Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor comes off largely as you’d expect for a man with a penchant for loud woollen jumpers and large-lens glasses. He’s bookish, careful with his words but still a delight. It’s this kind of dorky charm that has helped Hot Chip hold their place at the top of the indie electronic music echelon for the last 10 years or so.
When Australia next sees Taylor, though, he’ll be joined at new event HOLEANDCORNER by bandmates Felix Martin and Al Doyle as Hot Chip DJs — that is, not Hot Chip the band. But regardless of how expectations are managed, Taylor says there are always some punters who just want to hear the hits.
“A lot of people come to see Hot Chip DJs and not realising – not even seemingly realising – that it’s not a [Hot Chip] concert. Some people come, they think ‘Why have you not played Boy From School?’ or ‘Why have you not played Ready For The Floor?’ To us, it’s confusing that they would think that,” Taylor says, matter-of-factly.
So if punters may be more familiar with Hot Chip the band, what can they expect from a Hot Chip DJs set? “We just try and play a wide range of songs depending on the crowd and the event that we’re playing at, so sometimes it’s a bit harder and a bit more minimal and sometimes it’s a bit more funky and disco-y,” Taylor offers.
“We also sometimes try out new, unreleased Hot Chip tracks and remixes,” says Taylor. “Usually people say ‘Can you play some Hot Chip please?’ and we say, ‘Well, we just did!” That’s what usually happens… I don’t play them as a rule, but I would say that it’s good to have them up your sleeve.”
Listen: Foals – My Number (Hot Chip Remix)
As it turns out HOLEANDCORNER might be the only chance Australia has to hear a new Hot Chip tune live for quite some time. While the band has a steady track record of dropping albums every two years, their latest album In Our Heads came out in 2012 and Taylor sounds decidedly unsure about giving a time frame for a new release.
The lapse in regularity may have something to do with the increasingly busy extra-curricular timetables the Hot Chippers are keeping. The last 18 months has seen remixes for Foals, Matthew E White and disco legend Donna Summer among others, plus Joe Goddard has a 2 Bears album ready to go this year while Taylor is tied up with two projects of his own, the soulful About Group and a solo album called Await Barbarians, set for release in June.
Await Barbarians strips back the electronic flourishes of Taylor’s Hot Chip output and puts the focus on his songwriting chops. The first taste of the LP came via single Elvis Has Left The Building. The lyrics are frank and often humorous, the opening couplet successfully comparing Elvis with Jesus.
“[It’s] getting at the idea that someone significant passes, and then this other figure [Jesus], once the most significant to the Western world, [is] in there thinking ‘we’re being surpassed by a pop star,'” clarifies an introspective Taylor.
Listen: Alexis Taylor – Elvis Has Left The Building
Despite a more downbeat turn for the singer, his vocals are present and up front on this latest record, retaining a strong melodic component to his songs. Taylor says an ear for a tune can sometimes be a curse rather than a blessing.
“That melody [can] sound familiar to me and reminds me of a couple other things but I struggle for a while to work out what exactly it was, and I was worried it already existed in someone else’s song. That chorus melody didn’t seem to be anyone else’s so I thought ‘Alright, I better write it and carry on finishing it.'”
Though there’s plenty keeping band members busy at the moment, Kylie Minogue doesn’t factor in. Hot Chip and our Kylie had a thing going back in 2007, with talk of a collaboration between the two for Kylie’s album X. So what happened? Taylor seems sheepish in his response.
“It would’ve been a really grand thing to do and would’ve been very interesting but… I don’t know what happened,” he admits. “Maybe we didn’t read the email in time or something. Maybe it’ll happen in some point in the future when we’re more organised, or maybe the moment passed eight years ago.”
And just in case you were wondering, it looks like the busy schedule has ruled out an Australian tour from Hot Chip the band this year as well. Taylor suggests that nothing is locked in nor out at the moment, but suggests we won’t be seeing them until at least 2015.
And as for that Hot Chip album? “We’re making it right now,” he says, “but I guess we’re a little behind schedule. Maybe we have to release two out or something.” We can work with that.
Alexis Taylor will perform with Hot Chip DJs at the inaugural HOLEANDCORNER in Sydney and Melbourne this June. Details below.
Hot Chip (DJ Set)
Henry Saiz (Live)
+ Local Acts
Saturday, 7th June 2014 (1:00pm – 1:00am)
Shed 14, Docklands, Melbourne
Tix: Via Moshtix
Sunday, 8th June 2014 (6:00pm – 3:00am)
Home Nightclub, Darling Harbour, Sydney
Tix: Via Moshtix