- 31 May 21
Rising Dublin-born electronic star Chaya discusses living in New York, working with Alfie Allen, and
How has your classical training informed your electronic music, if at all?
I think my love for film music came from my classical background, which has in turn hugely influenced my own music.
But I think the importance of a classical training for young musicians is something that is sometimes overstated.
Classical training (at least when I was a kid) had an emphasis on interpretation, rather than creation. It taught me how to play the notes in sequence, rather than why I was playing the notes in sequence. For that reason, it nearly turned me off music, because after a while I just wanted to muck about and make my own melodies – something that classical training doesn’t really afford.
Later I switched to trying jazz piano, and fell back in love. Because something like jazz teaches you how to create, rather than how to imitate.
When did you properly start to fall in love with electronic music?
I started to properly fall in love with electronic music when I started drinking with friends in an abandoned lot just off the N11 (lol), and then again when I moved to New York and got exposed to its underground disco scene.
It’s not something I’d necessarily encourage (disclaimer!), but getting wasted with your mates and listening to hard techno out the back of some dingy club is where I think a lot of love affairs with our genre began.
The queer party scene in New York was especially influential for me, and totally unique to anything I had experienced before. It was an amazing blend of people from all walks of life, come together with the singular purpose of having fun listening to great music.
No bottle service, no posing for instagram, no fights – just bangin' beats and amazing fun.
Did you have a culture shock when you moved to New York from Dublin? Can you describe what that experience was like?
Yes, kind of! I think New York is the most international-feeling American city I’ve been to – it’s such a great melting pot of cultures, but still feels distinctly Western. Being Irish is so lauded over there that I was fortunate to never really feel lonely, or be short of a drinking buddy.
What was different about it was being in a completely new environment with no immediate friends, and no parents.
They say we’re all products of our environments. But actually, I think you learn a lot about who you really are when you’re taken out of the environment you’re most accustomed to. It gives you the time and space to figure out who you are, and what you want to be, without the noise of your parents, friends, and old routines confusing the message.
Can you talk about working with Alfie Allen and the visual aspect of bringing Chaya to life? How did that collaboration come about?
I was just really lucky to be introduced to Alfie. I have my great management team at Loving Alliance to thank for that, and much more. It’s kind of bizarre to think somebody so lauded in their field would take an interest in working with me, but it just happened, somehow, and I’m really grateful.
It’s always a trip to see someone else’s interpretation of what’s been knocking around in your head for ages. Alfie was able to add another dimension to the tunes, and I’m so thrilled we were able to work together.
• Chaya’s ‘Calling’ single is out now on Warner Music.