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ALISON STEWART, host:

For the past four years, fans of the British band Hot Chip, they've been able to play this game called Spot the Influences. Well, you can hear little souls, some R&Bs, the spoke word, cultural references, and of course, '80s dance pop. All of which you can hear on its new record, "Made in the Dark." It came out this week. Here's the lead single, "Ready for the Floor."

(Soundbite of song, "Ready for the Floor")

Mr. ALEXIS TAYLOR (Lead Singer, Hot Chip): (Singing) Stand carving up the wall. Why don't you open up at all? I am ready, I am ready for a fall.

STEWART: But the (unintelligible) outfit is not afraid to switch tings up. As we heard when all five, yes, all five members descended on the BPP studios with keyboards, guitars, a box of percussion instruments to treat us to a reinterpretations of their songs.

Here's that danceable single "Ready for the Fall," strip down and raw(ph).

(Soundbite of song, "Ready for the Floor")

Mr. TAYLOR: (Singing) Do it, do it, do it, do it, do it now. Say it, say it, say it, say it now. Do it, do it, do it, do it, do it now. Stand carving up the wall. Why don't you open up at all? I am ready, I am ready for a fall. Stand carving up the wall. Why don't you open up at all? I am ready, I am ready for a floor. I can't hear your voice, do I have a choice? I can't hear your voice, do I have a choice? You're sinking below, I'm using my force. I'm hoping with chance, you might take this dance. You're my number one guy.

Stand carving up the wall. Why don't you open up at all? I am ready, I am ready for a fall. Stand carving up the wall. Why don't you open up at all? We are ready, we are ready for the floor.

I can't hear your voice, do I have a choice? I can't hear your voice, do I have a choice? You're sinking below, I'm using my force. I'm hoping with chance, you might take this dance. You're my number one guy. Number one guy. Number, number, number, number, one, one, one, one guy. You're my number one guy.

Stand carving up the wall. Why don't you open up at all? I am ready, I am ready for a fall. You're my number one guy. Number one. Stand carving up the wall. Why don't you open up at all? We are ready, we are ready for the floor. You're my number one guy. Number one.

Stand carving up the wall. Why don't you open up at all? We are ready, we are ready for the floor.

STEWART: Welcome you guys to the studio. Thank you so much for coming in and agreeing to play and sit and talk to us for a little while. We really appreciate it.

Mr. ALEXIS TAYLOR (Vocalist, Hot Chip): Oh, it's a pleasure.

STEWART: Do me a favor. Go around the room and tell the people who you are, so they get used to the sound of your voices, because they can't see you right now.

Mr. TAYLOR: I'm Alexis. Oh, normal speaking voice.

Mr. JOE GODDARD (Member, Hot Chip): This is Joe. Hello.

Mr. FELIX MARTIN (Member, Hot Chip): Felix.

Mr. OWEN CLARKE (Member, Hot Chip): And Owen.

STEWART: As you were writing "Ready for the Floor," did you write it thinking, hmm, one day we're going to rearrange this?

Mr. TAYLOR: I don't think I thought, though, that when we were writing it, but with every song we've ever written we've usually done another version that's quiet and slow and sad sounding, I think. It's kind of inevitable this would happen.

STEWART: Joe, you want to weigh in on that?

Mr. GODDARD: That song, when we made it, it was totally about being a kind of upbeat pop song. And initially, I didn't know whether it would really translate into kind of any other versions, but we've done a couple of kind of quieter, softer versions and it seems to work out right. So...

Mr. CLARKE: All of the songs have a quite strong kind of structure. So, usually, you know, they'll translate into whatever kind of other forms we like to impose on them.

Mr. MARTIN: It could be jazz or reggae.

Mr. TAYLOR: Reggae.

Mr. MARTIN: Yeah, Reggae. Joe did the reggae version.

Mr. TAYLOR: Reggae usually creeps and even if we don't want it to.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Just finds its way in? Alexis, when you're singing it, singing a song like that in a different version than the one that people will become accustomed to when they get your new record, do you think about the way you present the lyrics differently? Or...

Mr. TAYLOR: I think I just try and enjoy singing it. Like, it feels like a different song to sing it that way. It's like doing a couple of versions of something or just kind of improvising little changes to the melody and just singing, you know, in a way that feels good.

STEWART: The song "Shake a Fist," there's a lot going on in that song.

Mr. TAYLOR: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Like, yeah, we know. Can we break it down a little bit? First of all, so much percussion. Tell us what we're hearing.

Mr. GODDARD: There's a snare drum, isn't there?

Mr. MARTIN: The base of it is snare drum. It's a song from a very famous musician.

Mr. GODDARD: We can't mention it here.

STEWART: Okay.

Mr. TAYLOR: He's very short.

Mr. GODDARD: It's not Prince.

Mr. CLARKE: It's Paul Simon. There.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. TAYLOR: There's just tons of different - like we have a percussion, a box of percussion in the room here with us, we use it to play sounds (unintelligible).

STEWART: Yes.

Mr. MARTIN: That's what it sounds like.

(Soundbite of thumping)

Mr. TAYLOR: With that - we have literally that, you know, one of our home studios in London.

Mr. CLARKE: (Unintelligible).

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. TAYLOR: How did it get here like this?

STEWART: Oh, and what's in that box? So people can know what we're talking about.

Unidentified Man #3: Pardon me?

(Soundbite of cans rattling)

(Soundbite of laughter)

Unidentified Man #2: Have you got a (unintelligible) in there? Most comically...

Unidentified Man #3: It's funny you should say that.

(Soundbite of cans rattling)

Unidentified Man #2: Is this fiber (unintelligible)?

Unidentified Man #3: Yes, it is. Yeah.

Unidentified Man #2: So I hit this building? (unintelligible).

Unidentified Man #3: Yes, you hit the globe.

Unidentified Man #2: The globe area.

Unidentified Man #2: The globe area. Here's the sound of the globe area.

(Soundbite of loud sound)

Unidentified Man #3: Yeah, that's a good combination.

Unidentified Man #4: It is actually one of those (unintelligible).

Unidentified Man #3: Yeah, there is...

MARTIN: Excellent...

Unidentified Man #3: So that's the (unintelligible).

STEWART: And I saw several different triangles in there, different sizes and...

Unidentified Man #1: There's seven cow bells. We haven't got seven cows. Don't worry. (unintelligible)

(Soundbite of laughter)

Unidentified Man #3: A herd of cowbells.

STEWART: Also on "Shake a Fist," Todd Rundgren hops up in the middle of the song.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Unidentified Man #3: Yeah, it's annoying, what he's doing.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Explain...

Unidentified Man #4: We hit him on the head when he said that.

STEWART: Joe, explain to me how Todd Rundgren figures into this song.

Mr. GODDARD: In our old sound checks, before we play gigs, Al would - when he's testing the microphones, he would say this couple of sentences from an old Todd Rundgren album, like he would talk about - he could do it.

Unidentified Man #2: It's a game called sounds of the studio. And he does, like, impressions of problems that you might encounter in the '70s studio, such as (unintelligible) we got a pop shield on the mic. But peas popping or this is the sound of bad editing, and then he would sort of like chop things up.

Unidentified Man #1: He goes through all these kind of different problems, and we just thought that bits of that just sounded fantastic and kind of would be an interesting thing to put in this natural break that we had in the song.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. TODD RUNDGREN (Musician): Before we go any further, I'd like to show you all a game I made up. This game is called Sounds at the Studio.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. RUNDGREN: And it can by played with any record, including this one. You may be surprised.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. RUNDGREN: Now, if you have a pair of headphones, you better get them out and get them cranked up.

Unidentified Man #3: Yeah, it was funnier at the time. And it was probably even funnier at the time it was recorded. But yeah, 30 years makes a difference.

STEWART: Alexis, explain what "Made in the Dark" is about.

Mr. TAYLOR: It's sort of about the struggle to be with someone if you're traveling all the time. It's about being together apart, basically. So, yes, it's a song about a relationship and making sense of it and making sense of yourself in the world.

STEWART: Have you all found that a difficulty as you've been traveling? Because by the time this airs, you'll be all over the U.K. You will have been in New York, L.A. ...

Unidentified Man #1: Yeah.

STEWART: ...back home?

Unidentified Man #1: Yeah. No, it's very difficult. Yeah. We all find it tough. We're away from our loved ones a lot of the year, yeah. And, you know, we have a fantastic time when we go on tour. We, you know, have a good reception in a lot of places that we go. And we have a lot of fun. We see the world. But, you know, we're away from the people that we love, so. There are a few of those kind of themes running through the album.

(Soundbite of song, "Made in the Dark")

HOT CHIP: (Singing) Since we fell apart, I've been nothing but blue. It's all been for a lifetime to bring back my youth. Every night, emotions together apart. Apart from the moments so dear to my heart. We were made in the dark. We were made in the dark. We were made in the dark. We were made in the dark. Since our stories (unintelligible) is all we have (unintelligible). But premonition hits hard so I started (unintelligible). Every night, emotions must be fixed by a glue. But babe, be careful. What sticks as one breaks in two. We were made in the dark. We were made in the dark. We were made in the dark. We were made in the dark.

STEWART: Al, what do you do when you get lonely on the road?

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Keep it clean.

Mr. DOYLE: Well...

Unidentified Man #1: Al watches "The Wire."

Mr. DOYLE: I do. I do watch the "The Wire" quite a lot.

STEWART: "The Wire?" Really?

Mr. DOYLE: Yeah, but I just finished season four. So I'm waiting now to get the DVD of number, but I don't know how long I'm going to have to wait.

Unidentified Man #1: We tend to drink a lot.

Mr. DOYLE: We do tend to drink ourselves into a stupor, into a depression sometimes.

Unidentified Man #1: Also into anger.

Mr. DOYLE: Yeah, sometimes into anger. That's obviously quite interesting. Yeah, I mean, various different coping mechanisms, we call them. Sometimes you like to get a little bit of solitary time in the bunk.

Unidentified Man #3: Al likes a lot of solitary time.

Mr. DOYLE: Yeah, I like to sort of just lie down in the sort of vampiric posture with my own coffin.

Unidentified Man #4: He's got a coffin full of dark earth.

Mr. DOYLE: Yeah, the key to - the earth from my homeland.

STEWART: Owen, what do you do?

Mr. CLARKE: I sluff off.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. CLARKE: (unintelligible) dry husk, gibbering and I just kind of - I actually (unintelligible) he's okay here.

Unidentified Man #1: What we tend to do is go around the world going to thrift stores buying clothes and records. And we - so by the end of the tour, we have massive collections of - we nail them to the outside of the bus, like trophies.

STEWART: Do you ever find - the music that you find in those boxes in record stores and rummage sales ends up influencing what you're writing for your next record?

Unidentified Man #1: Oh, definitely, yeah. Yeah, yeah. I should think that Todd Rundgren album I got in a second-hand shop or a charity shop somewhere.

Unidentified Man #2: Yeah.

Unidentified Man #1: And so we ended up sampling that, and now that happens constantly, yeah.

STEWART: Before I let you go, is there anything about the record you want to tell me or that nobody's asked you in an interview that you just wish somebody would ask you already?

Unidentified Man #3: It's available from all good stores February the 5th. Make sure you buy it, please.

STEWART: He's be business man in the group. Anything else?

Unidentified Man #3: I can't stress that enough.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Unidentified Man #1: It's really important.

Unidentified Man #3: It's very important that you buy this record.

Unidentified Man #1: We are creating a list of people who don't buy it.

STEWART: And we'll come and find you. Hot Chip, thanks for coming by the studio.

Unidentified Man #3: No problem.

Unidentified Man #1: Thank you.

Unidentified Man #2: Thank you.

Unidentified Man #4: Thanks.

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