Growing up in a family of musicians, Stockholm native DJ Clea has always been making music. To quote ABBA, she could sing long before she could talk. Classically trained within choir, piano and the flute, stepping into the world of electronic music wasn’t a stretch.
We visited the anime-obsessed dog lover and history buff (she has a BA in History) Clea Herlöfsson in her Stockholm studio to check in on how she’s doing and what she predicts for herselfs and the music industry.
— Things are certainly strange for gig workers in 2020. How are you coping?
Dystopia hits me at least once a day but I'm trying to stay positive. My US tour got cancelled but I'm not bothered, really. I've had my fair share of travelling and fun gigs, so I’m enjoying my time in the studio instead. I made an album pre-corona, so I’ll just keep on working on it, I guess.
— How has the industry adapted so far?
A lot of DJs are living in denial. Even though streams and isolation parties are taking place, promoters, clubs and festivals are suffering immensely. I really believe the whole industry will change after this chapter in history, in a big way. I think parties will look different, the infrastructure will be broken. I guess I'm going to have my future gigs on virtual stages inside computer games. I actually look forward to that, I think the Minecraft world suits me better than the real one, to be honest.
— What are your best tips for getting through these tough times?
1. Stay in shape, both physically and mentally (it's all connected). I go to outdoor gyms and tell myself that I am a warrior preparing for doomsday.
2. Take mental breaks, make a painting or listen to a song that you like. It's easy to get lost in the apocalyptic newscasts.
3. Become a gamer. I personally prefer first person shooter-games like overwatch or visually inspiring games, like Zelda (currently playing the remake of Link’s Awakening). If you don’t want to be a gamer you can always play Animal Crossing, everyone likes that game.
4. Help somebody out, it makes you feel better. It's a win win situation.
5. Hang out with animals, they have so much to say! Personal favourites are dogs, horses and foxes. But since I can’t have a fox at home I watch russian fox whisperers on Youtube instead.
— Except experts and doctors, what should we listen to?
Soothing music like Enya and tibetan bowls is very good for you. Liquid Drum ‘n’ Bass is great too, makes you feel energetic and happy. I am currently listening to Astral Travel - Bungle, Watercolours - Nu:Logic and old releases by Calibre.
I can also recommend going through the Dune catalogue if you are working out or want to party by yourself in your apartment. Sometimes you want to cry too, and that’s ok. If so, you should put on The Thinner The Air with Cocteau Twins.
— What should we feel when we listen to your music?
Intrigued. The stuff I'm making now is way darker than the songs I've released so far, so enjoy the sunshine before it goes away. It’s hard for me to tell what you should feel though, I just make stuff that I like. If that resonates with you, that makes me happy of course. But to be honest, I really don’t care about that when I’m making new music.
— Who do you follow for inspiration these days?
Cesar Milan's youtube channel is perfect if you’re into doggos. If you're a restless geek like me Garrett Watts's youtube channel is the best choice. He’s my favourite gay nerd/hoarder and he made a great trapsong about being a baby on the streets of Hollywood. It’s called “Now I’m a Baby”. This is also a good time for reading, my current obsession is How To Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan. Fashion wise I’m into Kim Shui and when it comes to music I highly recommend you follow me on the internet because I have lots of releases coming very soon.