A Bath Full of Ecstasy

A Bath Full of Ecstasy

“We’ve never really had anyone say to us, ‘All right, this song is good but we should try to push it to another level,’” Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard tells Apple Music. Seven albums deep, the band—Goddard, Alexis Taylor, Al Doyle, Owen Clarke and Felix Martin—decided to reach new levels by working with producers for the first time, drafting in Rodaidh McDonald (The xx, Sampha) and the late French touch prime mover Philippe Zdar. “They didn't really ask us to do anything mega crazy, but there were moments when they challenged us and pushed us out of our comfort zone, which was really healthy and good,” says Goddard. A Bath Full of Ecstasy handsomely vindicates the decision to solicit external opinion. Rather than abandon their winning synthesis of pop melodies, melancholy and the sparkle of club music, the band have finessed it into their brightest, sharpest album yet. And they got there with the help of Katy Perry, hot sauce and Taylor’s mother-in-law—discover how with their track-by-track guide. “Melody of Love” Alexis Taylor: “It’s about submitting to sound, and finding optimism within its abstract beauty. It’s about the personal as well as the more universal problems being faced by individuals, and overcoming those; it’s about connecting to something that resonates with you.” Joe Goddard: “I was initially imagining I would put it out without vocals on, without there really being a song. But I found this sample from a gospel track by The Mighty Clouds of Joy, and Alexis responded to the music very quickly and wrote these great words. Rodaidh is a very focused person, a bit like the T-1000, and was like, ‘OK, guys, we’re going to do this, this, this, this, this.’ And he cut it right down, which was a really good suggestion.” “Spell” AT: “This is a seduction song, but it’s not entirely clear who is in the driving seat, who has the upper hand, who holds the whip…” JG: “Alexis’ songwriting and lyrics are fantastic, but he is such an enormous lover of Prince, I felt like there would be places that he could go that would be slightly more sensual, sexual. And that he would really excel at it. But I don’t think it comes naturally to him. Then we were asked to do a few days in the studio with Katy Perry. We wrote a bunch of short demo ideas to play to her, and the beginning of ‘Spell’ was one of those. I think for Alexis, imagining writing something for her was quite freeing.” “Bath Full of Ecstasy” AT: “‘Bath Full of Ecstasy’ is a side-scrolling platform game in which the player takes control of one of the five band members on a quest to save the kingdom. A curse has ravaged the kingdom and eradicated all joy from the land, and the townsfolk and villagers can no longer see colours or hear music. With the help of the Bubble Bath Fairy, a magical microphone and some friendly strangers along the way, the band must embark on a quest through five exciting worlds on a mission to find the secret source that will break the curse.” “Echo” JG: “The demo was another one that we wrote for the Katy Perry sessions. We were trying to do something a bit Neptunes-y, a bit Pharrell—quite simple hip-hop-y bassline and drums. Lyrically it deals with letting go of your past.” AT: “It was originally called ‘Hot Sauce’ and was written about my favourite hot sauce, made by my friend, the steel-pan legend Fimber Bravo.” Al Doyle: “This was Philippe bringing to the pool his concept of ‘air’, putting in huge gaps and spaces and really reducing the sonic palette of the song—to the point where you’re almost like, ‘Oh wow, this is actually almost too sparse.’ But what is there is extremely powerful and crafted and razor-sharp.” “Hungry Child” JG: “It’s all about this real longing, obsessional kind of love—unrequited. Obviously, a classic subject for soul and disco music, and I was really channelling that. I love disco records that do that; I think there’s a real special power to them. And in Jamie Principle, Frankie Knuckles, that brilliant deep house classic Round Two, ‘New Day’, you get this obsessional, dark love stuff as well.” AT: “I mainly played Mellotron and wrote the chorus—about things which are momentary but somehow affect you forever.” “Positive” AT: “The song talks about perceptions of homelessness, illness, the need for community, kind gestures or lack of, information, love. It’s a heartbreak song with those subjects and a fantasy relationship at the core.” JG: “It features this Eurorack synth stuff very heavily, which is screamingly modern-sounding.” “Why Does My Mind” AT: “A song written on Alex Chilton’s guitar, lent to me by Jason McPhail [of Glasgow band V-Twin], about the perplexing way in which my mind works.” “Clear Blue Skies” JG: “Once a record is 70 percent done, you’re thinking about how to complement the music that you already have. So we wanted to have a more gentle, drum-machine-led thing. I was really also inspired by ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ by Brian Eno, which has that feel. I find it really difficult, with the size of the universe, trying to find that meaning in small things. I find that really problematic sometimes—that’s the meaning of the song.” “No God” AT: “A love song, written with my mother-in-law in mind as the singer, for a TV talent show contest, but never delivered to her, and instead turned into a euphoric song about love for a person rather than God, or light.” JG: “The chorus and the verse are very, very simple pop music. It reminded us of ABBA at one point. We struggled to find a production that was interesting, that had the right balance of strangeness and poppiness. It reminds me a bit of Andrew Weatherall and Primal Scream, that kind of balearic house thing.” Owen Clarke: “It went reggae for a bit. It had a techno moment as well.”

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