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Inspired by the beauty of the Canadian natural landscape and its sounds, this multi-talented artist has established herself across a spectrum of electronic genres. Montreal born and West-Coast raised, Claire has experimented with all sorts of sounds over her many years as a creative artist. Described as ‘soul techno’ Claire’s performances take listeners on a magical journey on the dance floor. Returning this year to beautiful Fredricton, New Brunswick, Claire joins a massive bill of talents that are set to perform July 26-29th at Future Forest Festival. With headliners Kenny Glasgow, Justin Martin, Ardalan, Anna Morgan, Stickybuds, Lucii and more, Future Forest returns this year for their 7th anniversary with 3 stages, workshops, yoga, and a beautiful river to cool off in. We had a chance to speak with Claire ahead of Future Forest Festival, and here is what she had to say…
“When I studied sound and recording, a lot of emphasis was placed on field recordings, and nature just makes sense because all of the sounds are already there, you just have to capture them. So I guess it’s just by chance that the two worlds collided and Nature Sounds became a part of my sound and creativity as an artist.” -Claire
Your sound is heavily intertwined with sounds of nature, with coniferous percussive elements and dreamy zephyr-like melodies. Why do you believe your connection to the landscape is so strong in your music and life?
When I was little, we had a summer cottage and I used to go there almost all the time every single nice day. It was always in nature that I felt connected to myself and to the universe. So naturally, a lot of inspirations come from nature for my music as well. There was a lake and we had a boat… actually, we had multiple boats, so I spent my childhood summers on the water, reflecting on life looking at the reflection of the sky in the ripples of the waves. When I studied sound and recording, a lot of emphasis was placed on field recordings, and nature just makes sense because all of the sounds are already there, you just have to capture them. So, I guess it’s just by chance that the two worlds collided and Nature Sounds became a part of my sound and creativity as an artist.
You had created a sound installation in 2013, ‘Windcatcher’, a machine that transforms breeze into beats. What inspired you to start exploring art and express your ideas on music through installations?
The first time I went to Berlin in 2009, I stumbled upon a sound installation by artists Janet Cardiff and Georges Bures Miller. It was called the Murder of Crows. It completely changed my life and my perception of art. I just remember walking into the Hamburger Banhof Museum and being utterly awestruck that this type of thing even existed. Imagine walking into an enormous space, and in the space you see a gramophone. You hear this music that is very haunting, and then you realize that the music is part of a narrative which is taking you somewhere dark and mysterious and very real and visceral all at the same time. It was at that moment that I knew I wanted to make sound installations. I was studying Communications at Concordia University at the time, and we had a class where we had the option to produce a project: anything we wanted. So I decided to make a project about bicycles that made music, to encourage cycling as a sustainable mode of transportation. The Windcatcher came after that.
“You have to go with what you’re feeling in the moment; be true to yourself. ” – Claire
Claire, you are about to reach your one decade milestone in your career. What are your thoughts today about your sound and how do you feel about your path thus far?
I think the key is to just keep on evolving and go with the flow. To be open to the opportunities that arise and to be truly inspired in the moment as much as possible. By both sounds and people. Right now, I’m getting really inspired by electro and breakbeats, and drum’n’bass and integrating it into my mixes, moving away from straight minimal, techno and house. You have to go with what you’re feeling in the moment; be true to yourself. I still get so excited about new sounds that it’s crazy. Sometimes I’ll buy a new record and play it 10 times in a row to so I can listen to every sound and enjoy it to the maximum. In the studio, I am experimenting with new machines, textures, and rhythms. I am starting to work a bit with modular gear and experimenting with putting my machines through different types of effects and filters to get the sounds exactly how I want.
Career-wise, I just came out of a bit of a break because I had my daughter Kyoko, but now she is almost 2 and things feel like my sound is launching off in a whole new exciting direction. Both in the studio and on the stage, my attitude is more grounded and confident, and I am finding so many incredible new tracks to play. The inspiration is exploding out of me like a firecracker! Very excited about a remix I’ve got on Icewax coming out on clear vinyl in September, and some new material and projects in the works. Also cannot wait for some upcoming tour dates in Asia and Mexico.
Being the daughter of a violinist and a scientist, your parents seem to be very eccentric! Have they had a hand in influencing your sound and is there a piece of advice from them that resonates with you?
My parents are definitely super eccentric! But they have always encouraged me to follow my dreams and not compromise for anything. I am so grateful for that. They have also supported me immensely in my pursuit of music: my mother put me in music lessons from the time I was 5 years old until my mid-teens, funding whichever musical adventures I was inspired by from violin lessons for several years to bass guitar and voice lessons. They both believe in me and that feels amazing, and they always tell me that anything is possible!
You will be performing at Future Forest Festival this summer! Since the festival is notorious for their psychedelic themes and decor, have you considered accompanying your sets with your experimental installations or visuals?
Yes! As I will be playing an extended 3 hour set on the Nest stage on Saturday afternoon from noon-3pm at Future Forest, and I am going to create a bit of an interactive performance during my set. I’m bringing a mic and FX pedal so I can tell stories and do some live vocals over the music, and am inviting everyone to the MAD HATTER’S TEA PARTY AT THE NEST. Bring your silver tea sets and biscuits and picnic blankets and psychedelic relics and we will make it an afternoon to remember!