What happens when one of Britain’s most diverse indie-electro bands take to the decks?
HOLEANDCORNER is billed as a boutique electronic dance party for the more discerning, open-minded music lover – complete with immersive light installations. But when Time Out explains this to Hot Chip’s co-frontman Alexis Taylor, he chuckles and asks “is that right?”
Behind his delicate vocals, owl-like glasses and surprising collection of zip-up sports jackets, the British multi-instrumentalist doesn’t worry too much about how he is perceived. In fact, only three things remain constant in his musical output: chords, lyrics and singing. “Singing is a natural way of being myself… it’s no longer so much of a surprise [to people] when my voice – which sounds a bit like a lady – comes out,” he says. “I was recently DJing in Greece; I didn’t play any Hot Chip songs, but I did sing a bit in the set.”
Even after 14 years, five albums and numerous side projects, it’s unlikely that anyone could predict Hot Chip’s next move. Speaking about the band’s DJ sets, Taylor says: “we like lots of odd things… but we share a love of newly-made and classic house music and disco. We’re not really thinking about what Hot Chip’s fans expect us to play – we’re thinking about what is a great DJ set from our point of view”.
On stage, Taylor will be joined by fellow Hot Chip members Felix Martin and Al Doyle, who formed their own seven-piece outfit New Build in 2010. Hot Chip’s other founding member Joe Goddard will be back in the UK, too busy with his ’80s house revivalist duo the 2 Bears. These side projects are not a hindrance to the band; the frontman mentions that his and Goddard’s side projects often inspire Hot Chip’s new tracks. Taylor also created two albums with improvisational jazz/funk collective About Group in 2009 and 2011.
HOLEANDCORNER sets itself apart with a small, carefully curated lineup. Deep-voiced American avant-pop DJ Matthew Dear is second on the bill, followed by Madrid indie-electro artist Henry Saiz, Israeli underground house producer Guy J, Romanian fuzzy techno experimentalist Cosmic TRG and Netherlands-based producer Xosar, who counts horror soundtracks, black metal and Chicago house among her influences.
Just days after HOLEANDCORNER, Taylor will put out his second solo record, Await Barbarians. The early release of one of its tracks, ‘Elvis Has Left the Building’, forecasts a continuation of the sublime, contemplative chords and stripped-back melodies of his previous solo work and also suggests a return to his tongue-in-cheek humour. In the last verse, he describes his fantasy of going back in time, meeting his musical hero Prince in his later years and steering him in a more satisfying musical direction (“a fantasy!” says Taylor). When you consider that this sentiment comes from the same person who laid down the lyrics “I’m sick of motherfuckers trying to tell me that they’re down with Prince” on stage with Hot Chip at the Corner Hotel in 2007, you get more of a sense of Taylor’s reverence for his music idols and disdain for all the name-checking hipsters out there.
While he’s never sure how his new music will be received, there’s never any doubt that the songs will capture something true – something undeniably real about him. “You can’t give only a small part of yourself because you’re mixed in your emotions about it. To make music that interests you and therefore others, you have to give all of yourself to that creative moment.“