Having played a major role in flying the flag for British dance music over the last 10 years, the members of Hot Chip have never paused for breath – huge side projects have littered the musical landscape, while the band has maintained its own heady output. Now, Al Doyle and Felix Martin have developed a new project, and LP, with Lanark Studios maestro Tom Hopkins.
I think there's a quite obvious influence from artists like Eno, Peter Gabriel and the Human League. Especially in the lyrics and Al's voice – something English and eccentric, sometimes quite detached and sometimes intimate and confessional
The band, New Build, incorporates lessons learnt along the journey and draws on a communal vibe with the album featuring Janine Rostron (Planningtorock) which will be released on their own label – Lanark Recordings – with plans to release more material from other artists later in the year.
Dazed Digital: Where did the idea to start New Build begin?
Felix Martin: The real ‘start’ was probably when I first met Al about ten years ago. That was a while before either of us had become members of Hot Chip or even met Alexis and Joe. We used to borrow a laptop from a friend and make funny electronic music ‘collages’. We later experimented with recording some slightly folky songs that never saw the light of day, probably for the best.
The band didn't really properly get off the ground until a couple of years ago when we started to collaborate with Tom Hopkins: after a period of a couple of months one summer we found we had made a collection of unexpectedly pop sounding songs, and they are the basis for this album.
DD: What are the ambitions of the project?
Felix Martin: We're very ambitious for the band, although realistic about how much we can do given the other commitments that we have. To me, this album represents more than anything an interesting collection of possible "jumping off points" for pursuing different kinds of productions and songs for future albums. And the live band, which features five other musicians alongside me, Al and Tom is also very exciting and something we want to develop in the next couple of years. Playing live is definitely one of Al's strengths in particular and we want to build on that.
DD: Does working under a new name offer each member the opportunity to try new things that weren’t necessarily suitable in their former bands/projects? If so, what in particular?
Felix Martin: Yes that's definitely the case, especially since we are releasing the music on our own label and consequently we are not beholden to anyone in particular for what kind of music we release and how we choose to release it. Having said that, the form of these songs and this album is actually very ‘pop’ like and doesn't seem to me to be radically different to Hot Chip or LCD for example, it's not like we've gone and made a Stockhausen album or anything like that!
DD: Did any artists/ albums have an influence on Yesterday was Lived and Lost?
Felix Martin: I think there's a quite obvious influence from artists like Eno, Peter Gabriel and the Human League. Especially in the lyrics and Al's voice – something English and eccentric, sometimes quite detached and sometimes intimate and confessional. By and large, the inspiration comes from artists like these exploring territory between pop and something stranger. In terms of production, there's also some influence from dance and electronic music, especially on ‘Do You Not Feel Loved?’ and that is a sound we will definitely be expanding on in the future.
DD: New Build seems to be centred on a community philosophy, which will be extended by Lanark Recordings and subsequent releases. What are the label’s future plans?
Felix Martin: The label is a really important part of what we do. It's been really fun connecting with artists like Planningtorock, who is a good friend that contributed greatly to the album, Dominik Eulberg and Juju & Jordash, who have all made remixes of our tracks for a series of limited edition 12"s.
Also working on the design and artwork for the releases has been great. The 12" designs feature illustrations by my dad Andy Martin and I'm very happy that some of his work is seeing the light of day at last. The album features art by my brother Bevis Martin and his partner Charlie Youle, and again I'm very proud and happy to be able to feature their work, I think it's a brilliant image and very much in tune with the music.
For the future, we plan on continuing the 12" series with more club focused remixes, there are some good ones lined up already. We are also planning some solo releases for some of Tom's techno tracks, and we are very excited about a friend of ours working under the name Championzee, producing some excellent and strange house tracks. We are hoping to release these later in the year.
DD: What’s next for New Build and each of you?
Felix Martin: We're heading out on tour in the UK which is going to be a lot of fun. For most of the UK dates we are being supported by Bang & Olufsen, yet another Hot Chip offshoot featuring Alexis Taylor and Rob Smoughton. The album launch at Corsica Studios on March 9th is going to be good as we have lots of friends playing, including Dominik Eulberg and The 2 Bears DJ-ing. Slightly nerve racking as we are kind of promoting the whole club night as well as playing live but it should be great.
We are also playing in New York and SXSW and then heading to Europe for some dates. After that we'll be doing some more live stuff when we can over the summer and then getting back into the studio, there are already some new tracks knocking about which I'm excited to work on some more.
Check New Build's Facebook / Twitter for more info. The album is out on March 5th in the UK, available on digital / CD / Heavyweight Vinyl direct from the band at www.newbuild.bandcamp.com. The band will tour in the UK / US / Europe, starting in Glasgow next week - full dates & tickets at www.newbuildband.com.