Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard talks exclusively on his collaboration with lady of the moment Jessie Ware
Since her whispy, soulful vocals first appeared on SBTRKT’s self-titled album last year, singer-songwriter Jessie Ware has become a frequent sitter in ‘next big thing’ lists across the music press (we were a little late to the party, with David Newbury featuring her on his ‘Ones to Watch’ blog last month).
Her first solo single ‘Running’ hit us in February, followed by the infectious ‘110%’ in April, both taken from her debut album Devotion, which was finally released this week, sating the appetite of many a music fan whetted over the past year. The record sits somewhere between the smooth Eighties’ jazz of Sade and the minimal electronica of James Blake, carried by Ware’s silky vocals and ear for a great pop hook.
One person following Ware’s journey closely is Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard, a member of the electronic music royal family and one-time victim of the ‘hype machine’ himself. Having just put out Hot Chip’s fifth album In Our Heads Goddard, who also makes up one half dance duo The Two Bears, is mentoring Ware as part of the Bacardi Beginnings project, in which a selection of established music figures (Mylo and Friendly Fires are also involved) and take a £10,000 bursary and use it to push a new artist of their choice.
The pair entered the studio for the first time earlier this month, and Independent Blogs managed to grab a few exclusive words with him about the progress of the project.
You’re going to be mentoring Jessie Ware as part of Bacardi Beginnings. What made you choose her?
Her name was mentioned and I thought working with her would be fun and interesting.
Did you have a lot of artists to choose from?
I guess I could have suggested a lot of different people, I was happy with the idea of working with Jessie. I think she has a great voice.
You’ve been given £10,000 to spend on the project, are you letting on yet where that money will be going? What sort of things are you planning?
We’ve hired a great studio called club Ralph in Kilburn where we worked on the Hot Chip album and I brought in my friend Rob Sought to play on the track with me.
Jessie Ware’s sound is quite different to Hot Chip/ The 2 Bears. Is the assistance you’re going to give going to stretch beyond the merely musical?
We’ve talked about other parts of the music business. Jessie didn’t want people to dismiss her because she has received a lot of hype recently. I said that you can’t do anything about hype except keep working and try to make good music.
What made you want to get on board with a project to mentor new artists?
The prospect of making music with a new artist. I’m quite obsessed with making tracks and I love collaborating.
Do you think a lot has changed for emerging artists since you first got into music? For example, compared to when Hot Chip was breaking through?
Yes, a lot has changed. Labels have less resources and people buy less music, plus many, many people have the capability to make electronic music on their laptops – so standing out in this sea of music and creating a career for yourself is really difficult.
There’s undeniably a wealth of free tools that now allow artists to do a lot of things off their own back to get off the ground, but with that, do you think that people now underestimate the role that money and labels inevitably have to play in order to sustain a commercial act?
I think that sometimes people do underestimate what a label does, yes – a good label co-ordinates everything around the world in a way that is really hard to achieve for a person trying to release music on their own.
To focus on Hot Chip briefly, you’ve just released your fifth album In Our Heads. Are you pleased with the way it has been received?
Yes, people seem to have liked it. I’ve learnt that the only meaningful thing really is to try to keep yourself happy though; trying to please hipsters is truly a thankless task.
Five albums in, what have you learned and what can you pass on to your mentee Jessie Ware?
Be a decent person and work hard.
Arguably, your real ‘breakthrough’ album was The Warning, and specifically ‘Over and Over’ back in 2006, when the indie/dance crossover was very trendy. Now that we’re over the horrors of ‘nu-rave’, and you’ve proved that you were more than part of a passing fad, do you find less pressure not being one of the ‘it bands’ of the day?
There is certainly less pressure, yes, we can now concentrate on trying to improve our songwriting, our playing, and our technical skills – we’re less concerned with what we’re wearing and what, if anything, the blogs are saying about us. Remaining relevant is a different matter though…
Hot Chip’s members are famous for remixing songs and you’re all involved in various side-projects. Would it be fair to say you’re all passionate about the communal, collective aspect of music? Is this what draws you to such projects as Bacardi Beginnings?
Collaborating is good, yes, when it goes well it feels very positive.
Hot Chip headline two nights at Brixton in October. Is it onwards and upwards then? And what’s next for you personally?
We’re touring until just after Christmas. After that we’ll start to do other things and I might try to release some solo stuff and start work on the next 2 Bears album.Tagged in: Bacardi, dance, Deotion, Electronic, hot chip, indie, James Blake, jessie ware, pop, Sade, soul
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