The Interview

5 Minutes With Hot Chip

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Our homegrown electro-indie champs talk us through their downtime. 

As well as being advocates of sunglasses in difficult-to-wear shapes (see below), Hot Chip are also a contender for Britain’s busiest band. Their fifth album, In Our Heads, came out this month, so they’ll be touring and playing festivals around the world, as well as gigging with their various side projects (2 Bears, New Build, About Group, B&O).

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For Hot Chip, leisure time is a precious commodity. We asked frontman Alexis Taylor to reveal how they choose to spend it.

1. Wrestling
“I used to be into wrestling at school. I wouldn’t say that’s how Joe [Goddard, bandmate] and I became friends; it was how we became enemies.

He tried some wrestling manoeuvres out on me and I was overpowered by his great strength. I haven’t followed it properly for years, but Joe and I recently went to WrestleMania — or maybe it was SummerSlam — because we got free tickets. We were really excited. We got there and everyone was 13.”

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2. Charity Shopping
“When I first met Felix [Martin, bandmate] at university we went to a lot of British charity shops together. I still go to car boot sales and flea markets. I recently bought a toy percussion box that sounds like a small marimba for my daughter, Prudence, from Oxfam in Dalston. I ended up playing it on our new song “Flutes” Owen [Clarke, bandmate] has a two-or-three-times-a-day addiction to charity shopping and we’ve both suffered from ‘charity shop knee’ — like tennis elbow, but from kneeling too long looking through records.”

3. Pop Music Quizzles
“I ’m in a pub quiz team called Yes. We do ones that are specifically about music. My wife Kerry’s good at the lyrics’ round. I’m good on the years. Our friend Nick is good on indie. Owen has an amazing knowledge of MOR Eighties Radio 2 rock. And then there’s our friend Anthony. He’s really good at writing the questions down. We’ve won quite a lot and have become quite competitive. One time we came seventh in a quiz when we were sat on the same table as the two girls who came last. NME ran a story saying we came right at the bottom. My wife was really angry. The name Yes was taken down. We had to come back stronger.”

4. Ping-Pong
“When we began making In Our Heads, it was fairly relaxed. One minute Joe and I would be in his house playing ping-pong — he has a table in his garden — and the next writing music. We’ve done some music for ping-pong at the Olympics, for when the players walk onto the court. We made the rhythm track out of ping-pong balls bouncing so it’s quite recognisable. It’s meant to be dramatic entrance music, though I think it sounds a bit silly.”

5. Board Games
“After you go into the studio you don’t see much daylight. There’s lots of boredom and people fiddling with sounds on the computers for hours, so everyone in the band except me played Boggle and Scrabble on the iPad. I was reading a book by Julian Cope that was quite engrossing. I don’t think I’m very good at Scrabble or Boggle so I leave that to the experts.”

In Our Heads by Hot Chip is out now (Domino)

Photograph by Steve Gullick

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