Most famous for their kooky song concepts like ‘The Warning’ and left of centre music video plot lines ‘I Feel Better’, Hot Chip deliver a new album dubbed ‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy‘, filled with both the expected and unexpected. To celebrate the success of their recent body of work, we chat to the bands very own Felix Martin to reflect and also discuss some of the inner workings of the band.
SR – Can you describe the mood of the electronic music scene in the early 2000’s (when you guys began) to now?
Felix – Hi! The mood of the electronic scene in the early 2000s – I can only really talk about my own experience – when we started out doing gigs in London as Hot Chip in the early 2000s– it was something a bit new and weird at the time because we had all these synths and drum machines on stage, but also singing and guitars. That seemed quite radical at the time – we would stand at the front of the stage in a line, kind of defiantly presenting these instruments. Now it seems entirely normal that a band would mix these things up, so maybe that’s the biggest change – that being eclectic is now pretty much the norm.
SR – What would you say is the biggest change in the way Hot Chip make music from when the band started to now?
Felix – Recently we started working with some external producers – Roadigh MacDonald and Phillipe Zdar for the most recent album. Before that we worked with Mark Ralph, a very talented engineer and mixer, for ‘In Our Heads’ and ‘Why Make Sense?’ We have gradually had more people involved from outside the band, to keep things interesting for ourselves and for fans of the band. It’s nice to work in different environments and with different people – it keeps stimulating your creativity in new ways, which is quite important when you have been around for as long as we have.
SR – Can you please talk us through some of the inspiration behind the ‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy’ album?
Felix – From my point of view, I was inspired largely by some new equipment that I acquired – some modular synth modules from a manufacturer in California called Make Noise. I used this system to create some weird melodies and sounds which can be heard on tracks like ‘Spell’ and ‘Echo’. Personally I tend to find more inspiration in these kind of things – new equipment and techniques, rather than other people’s music, which I can find a bit overwhelming at times.
SR – What’s your favourite Hot Chip remix to date (you can only choose 1!)?
Felix – Carl Craig’s remix of One Life Stand
SR – Aside from making great music, what’s the secret to keeping a band together for almost 20+ years?
Felix – Our friend Ian Svenonius once wrote that too much communication is a bad thing for a band! Kind of the opposite of a marriage maybe. You have to find a balance. I think it’s a bit like living on a lighthouse together – you have to enjoy the good moments of camaraderie and creativity, but also try to give each other space!
SR – You guys are famous for your quirky music video. Do these ideas come from the band?
Felix – There are some where we have collaborated on the ideas with directors like our friends Peter Serafinowicz and Nimah Nourizadeh. More recently a guy called Saman Kesh came up with a great idea on his own for Hungry Child, so we just let him do his thing and didn’t interfere too much! Usually we read a lot of treatments for the videos and then try and choose one where the director seems to have a strong vision and the conviction to make the video great.
Listen to ‘A Bath Full Of Ecstasy‘ out on Domino Recordings now!