Techno, as a genre, is currently becoming a major player in the world of youth musical tastes, but it is, unfortunately, largely still a boys’ club (although that might not be reflected by the electronic musicians Philthy, personally, tends to cover), but Berlin-based, Austrian Clara Moto has been a stand-out player in the genre since her 2010 debut, Polyamour. And Clara’s sophomore LP, Blue Distance, was released this Tuesday, November 5th, and reflects what she considers to be a relatively profound evolution in her sound. The album, named after a line by Sylvia Plath, is the most carefully considered and boldly and darkly introspective release of Clara’s career. It reflects a hyper-personal aesthetic, relating to Clara’s travels and the technically strained relationship she feels with her listeners. Clara Moto has a handful of upcoming European dates, but there’s currently nothing confirmed for the US. However, I recently got a chance to chat with Clara about her sophomore effort and what we might, possibly, be able to expect of her future endeavors.
Izzy Cihak: It’s been three years since your debut and you just released your sophomore LP. How would you characterize the evolution in your sound?
Clara Moto: First, I think I developed a better routine and order. I was sometimes very lost making my first album. For example, I did not save synth presets under the same name as the track project, so I very often lost a nice sound, sample, etc. I tried to be less chaotic and have a real plan, I made a mind map of all my tracks, to check what is still missing on each track, and what can be improved. Second, I became better in mixing, even though I wanted my friend Renoa helping me to improve the sound, as I have the feeling I am still not there. But it is a really interesting process, and I tried to learn more about sound engineering. Besides, I was having piano lessons again from time to time to find out more about harmonies and chords.
IC: What were the biggest influences and inspirations behind Blue Distance?
CM: My musical influences are ranging from Holy Other, whom I saw playing live at the Elevate Festival, in Graz, Austria, and completely amazed me, to various hip-hop artists, e.g. Kendrick Lamarr and Angel Haze even, if it is not noticeable. It is always difficult to identify the respective influences and inspirations; sometimes it can be a nice encounter with somebody, the setting ( my room), where I was mostly working or an early morning run in a park. Additionally, I could quote some literature influencing me, as I was reading a lot to balance the process of music making, e.g. Thomas Bernhard, Max Frisch, etc.
IC: Are there any other contemporary artists with whom you feel you can identify with to a significant degree, or whom you simply feel are doing really cool things?
CM: I really would love to work with a rapper. It is a wish I have been having for a long time. The reason I never worked with one is that I still think I think I have to work on my music more before I give a track to a rapper. My secret dream is to be able to have somebody like Angel Haze rapping on my track, because I just adore her groove. But I know this is quite unrealistic.
IC: You have a handful of upcoming European dates. What can be expected of the live experience and is there a chance that US audiences might be able to experience the show in the near future?
CM: I want to develop my live show, which means I will use more instruments and even my voice on stage. This is a big step and challenge for me, and at the moment I started to rehearse in my studio.The live show is going to be different from my DJ sets, that are dancefloor sets. I would like to have it more concert-like, which makes it more unpredictable. Sadly, I do not have anything planned yet in the US, but I would really love to come over!
IC: What are your most significant hopes and plans for 2014?
CM: Vague plans: more touring, studying next to music, lots of travelling without losing touch with friends, and family, and to have enough time for myself.