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Interview avec Owen Clarke de Hot Chip

Publié le 15 mai 2012 par Betcmusic @betcmusic

Interview avec Owen Clarke de Hot Chip

BETC Music : Let’s talk about your new album that is coming out this June. The fifth album by “Hot Chip”, “In Our Heads”, was recorded in London and produced by you and Mark Ralph. Can you tell us a little bit about your experiences and your state of mind when you made it?

Owen Clarke: We took a year off from touring and people were doing various side projects such as a bit of production for other artists and Alexis (Taylor) has a side project group called “About Group” and he is doing some stuff with them. Felix (Martin), Al (Doyle) and myself, to some extent, are doing this project called “New Build” and Joe (Goddard) and our good friend Raf Rundell are doing “The 2 Bears” which is another sort of side project. “The 2 Bears” had mixed with Mark Ralph in his studio and “About Group” had also done some mixing in the studio in West London, which is a bit of London we don’t normally go to that much.

We started doing some of the tracks in there and so it kind of felt like a natural time to return to doing “Hot Chip” stuff. With that in mind it seemed like a good fit for us to do that, because we had worked with him before and I’d known him sort of socially from being out & about. The songs were beginning to be written by Joe and Alexis outside of the studio. So when they came into the studio the structures were already figured out in terms of writing and things like that so it became very easy for us to start recording quickly with this person that we had recorded with before.

We were able to use a lot of the equipment that was in the studio, which gave us lots of new toys to play with, such as different keyboards and things. We were also using a recording desk that was built & owned by Conny Plank who produced a lot of the early Kraftwerk records. There are only two of those in the world!

BETC Music: Is it this new record electro-pop or would you define it differently?

Owen Clarke : It wasn’t a purposefully electro-pop record, but it’s a similar technique to before. On the last album we also had songs that were already written by Joe and Alexis, and then we brought them into a studio that Al and Felix run in Brick Lane in East London and our friend Tom Hopkins, who is a sonic artist, does a bit of techno and who is also in “New Build”, was helping to engineer it. That, for us, was really a sort of learning thing. Normally we work in studios very rarely and that was the first record where we did it in a studio. We were really trying to do everything; produce it, engineer it and work all the machines. We had no idea what we were doing, so it was learning. Whereas with this new record, we knew more what we wanted and what we were doing. There were these new things to play with and we also had Mark (Ralph), so we were able to do things quite quickly. We got into a more interesting sonic space quicker. I suppose because of the nature of the instruments in there, it became a bit more synthetic & poppy. But also by merit of it being a very usable studio space, we were able to bring in two of our friends who are good at the drums, Leo Taylor and Charles Haywood. Joe’s neighbor is a percussionist, who brought in a marimba, which is about the size of a shark, a very big instrument to have at your house, so we were able to use that and we also recorded slide guitars, banjo’s and other strange things, to stop it from being straight synth pop record that comes straight off of a computer or a machine. That was a really good thing to have I think.

BETC Music: “Hot Chip” created a track for Converse that has been used in their commercials. We see that brands are supporting the music industry more and more. What is your opinion on that?

Owen Clarke: Well, I suppose it’s a strange one indeed. You don’t want to be affiliated with a brand particularly.

BETC Music: Did Converse approach you?

Owen Clarke: It is in essence selling out. However, it costs money to make music and if no one is buying it the conventional way then it is going to make sense for other companies, which are not record companies, to come in and provide for that.

I suppose the thing with the Converse project was that we got to work with Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner from “New Order” as well as the guys from “Hot City”, it just seemed like an exciting thing and people were into it. It wasn’t something we didn’t want to do in order to support a brand. It felt very much like a song that would exist in an exterior way to the brand.

If people don’t like the idea of artists or musicians having to work together with a brand then they should pay for the music. It’s simple economics really.

BETC Music: Would you work with another brand in the future?

Owen Clarke: I wouldn’t rule it out. We are resistant to doing things that we don’t want to do. It’s always a case-by-case thing. Generally, we wouldn’t want to support anyone that we didn’t agree with. It’s common sense.

BETC Music: As you mentioned before, the group’s members have side projects such as “About Group” or “The 2 Bears”. How do you make that work?

Owen Clarke: There is space for everything and you can make music relatively easily if it is asmall unique unit. I suppose “About Group” worked very quickly because there are five of them involved. They would record in one day and then spend three days mixing. So that would work quite quickly. Then with “The 2 Bears”, I suppose it’s just Joe and Raf and they could dedicate time to it because they had fewer people involved.

In terms of it getting in the way of “Hot Chip” stuff, we consciously took time out and so the time was allowed for these projects. I think it is healthy for people to not do just one job or to have other creative outlets. I think it was a helpful thing for the new “Hot Chip” record.

BETC Music: What are your projects for 2012?

Owen Clarke: The record is coming out in June and then we will begin doing summer festivals and stuff like that. Then we’ll have, I imagine, a couple of tours over in Europe and the States and maybe do some other festivals later in the year in more far-flung places, possibly Japan or Australia, places like that. Then we might do a little bit more touring and then take some time off to make another record. We do that pretty much every two years. More immediately we’ll be working on video’s for things and that will be a fun thing to be involved in.

BETC Music: Do you have anything else that you would like to tell us?

Owen Clarke: We might release another single that is not on the album. It’s a song that we really like but in terms of the shape of the album and the other tracks, itdidn’t really work. We don’t quite know what to do with it yet. It might be an exclusive tour thing or we might release it as a stand alone single by itself. That’s something we are looking forward to working on.

On top of that we have a new band member, Sarah Jones, that will play with us during live gigs.

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