From the campus of Michigan State University

Impact Chats With... HOT CHIP

Hot Chip released their album One Life Stand in February of this year to a wide array of critical acclaim. We had the chance to talk to Joe Godard about the process of recording the album, working with other artists, and the different types of shows they play.

Elise Yoon: So your album came out earlier this year, February 9th here in the US, One Life Stand. It sounds a little bit different from your previous work, was there anything different this time around that caused that?

Joe Godard: In terms of writing the songs, we did it the way we always do it; Alexis [Taylor] wrote a couple, I wrote a couple, and some of them we wrote together, just in our bedrooms in the way we've been making music for a long time. When it came to recording the record, we did it a slight bit differently. We went to a studio owned by two of the guys in the band down in Phoenix and recorded a lot of it there using a set of instruments featured on a lot of the tracks, like piano, live bass guitar, steelpans. We did that because we wanted the record to have a sort of cohesion, like a kind of sound to the whole record.

Autumn Maison: How long was the whole process of creating the album?

JG: The bulk of the work was done in April and May of last year, we spent a lot of time then recording most of the tracks, but if you go from the point when the first song on this record was written, that was maybe two years ago, and the last song on the record was written just a few months before we released it, so that is quite a long period of time if you look at it like that.

EY: A lot of the songs sound a bit darker than Made In The Dark. Was this a conscious decision?

JG: That wasn't that conscious, it was something that just happened. A lot of those things aren't conscious, the way we write songs is just on instinct and intuition and how we feel at any particular time. We've always been kind of lucky; the songs Alexis has written and the songs I've written have kind of gone together in interesting ways. We DJ a lot together, and we're inspired by the same kinds of music at any one time.

EY: The music that you DJ, is it similar to music you release as Hot Chip?

JG: It definitely influences it, I guess you can't help but be influenced by the music you play when you DJ. You learn rhythmic ideas, the way that songs work, the way they make people feel on the dance floor. All that stuff is really important. We often play quite different music to the music we play in Hot Chip. The music we play when we DJ is often more deeper, house, techno, disco, some UK dance music like dubstep, garage. It's a big mixture really.

AM: A while ago you were asked by Joy Division to cover their song "Transmission" to be released on the War Child compilation. How was it to be approached by such an influential band in that way?

JG: It was great, it was quite daunting. Joy Division is obviously an incredible group, and New Order as well. We're massive fans, and have a lot of respect for that group. It was quite difficult to know what to do with that song. We felt the original version was so brilliant and successful, and we decided that it would be best for us to try to do something really different and not try to copy it in any way, because I think we wouldn't have had the chance at doing it better than they did it. So we did something with a completely different vibe, and I think it turned out pretty well.

EY: How do you guys handle remixing other artists' songs? Do you approach it as a group, or individually, and how do you decide which artists to remix?

JG: Just depending on what you like at any given time, that influences what remixes we choose to do. But essentially, it's more practical. We get asked to remix certain artists by their management or labels, or if they're friends of ours. Sometimes it's myself who does the remixes, sometimes Alexis does some, and then some we do together.

AM: Festival season is coming up! Do you prefer playing in an environment like that, or are smaller and more intimate shows more appealing?

JG: If I had to pick one, I would pick a small, cool little club. Those gigs are really fun because you're really close to whoever you're playing to, and that's just exciting. You can see people dancing, see people enjoying themselves. It's all very kind of intimate; any small movement or dance or thing that you do, people can see very easily and pick up on. It just makes the whole thing very exciting. But festivals have their own great things about them; like when a crowd feels united and you feel good, that can be very, very cool. It's hard to choose, but the small, sweaty ones are the most fun I think.