story / Jordan Blakeman
Chela, Australian Alt-Pop Extraordinaire, has been nothing but addicting since her hit Romanticise caught everyone’s attention thanks to its release by Kitsune last year. We caught up with her in the midst of her U.S. debut playing multiple shows all over Austin in the madness that is SXSW. Be sure to check out her latest EP, Zero, and expect to hear more from the songstress as she continues to take over America and beyond.
LADYGUNN: This is your first time performing in the U.S. How does it compare to Australia?
So different. I kind of miss home a little bit, it’s so much smaller and less scary but it’s been cool. This is the craziest event I’ve ever been to my whole life. I’m quite overwhelmed actually.
What’s your music history? At one point, you were in a punk band.
Yep. I was in an all-girl punk band with my best friends from high school for a few years. We’re still like sisters now so we plan on making another band at some point. When I was twelve my sister, who’s an incredible singer, she was singing a lot and my dad decided to teach me Logic so I could produce music for her and I ended up spending heaps of time in my room alone making weird things and I guess that’s where my love of production started. I did the band thing and really enjoyed playing bass guitar. I think what I’m doing now is a collaboration of all of those things that I’ve done earlier on in life.
Is there anybody you work with when you record?
I’m able to make my own demos and stuff but I have worked with lots of different producers. At the moment I’m doing a lot of work with Le Bruce. He did a remix on the Romanticise EP and he’s really great. He helps me a lot and he’s in my band so he’s great.
You’ve recently added a drummer to your set, right?
I’ve been working with a drummer for about a year but I recently added a new drummer because I couldn’t bring my Australian guys over with me which is a bit sad. So I’ve met this guy a few days ago and he’s in the band and now he’s one of my best friends so I feel really lucky to have met him.
Do you see yourself incorporating a larger live act as you move towards an album?
Definitely. I’ve tried having a live band earlier but it’s harder to try and get a full band around but ideally I’d like to have a guitarist and a bassist because at the moment my track is half live so it would be good to bring that to life at some point.
You’re a dancing superstar. Did you do the choreography for your Romaticise music video?
Yeah. I really enjoy choreographing things but I do think improvisation is a really important thing to do too so I try to do half choreographed and half improvised which that video was and most of my videos are.
How did the Goldroom collaboration come about?
We have the same manager so Jerry hooked us up over email and I sang the song, he used it. We met a month or so after that and the song had just been going so well so we were really pleased with that. I’ve just spent all morning with him, he’s a really good friend and we get along so well.
What is your songwriting process like?
It’s always different. Sometimes I’ll have a dream and I’ll have melody and lyrics from the dream or sometimes I’ll be driving my car and be like ‘oh this traffic is annoying’ and something will come to mind lyrics-wise. It’s always different. There’s no formula. Sometimes it’s a bass line, sometimes it’s a drum pattern.
Are you currently working on an album?
I am. I’m currently in the writing process. I’m hoping to find a producer for it. I love you Blood Orange! Please come and find me! I’m hoping to find a producer for that and finish if because I’ve got a couple really great songs that I can’t wait to share with everyone.
You’re about to play the IHEARTCOMIX showcase who featured you as their Crush #1. Who do you have a crush on?
Who do I have a crush on? Geez. That’s a good question. Do you mean like celebrities? I have a crush on all of my friends. I think Julianne Moore is a smoking babe. And I also think, I don’t know. I was totally in love with Michael Jackson all throughout my childhood. A lot of people last night were like, “you love Michael Jackson, don’t you?” after watching me perform. I was like, yeah. So, I don’t know. I have lots of crushes on lots of different people. It’s nice.