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Green Light in the City

Nottingham’s Chloe Rodgers Chats Debut EP Back To The Quay, Campervan Mishaps and Performing in Her Home City

2 November 21 interview: Katie Lyle
photos: Lucia Garcia

With stunningly eerie vocal tones and a broad musical style that ranges from jazz to folk, Nottingham singer-songwriter Chloe Rodgers is set to release her debut EP Back To The Quay this month. We sit down with the rising artist to chat about the record and her upcoming headline slot at The Bodega…

How long has the EP been in the works for?
It has taken a long time, actually. We started working on it in lockdown and it was really difficult to get it finished because me and my producer were never in the same room. It was hard to communicate the changes that I wanted to make. I’d say, ‘Oh, can we change this little bit?’ and then he’d do something completely different, and because I’m not sat next to him it would just take ages. My voice wasn’t great as well, so I kept trying to do the vocals but it took a while for my voice to get better after being ill last year. It just kept going wrong when I was trying to do the vocals and it took until literally about a few weeks ago to finish. 

One of my favourites on the EP is Better View, it's so jazzy and really stands out amongst your other tracks. How did that come together? 
That one is quite a feel-good tune, isn’t it? I wrote that ages ago and never recorded it properly, I only ever played it just with my acoustic guitar. Then we did a few gigs where I played it live with a band, and my bassist plays the double bass, and he did this walking bassline on it that I thought was sick. We tried a few different versions of the song, a fast one and a slow one, and we decided to settle it somewhere in between the two. I really like what it ended up turning into. There are a few things that I wanted to be done differently but I’ll be able to do those live, so it doesn’t really matter. 

Every track is so different on the EP, stylistically... 
I’ve always wanted to try as many different genres as I could, because there are so many that I love listening to, and I want to make music that I love listening to. Because otherwise what's the point if you are just doing it for everyone else all the time? You want to be able to love your own music, don’t you? So, I just want to try loads of different things. 

What are your plans for live gigs? I have seen you play acoustically which is stunning. Are you planning on having a band behind you? 
So the gig I’ve got on bonfire night at The Bodega, there’s going to be seven of us playing and we are going to have backing tracks to fill in the parts that we can’t do live as well, which will be good. 

I had writer's block for ages and now all of a sudden there's just constant music in my head again, so I’m just going to try and smash an album out

Back To The Quay has a deeper meaning behind the track… 
That one’s about my papa, who I lost in 2018. We’d been losing him for a while before that because he had a brain operation that went wrong, it just spurred on really bad dementia and by the end he couldn’t talk anymore - he was a shrivelled up shell walking around. We’d sometimes get a flash of recognition in his eyes for a second when we first saw him but it used to fade away pretty quickly, but before that, before he got poorly, he was just the best person ever. He was more like a dad to me than a grandad. He was the one who taught me how to ride my bike, and tie my shoes, and taught me to be who I am and everything like that. It was just a big loss. I wish he was still here to hear the music and stuff, because he got ill before I grew into the musician that I am now, and I know that he would’ve really loved this kind of music. 

You recently did a busking tour. What inspired you to do this and how did it go? 
It was eventful. Some of it was really good. There were three locations that I went to which were great; Cardiff, Liverpool, and Brighton. Other than that the other places I went to were quite dead, but I kind of knew they would be. 

There were loads of campervan breakdowns as well so I only ended up doing about half of the locations that I was meant to do. We were driving back from a campsite in Leeds, and the van started filling up with smoke, so we pulled over and realised we are not going to be able to drive it again, so called a recovery geezer. I got it taken to a garage and it was in there for a month and a half, and Nick from my label came and picked it up like a week or two ago. He brought it round to mine for me to get my stuff out of it and I forgot that we’d left the coolbox full of food. We opened it, and the van was full of flies and there were rotten eggs and black bananas in the cool box. 

What's coming up next? 
So I am working on writing an album to bring out next year, and I have lots of ideas. I had writer's block for ages and now all of a sudden there's just constant music in my head again, so I’m just going to try and smash an album out and make a bunch of demos towards the end of this year. My label is moving their studio to France, so I think I’m going to be able to just bring a bunch of musicians with me on holiday to France for a bit and try and get it all recorded. 

Chloe Rodgers is performing at The Bodega on Friday 5 November. Her debut EP Back To The Quay is out on Friday 26 November

@chloe.rodgers.music

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