We first caught the elusive, modest, and truly talented London songwriter Chelou in Brighton at The Great Escape Festival this year, and we were blown away by his intricate song-writing and precise sound (not to mention his ear-melting cover of Nirvana’s ‘Aneurysm’). We’ll be catching him again in London this week when he headlines Omeara on November 30th, so we thought we’d catch up with him to talk about his anticipations for the gig, his collaborations with other artists and musicians, and a hostel-booking issue in Hamburg…
You’ve returned to the UK after touring in Europe. How are you feeling about the shows you’ve played so far? Any highlights you can share with us?
The tour as a whole has been a highlight. Every show has been memorable in its own way. Accidentally booking a brothel as accommodation in Hamburg was maybe not a highlight, but it will be remembered…
That sounds like a unique experience? You’re playing at London’s prestigious Omeara on November 30th. How are you preparing for this gig? What are you anticipations for the night?
Playing back-to-back shows during the tour has allowed the set to progress in an organic way. To end a tour playing in your hometown at a venue like Omeara is a touch, for sure.
Your support for the gig is songwriter Grace Lightman. Have you had much of a chance to listen to her music? If so, what do you like about her songs?
I’m been a massive fan of her music for some time. Her voice is flawless and she’s a really imaginative songwriter. I’ve had the pleasure of recording my first duet with her which should feature on my forthcoming album.
You recently collaborated with Maya Jane Coles on her track ‘Darkside’. Talk us through your experience of recording the track with her…
Maya & I have been working together for a while now, so we’ve got to a really nice place when we’re recording. I’m always nervous cutting a rough demo vocal over her tracks, but she’s never phased by the lo-fi sounds before we get them down properly in the studio.
Your music videos are beautiful collaborations with artists and illustrators, and your most recent footage for ‘Damned Eye See’ is stunning. Where do you find such talented artists? What kind of process do you go through with them in order to create the videos?
Its been a pleasure to work with such amazing animators and illustrators. Often not much dialogue is needed in preparation. I want the artist to hear the music for themselves and pick out the emotions that they can run with in the video.
Your cover of Nirvana’s ‘Aneurysm’ is really understated and gentle. Are there any cover songs by other artists that you’re a particular fan of?
‘Billie Holiday’ by WarPaint is one of my favourites. Also, ‘One Thing’ by Peter & Kerry comes to mind.
Following on from that, are there any new musicians or bands you can recommend we listen to?
Bastien Kea & Grace Lightman.
What does 2018 hold for Chelou? More recordings? More touring?
All of the above I hope. I’m currently adding the final touches my debut album and have got a string of international shows in the new year starting with Eurosonic.
Finally, if you had to describe you music in three words, what would they be?
I keep getting described as ‘electro-dream-folk’ or something along those lines which makes me laugh…