- Words Ellie Jackson
- Photography Jade Sadler
Notion pulls up a bar stool to join spill tab, where paradox-drenched melodies explore every motion.
As ethereal as it is gritty, and as lighthearted as it is deep to the core, spill tab has landed, serving up multi-genre bedroom beats. The moniker of Claire Chicha, spill tab is a French Korean American singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, now pouring distinctive, duality-drenched tracks with producer David Marinelli straight out of LA.
spill tabs entrance to the scene landed last year, with her critically acclaimed Oatmilk EP, with highlight tracks “Santé”, “Cotton Candy” and “Name” that bagged over 20 million streams and multiple cover spots to Spotify’s beloved Lorem indie playlist. Not only that, but the early EP’s success also prompted spill tab’s invitation to appear in session for VEVO’s DSCVR Artists To Watch 2021.
But spill tab is spurring more than a watch, but a fixation on her compulsive and visceral beats. Her upcoming six-track EP matches silky melodies with dicey punch, including the erratic ‘PISTOLWHIP’ that pairs heartbreak with dance beats, citing the line, “if you cut me loose, I’ll never get to say I fixed you”. Also on the EP comes “Indecisive”, a track paradoxically decisive in its dub beats and assertions, and “Anybody Else”, the head-first revel in love that is as ‘hopeless’ and all-encompassing as it is completely unshakeable.
spill tab’s magnetism now steps beyond her EPs, with an invitation from Metronomy to lead a track (vocals, lyrics and production elements) on their recent surprise EP, ‘Posse’. She’ll also tour this autumn with both Jawny and EP collaborator, Gus Dapperton; an artist Claire previously sold merch for before forming spill tab, bringing her full circle. Back to the present though, it’s suffice to say that spill tab is brimming, with a sound, a voice and a feeling that there is much, much more to come.
How did you land on the name spill tab?
The first summer marinelli and I started hanging out and making music, we were also going to a shit ton of shows in LA and subsequently drinking so much alcohol. One of his friends was a bartender and explained how a spill tab is a bar tab designated for spilled drinks but mostly for giving free drinks to friends and I found that so freaking cute.
Tell us about your journey into making music. How did you get where you are today?
So many people have influenced and helped me along the way, and I’ve been so lucky to have music be a part of my upbringing as well. I think it took me a long time to find my voice in terms of vision but once I did, it made sense for me to release songs that I had written.
You’ve released a roster of versatile singles this year, with more to come. Where do you start when making your tracks? How do you get inspired?
It truly is different every time as I’m sure it is for many artists. And I think that’s part of how you keep things engaging and interesting for not only those involved in the creative process but for those listening when the music comes out as well. I definitely prefer being involved in a holistic way, it’s sort of the only time I can feel like something being made is representing me.
Are there any major influences on the music you’re creating right now?
I’ve always listened to so many artists from varying genres. I’m truly a fan of so many people. Right now, Dijon, Yves Tumor, Feist, Oklou, Remi Wolf, Corbin, Sault, Thom Yorke, Caroline Polachek, Nathy Peluso, Dora Jar, Haitus Kaiyote, Moses Sumney, l’impératrice… the list goes on and on.
In ‘PISTOLWHIP,’ you pin down such a specific feeling of power vs vulnerability. How did you nurture that emotion into the track?
I love the whole notion that vulnerability and softness unappreciated and taken advantage of becomes this dark twisted resentment that flips and turns into this hunger for power and revenge. That character arc is so sick to me, the corruption of the innocent, but also the catharsis of exacting revenge on those who have hurt you (i.e Carrie). But then also deep down there’s still this person that is hurt and confused. I wanted to capture all those emotions best I could.
On “Indecisive”, you say you’re “so bad at compromises”. Do you feel like you’ve ever had to make them with your music?
Hmm… I think in its deepest sense, no, because everything is in service of a song. So in the moment if I’m working with someone and we disagree on something, we talked about it until we do agree, and sometimes that involves making compromises for that specific decision, but it doesn’t compromise the song as a whole because coming together and working out a kink in a section is in the best interest of the song as a whole. So making smaller compromises is how you don’t compromise the integrity of the thing you’re working on. But, this is only true if you are working with a collaborator that you know and trust and you both deeply understand one another.
You’ve also just worked on a new track, Uneasy, with Metronomy. What was the process of working on that track like and what drew you to work together?
It was such a cool opportunity to create something in the most pandemic way, so entirely online. Metronomy has such a presence in France, and I’ve been a fan for a while so when the chance came about to work on a track together I was stoked. They sent over some tracks and I just kept fixating on this drum loop which you can still hear at the beginning. It was so textured but also left room for a bass line to exist, so I started with that, wrote a bass line then added melody and lyrics, then harmonies to build upon it, and Joe from Metronomy took all these ideas and sewed them together in new ways that ebbed and flowed into a full song with additional chords and instruments.
Your parents are musicians too. Have they had any influence on your music in terms of their tastes?
Oh absolutely! My dad was first and foremost a jazz musician and composer. He played sax and flute, and I remember him trying to teach me when I was really young. My mom plays classical piano and harp, and has always loved classical music. I think as a kid I was into more pop music and radio Disney for sure, but growing up around jazz and classical music was huge in how I appreciate music now.
If your music were a food, which would it be and why?
Holy shit. Tapas, I hope. ‘Cause they’re small and flavourful, and if you want more you can order the same thing again but there’s also so many other things to taste and choose from.
What’s next for spill tab?
I wake up in the morning and ask myself that too. Right now the answer is lunch. 🥐🥩🍕🍜🍤🥘🌮