Geneva Airport. July 2007. It’s a two-hour wait in Terminal 3 before boarding for sleepy-eyed Clara. Coffee is helping. She is headed for the Montreux Festival, to open for Matthew Jonson’s Cobblestone Jazz. Only a few weeks back, she was performing at Barcelona’s Sonar, making this her second appearance at a major international festival.
Born in Graz, a pretty Austrian town steeped in history, she grew up in a house filled with the instruments her parents had collected over time. There was a piano on which she practised as a teenager and a hi-fi system on which she played Kruder & Dorfmeister’s and De La Soul’s latest productions on repeat. Clara loved the idea and feel of vinyl. She cut her teeth playing records on Tuesday nights at her student bar. A small team began to form around her, soon followed by the launch of the Houseverbot label and the Birds parties, Postgarage’s flagship minimal nights. As one thing led to another, the club’s main resident – under her new “Clara Moto” moniker – spun her microgrooves all the way to the capital, Vienna, and its festivals (Elevate, Springs).
Autumn 2006. Melbourne. Clara was selected to attend the Red Bull Academy, a platform for up-and-coming talents, invited over the course of a few weeks to perfect their studio technique and meet professionals. Also part of the talent pool that year were Flying Lotus and Douglas Greed. The Academy organises tours for its best students, who get to perform at major European festivals on a dedicated stage. Which takes us back to where our story began: Geneva Airport. The Montreux Jazz Festival.
Chance encounter in Terminal 3. An enthusiastic young French Dj tells her all about the label he has just set up together with a few friends, his first protégés Francesco Tristano and Danton Eeprom and his desire to develop and nurture young talent. Agoria is his name, and InFiné the label.
Fast forward to Autumn 2007. InFiné releases Clara Moto’s “Glove Affair”, a firm-handed, delicious minimal house cut. One year later, and it’s with the release of “Silently”, a light and fluffy tune featuring a killer chorus that Clara, with the help of Mimu on vocals, reveals a strong penchant for pop.
As 2010 dawns and her first album is released, Clara provides ample proof of her allegiance to electronic music with “Polyamour”. Her affection for the genre comes in many forms, each imbued with her unique brand of femininity, and she embraces it in all its diversity and spontaneity. Clara takes life snapshots, fragments of emotions and her daily – and nightly – perceptions and turns them into sounds. Clara Moto is polyamorous: the full-on intensity of simple little love stories moves her more than relational exclusivity agreements of epic proportions. “Polyamour” features among other classics, “Deer & Fox”.
Three years later in 2013, Clara returned a new EP, “Joy Departed” (including “Disposable Darling” and “Wicked Game”) followed by her second full-length, an album that is every bit as close up and personal as her debut, but at the same time more intricate and thoughtful, more introspective and melancholic than its predecessor. “Blue Distance” is named after a line from a poem by Sylvia Plath and circles around the theme of remoteness. It is inspired by Clara's own experience of frequent relocation and travel, but also by the distance that a musician feels separating her from her listeners, and the constant longing – and ultimate impossibility – to bridge this gap with one's work.
Clara Moto has recently left Berlin to return to her hometown Graz. Her next EP entitled “Gone by the Morning” features Tyler Pope and Mimu is set to be released in February 2017.