Meet Chloe Rodgers | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, June 16th, 2021  

Meet Chloe Rodgers

The Nottingham based singer/songwriter tipped for big things this year

Jan 21, 2021 Photography by Dom Garnham Web Exclusive
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Nottingham has unearthed a plethora of exciting musical talents in recent years. Whether it be agit prop electronic duo Sleaford Mods, lo-fi grunge trio Kagoule, ebullient shoegazers Spotlight Kid or ambient experimentalists Eyre Llew, the city has bestowed some exceptional acts upon the world of music.

2020 may have been a difficult year for musicians or indeed artists in general, but that didn’t stop a bunch of the city’s most prestigious talents releasing some of the year’s finest music. Post-punk collective Do Nothing have already gate-crashed numerous radio playlists, while the smart money is on Chloe Rodgers being the next to emerge from Nottingham’s underground scene.

Despite being in her early twenties, Rodgers has earned a reputation as one of the local scene’s most versatile performers. A regular face on the live circuit prior to lockdown, it was Rodgers’ winning performance at 2016’s Notts Factor battle of the bands competition that brought her to the attention of Swedish producer and composer Anders Kallmark.

That collaboration, whether it be with Rodgers fronting Kallmark’s own Twenty Committee, or as a solo performer in her own right has since proved dividends. Having released three singles (“A Delphian Lullaby”, “Faces”, “The Algea”) last year to growing levels of critical acclaim, 2021 promises to be an even more exciting one for Chloe Rodgers.

Under the Radar caught up with her last month to talk new music, future collaborations and why home is where the heart is, for the time being at least.

Dom Gourlay (Under the Radar): How’s lockdown been for you?

Chloe Rodgers: It’s been a rollercoaster ride for me. I’ve had massive highs but also massive lows as well. It’s been really crap that we can’t gig any more

I can imagine, especially as a lot of people are hearing these songs for the first time yet aren’t able to hear them played live.

That has been really frustrating. I can’t wait until we can get back out there playing live again, but at least this time gives me the chance to get my music out there and hopefully attract a few more people to the gigs when we can do them again.

You’ve put out three singles so far. Was it always your intention to release those three songs in such quick succession last year?

No! The plan has changed so many times. I’d planned to release four singles originally. The three that have come out so far then another one. We only just decided which one was coming out last. We’ve made it up as we’ve gone along really. We always knew there would be four singles. We just weren’t sure which ones.

When is the next single coming out?

To be honest, I’m always the last to know anything! I only found out “The Algea” was being released the day before it came out, so I’ve honestly got no idea. I imagine it will be soon, in the early part of 2021.

Every release so far - not just the three solo singles but also the ones with Twenty Committee - showcases a different side to what you do. Was that always deliberate, to highlight your versatility and diversity as an artist?

That’s why I wanted to work with Twenty Committee, because I want to explore as many different musical paths as I can. I was in a reggae band for a bit last year as well. There’s so much I want to do. The Twenty Committee stuff and my solo stuff seem to have interacted quite well. It’s been fun!

When did you start working with Anders Kallmark and Twenty Committee? How did that collaboration come about?

His label found me when I was 18 or 19, so I’ve been working with them since then. It’s taken until this year to start putting things out. Because to begin with, I came and met Anders and there was this other guy that wanted to manage me. At the time I didn’t know which one to go with. Whether to work with Anders or have this other guy as my manager, and I’m so glad I chose working with Anders over the manager! This other guy didn’t even like my music. He just wanted to turn me into some kind of rock chick. So, I ended up working with Anders and Twenty Committee. To begin with, there was a list of songs that someone else had written that they wanted me to record and release. Only I didn’t realise I was meant to be putting them out under my name. When I found out, I wasn’t very comfortable about singing and releasing someone else’s songs. So, a lot of those songs ended up on the Twenty Committee project instead, whereas the ones I’ve released under my own name have all been mine. So, it’s all worked out really well.

Has working with Anders changed the way you approach writing and recording? Do you see yourselves collaborating together for the foreseeable future?

Yes, he definitely has. If it was down to me, and Anders had no input, a lot of my music would have just been acoustic because that’s what I’m comfortable with. That’s what I’ve done all my gigs with, just me and an acoustic guitar. He’s certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone with all of that stuff. I love the way “A Delphian Lullaby” turned out because of him, and he loves his synthesizers. So, the synths you can hear in “Faces” were his input. He just comes up with things that I wouldn’t have thought of. He really wants me to learn to play the electric guitar for gigging. I keep trying but I’m finding it so hard!

When it comes to playing live, will you just be playing yourself or is it your intention to have a full band play with you?

So far, I’ve got these two amazing session musicians that play with me. Edoardo Bombace, who plays the double bass, and then my drummer Giovanni Velez. He’s amazing too, so we were planning on gigging as a three-piece earlier in the year before they got cancelled. Just me, Ed and Gio, then we’d use a backing track for the sounds we couldn’t recreate. We’re on the lookout for someone that can play live synths as well, and also to harmonise with me. So, the live versions might sound quite different to the recordings if we can’t get a synth player, especially something like “Faces”. It’s got the horn part in it as well, so it will be a while before we can play that bit live. It seems really costly to find the right people to play all those instruments.

Your music has drawn comparisons with Radiohead, PJ Harvey, Sigur Ros and Billie Eilish among others. Are these all artists whose music has inspired or influenced you at one time or another?

All of those people have influenced me a lot. At the moment I’m really inspired by Laura Marling and Massive Attack as well. Radiohead are the ones I always come back to. They were the reason I started making music in the first place. With my song structures, I try not to do traditional verse-chorus, verse-chorus, middle-eight, chorus songs. I try to change it a bit. I’m sure I will come up with some songs like that at some point in time, but for the most part I like to see where the song takes me rather than the other way round.

What are your plans for 2021? Will there be an album this year?

There’s loads of songs in the bank that need to be worked on and tweaked a bit. I’m doing a lot of writing at the minute as well so there’s a few songs I’ve barely even started. After the fourth single’s come out I’m hoping to start working on an album. There’s also more plans with Twenty Committee in the not-too-distant future. I don’t know when they’re planning on releasing them but there’s a few things we’ve worked on recently that will be coming out at some point. One of the songs we’ve released already, “In A Rush”. There’s another version we’re going to be working on in conjunction with a rapper which I’m really excited about. As soon as we can gig again, I think everyone is going to jump on it straight away. I miss it so much, especially with the band. I can’t wait to bring them to Nottingham because that’s where I live and have played so many acoustic gigs. I’ve finally started putting out music and its taken me so long to get to that point, so it will be nice to show everyone back home what I can do with a band.

You’re currently based in Nottingham. Would you relocate elsewhere if an opportunity presented itself?

To be honest, my label have been trying to persuade me to move to London for ages and I don’t really want to. It’s a great city and I’m happy to commute there as much as I need to but I’d struggle to live there. It doesn’t feel as homely. I’ve gone out on my own there to try and make friends but it just felt as if everyone was turning their noses up at me. I just prefer it in Nottingham. I love the fact you can go out in the main city centre and start off at a jazz night, then walk round the corner and be at a reggae night, then walk round another corner and be at a metal night then next door have a hip-hop night where at each one, everybody knows everyone and gets along. Whereas in London you have to travel quite a distance to anywhere and everything is quite separate from each other.

What advice would you give to a new artist just starting out?

Just throw as much energy into it as you possibly can. I know its not possible at the minute but when you can play live again, do as many shows as you can. Whether that means playing open mic nights or putting on shows yourself, do it. Also write as much as you can. Never stop writing. Make as many contacts as you can, especially when it comes to getting your music out there. I was really bad at that and quite lucky that my label Crowds And Power found me on You Tube. I guess if you’ve got enough money you can pay for as much recording time as you want, but I didn’t have any money so I had to find other ways of generating income and got lucky that someone heard my music and wanted to work with me. So, if I was talking to someone in the same boat as me financially, I’d tell them to write, gig, record then post online and release as much music as you can in the hope someone hears it and likes it.

Are there any other new artists you’d recommend for Under the Radar and its readers to check out?

One of my favourite bands that I don’t think gets anywhere near the recognition they deserve are called Whiskey Moon Face. They’re not a particularly new band, but not that many people are aware of them. Or certainly not as many people as they should. Their music is a mixture of Russian folk, French jazz and together it sounds like nothing else I’ve ever heard. Their singer, she sometimes sings in English, sometimes in Russian, sometimes in French while playing an accordion. There’s another guy on clarinet then one on double bass and the way they play is so unique. The lyrics are really interesting as well. Some of the phrases she uses are mind-blowing too. They have a love song called “Dead Dog” where she sings, “I wish I was the lice in your hair.” It’s like a weird way of saying do you want to come and share my bed! So please check them out. Whiskey Moon Face.


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