Chloe Day doesn’t know how to describe trip-hop. You might find that odd, considering she’s known throughout the World Wide Web for her trip-hop, goth and industrial music. Still, she knows it when she hears it.
Trip-hop isn’t all Chloe plays, though her ballads “Dirty Little Secret” and “Vampire Song” are great examples coming from a girl who can’t describe it. Her latest album, Pixie Runway, opens with her undefinable sounds of trip-hop, but is followed by what’s clearly a jazz style in “Spoon,” a song Chloe says came to her in a dream. “There was no question it was a jazz song,” she says.
Chloe got her first guitar while hitchhiking through Mexico--a trip she took on a whim after an overcast drive through Zion National Park. She says she remembers driving into Mexico’s central desert with her headlights off while listening to “Rabbit In Your Headlights” by Unkle. Every road trip has a different song, she says, and each song brings back the memories.
She’s on the road again, touring in support of her latest release and accumulating songs along the way like postcards. Her aural photo album includes snapshots of a scratched Eagle Eye Cherry album she listened to before she ran out of gas on the way to Albuquerque and “Wasting Time” by Jack Johnson, which played in the background during a cross-median maneuver to bypass a car accident. So far on this tour, she has yet to make a gig on time, but hasn’t missed a show. Chloe doesn’t mind the stress; she says it makes her perform better.
More than 30 musicians joined Chloe in recording Pixie Runway, but when it’s time to take the stage, Chloe’s all by herself. With no setlist in mind, she takes her acoustic guitar, a computer loaded with electronic background music and some visual effects and lets the show unfold. “I never go into a show with a setlist,” she says. “You never know what [the show’s] going to be like.” She says her choice of songs is based on the audience. “I want people to feel like they had a part,” she says.