Hot Chip, on the dark side of the track – El Sol de México

In two years it will be two decades since the British group Hot Chip got on board the then competitive scene of dance music manufactured by groups of musicians whose influences in many cases came from rock, and more specifically from post punk, but They were determined to make anyone who stood in front of them dance.

At that time, the world was dazzled by the proposals of bands such as LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, The Bravery or Block Party, which, among many others, gave a new air to the music of the incipient 21st century, although as is often the case, not all they aged in the same way or with the same grace.

And that has been precisely one of Hot Chip’s strengths: its ability to stay together, unlike many bands, which over the years lose members and the best: maintaining the level of quality and innovation in each one of them. your recordings.

It is possible that the group’s detractors find that after the successes that the band gathered during that first decade of the century -with three practically impeccable LPs-, there is a certain slump or creative stagnation in recordings like One Life Stand (2010), In Our Heads (2012) or Why Make Sense? (2015).

However, it may be that even its harshest critics accept that in 2009 the band returned with a round work entitled A Bath Full of Ecstasywhich once again set the bar very high for them and for their contemporaries, despite the fact that the album was perhaps to some extent overshadowed by the start of the pandemic.

This is how after that recording with which the band was back in its best shape, this 2022 they return to the attack with Freakout/Releasean album in which only two things could happen: that the band would give a slight stumble again or that they would go a little further than what they had achieved three years ago.

Fortunately, the second happened in an eighth production that, in addition to offering a list of good songs of their own, dare to cover the classic “Sabotage”, by Beastie Boys, a band with which, although they do not have many similarities in terms of sound, they do they find several points in common when they dig into their musical influences.

Thus, by dint of distorted vocoders, deep bass and unstoppable percussion, the quintet formed by Owen Clarke, Al Doyle, Felix Martin, Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard, let themselves be heard once again with all their gears well oiled, ready to give another one of their best battles, as he tells in an interview with The Sun of Mexico Joe Goddard himself.

Joe, nice to hear you guys back and in such good shape.

Yes, the truth is that we are very excited because this is the culmination of a long period of work for all of us, so we are very excited that finally people can hear everything we did.

How do you keep sounding fresh and innovative after seven albums?

Good thank you. In our case we focus on getting deeper and deeper into the type of production we want, as well as the writing and engineering of our music. That’s how we’ve always done it. And yes, I feel that our abilities are still there, that everything is going as planned, so I am very proud of all this that we have achieved; in some of these new songs there are certain differences with the past, and I think that it is simply a kind of evolution of our whole history.

The album was written and recorded in the band’s new studio Relax & Enjoy, which is located in East London, and which became a creative space that Al Doyle began to put together since 2019, and where the meetings between the members of the band were essential to establish the very fresh sound of this work.

I know that this album was recorded in your new studio, tell us about it.

Yes, we already have our own studio in London, so we produced pretty much everything ourselves, except for a couple of songs… It’s so nice to have your own space, because usually when you rent a studio it’s very expensive, so you can’t stay there. more than a few weeks, whereas in our own space we can create without any time constraints… We just had quite a bit of freedom to experiment and create things, so it was really amazing.

And they open the album with “Down”, which also has extremely powerful sampling, what a great way to start an album.

Yeah, well… It was actually the first song we did for the album and we really wanted to open it up that way, with this track that starts out pretty quiet and then explodes. From the beginning we were very excited about that song, so much so that I think it became a kind of model for other tracks on the album.

Another song that stands out is the album’s title track, a piece that band members have said is about repressed energy and the need to break free and escape, a cut that while Joe was being conceived it brought to mind the song “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes, due to its simplicity and its swing from quiet to loud and back and forth.

Light and darkness

Although the band continues with its self-imposed tradition of delivering extremely powerful tracks, ideal for the dance floor, many of the situations and experiences derived from the pandemic made this recording also have a darker side, which is reflected in the lyrics. of the songs.

The band has made a lot of emphasis that lyrically, Freakout/Release explores darker emotions than their previous albums, with themes that range from the personal to the political and speak to the way people survive hardship:

“We were going through a period where it was very easy to feel like people were losing control of their lives in different ways,” explains Goddard.

“It was a pretty massive thing. We had just returned from a tour of Australia and we were supposed to start a summer of many festivals and more tours, but everything was canceled, and although there was no real negative aspect, we also did not have income for two years, which makes it more difficult.”

Although it is not the first time that Hot Chip has delved into that less luminous world, they agree that this element is a little more evident on this album:

“For example, there’s that song called “Out of My Depth”, which talks about when you feel a little lost in the sea and you know you have to fight to stay afloat, and also “Time”, which talks about when you feel like you’re kind of stuck and unable to move on, even though there are a lot of things you love and you really want the world to keep moving… In the pandemic a lot of things have stopped, plus we have to deal with other things like politics and ecological issues… I think the lyrics on this album reflect all those difficulties.”

On the other hand, Joe highlights as something good the possibility that they had to take advantage of their free time to set up the studio, in which they have also been able to record albums by other bands.

They have also said that with this album they wanted to capture in the most faithful way the energy they have when they play live. Speaking of which, when do you return to play in Mexico?

Yes, exactly… Well, I don’t know yet, but we will definitely be back. Hopefully it will be this 2022 and if not, next year. Mexico is one of our favorite places to play, because the crowds are always wonderful and because we have had really fantastic experiences there for many years now, without neglecting all the cultural and gastronomic richness that they have…. Mexico It’s wonderful, so yeah, we’ll definitely be back as soon as we can, it’s just a matter of finding the perfect time.

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