sweden. I went there when I was six and I still remember it because it was that nice. Everyone is tall and pretty!

PN: Are you pleased with the reaction to ‘No Strings’?
CH: The only negative comments I’ve seen about me is that I look like a boy, which is fine – I embrace that! I don’t mind looking like Justin Bieber. I generally only see the good stuff mostly – I’m not big enough to have horrid people tweeting me.

PN: What inspired the track?
CH: It comes from the really shit village hall birthday parties I went to when I was 17. I had this moment where I stepped back and saw everyone hooking up. I thought it would make for an interesting song because there aren’t many singers out there talking about stuff that really happens when you’re a teenager.

PN: Those village hall parties were pretty grim weren’t they?
CH: They really were. Loads of really suspicious looking sausage rolls from Tesco. Cocktail sausages were also gross. The mini pizzas were good though – and the carrots, even though I’m slightly allergic to them.

PN: There’s a lot going on sound-wise from what we’ve heard of you so far… how would you describe it?
CH: I was conscious that the songs had to have a similar underlying sound running through them, but at the same time I didn’t want them all to sound the same. I guess because I was signed at 16 I’ve had a lot of time to develop my sound. It’s definitely a lot more electronic than it was when I started out. Basically, I learnt that you could make really cool sounds on computers!

PN: You’ve also been writing with Eg White…
CH: He was the first person the label put me in the studio with, and I didn’t realise how big that was until after when I got home and Googled him! I would love to work with Dev Hynes; I love his stuff with Solange and Sky Ferreira. Well, I’m not a huge fan of Sky but I love ‘Everything Is Embarrassing’.

PN: What did you listen to growing up?
CH: My step-sisters were really into hip-hop and R&B and from my dad I was listening to The Cure and The Smiths and Depeche Mode. My sisters used to give me R&B mixtapes to make me cooler. I find it hard to listen to stuff just because it’s cool, I find it hard to enjoy it. I went through a massive Destiny’s Child phase with the Destiny Fulfilled album. My mum bought it for me from Costco.

PN: If you weren’t making music, what else would you be doing?
CH: I started writing songs when I was 13, but there was a time when I wanted to do archeology, but my school screwed me over and told me to do the wrong subjects for it. I just wanted to get muddy and dig really.

PN: When did you write your first song and what was it about?
CH: I was a bit of a weird child and I used to write a lot of poems when I was six-years-old. When I was 13 I started writing about anything. Not necessarily about boys; I don’t care about them!

PN: You’re signed to Columbia Records; have you felt much pressure working with a major label?
CH: I really haven’t which has been great. They’ve just let me get on with the songs and haven’t really interfered yet. I feel like I’ve got a good team behind me who are really chilled out. I think a lot of people assume that young female singers are really manipulated by a label, but that hasn’t happened to me. I wasn’t going to be a pop puppet.

- Interview by Rob Copsey

Photo: Elliott Morgan

You can read the full write-up of Rob’s interview with Chlöe in Notion 065, available for purchase here.

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