We speak to Alexis Taylor about Hot Chip's new album, the return of the '90s and what's missing from today's pop music
The 13th edition of the SulaFest packed in international headliners, some homegrown artistes, and a whole lot of fun in two days. As COO of Sula, Chaitanya Rathi says, “One thing that other festivals, whether they like it or not, cannot compete with us on, is our gorgeous location. We’ve got this lake down the road, vineyards all around, the weather and the entire feel of being in nature— that makes it special.” And we totally agree.
The first day’s headliners, Hot Chip, had the audience grooving to its super infectious tunes. The British band, formed in London in 2000, consists of multi-instrumentalists Alexis Taylor, Joe Goddard, Al Doyle, Owen Clarke, and Felix Martin. A giant in the alternative dance and synth-pop genres, Hot Chip also draws influences from house and disco. “This is the second time I’ve come to India, but it’s my first time performing here. And we’re all very excited,” Alexis, the front man, says during our interview.
Dance it off
The band followed up its previous album Why Make Sense? (2015) with the 2019 release, A Bath Full of Ecstasy. When asked why there was a long gap between the two albums, Alexis confides that it was not a conscious decision, and all the members were busy with their solo projects as well as with the other bands they are in, (the guitarist and synth player Al also plays for the Grammy-nominated American outfit LCD Soundsystem, and Alexis has two solo albums).
“I think it was the right time for us to be coming back together and write new music,” he adds. Two new producers on the album, Philippe Zdar, and Rodaidh McDonald, made the sound a little different and a little refined from the act’s previous works. “There are subtle changes in this album: the structure is tighter and the choruses are stronger. A Bath Full of Ecstasy is more dynamic and more vibrant, and captures the energy from our live gigs into the record,” Alexis says.
Talking about trends and genres in dance music, Alexis agrees that there is a wave of everything ’90s coming back in vogue, not only in music, but across fashion and art as well. Another trend popping up, according to him, is the blurring of lines between genres. “I feel like in the last few years, dance music in general has become very, very big,” he says, adding, “For me, the enjoyment in music making is in combining different genres and always being very eclectic. And there are other musicians who seem to share that eclecticism.” The singer also hopes that something new happens in the field of pop music. “I think there’s also some very bad and very bland pop music around. So it would be nice if something rallies against that or shakes that up,” he opines.
The writer was at in Nashik for the SulaFest 2020 by invite