It’s been awhile since we’ve been able to connect with a local musician on new music. When we found out Missoula-based artist Chloe Gendrow was releasing a new single, we were excited to ask her a few questions. Keep reading to find out how Chloe wrote “This is What Hell is Like“, how she’s handling quarantine and more.
Seems like an intense title. Can you fill us in on the lyrics and meaning of the song?
I had already been sitting on the first line of the chorus (“if this is what hell is like, I don’t think I will survive”) for a year or two, just waiting for the right song to come along that would fit that concept, sonically. As for the rest of it, I wrote this with the intention of expressing two individual’s differing perspectives on the same experience. I wanted it to sound like a conversation between two people, and really try to convey the tension of a person v.s. person conflict. Between verse one and verse two, you can hear where each person is coming from… I think. Most of my songs are pretty cryptic or circle around this idea that I am my own worst enemy, so it was a battle for me to write under such a specific narrative. The lyrics get dramatic throughout various points in the song, but part of me wanted to personify parts of the instrumental because there are so many highs and lows, and there are parts that sound fragile and parts that sound a bit tough at times. So words like “slate”, “cut”, “break” and of course “hell” just made sense.
If I’m not mistaken, this follows two other singles “come back to earth” (Mac Miller Cover) and “When I’m Gone” with Nick Anthony. Should we expect an EP/Album in the near future?
Ehhhh I don’t want to say too much too soon. Expect more music in the near future for sure.
It looks like this is the second song you’ve done with Nick Anthony. How did you two come together to work on music? Is this a collaboration we’ll continue to see?
Last summer I had kind of hit a wall from a production standpoint so I wanted to branch out and start working with some different people. I was browsing through various producers on SoundCloud and just randomly reached out to him, not expecting to hear anything, and then he sent me the demo for “When I’m Gone,” we dropped it, and even though neither of us said it, we knew it wouldn’t be our last time working together. Working with strangers on the internet is weird, until you come across certain artists who sort of speak the same language musically. We’ve never met in real life.
Were you planning to release this single on May 22nd for a while or is this something that quarantine nudged you to do?
I had absolutely no intentions of releasing this specific song so soon. We finished it in two days and we knew we had something sorta cool, though. I think it was one of those situations where if we sat on the song for too long, we would have made too many changes and it would have been a lot different.
Did you produce this song? How did the instrumentals and lyrics come together?
Nick did all the production. I wrote all the lyrics and the melody. Nick sent me the instrumental first, then the lyrics came second!
When you announced that you’d be releasing this new single you said you’re “proud to finally have something in my discography that deviates from the direction I usually tend to go”… can you elaborate?
When I started making music, I just dove right into pop because it made sense for my style of songwriting and the music I was listening to at the time. I use Logic to produce, and with all the built in plug ins, it just helped me refine my sound and push me further into the pop / electronic sound. Despite that, I’ve always been interested in branching outside of that and not confining myself to a single genre. My taste in music is all over the place, but recently I started to really appreciate the use of live drums, and “real”, raw instruments that you don’t always hear in pop. I knew I would eventually dabble in something outside of my comfort zone, I just didn’t expect that to happen so soon.
We were supposed to have you back at the Top Hat on May 1st, but for obvious reasons we had to cancel. What was the last live show you played? Are you excited to get back on stage again?
My last show was in November in Los Angeles. Playing shows gives me a lot of anxiety, but it’s probably my favorite way to connect with the people who listen to my songs, so it’s a fair trade off. So, yeah. I’m excited.
How has quarantine been for you? Have you been writing more? How’s it affected you as an artist?
Quarantine has been bizarre. It’s tested my ability to adapt and it’s forced me to reframe the way I look at a lot of things and identify what really matters. More free time isn’t necessarily conducive to writing more, but it has allowed me to finish the stockpile of half finished songs I’ve been clutching onto for so long.
Do you have any advice you could give to up and coming artists in the local music scene?
My career is in its infancy, so I’m pretty unqualified to give advice. The only suggestion I can give is to do what is best and right for you, follow your gut but also know the difference between what your gut is saying and being open to trying something out of your comfort zone. You’re the only person who really knows that. I have met so many people in the industry who have told me what they think I should do with my sound, or how they think I should dress, or who I should work with next or what I should write about. Their opinions are usually built on the foundation of their own experiences and successes and what has worked for them, and sometimes they’re given without actually knowing the depths of who I am or what it is I’m trying to accomplish. If I listened to all of them, I wouldn’t be the artist I am today. This is not to say you shouldn’t be open to criticism and suggestions and different ways to go about doing things.
And…I think the most important thing is to make the kind of music YOU want to make, and make the kind of music you want to listen to. People liking your music is certainly a positive side effect. It just can’t be the driving force.
Listen to “This is What Hell is Like” on all streaming platforms here.
The Seed is Logjam’s blog dedicated to all things up and coming artists, both local and regional. Here, we’ll feature band interviews, videos, special features, new music releases, and more.