Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard On The Rolling Stones, Nirvana And The Romantic Power Of Taylor Swift

For the past decade-plus, Hot Chip have quietly gone about being one of Britain’s most inventive and innovative bands. But which artists and songs are the inspiration behind their eclectic sound? We caught up with the band’s Joe Goddard to find out…

The first song I remember hearing
‘Play With Fire’ – The Rolling Stones: “If you’re a certain type of young boy, that’s a really exciting song for the psyche. It’s Mick Jagger saying, ‘You don’t wanna mess around with me, I’m gonna fuck you up.’ It’s like, he sounds really cool. You want that confidence and power.”

The first song I fell in love with
‘Straight Up’, Paula Abdul: “I wasn’t really into dance music, or even pop music as a kid, but I had a tape of ‘Now That’s What I Call Music! 14’ and this track went deep into my mind. It felt quite sexual, like a more adult world that I was just starting to find interesting. It’s resurfacing in the synthesiser tones and drum machines Hot Chip use.”

The first album I ever bought
‘Nevermind’, Nirvana: “As a young teenager, at drunken house parties, everyone would be drinking very strong cider listening to Pearl Jam or Nirvana. I didn’t get it for a few months, but then I went to Our Price in Putney and bought the tape. I’d listen on my Sony Walkman in the front room: my brother and mum were there but I had my headphones on, and I really felt like, this music is meant for me, it’s mine.”

The song that made me want to be in a band
‘Candy Says’, The Velvet Underground: “I got into them very young – my dad’s obsessed – and Alexis [Taylor] and me used to cover ‘Candy Says’ when Hot Chip first started, as 16-year-olds. Lou Reed loved pop and doo-wop, girl groups, and you can tell there’s a history there (although Reed wrote it, he didn’t sing it – Doug Yule did – classic rock ed). It’s an enduring passion, that delicate, hushed sound.”

The song I can no longer listen to
‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’, Oasis: “When Oasis came out we went to see them a few times, but I have this aversion to their music now. For years my social life would be playing Pro Evolution in my cellar, while someone played Oasis on acoustic guitar. The fact that went on and on was partly why I wanted to make our own, wonky version of R&B with Hot Chip. After that, Destiny’s Child sounded very exciting.”

The song that makes me want to dance
‘Kiss You All Over’, Exile: “It’s the kind of slow, `70s disco record you play early in a DJ set, and it makes you excited about the night’s possibilities. Plus it’s comfortable to jiggle about to, as an elderly man.”

The song I do at karaoke
‘Self Control’, Laura Branigan: “We had an amazing experience recently at a Norwegian festival. We were in a shitty Travel Tavern-style hotel, but we went down to the basement and there was a little karaoke. I did this big, `80s pop song based on an Italo-disco track by Raf.”

The song I can’t get out of my head
‘Blank Space’, Taylor Swift: “Phil Spector described his music as teenage symphonies, and this song feels like that – a really, unashamedly teenage perspective on the world. ‘I wanna have my heart broken and I’m gonna just go for it.’ There’s something romantic and powerful about that.”

The song I wish I’d written
‘Love For The Sake Of Love’, Claudja Barry: “She’s a little known disco singer. The song ‘Get It On Tonite’ by Montell Jordan, he sampled the groove – the production’s just amazing. It inspired ‘Dark Night’ on our new album.”

The song that reminds me of high school battle of the bands
‘All Day And All Of The Night’, The Kinks: “When Alexis and I were in different groups, we’d have Battle of the Bands in our school drama theatre, and my band would cover this. It has a coolness about it, an amazing amount of energy which makes you excited about recreating it.”

The song that reminds me of being a builder
‘Devil’s Haircut’, Beck: “The summer I left school, my house was being done up and I worked for the builders, moving around bags of rocks. It was physically demanding but satisfying, too. On Fridays we got paid in cash and we’d go to the record shop, and we ended up playing Beck’s ‘Odelay’ album while we worked all summer.”

The song I want played at my funeral
‘Da pacem Domine’, Arvo Pärt: “It’s just an amazingly beautiful choral work. I wanna make a dance track that rips it off, but it’s hard to understand it. It’s calming but also dissonant, like when you go into a church and there’s a choir singing. I just feel in awe of it.”