After 17 years with English indietronica band Hot Chip, why did Joe Goddard decide to release his first solo album, Electric Lines? "I just had the chance to do it. I had the free time in my studio, and I decided to make a bunch of songs," says the mild-mannered Brit, who's slated to play the Electric Pickle this Saturday.
Goddard got into music as a kid when his parents played old Beatles and Rolling Stones cassettes. "In secondary school, I met the other guys from Hot Chip," he reminisces. "We started playing acoustic guitar, as boys that age tend to do. I started using the computer to make music. I taught myself and never had any lessons."
Soon the London-based Hot Chip was making a name for itself with Goddard's self-taught beats. Hot Chip's mixture of electronic and live sounds found an audience on both sides of the Atlantic. In Britain, they were nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize. In America, they also found an eager audience, as evidenced by this past winter's headliner appearance at the FM Festival in Miami Beach. "The crowds are similar in both countries. We've always had good times playing in America and at home."
So Goddard knew he wanted to bring his new tracks to the New World. In some places like San Diego, where he recently appeared, he plays a live set where he's joined onstage by a drum machine and a live vocalist. At th Pickle this Saturday, Goddard will DJ a wide range of music. "I've heard good things about the Electric Pickle. It will be quite eclectic. I'll be bringing in lots of disco, house, some new stuff, some old stuff, and some of my stuff."
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His stuff might include some Hot Chip tracks but will mostly consist of the 15 songs off his wide-ranging new album, Electric Lines, which was released last month. It's a varied album interspersing instrumentals with vocal-based pop with a beat that begs you to dance. Goddard says his influenced ranged track by track. The Canadian electronic composer Caribou made his mark; there's also hip-hop, deep house, and techno. But the one genre that left its mark more than any other is R&B. "I was trying to make it smooth. There's some amazing R&B out there. It can be cheesy, but the production is always good."
The newest single, "Home," has a particularly R&B vibe with a touch of disco thrown in. It is also accompanied by a video with memorably festive and occasionally disturbing animation. "Always in my head when I thought of a video for 'Home,' I thought it would be a live action of someone heading home from a night out; then it would get animated when the samples came in. Our friend Pete Fowler, who is a graphic artist as well as a DJ, he directed and animated it. The title 'Home' lent itself to someone trying to get themselves home."
In that video, the protagonist sees a colorful pastiche of dancing reptiles, men in leather chaps, and topless dancers with eyes where their nipples should be. Goddard's goal is that revelers heading home Sunday morning after his DJ set will have had their worldview changed both drastically and bizarrely.