With members from great electro-pop bands like The 2 Bears, LCD Soundsystem, and New Young Pony Club, and with the recent addition of Rob Smoughton aka Grovesnor, Hot Chip is officially a club kids’ candy store for synth/drum-machine enthusiasts. The London group emerged onto the electronic music scene back in 2000 and instantly won over listeners with their synth-tastic tunes, lead singer Alexis Taylor’s delightfully awkward style, and energized live shows that make your feet ache from blissful, insane dancing.
After the more mellow and soulful record, One Life Stand, Hot Chip have returned to their pulsating club-ready vibes with the release of their fifth studio album In Our Heads. Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard spoke to fellow electronic artist Dan Deacon for The Lab and revealed that In Our Heads is their most focused and cohesive record yet. “I think sonically it’s much better. The engineering is better and the song-writing is stronger,” Goddard said. But like all great bands they’re perfectionists and their own worst critics. “There are hundreds of things I would change if I were to re-make it now,” said Goddard. “Just tiny things, mixing things, EQ things, structural things… I can drive myself crazy with these things.” Critics and fans alike aren’t complaining, though, and the colorful new record is a reminder of how eclectically charming these London lads are and how they’ve continued to woo and surprise everyone over the years: from a Grammy nomination and a string of bona fide DJ mix albums to that memorable Kraftwerk-spun cover of Joy Division’s Transmission for 2009 charity album War Child Presents Heroes.
With their party-perfect tunes, it comes as no surprise when Taylor told Deacon, “Our early tours were shambolic, chaotic, and ramshackle, but felt more like an adventure. They had that spirit of chaos that’s fun and exciting.” Now on their fifth time around the block, tour-life sounds a little more laid back from that crazy start. If given the choice to organize backstage hospitality at the countless festivals they play each year, Taylor said, “We’d have more ping-pong, table football, swimming pools, Scrabble, and sunshine.” And out of all the terminals he’s waited for connections in, Taylor claimed Finland’s Tampere Airport as his favorite: “It’s small with little distraction. Moomin drinks are available.”
Their success definitely hasn’t gone to their heads, and it certainly hasn’t made getting what they want any easier. Taylor said band mate Al Doyle still can’t seem to secure one very modest request. “Al wanted celery salt added to our rider but we keep on getting celery and salt.” With pleasures and needs this basic, and their welcome stream of electrifying, synth-pop goodness that make crowds go wild, it’s easy to see why Hot Chip are on The Lab’s playlist and why they should be on yours.