Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Hot Chip Interview - Owen Clarke

Surely one of the most eagerly anticipated records of 2010, Hot Chip’s ‘One Life Stand’ aims to make even the flightiest of fans swoon, court new admirers and cement a monogamous musical relationship with all who hear it. With a list of influences so diverse they might seemingly have been pulled out of a hat one late night in the studio, there’s certainly something for everyone. UK funk and soul lines up alongside modern R&B, Northern Soul, Gospel, Golden Age Electronica and House and the band cite influential artists as disparate as Prince and Theo Parish - but these are no uncomfortable bed-fellows; all are snuggled up, warm and cosy under the familiar duvet of Hot Chip’s trademark soaring emotional intensity. Here, Owen gives us an idea of how it’ll all sound;

"There are ten songs on the album and it’s more beat pop songs broadly speaking, but there’s also some flavours from pianos and house records and steel pans and things like that."

Did he say steel pans and pianos? He certainly did and this new musical experience can instantly be felt on the title track of the album, One Life Stand, which will achieve its full release on February 1st - the same day the album is released - but can be heard now for free on their myspace site.

For all their musical moving on, however, every single member of Hot Chip still has a synthesizer up their sleeve; whether they be lead guitar, lead vocals or, like Owen, bass, they’ve always got a synth on stand by. If the boys have got a somewhat geeky reputation, that’s only compounded by their attention to detail when it comes to all things electronic - not hard to picture them getting excited about the newest Nord like your average boy-racer anticipates the arrival of some hot new ceramic disc brakes, or hornily poring over the pages of Max Moog Magazine. No bad thing when such obsessive aural tendencies result in – as in the case of 2006’s The Warning - Grammy award winning music, and when, as Owen points out, everyone from traditional garage bands to grime artists are employing an electro beat these days anyway;

"I’m not really thinking about scenes or whether they’re reaching their epoch, zenith or decline but I think that people have become much more open minded to the use of electronic instruments and things like that in pop music, I think it’s fairly ubiquitous now."

Doubtless pioneers of this new wave of New Wave, Hot Chip are far too smart to typecast themselves under any one scene; remaining free from labels and attempts at classification leaves them a much greater freedom of musical movement;

"If someone asks what kind of music do you do, it’s usually like at passport control, we try not to get into too many particulars, but broadly speaking I’d say electronic pop."

The consequent aural autonomy afforded them can best be seen in the background and around the fringes of One Life Stand; beefing up the percussion section, Hot Chip have enlisted the talents of Fimber Bravo of Steel and Skin on the aforementioned steel pans and Charles Hayward of This Heat on drums. It’s interesting to see how these new elements will fit into the live show; this is, after all, primarily music for dancing too. Owen teases us with what to expect when Hot Chip finally fulfil their on stage destiny and give us our chance to dance;

"Well, just some interesting movements when we get on stage. It’s a big set up, we’ll have a drummer with us and we’re working on the percussion side of things. Not quite sure yet, the exciting thing is that we’re still working on it. We’re in rehearsals now, just figuring out how to do all that stuff live for next year."

Ready for the floor? Just try and keep us off it…


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