Chloe Lula & Ireen Amnes debut on Tresor with split EP ‘Synergy’
A dynamic-power duo, authentic and driven in their own way, Chloe Lula and Ireen Amnes are two versatile artists that have paved their way in the Berlin techno scene. They met in 2019, and have collaborated and performed together ever since. This year they release ‘ Synergy’ via Tresor records – their first ever record. Ireen Amnes creations are more centered in somber-descending murky and psychedelic electro. Chloe Lula’s compositions on the other hand, are focused on rolling techno and breakbeat inspired tracks with EBM influences.
You met in the obscure facet of Berlin’s techno scene in 2019. With distinct styles of music, Ireen Amnes provides deep atmospherics while Chloe Lula provides a more dancefloor-oriented sound design. What motivated you to collaborate together?
CHLOE LULA: Ireen and I have been good friends ever since we met in 2019, when Ireen first moved to Berlin. We always operated in similar music circles and started playing back-to-back during lockdown just for fun. That’s when the idea of collaborating more closely really started. Even though we have quite different music sensibilities in some ways—Ireen tends to like more experimental music and fast tempos, while I like more restrained and stripped-back sound design—we’ve found that we balance each other out in the studio and behind the decks.
IREEN AMNES: Our shared passion for similar sonorities, of course, but we see this collaboration as an organic progression from our friendship. Throughout the years, we have supported each other through many different stages of our personal and creative lives, and I see this release as another adventure we are undertaking together.
Can you tell us how you both started your musical journey and a bit about your background?
CHLOE LULA: I started out as a classical cellist when I was 8 years old. I went to a music school and played seriously until I was 18, at which point I became pretty disillusioned with the rigidity of classical music training and decided not to pursue it professionally. It was around that time that I also discovered electronic music, and I started going to raves in San Francisco, where I grew up, and then DJing, starting a record label, and thowing my own parties in university. After spending a semester abroad in Berlin when I was 20, I totally fell in love with the Berghain sound around that time and the dark ambient / experimental labels like Downwards and Blackest Ever Black that were totally at their heyday. I decided to relocate permanently and build a career around electronic music doing anything I could—working in labels, writing about music, and playing in clubs. I’m now returning back to the cello and trying to fuse this side of my life with my experiences in club music production, which has brought me so much inspiration and new ideas for the future!
IREEN AMNES: My musical journey started in my teenage years playing in bands. After finishing high school, I moved to London and took a more academic direction. It was then that I began learning and experimenting with DAW and developed a strong interest in electronic music production. Currently, this has become my main focus, but I also have a desire to start my own metal band again.
Congratulations on your new EP ‘Synergy’ out on Tresor Records. This project embodies the work you’ve created thus far, a juxtaposition of breaks, electro, and deep rolling techno, with an elegant essence. How would you describe the creative process behind its making?
CHLOE LULA: My tracks on the EP are a combination of newer and older material; “Event Horizon” came to me last fall, and I worked on it over the course of a few months. “Timeshift” is actually from a very old demo of mine that Ireen always said she loved because it reminded her of Regis (the ultimate compliment!). I took the synth hook from that first version and reworked it into something more contemporary. “Together,” the digital bonus, might actually be my favorite in that has the synth hook. I’m a sucker for a good melody! All in all I think they’re really representative of where I am right now with club music, and I tried to bring my background in darker, atmospheric EBM into a more modern techno framework.
IREEN AMNES: My process always begins with a studio jam and then multi-track recording. However, “Our Bodies” and “Fragments of Desire” are both the result of heavy audio manipulation and editing in contrast to “6AM” which is a simple and straightforward jam recorded on my four-track tape machine.
What values, ideas, or messages do you want to convey with ‘Synergy’?
CHLOE LULA: Even though we made these tracks separately, sharing the Synergy EP with Ireen has been about honoring our friendship and creative partnership. I love collaborations in general and making music with other people, so this was very much part of the ethos of the project for me. After this I think Ireen and I will keep working more together, so stay tuned!
IREEN AMNES: From my perspective, musically, I wanted to showcase different influences of my artistic persona. I am aware that each release I’ve done to date is different from one another, but my wish is to move away from the concept of belonging to a certain style or category. Instead, I follow what is in my head during a certain period of my life and try to bring it to life through music.
What are the core values that both of you stand for as artists and professionals in the techno music scene?
CHLOE LULA: I’m all about community, collaboration, and mutual support, especially among women. These things give me life and purpose, and my hope is to get involved in more projects that have these ideals at their core. I sometimes feel like this it’s missing in Berlin, but it seems like there’s a new wave of people in the industry who want to restore how we connect with each other in the techno scene.
IREEN AMNES: Being humble and hardworking. I strongly dislike ego driven personalities which unfortunately represent the majority of the scene.
In your personal experience, how is the Berlin techno scene evolving and shaping? What are some changes you’ve noticed since you both started?
CHLOE LULA: The scene is so saturated with DJs and producers now, and there are also so many different subgenres of techno that have splintered off and become their own scenes. I think this is great in some ways, especially since it’s allowed a lot of new and unheard voices to contribute to our ecosystem, but it can also feel overwhelming and has put a higher value on other attributes that make you stand out as an artist (e.g. having a special look, online personality, etc). I think there are still a lot of people keeping it real, but there’s also this new emphasis on superficiality that makes me feel a little sad and frustrated, though I also realize it’s part of the process of a genre becoming more mainstream.
IREEN AMNES: There is a different wave of music dominating the scene, more awareness and attention on inclusivity and supporting the POC and LGBTQIA+ community.
When producing music, what are some of your favorite music gear (drum machines, synths, VST plugins, programs, etc.) that are essential for your productions?
CHLOE LULA: I used to use a lot of hardware but am mostly working in the box these days. An essential for me is Eventide reverb (I love the plugins and the H9 pedal). I also love everything that Fabfilter makes, and the Arturia Pigments wavetable synth for coming up with quick melodies and rhythmic ideas.
IREEN AMNES: In summary, my go-to gear for creating melodic parts includes MS20, Juno 6, and Access Virus C. For grooves, I rely on Roland 707, Syncussion, Moog DFAM, and SOMA Pulsar. Roland Sh01 and the Vermona Mono Lancet are my preferred choices for bass lines. The only soft synth I use is Reaktor 6, and when it comes to effects, I love the Soundtoys Bundle and the Eventide H3000.
How does the summer look for both of you? Where can we find you playing, perhaps in the Netherlands soon?
CHLOE LULA: I’ll be in Amsterdam for Dekmantel where I’ll be teaching a workshop and moderating some panels and interviews (I am a full-time music journalist with RA). I’ll also be doing my first Asia tour, playing in Shanghai and Seoul, as well as Brno, Munich, and La Coruna before Septemer. It’s a lot but I can’t wait!
IREEN AMNES: In July, after the Tresor Records Night where Chloe and I closed Globus with a fun b2b set, I will be making my Greek debut in Athens alongside PI Electronics’ label boss 3.12. On August 12th, I will be part of the Kiek Beyond Festival. I hope to be back in the Netherlands very soon!
Are there any upcoming projects you’d like to share with us (not only in music)?
CHLOE LULA: I have more coming up with the cello and even joined a cello ensemble! I’m in the midst of completing an album and live show that will debut in the fall. I’m also working with the boutique synth company Koma Electronics on making a custom feedback instrument that I’ll use in my productions as I keep integrating more instrumentals. Otherwise, I have a couple more collaborations kicking off with Tresor, this time in an editorial capacity. More news on the way soon:)
IREEN AMNES: I am currently working on the recording of my second album, which has been in the works for the past couple of years. There’s also the debut release of s.a.t.i.n. (my project with Infinity Division) and more exciting projects with my label and event series, Under My Feet. Outside of the music universe, I am trying to dedicate more time to tattooing.
Pictures by Helge Mundt