With the release of Hot Chip’s 8th hit album, Freakout/Release, Joe Goddard is building on his already impressive back catalogue of electronic and synth-pop bangers. As well as Hot Chip, he’s put out tracks with The 2 Bears and HARD FEELINGS as well as forging a successful solo career. We sat down with the man himself to throw some quick questions his way about all things music.
If you could only save one of your synths from a burning building, which would it be?
I would save my Yamaha CS-80 because one recently went up for sale for £70000.
File:Yamaha CS-80 (1977) 8-voices dual-layered analog polyphonic synthesizer, with 22 preset sounds & 6 user patches - VINTAGE SYNTH @ YAMAHA BOOTH - 2015 NAMM Show.jpg" by Pete Brown from Gambrills, MD, USA is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
What's one thing you wish you’d known when you first started out?
How to make an international smash.
Who or what inspires you?
The most inspiring thing to me is listening to old Youtube MP3s of Dizzee Rascal and Wiley MCing while Slimzee DJs on Rinse FM from about the year 2000. Because Slimzee plays all these records that are like 8 bars of all the best garage tunes at the time and every 8 bars it changes to a new record and then Wiley and Dizzee are MCing over that. It's really inspiring. It’s got so much energy and I often go back to it if I’m stuck.
What’s the weirdest gig you’ve ever played?
I’ve done a lot of weird gigs. We did a tiny Hot Chip gig in a little bar in Portugal and it was a really sweaty little room when we were just beginning. There was like sweat falling from the ceiling that somehow got into our synthesisers and made the pitch go completely crazy. My synth started making what sounded like bird noises in the middle of the gig. We didn’t know what was going on. It was fine because it was one of those crazy situations and the crowd was really, really up for it. But yeah, the synths just kinda short-circuited.
What music or new genre excites you the most at the moment?
Honestly, the thing that I find really inspiring at the moment is more experimental synthesiser music. There’s this artist called Caterina Barbieri on Mego who kind of sounds like Trance but with no drums at all, it’s just synth arpeggios but really good ones. Or there’s that guy called Tim Hecker, an industrial musician. I find the way that he uses synthesisers is just really creative and good.
In your opinion, what’s the best mixed and mastered record?
I go back to enormous records like Thriller or music from Fleetwood Mac. When you listen to those tracks like Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac, it’s just clear how amazing the studio was, the engineers were, the musicians were, the synths, the recording. Everything was top notch and so the result is just a record that doesn’t have many elements to it but sounds so massive and so clean and clear and precise. I really think that studio technology from the mid-80s or so was the pinnacle for me.
If you could collaborate with any musician from history, who would it be?
The dream collaboration would probably be a rapper like Jay-Z or someone from a completely different world that’s just incredibly talented and someone that I’d love to be in the studio with. In the footage of him in the studio when he’s collaborating with Timbaland and Rick Rubin, he never writes anything down. He just listens to the track for a bit and then goes into the booth and flawlessly does his verse without writing any notes. It just feels incredible.
If you could only buy one piece of kit, what would it be?
I would buy a Roland System 700. I don’t need any more synths but this is like a real dream synth. It’s just super incredible and used by a lot of amazing people and it’s very versatile with an incredible sound.
"File:Roland System 700.jpg" by Racingline81 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on?
I think when we did the first 2 Bears album, me and my partner in The 2 Bears, Raf, we were kinda getting to know each other at the time as well and becoming really good friends. I learned a lot about how to DJ from him, how to play house music and I feel like that was a really lovely moment. We were hanging out a lot, playing a lot of table tennis and it was just really fun making music together.
Who do you think is the next big artist that people should keep their eyes on?
I don’t keep my eyes on all of the youngsters as much as I used to. I think that although Rosalía is already a superstar, I think she’s going to get immensely bigger over the next 18 months. She’s massively creative, she’s pop but also experimental, a really genre-smashing artist. I think she’s going to become a bigger star in the US and the UK. She’s already a megastar in a lot of parts of the world but I think she’s going to get a lot bigger.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would say that it’s really important to have confidence in your own ideas and not feel like you have to always listen to other people constantly. Value your intuition. Your intuitive sense of what’s right is really important to keep close to your heart.
If you had £100, what would you spend it on for your studio?
I’d try to buy a cheap eurorack module. You can get some really great, inexpensive things and I’m obsessed with building up my eurorack collection. I reckon there’d be some really good tools and creative things from a smaller boutique company that you could get for that kind of money.
What are some good things to do in the studio when you’re not feeling inspired but you want to be productive?
I think good things to do in those times are to just go back through demos that you’ve been making. That’s often what I do. Just listen through a bunch of ideas that I’ve already created and sort them in my head and organise them a little bit. Maybe bounce them out as a file that you can then send to someone to collaborate on. Sometimes you find that just opening up one of those old projects, you suddenly are inspired again by something that you did in the past. Sometimes you've even forgotten about making that demo and it feels like you’ve been handed a piece of music for free. It’s a good way to kickstart your inspiration.
Want to learn from Joe Goddard about how to turn your rough demos into release-ready tracks? Check out his video course where you’ll learn how the Hot Chip producer puts together his hit tracks.