Posted: by The Editor
One of the most daunting aspects of growing older is trying to cement an identity for yourself. We spend the majority of our youth fervently searching for community and trying on different personalities until we finally stumble into something that authentically feels like home – sprinkling in tiny pieces of former selves to create something whole. Chloe Moriondo is no stranger to this concept. The fresh-faced 20-year-old singer has been on a kaleidoscopic journey of self-discovery throughout her life and career, never standing still long enough to feel pigeonholed, but just long enough to make sure that she’s captured the best parts of the experiences that helped to shape those versions of herself.
Career-wise, it’s clear that Moriondo has her eyes set on anything but complacency. Bouncing around from the saccharine and mousey bedroom-pop of her debut, Rabbit Hearted, to the blood-soaked and angsty pop-punk of it’s successor, Blood Bunny, was our first real foray into her willingness to shed her skin for the sake of her art, but it’s far from the last. While touring with Ashnikko in support of Blood Bunny, Moriondo debuted a small handful of new songs that would serve as the breadcrumbs of what was to come for the performer. One of these songs was “Sammy,” an acoustic love song dedicated to her dog, which would inform the brief return to her debut that was the Puppy Luv EP released earlier this year. The other was “Hell Hounds,” a chaotic departure from her earlier work that embraced the absurdity and sheen of pop music. This would go on to inform her third studio-album, Suckerpunch, which will be released on October 7th by Public Consumption/Fueled By Ramen.
Suckerpunch is exactly what it promises to be – a shock to the senses that will knock you down and leave you seeing stars. Sonically, the album couldn’t feel further removed from her previous works (with the exception of one-off singles “Dizzy” and “Not Ok”) but there’s something about it that feels authentic to who Chloe Moriondo is in 2022. The angst that fueled Blood Bunny is still present throughout; channeled now into bombastic moments of hyper-pop crescendo in tracks like “Knockout,” “Hell Hounds,” and “Hotel for Clowns,” and the sweetness of Rabbit Hearted has found its way into songs like lead single “Fruity” and “Heart Eyes.” There are moments that feel unique to this album where she allows for her sense of humor and perspective on stardom to shine through in a way that we’ve never really seen from her before. She’s managed to channel her anger, disappointment, the melodrama of young love, and joie de vivre into a body of work that best showcases all of these emotions.
Suckerpunch is a bold and bratty, one-of-a-kind masterclass in pop music that knows better than to take itself too seriously.
First of all — we’re in the sucker punch era for Chloe Moriondo!! How would you describe this era in your career and the energy you’re bringing to it?
Chloe: I would say that this is a major pivot in my career, at least in the sound. I’m not sure where else I can say yet other than maybe the sound and the visuals. I have changed a lot really quickly in the past couple of years, and more specifically in the last big handful of years, you know? I’m 19 turning 20 and I think I would describe the energy that I’m bringing to this album as a lot stronger. I think this album [Suckerpunch] is a lot more confident and is a lot more in your face than Blood Bunny is. I also think it was a lot more fun because I had more creative freedom with this album than in any previous work, which is something that I want to continue with each new thing that I create. I’m just really proud of how well this album reflects the change in the sound of the music that I want to listen to and want to make and the visuals that I want to create in people’s heads, you know?
I get HEAVY 2009 pop vibes from the album — both mainstream and neon, who were your biggest influences when it came to the sound of Suckerpunch?
Chloe: I was listening to a lot of nostalgic pop — like stuff that I was listening to in the backseat of my parent’s car growing up. Like it was very much late 2000s and early 2010s pop – a lot of old Britney Spears, Kesha, and even old Katy Perry at times. Lady Gaga’s The Fame is the album of my entire life, so I was listening to that a lot more frequently while making this album because I feel like that is one of the best pop albums of all time, so I was listening to that a lot while working on the album. That covers a lot of the nostalgic influence, but I was also listening to some newer artists that I think are really embodying that nostalgic feeling, at least for me. I really like Underscores, I think they’re making really cool music. Ashnikko is also incredible! I just did a tour with her just last year, and I love them.
Was there one song in particular that you wrote that eventually laid the framework for Sucker Punch or were you consciously working toward an altogether new sound?
Chloe: I think I was consciously working towards a new sound in general before I started new sessions at the beginning of the touring period for Blood Bunny. I had a lot of new stuff to make and wanted to start something new because I was excited and wanted to try a new sound. I think it started with “Hell Hounds,” honestly. That was the first song written in this vein and I eventually built an entire album and like weird new sonic world around it. It was a really fun process and the live show around it was really fun to make as well. It’s been difficult and challenging but in a great way.
You can definitely feel that energy as you listen to the album – it feels like you were having so much fun trying something new, but it still feels authentic.
Chloe: Thank you! That really means a lot. Sometimes, I get nervous that people will think that because the sound is so different that this isn’t genuine when the reality is that I wrote all of these songs and I made sure that they all wanted to sound exactly the way that I wanted them to sound. I made sure that the lyrics felt like something that would come out of my mouth naturally in a live setting – whether that be from me or a characterized version of myself, which is what I think a lot of this album is. I want to be comfortable with it no matter what and I want it to sound like pieces of me. I hope people will see that.
How different, if at all, was the writing process this time around from your previous works?
Chloe: It honestly wasn’t that different! I worked with a lot of the same people which made me feel much more comfortable when it comes to experimenting with my sound in this way. One of the producers who made a huge chunk of this album, David Pramik, hadn’t really experimented too much with this sound either. So we were kind of diving into this together, but it was such a fun process that made some really great music that I’m really proud of. So it felt really natural to me. I think I let songwriters put a little bit more of a touch into my music than I previously did.
In previous sessions, it would mostly be me writing and a producer sort of producing around me and this time around it was a bit more collaborative. I still felt like I was the one in control, which meant a lot to me, and it just felt natural. Actually, I took a really big writing trip to Joshua Tree, which I hadn’t heard of before my A&R pitched this writing trip to me, and I think a lot of the best songs on the album came from that trip. That was with David Pramik and Steph Jones, and I’d worked with both of them before on songs like “Body Bag” and so many other great Blood Bunny Songs. David Pramik worked on “I Want to be With You” so he’s been with me like…since the beginning. It felt comfortable and I felt really grounded and allowed me to do what felt good for me.
At this point, it’s clear that you’re a chameleon of an artist and can successfully adapt to just about any style of music. I commend you on the fact that regardless of style, the songs always feel authentically like a Chloe Moriondo song. What do you think it is about your songwriting style that transcends genre the way that it does?
Chloe: I think a lot of the time it’s just…I kind of tend to beat myself up about it, but it’s also what makes my music a lot more authentically me and that’s the fact that I don’t know too much, technically, about songwriting. I just go with it and write what sounds and feels good to me. I’m not, like, super technically knowledgeable about music and I just write like I’m drunk and edit like I’m sober which is why I’m so comfortable experimenting and putting weird words in songs and being weirdly conversational or putting weird shit in a song because I’m allowed to and it’s my song. I’ve never felt restricted in that way, but I think a lot of music is about how it feels and sounds, not about the technicality of how I wrote it. It might not be super conventional, but it’s fun.
One of my favorite characteristics of this record is that you weren’t afraid to just go there and give us pop songs that celebrate the silliness of pop songs. Are there any specific moments that you feel really capture the energy of the record?
Chloe: Oh, my god! I feel like there is so much absurd, brash, and abrasive pop on this album that I really wanted to be able to have fun with. I think “Popstar” is one of the most, like, silly pop songs, and is one of the best because of that. That’s why it’s the leading track on the album, I really wanted people to immediately know what the tone of this album is, what I wanted the energy to be, and to prepare them for an experience that is sometimes crazy and silly, and catchy to people. I really wanted to make something very much pop in many different ways. I wanted to explore the vulnerability of that as well, but to start off with something absurd and fun.
I think that vision is fully realized. One of my favorite songs in that vein on the album is “Celebrity” and I love how fully realized each of the “characters” on this album are. It creates such vivid imagery for the live show.
Chloe: Slay! No, that is literally everything to me.
I think I saw you tweet something about the next project being a little darker. Are there any other sounds that you’re looking to explore?
Chloe: I want to roll with this energy that I have right now. Suckerpunch is a very high energy album, even in the lows, and I want to keep that energy but make it darker. I want to make it more subdued in a couple ways. My girlfriend actually told me that I should maybe take it in a more Crystal Castles direction and something in my brain just clicked because that stuff is so high energy, but also dark. I just love Alice Glass and I think that everything that she does is incredible.
I cannot believe you just said Crystal Castles. I have not thought about that band in…a decade? I used to be obsessed with them back in the MySpace days.
Chloe: Well, it’s about to come back! [laughs] My brothers were obsessed with them and I kind of want to make something in that vein – something that’s dark and emotional but still high energy.
What do you feel you’ve conveyed with this record that you couldn’t on previous releases? I know we talked about coming into this one with more confidence, butwas there anything else you feel like you were able to do with Suckerpunch that you couldn’t before?
Chloe: I think I was allowed to get a lot angrier on this album. I just allowed myself to be a lot more dramatic and extravagant with my feelings and the visuals and with the characters. I allowed myself to get a lot more vulnerable in some super embarrassing ways that I think are super important for me to share with the world. I’m excited to share and convey these feelings with the world in a way that I feel like I haven’t been able to, fully, until now.
Hyperpop is a genre that is usually rife with collaboration. In a dream world where the Suckerpunch Remix album gets released, who are some artists you would like to see on these songs with you?
Chloe: Oh, my goodness. I already have a couple remixes in line that I’m super excited about but I’m not gonna share them now because they’re so exciting and I don’t want to spoil them. However, if I could have some dream remixes that aren’t spoiling anything, I would really love to see Oscar Scheller remix these songs, Dorian Electra, and I don’t know if Quinn does remixes, but I’ve been listening to their new stuff a lot and think something special could be done if she does. There are endless opportunities because there are so many incredible producers — another dream would be to have an A.G. Cook remix on ANY of my songs. I have lots of producers that I’m obsessed with and would love to hear their takes on my songs in any way possible. I think the possibilities are just truly endless when someone has a specific vision and all of the ingredients in front of them to make something special.
And I think you’re living proof of that – just look at this extensive and varied body of work. Congratulations again on Suckerpunch! I’m so excited to see where this record brings you.
Chloe: Thank you!
Suckerpunch is out October 7th on Public Consumption/Fueled By Ramen and can be pre-ordered/pre-saved here.
Joel Funk | @joelfunkii
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