Northern Transmissions Interviews Hot Chip


Here’s Charles Brownstein’s interview with Felix Martin from Hot Chip. He managed to track him down in Katowice, Poland while on a tour stop. God bless modern technology,

CB: Your latest record ‘In Our Heads’ sounds more up beat than previous releases, even a bit more dancey. Sounds like you guys were really clicking in the studio?

FM: Yes, I think so. We wanted to make a bigger sounding album. We had 20-30 tracks to choose from.  We didn’t approach the writing of the record any differently then other sessions. The one big difference was working with engineer Mark Ralph; we never bring in producers or engineers. He had worked with Joe and Alexis on a couple of other projects. In the end he took elements of songs and really improved the elements of them. It was lots of fun working on the record.

CB: Your sound has changed since the DFA days. Do you fell that the band has evolved?

FM: I definitely think we have evolved, especially live. We have played tons of shows since then. We are much more proficient with instruments, and don’t have to rely solely on technology, like pre programed beats all the time. I think as well that our tastes in music over the years has changed.

CB: Your last show for the ‘One Life Stand Tour’ was in ST. Petersburg, Russia. What was the vibe like? Did you get a chance to soak in any Russian culture?

FM: It was kind of an odd trip with lots of bureaucracy. We had a real hard time getting into the country. We went over a bit our time slot, our power was turned off, and Our soundman was actually threatened by a soldier with a gun. So it was a little tense. The festival itself was great, we got to see Brian Eno. Russia isn’t the only place with loads of bureaucracy, our drummer can’t get a visa for our U.S. Tour, which is kind of a bummer.

CB: I wanted to ask about the lyric on the new album “Zapp, not Zappa”, where does this come from?

FM: It was a lyric that we came up with in the studio, just to be funny and not to be taken seriously. I actually enjoy Frank Zappa quite a bit, and hope nobody is offended by it, lol.

CB: Alexis and Joe share lead vocals on a number of tracks, when you write, is it often with two singers in mind?

FM: We usually jam songs out and toy with them a bit. We tend to get a clearer vision through improv, so we really have no set ways.

CB: What was it like working with Robert Wyatt, he sang and reworked a few of your songs?

FM: It was a real collaborative process. We went into Phil Manzanera’s studio in London and worked on the songs. He is such a knowledgeable man. So ahead of his time. He has a wonderful sense of humour and his wife is a lovely person as well. We were so happy with the way the music turned out. It was so much fun doing it.

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