step on our throats, coucou chloe!

“Making music has allowed me to understand the complexity of my own emotions.”

by Frankie Dunn
15 November 2019, 8:00am

This story originally appeared in i-D's The Post Truth Truth Issue, no. 357, Autumn 2019. Order your copy here.

Coucou is a cute way of saying hi. “English people think that it means crazy, but nonnono – only cute here,” she laughs. The 27-year-old producer, vocalist and DJ finds that people often have this misconception about her. “Ohlala,” she exhales, “this is actually super crazy because when I meet people in real life they’re like ‘Oh! You’re so nice!’ And I’m like, what did you expect?”

“I have a very bitch resting face,” she reasons in her thick French accent. “I look very mean and I’m quite skinny and I have dark eyes and I make dark music... so I guess they think I’m dark. On Twitter, people are like; ‘I want Coucou Chloe to step on my throat’ – they associate me with very violent stuff.” So where does this dark music come from then? “I’m just making what I wanna make,” she says. “Maybe I need to release some dark stuff and it just passes through me like this. I like when it’s quite aggressive and moody.”

There were two clear musical forces at play in Chloe’s childhood: a beautiful piano gifted to her by her grandparents on which she played a lot of sad Chopin, and Killing Me Softly by The Fugees. “I was imagining that it was the soundtrack of a fictional Lara Croft life and I was playing Lara Croft in the story,” the avid gamer says about the latter. “It was just fun, you know. Every time I’d listen to it again, I’d take the story on from where I left it. It’s kind of funny.” Pairing an overactive imagination with classical training, it was during her time at the prestigious contemporary art school, Villa Arson in Nice, that she began producing proper; investing in software and layering sound recordings with melodies.

She moved to London three years ago, met Sega Bodega and the two started a project called Y1640. She was introduced to SHYGIRL and NUXXE was born soon after. “Moving to here, I discovered a real community of music, fashion, filmmakers… everybody hangs out with everybody and works together,” she says. “Compared to the south of France, everybody’s moving so fast here. There, you can be laid back, it’s fine, but here I feel guilty if I am.”

Not stopping, Chloe just released an EP called Naughty Dog, which is as experimental but more structured than previous releases. “I’ve been in a really different place mentally; I spent a lot of time by myself this year, which I didn’t necessarily enjoy. So it’s been tricky and super slow and overwhelming, which I think you can hear a bit in the music.” She’s convinced that future releases will be totally different as she continues to evolve, both creatively and personally.

“Making music has allowed me to understand the complexity of my own emotions,” she points out. “It opened the door for me to understand that I don’t just have happiness, anger or sadness. I guess it really helped in discovering myself. It makes me want to get better at life.”

Coucou Chloe by Josh Olins for i-D


Photography Josh Olins Styling Max Clark

Hair Cim Mahony at LGA Management.
Make-up Ciara O’Shea at LGA Management using Fenty Beauty.
Nail technician Trish Lomax at JAQ Management using Cnd.
Set design Max Bellhouse at The Magnet Agency.
Photography assistance Jeremy Young.
Digital technician Brian Cleaver.
Styling assistance Giovanni Beda, Joe Palmer, Monica Armario and Gal Klein.
Hair assistance Tarik Bennafla and Rohmarra Kerr.
Make-up assistance Jade Smith.
Set design assistance Miranda Latimer.
Production Etty Bellhouse.
Production assistance Molly Senior.

coucou chloé
josh olins
max clark
The Post Truth Truth Issue