The British electro band Hot Chip has become one of the top acts in its genre after being around for almost 15 years. The band’s previous album, “In Our Heads,” debuted at number 1 on Billboard’s Dance and Electronic chart. Rolling Stone says the band is one of the “sharpest dance rockers” today.
Yet, on the band’s sixth and latest album “Why Make Sense?,” Hot Chip goes in a slightly different direction both musically and lyrically. The Frame caught up with lead singer Alex Taylor of Hot Chip about the process of writing for this new album, Taylor's love for D'Angelo and Prince and why he dares younger musical acts to take their throne in the electro-indie-rock music scene.
How did you approach writing the new album?
When we were making this record, I was trying to be open to having a clear head. I feel like I've done a lot of music, which is doing its best to be confessional, but even when I was doing that I still was met with a lot of confusion from people who didn't seem to pick up on that. Just for my own interests in doing something else in music, I felt like stepping away from that a bit this time. So the music wasn't really so lead by realism, but perhaps by fantasy a little bit more and also by nonsensical things.
Breaking down "White Wine and Fried Chicken":
With 'White Wine and Fried Chicken,' I was thinking about a song sung from somebody else's perspective or a different vocalist. I was imagining a D'Angelo or a Prince or someone, and I know the track doesn't really sound like that, but that was really what I was imagining. Sometimes making music, you can have another musician's type of song enter your head and you can write in their style.
I was trying to be evocative with the phrase, 'white wine and fried chicken,' of some kind of special meal that you might have with somebody else that has an inherent comfort about it, but is slightly ridiculous sounding at the same time. I couldn't really explain it better than that. It was just a fantasy song with that as a starting point, while the rest of the words were a little bit more heartfelt, not from a fantasy point-of-view. They were more talking about losing yourself in love with someone and losing time and feeling free of any restrictions.
I quite like the slightly lonely and depressing feel of a meal that consist of fried chicken and perhaps some cheap white wine. I've never had those two things together. I'm a vegetarian since writing that song — so no more fried chicken for me.
Breaking down "Huarache Lights":
Sometimes it's hard for me to remember precisely why I said something, but I think what I was doing was talking about Hot Chip and where it stands in the musical climate, and asking people to replace us with something better if they can.
You can read it in different ways. It could be an arrogant comment, but it was meant more to say whether or not machines can replace humanity in music. I guess I'm questioning that and saying that it's not really possible to do that, and that you need to retain some kind of human quality in soul in music. But also, it's talking about the idea of being replaced by the younger makers of music coming through and it's sort of saying that we are a great band, but then as soon as you say that, the vocalist, i.e. myself, is saying, 'Well, hold on a minute. Maybe someone else better should come along.'
Hot Chip's sixth studio album, "Why Make Sense?," is out now on Domino.