Hot chip interview

Salt & sauce

Henry Northmore catches up with Hot Chip as they prepare to take Glasgow by storm this Hogmanay.

Optimo at New Year is always a safe bet, securing some of the most interesting acts on the circuit, and this year is no exception. Not only will Twitch and Wilkes be manning the decks, with a bit of help from Death Disco’s Mingo-Go with ‘spoken interjections’ from Aidan Moffat (from the recently defunct Arab Strap), but Mercury Music prize nominees Hot Chip will be on hand for a full live set. ‘There’s not a lot of parties that we would do then as it’s nice to have the night off,’ explains the Chip’s vocalist and main programmer Joe Goddard, ‘but an Optimo party is one that we get excited about.’ Having played the Sub Club before Goddard and co know the levels of insanity they are letting themselves in for. ‘James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem have openly said that their favourite ever gig was at Optimo in Glasgow and it was pretty much the same for us,’ says Goddard. ‘There are still people who love dance music, but not in the way that they love it in Glasgow.’

And Glasgow loves Hot Chip back. It’s been one hell of a year for them. The hypnotically infectious grooves and addictive beats of ‘Over and Over’ becoming a modern classic; their grasp of eclectic pulsating rhythms made The Warning one of the albums of 2006. ‘I’m a fan of house music, but there’s very few house albums that are satisfying, that I listen to at home,’ says Goddard. ‘So we wanted to make a load of other kinds of music that we love. And it would generally be the case that we’d make one track and say “We’ve done that now, let’s do something different”.’

Their seemingly overnight success hasn’t been without a fair amount of hard graft, the core unit of Goddard and his vocal sparring partner and keyboardist, Alexis Taylor, met when they were 17 and they’ve been making music ever since. Self-releasing CDs, gigging like crazy and of course there was 2004’s Coming on Strong on Moshi Moshi. It’s their enticing take on wonky electro that has struck a cord with the dance and indie community. ‘We like to describe it as, basically, electronic pop music,’ explains Goddard. ‘We just make pop music and give it a strange twist. We really attempt to get some strange sounds into the mix, we try to make it sound a little more home-made and human and a little more soulful.’

It’s something they have been able to translate to the stage, something that can often trip up electronica acts when they attempt to go ‘live’. Their gigs earlier this year showcased their eclectic take on dance music and transformed venues into exuberant mutant mosh-pits. ‘There are a lot of acts that do it all with laptops, so we thought it would be entertaining if a band made that kind of music but did it for real, he way old disco acts used to do,’ says Godard, ‘everything for real, tight and funky. I think the audience appreciates that there’s someone playing it, doing it for real, sweating up on stage, going for it. We like that.’

It’ll be hard to resist their squelching beats and lo-fi p-funk, especially when coupled with the ever excellent sounds of Optimo this New Year. Welcome to 2007.

Hot Chip play Optimo Espacio presents Hogmanay 2006, the Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, Sun 31 Dec.

Hot Chip and Disclosure

Quirky uber-danceable electronica and poignant electro ballads from the classy 'Over and Over' collective.

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