HOMEWORK #7: OKLOU - CRASH Magazine
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HOMEWORK #7: OKLOU

By Alice Butterlin

Most of the world has been in lockdown for over a month now due to the COVID-19 crisis. A moment frozen in time, when people are faced with solitude, grief or anxiety and see their daily lives shift for the better or the worse. In this time of extreme uncertainty, we can also take the time to reflect, create and enjoy the passing of these strange elastic days. We thought it would be interesting to ask musicians around the globe how their creative process has changed during the quarantine and if it has been an inspiring or rather daunting experience… with a quick snapshot of themselves in lockdown. Today, French producer and singer Oklou checks in with us about her daily life and insight on the situation. Her ethereal voice and electronic dreamy ambient productions have charmed the music world since her first EP in 2014, blending influences from 90s R’n’B to Japanese electronica from the 70s. She recently just released a sing-along music video for her new song “SGSY”, go and and check it out while reading her little interview!

How has your daily life changed since lockdown began?

I didn’t really have a daily routine (at least regularly) before the quarantine, so let’s just say that since it went into effect every day has started with a question mark. That’s what’s changed, haha!

Have you had to rethink the way you create?

No, not really. We have to come up with new communication methods, but that’s almost another topic entirely. Concretely speaking, my “way of creating” has not been impacted because I’ve always worked more or less from home. But that’s not where the inspiration happens, which is not a physical place but rather a psychic state, and quarantine has not helped in the slightest in that respect.

Did you realize anything in particular during this time?

I feel like I’m re-centering myself. The period ahead is full of uncertainty and has limited the amount of travel or projects I can do as an artist (concerts, trips, residencies abroad, etc.). Paradoxically enough, limiting my possibilities in this way – at least geographically – has actually freed my mind. I no longer have to make certain choices and I’m quite surprised at how good it has made me feel.

Are you worried?

My worries come from a place of solidarity with all the health issues we’re facing now. Those are the only concerns I have, and yes I’m worried. I’m not worried about anything else. I’m pretty fascinated to see what is happening, and on the subjective level of my own personal development, I actually feel reassured for the reasons I mentioned above.

Do you feel more inspired or paralyzed by the lockdown?

Let’s not kid ourselves: it’s still paralyzing, haha. Even just physically. I think quarantine can be extremely inspiring when the conditions are extreme, too. But right now, the only extreme thing is staying in my comfort zone and hanging in my pajamas 24 hours a day. I don’t necessarily feel inspired right now, to be completely honest. I’m not glowing.

Have you started or returned to any activities that you do not normally have time to do?

I’m cooking more, just like 99% of people in quarantine, I’m sure. And I communicate more with my family. On the other hand, I’m not reading any more. I haven’t watched any more movies or done any more exercise. When I think about that I tell myself, “Ok wow, so it wasn’t about not having enough time.” (Though deep down I already knew this was the case). But I still spend a lot of time thinking about the wonderful things I want to do without actually doing them.

What do you think you’ll take away from this shutdown?

I will remember that spending over a month in quarantine with my best friend was the ultimate test to show that we still get along really well.

How do you see life after this crisis?

I don’t know about that. In terms of Western societies, I hope capitalism will evolve towards a form that is a little more concerned about human beings. I don’t know much about politics, but even without being a genius, I think we’ve all seen on the graphs that where there’s strong GDP, there are also big red dots of COVID-19. Follow me on Twitter for more interesting analysis: @loumar93… Otherwise, if we’re talking about things I know about like my own life, I’m pretty serene. If things really go to shit in the music industry, I’ll buy myself a stone house, an upright piano and an Alfa Romeo 164. That would make me just as happy as being an international star. But I’m not afraid because I’m not alone at all in my life. I’m more afraid for people who are lonelier and more destitute than I am. Pandemic or civil war, I’m sending them strength <3

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