Essentials… with ECHLO
Each week, Essentials allows Canadian musicians to share the things that have helped get them through the pandemic, and why they still can’t live without them. Here are the choices of the artist formerly known as Chloe Charles.
By Jason Schneider
Each week, Essentials allows Canadian musicians to share the things that have helped get them through the pandemic, and why they still can’t live without them.
In her latest single, Puppeteer, Toronto artist ECHLO tells the story of unintentional manipulation within a past romantic relationship. Seamlessly blending atmospheric dark pop, electronica, and trip hop, the mesmerizing track from her forthcoming album I Was I comments on how easy it is to fall into the role of puppet or puppet master both in personal relationships and our greater society.
It’s the latest step in the evolution of ECHLO, who previously recorded under her birth name, Chloe Charles, building an international reputation through a clutch of acclaimed jazz and folk-infused albums and EPs. She toured extensively, performing upwards of 1,200 shows across ten countries, while garnering praise from Rolling Stone, Billboard and other notable outlets. While the path of least resistance would have meant she continued happily travelling that road, she felt a deeper yearning to shake things up.
In that spirit, Charles assumed the ECHLO moniker in 2018 with the release of the single, Head High, and the album Echolocation. She describes the difference between her two personas as being a contrast between her natural introspection and ECHLO being more outspoken, less reserved and unapologetic about certain concepts and feelings.
The video for Puppeteer is indicative of ECHLO’s history of being born into the nexus of the music and visual arts worlds. As the granddaughter of renowned Canadian artist John Richmond, she assisted her grandfather in the creation of his work from as early as age 9, while also learning her distinct guitar picking style from her mother, Victoria. Meanwhile, her father Noel, who was a successful and gregarious international nightclub owner married to John Lennon’s first wife Cynthia, brought Charles closer to her stepbrother, Julian Lennon, and in turn, a deeper understanding of the music of The Beatles.
Now with Puppeteer, ECHLO reveals the influence of Portishead, Massive Attack, and other trip-hop acts of her youth, all coming together to create a hypnotic and pulsating piece that demonstrates she is pulling the right strings. To hear more, go to echlomusic.com.
Essential Album: Sevdaliza, ISON (Twisted Elegance, 2017)
I fell in love with Sevdaliza when I fell upon this album a couple of years ago. Her themes are dark and spiritual, as well as in your face, poetic and revealing. I love the sparse and dramatic production, her deep mature voice, her experimental nature, the warm bass, empty spaces and bright beats.
Essential Podcast: Strangers (Hosted by Lea Thau)
My mom introduced me to Strangers. It's a podcast that recounts unbelievable stories of individuals. The first one I listened to was about a girl who found out her father had murdered her grandmother. He had told his daughter that the grandmother had fallen and asked her to clean up the mess so his wife wouldn't see it. Only in his old age did he admit to it. I guess I'm a bit of a voyeur and love to be let into the lives of others. But it reminds me that we all have our stuff to deal with.
Essential TV: Law & Order (NBC, 1990-present?)
The truth is, Law & Order will always be my number one show. I grew up watching it with my Nana and mom and somehow it became a comforting presence in my life. Yes, I know that is odd. It's become the perfect sleeping pill, lulling me into oblivion, requiring little attention. The bonus is that because I never get through an entire episode, I always discover something new. Law & Order is my blankie.
Essential Movie: Jaws (1975)
My hubby has got me watching old classics. We watched Jaws the other night and whoa, it is still terrifying. I don't think I'll be able to swim in the ocean again. That movie definitely stands the test of time. I can't even imagine how frightened people were when it came out. On a side note, he also got me to watch Porky's, which I'd never even heard of. I’ll admit it was pretty hilarious, although I'm not sure how it hasn't been ‘cancelled’ yet.