INTERVIEW

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Chloe Moriondo: "The older I get, the more I've learned to just do whatever the hell you want. "

Meg Atkinson | 20/06/2021

It’s 2021 and young musicians are thriving, speaking their truth, pushing boundaries and bring everything to the table. Chloe Moriondo is doing just that and more, from performing ukulele covers on YouTube to her 3 million (and growing) subscribers to a sophomore album with a fuller and heavier pop-punk sound, the 18-year-old from Michigan is making waves. Blood Bunny, out now, is full of unashamedly truthful, fun, and youthful songwriting and makes cathartic listening. 

From the comfort of our bedrooms, halfway across the world from each other, Chloe and I sit and chat via zoom. We compare the weather, confused as to what the temperature would be in Fahrenheit to Celsius. All we know is that it’s weirdly cold in the UK for the end of May and gorgeously hot in Michigan. Chloe tells me when she last came to the UK, on tour, she didn’t have time to see the sights - apart from spending some time at London Zoo.

We digress. The pressing question on my mind is how Chloe’s feeling, now the album it’s out to the world. “I don’t know. It’s really weird. I feel like I’ve been waiting so long for this. And now, it’s just I’m - I’m overwhelmed. But also, I don’t know what to do now. So, I guess I’m gonna go make more stuff. I’m really happy with how people have taken it so far. There’s a lot of really sweet responses that I’ve seen online to it. And it just makes me more excited to make more stuff.”

Chloe just exudes the happiness and confidence I wish I had when I was 18. Only a few years older, I sometimes feel like I’ve lost that  

carefree and youthful perspective that I want back. This confidence is evident in the albums opening track “Rly Don’t Care” a song all about taking ownership and control of your own life despite others opinions and loving yourself relentlessly. I ask Chloe if she has reclaimed the position as the main character of her own life. 

“Oh, for sure. I think I’ve definitely found that. I think the older I get, the more I’ve learned to just do whatever the hell you want. I think that’s kind of what the song is about, and what this album is about, and it’s what I want people to take from it. I want people to feel like they can do whatever the hell they want with themselves, with their art, with their music, with their craft, whatever that may be after hearing it because that’s how I felt making it. I went from 17 to 18 making this album and it was my first real intentional album writing experience. So, it was just really cool and freeform, and I think it fell together really nicely.”

The album feels like a stream of consciousness and speaking truths from the heart for the very first time, she tells me how it feels to lay it all out there, writing like a diary entry. “Writing honestly has always been like the most important thing for me in with my music and being genuine with my lyrics. It’s always come pretty naturally to me to just, kind of, word vomit until I find something that I like. It’s definitely kind of a diary-type situation and I never want any of my lyrics or my songs to sound like they wouldn’t come out of my mouth.”

Linguistically Blood Bunny follows on from her first release Rabbit Hearted highlighting  her fascination with the cotton-tailed creature. “I’ve always been an animal person. I love bunnies. I think they’re so sweet and so cute. I think they’re a sign of good luck if you see them outside. Rabbit Hearted originally came from an old poem, like a really, really old poem that didn’t have an author on it or whatever, that someone posted a clip of on Tumblr, and it said rabbit hearted in it. And I was like ‘I like that a lot.’ I used it because I like animals and I like bunnies and I wanted that to be my first thing. Blood Bunny I feel like it’s a really fun, like gory evolution from that.”

Chloe has transitioned her sound in a way most of us should expect from a young artist still finding and experimenting with their sense of self and sources of inspiration. From soft ukulele covers to pop-punk she tells me about her evolving musical style. “I think I always wanted to make this kind of music. I grew up listening to band sounding music and I started with the ukulele because I think I was very inspired by people like Dodie. I wanted to kind of get into songwriting in a way that wasn’t super, I don’t know, intimidating. I never thought that my music would be able to sound like how it does now, which is pretty crazy, but I think allowing other people to put their hands on my music and actually being okay with working with other people was a huge step that opened a lot of really, really important doors for me with my music that I’m still learning about now. I want to experiment with so many different sounds that I haven’t gotten to yet. I’m only 18, there’s so much to come. I feel like there are infinite possibilities with music and with art so, I’m just excited to see where the stuff will take me now, I guess.”

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This change in sound corresponds with a personal change and growth of a 15-year-old becoming an adult and finding herself as a person.  “I think I’ve really grown into myself a lot in the past few years, and I feel a lot more confident in just taking risks and making choices that I maybe wouldn’t have made before. I don’t know if 15 year old me would think I look freaky or not right now, but either way, I am pretty proud of how far I’ve come. I think that’s another important part of growing, being able to be proud of the whole growth thing because you can’t avoid it at the end of the day.”

Chloe’s desire to make statements with her art has resulted in the production of visually captivating music videos, “ I Eat Boys” and “Bodybag” spring to mind instantly. Both see Moriondo take control of her life by the horns mixing sweet vocals with intense imagery to create powerful feminist statements.“There was definitely a very big inspiration from Jennifer’s Body. I loved that movie and I wanted to make a music video based on it. That’s what the song was. The song was just a lesbian power anthem about reclaiming the fear that you feel from Cat Callers and eating them instead, you know what I mean? Then “Bodybag”. Honestly, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted the visuals for it to be when I wrote it. I mean, some darker images were already kind of popping up when writing it, but it wasn’t like a clear story. But then I figured out that I really want to shave my head and things kind of fell into place after that.”

 

We chat more about sexuality and how our generation feels like a light of hope in changing the way we can all come out and express our sexuality, creating more comfortability and acceptance than ever before. “I think my coming into my sexuality was really important to me when I was younger, and like high school and stuff. It’s not everything about me, I always try to clarify that because I know that some people definitely can make it like that, which is fine. I think some people are very adamant about being gay artists, which I think is awesome, but I also consider myself a lot of other things than a lesbian artist. Don’t get me wrong, I will talk about being a lesbian all the time because I love it and I love that part of me. But I don’t know, I talk about it because I want other people my age and other kids who were around my age when I found out about this stuff about myself to maybe be able to relate to it or take some sort of comfort in it.”

"I really want to collab with ASHNIKKO, I think she's really cool. I don't know if that's a crazy jump for me. But I think she's sick.

“I try my best to be as articulate as I can about the things that I believe in. But also, I try every time I’m talking about things that are important to me to explain that I definitely know that I don’t know everything and that my say isn’t the be all and end all of everything because I’m literally just an 18-year-old kid who has lived in the suburbs her whole life. Like this is my bedroom. I’ve lived here my whole life.”

Hopefully, we are coming out the other side of the pandemic as this issue goes to press and life is somewhat getting back to normal, but for so many COVID-19 will have a lasting mental effect over a physical one. Chloe touches on how the pandemic has affected her relationship with social media over the past year.“I think through the past year or so, it’s helped me find my boundaries with social media and with taking care of myself first before showing others that I’m taking care of myself. I think it’s really important to me to connect with my audience and the people who support me. I think they’re so sweet and so special. I think keeping that space and making sure you feel good about yourself and you’re taking care of yourself first is really important and I’ve learned that through the pandemic.”

Chloe kept herself occupied over lockdowns with a string of huge collaborations, appearing as a feature Will Joseph Cook’s “Be Around Me” and Frances Forever’s “Space Girl”. I ask Chloe who her dream collaborator would be. “I don’t know exactly who I would want to say I’d collab with, you know. Actually, scratch that. I really want to collab with ASHNIKKO. I think she’s really really cool. I don’t know if that’s like a crazy crazy jump for me. But I think she’s so sick.”

One of my favourite tracks on the album has to be ‘Favourite Band’ as we all know someone, we wish we liked as much as our favourite band. This witty and playful track name drops so many bands from Paramore to Pierce the Veil. Chloe tells me all about the love of these bands. “I am obsessed with Paramore and Haley so much. I love every band that I named drop in there like I listened to growing up and have influenced me in some way shape or form. Especially Hayley and Paramore though, they’re so special to me. I remember listening to them on my little iPod Nano and I remember my brother’s listening to Pierce The Veil and then I got into them. Because I have two older brothers, I feel like that’s a whole culture, I don’t know if that makes sense but the culture of being the youngest sibling and having two older brothers, I think can be a rite of passage.”

Gigging? It’s coming back with a vengeance this summer. I’m excited, Chloe’s excited, and she lets me in on her tour plans.

“I’m so excited about it. In the fall, I’m going to be doing a US tour. It’s a pretty long one with a break in between, then next year in March is when it starts. I’m going to be doing some UK dates, I’m gonna get to go to Paris for the first time in my life. I’m gonna get to go to Amsterdam too for the first time in my life. It’s gonna be crazy, it’s gonna be wild. I’m very excited. Very nervous, very anxious, but, excited overall, I’m so excited about it.”

Chloe Moriondo’s New Album ‘Blood Bunny’ is available to buy and stream now. 

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