D//E Interviews: Choux

There is a new notable act in the dreampop map, one whose members have already cut their teeth on other successful projects. The chemistry between writer, keyboardist and vocalist Lizzie Carolan - based in Montreal, and multi-instrumentalist Jordan Gatesmith - based in Minneapolis, is palpable, and has just produced a strong debut EP, Super Moon, which is independently released.

Lizzie and Jordan talk to D//E about the band, their first release and more.

How different is Choux compared to your previous project, Total Babe?

Jordan: In Total Babe, Lizzie and I were like “the band”. Clara Salyer led the project and we filled in all the blanks. In Choux, Lizzie has taken the role of leader and I continue to fill in the blanks. I think this project is a more realized vision of music that Lizzie and I have inside of us. It feels like we’re coming into our own.

Lizzie: The sound is also quite different, Total Babe was more of a sweet and peppy indie pop band and Choux is more slowed down and reverbed out in comparison.

Jordan: It’s true. We are verging on slowcore.

Are there any parallels between Choux and Jordan's other project's, Howler and Wellness?

Jordan: It’s a far cry from Howler. But I think parts of Choux have grown from Wellness, perhaps in the mood and texture of my playing. 

Lizzie: I love Howler and Wellness!

Jordan: We are sitting in silence on Zoom and typing this. It’s awesome.

You've worked on the music of Choux through long-distance collaboration for a while. How limiting is that and how did the distance affect what you wanted to achieve creatively?

Jordan: It was an interesting and arduous process, but I wouldn’t say it was limiting. A lot of the songs were just fragments that had stumped one or the other of us. Sending ideas to Lizzie or having her send me ideas helped us to get ears and perspective on whatever it was we were working on. It allowed me to take a step back and consider new possibilities. 

How long did it take to fully realize Super Moon, and how did you know when it was completed?

Lizzie: This project has been incubating for a while and some of the original demos we have are 5-6 years old. The pandemic was the push we needed to really put things in motion and it was just this spring and summer that we finalized the songs and recorded them. We work best with deadlines otherwise we’d always find something to change or add on so we hired our publicist Mallika Guhan, set the release date, and worked in the time that we had to complete everything. 

The new EP obviously pulls from psychedelic dreampop, and feels like something that echoes past greats like Cocteau Twins. Are there any other influences which are not so apparently noticeable?

Lizzie: Jordan just finally started watching Buffy and Angel this year around the time that we were finalizing some of the songs. I think the brooding 90s feel of those shows and the music featured in them is present through this EP, especially in Underwater Dreams. We are also mega fans of Enya and Prince - the Prince-spiration definitely isn’t noticeable in the album, but there’s a heavy dose of Enya. I’ve also been into 70s folk lately and I think some of that influence comes through in Thirteen.

Have you ever played live as Choux? Do you think you'll be able to do so any time soon? or has the pandemic completely wrecked that part of the music industry?

Lizzie: We haven’t had the opportunity to play live as Choux yet, but are really hoping that’s an option in the near future. The pandemic has definitely created some huge problems for musicians and venues but it seems like there are a lot of creative ways being found to adapt and find ways to stay afloat. To quote Black Sabbath, never say die! I have hope that we’ll all be back playing and attending shows and supporting our favorite venues soon.

Jordan: Starting a band in the plague year is not indicative to playing live. We would love to play live, I’m thinking by our fourth or fifth record...

Do you try to make the most out of quarantine in a creative manner? 

Lizzie: Yes, and like most people are probably experiencing, the motivation definitely comes and goes. I’ve been taking regular walks in my neighborhood in Montreal, which have been inspiring some new song ideas. My winter quarantine project is to get a full-sized keyboard and get more into technical piano skills and also keep writing material for Choux.

Jordan: I spend a lot of time “shredding the Bach” on piano. It’s all I do for fun now. I’m also terrible at it FYI.

What comes next for the band after the EP's release?

Lizzie: We plan on releasing another EP next year, we have a few songs and cover ideas already in the mix. Based on the current state of the world, we’ll likely record at a distance again. We figured out a pretty slick system this time around. We also plan on releasing a full length in the next few years and it would be great to record that in the same location, we’ll see what the future holds!

Jordan: I’m excited to get back to writing. 

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