A Chat with Chlöe Drallos from Zilched

Chloë Drallos photographed by Craigan Oster

Interview conducted by Jess Dominguez

Zilched is a band that intrigued me from the start. The honest lyrics and sometimes brutal noise-pop embodies teenage angst that will make you nostalgic. The Detroit rocker, Chloë Drallos, collaborated with drummer Nick Russo in releasing the debut album, Doompop, on October 23rd, 2020. Drallos shares the inspirations for her songwriting and creative visions relating to the production of the latest project.

Congrats on the Audiotree live performance and Doompop being almost nine months old. How does it feel having your first full-length album out? 

It’s interesting because it’s not what I would usually imagine since I didn’t go on tour right away or anything. It’s funny to start playing shows now since it’s been out. The last show I played was the first real show. You know, more strangers and people driving from a little farther and it has sold more records. It’s just funny because It’s been out and people have gotten to know it already and now I’m playing shows so it’s less of an introduction than I thought it would have been. 

That’s interesting because I would imagine the delay kind of let people feel and relate to the album more. The album reflects your teen years, what have you learned about growing up from when you first started writing this album to now being under a record label (Young Heavy Souls)?

A lot is very different mentally. Everything I was writing was not stuff I already thought about. They were very new ideas. That’s kind of how I hear the record, like almost every song is this new thing that happened or idea or understanding that I was making and bookmarking. Looking back on the songs I wasn’t intentionally doing that. I was writing like I knew everything and so I think when you write like that you realize more of what you don’t know. Once you’re better at acknowledging what you don’t know you start learning more which I feel like is a difference. 

You’ve talked about your musical influences for Doompop in past interviews, are there any current artists that you are loving that are inspiring your music in a new way?

Yeah definitely! I’m pretty much always listening to new and old people. I had a revival with Grimes in my personal life. People are so 50/50 if they still like her or not for whatever reasons. I really love her newest album and I was listening to that a lot recently and it has been very inspiring. I’ve just been demoing by myself so that one’s been pretty inspiring. There’s more I can just never name them. I love No Joy, they’re really cool… Artists like that where none of it sounds like anything you’ve heard makes it impossible to not get inspired while listening. It’s like “wow I would have never thought you could sing like that over that type of hook” so it’s very cool.

Where did the name Doompop come from? 

I had the title Bluedoom earlier on and that was just because there were so many blue songs and I already decided that was going to be my blue song. I was messing around with titles just for fun and I wanted to use doom because it’s funny and wanted to do something dramatic for a pop album. When I was touring with my friends Nick and Elliot (Nick’s my drummer still) we were just messing around and when we would jam we would have doom moments and doom metal jokes. It was kind of like a running thing. I was just making a bunch of phrases with the word doom and was like, “oh Doompop”, that’s really simple and goes with it quite well.

The name definitely matches the vibe of the album and the cover. I know as well that you paint. Did you make it yourself?

I actually didn’t do the album cover. I had a friend of mine and we’ve never met but have been friends on instagram for years. She’s honestly a really inspiring painter to me and I wanted it to be her skill level not mine. She has a really interesting use of color and makes a lot of vibrant things. I wanted it to be the idea of a really old style portrait but with different colors. There’s like lime green and very electric blues in there, also the blue hair. 

 

The music video for The Knife was released back in March which you self-directed, what was your inspiration behind the song and the music video?

So for the song I was really inspired by three people in particular. Specifically The Jesus and Mary Chain, Fiona Apple, and Hole. I like to use very brutal imagery but also singing about really beautiful things, using that imagery to describe the softer things. There’s a few songs in particular that I was listening to and I was going through something that I was relating to then. I guess writing love songs just does not come naturally to me because I’m much more introspective about those things. So, I use that idea of brutal imagery as like a vehicle to make a love song. Still when I hear it it’s more of a one sided perspective than it is talking to someone. 

With the music video, I wanted to do a dancing video for a long time because I know a few dancers and I just think those are always great music videos. I definitely wanted to have blood in the music video (for obvious reasons) and I wanted it to be really raw and not too stylized, which was the idea I had at first. Then someone reached out to me asking if I needed help on any projects because they wanted to keep busy. He brought up that he wanted to work at the drive in so immediately that gave me all the other ideas. Of course it would be awesome to actually be in front of the projector but… We could not do that. So, I got to make it kind of more personal by piecing together different scenes and colors of everything that I thought went with the music video and song. There’s a few different movies in there like Fire Walk With Me, Fire Starter, and Carnival of Souls… There’s some broadcast footage of the church burnings in Norway like mayhem and the black metal scene when they were burning churches. All those things, again, are brutal with the romantic. Not like there’s that much romance but it was also just for fun! 

It sounds like it was really fun to make. The imagery is super cool especially when the clips are shown behind you with the projector.  How have your ties to the DIY Detroit Music scene inspired your music?

More than anything just getting to play shows. Of course aside from the individual people I met that have inspired me… But it’s definitely playing music with a crowd in mind and getting louder. I didn’t start out writing punk music alone, I was writing more closely to what i’m doing currently but when you do D.I.Y you end up in the punk scene. That has definitely made me more excited about louder, faster music, not that i’m necessarily doing that now, but I think that’s the biggest impact it’s had on me.

Now I know things are slowly starting to open up, have you been planning tour dates at all?

 I really hope to by fall have a tour planned for the record! I honestly already have most of the second record done but i’m not doing anything with that until I get to tour the other one. 

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Make sure to catch Zilched open for Been Stellar and Catcher 7/24 at Schubas Tavern. Stream the debut album on Bandcamp and other streaming platforms!