We might say that the Claxy story began in the 1990s. Long before the project was born, the diversity of Rio de Janeiro served as stepping stones to its artistic development. Formed by singer/composer/pianist Clara Valente, and musical producer/drummer Gui Gautreaux, Claxy drinks from MPB (Brazilian Popular Music) influences, adds delicious cosmopolitan flavours of afrobeat and pop and pours the mixture over electronic music.
Their first release is a perfect reflection of these characteristics. “Out Of Veil“, an EP signed by the Italian label Natura Viva, evokes melancholic feelings and sounds like poetry, bringing tones of mystery, lightness and depth. More recently, they released “Every Road”, an independent single that reinforces all the tenderness and sentimentality present in their DNA.
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We talk to the duo and give you the opportunity to get to know this excellent electronic music project.
Clara, Guilherme! How are you?
Thank you for having us.
You have a well-established background in Brazilian music, mainly because of the old Clara Valente project. Let’s go a little further, we want to know: what is Claxy? How did the project come about?
Claxy: Claxy literally stems from us coming together as a duo. You can even look from this perspective: Cla+XY, which represents Gui (a male chromosome) coming onboard, or better said, to the forefront of the stage by Clara’s side.
In hindsight, the reason for its emergence can sound like a natural development. It gave us a platform to express what we couldn’t before. We went to live abroad in Germany and were bombarded with new stimuli. It took a while, but Claxy is a direct product of processing all that out together with our background.
You perform in the live act format, an approach that tends to arouse a lot of curiosity, as it has a high level of complexity compared to the DJ set format. As a duo, it is necessary to have great harmony for this fluidity to happen. What has motivated you to go on this project together? What are the influences that boost this idea?
Over the years, electronica caught our attention more and more. The new dimensions and possibilities brought by affordable analog and digital gear were irresistible to us. It sounded possible to create ethereal soundscapes without breaking the bank.
Also, we come from live music. For us, it was always clear that we wanted to create our own live set. And influences like Monolink, HVOB, Ólafur Arnalds, and RY X inspired us to pursue that experimental search. And we feel we are just beginning it.
Reading and listening to Claxy, we realized the energy of Brazilian music linked to Downtempo, which transcends the vocals in Portuguese. Is that something you guys seek when creating, besides a key point about Claxy’s sound identity?
We are so glad you caught that. Thanks! And you are right. We do pursue that infusion of Brazilian music in our project. This is paramount to us and goes beyond Brazil being the place we come from. Musically speaking, it is more like a place we always go back to (not only during Europe’s winter :p).
We aspire to transcend the stereotypical portrait of Brazilian music. Claxy is our take on updating sonics to the sublime melodies and rhythms of our country.
Shakespeare would say: If music is the food of love, don’t stop playing. Do you agree? What is it like to be married and partner in work for so many years? How do you balance your personal and professional life to make things flow?
We totally agree with the Bard! As you said, we’ve been together for so long, developing our communication over the years, that it just makes sense to do it all together.
It may sound counterintuitive, but there’s no balance of personal and professional. It’s more like a flow between states, all meshed up. Lots of challenges come up, but we do see our relationship as our secret power. 🙂
The pandemic has affected the creative industry in unimaginable ways, but despite all the negative bias, the moment at home also brought an opportunity to review and renewal for some artists. How was this phase for you?
Yes. We agree 100%. It gave us a unique opportunity to look within. Actually, experimenting with Claxy started a couple of months before the first wave. So we kind of got lucky that we had something challenging and exciting to focus on. It definitely helped us go through. Also, none from our inner circle of friends and family got badly ill, so that was (and still is) the true blessing.
Still on this topic: on social media it’s possible to notice that you are already on tour in Germany. How is this return going? How does it feel to be back? How about the reception of the audience?
It is both great and weird at the same time. A mixture of relief and awkwardness. We felt more exposed than ever to perform live again after so many months. But also with a stronger inner drive to deliver the best we can to the audience. The world has changed. We changed. And so should our performances and projects.
This could also extend to the audience reception. Dancing is still prohibited in some venues. It was fascinating to witness people dancing without moving, almost like pulsing. We had quite emotional reactions from people after these performances. It seems many of us are open to connect one layer deeper after all that has happened.
Your debut EP was signed by the Italian Natura Viva, a world-renowned label. What was it like to be able to make a debut like that? How about upcoming releases, what can you anticipate?
That was unexpected, to say the least. Actually, Gui did not want to send those songs to a label. They were the first we ever did in the electronic genre. Glad we went forward and got such great feedback from Natura Viva right from the start.
Lots of stuff to release and share, guys! Our new single Every Road is out now. It’s our mantra for these days, and we’re having lots of fun playing it live. We also have a new EP from Natura Viva coming up on the 24th of September. Excited about this one as it comes with a beautiful remix from the Austrian duo Der Effekt. We loved how they flipped our track.
There is a convergence between the songs with visual communication, through capsules and music videos. Is it important for you to tell the story within the visual layer? Why?
A visual layer deepens our touch with our own art. It serves as a support platform to our senses and to what we want to express. Sometimes it even opens up a new dimension that we haven’t realized before. This keeps things alive and brings a fresh take to our live performances. We like to see it all as an evolving organism. Also, Clara has lots of fun doing it!
How about plans for an album, how is it? Is there a more concrete forecast for the release? Thanks!
That’s the epitome of our evolving live system we mentioned above! 😉 Really… We are starting to flesh many ideas out. Bringing the live set together this summer gave us an immense push in our aspirations. The next months await us to delve deeper into our soundscapes. Maybe we can manage to pull something out from there for next year.
Thanks for having us in this conversation. It was fun! Hope to see you all soon.