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Event Info

Joe Goddard
King Tut's Wah Wah Hut
Doors: 19:30
Age: 18+
Standard Buy now

Joe Goddard has been thinking about thinking. For the past few years, the producer, songwriter, and all-round polymath of UK dance and indie music has been trying to get more in touch with his own intuition. “This idea of trying to divorce your conscious mind from the music-making process – not trying to force meaning on the music or your collaborators, allowing that process to be very empathetic, and just making music purely on your natural emotional response,” he explains.   It may come as no surprise to hear that this mindset naturally emerged – where else? – during the pandemic. At home, Joe reflected on his three decades of making music, two decades of marriage, and decade-plus of raising children. But it was only after opening Relax and Enjoy, his new East London studio with Hot Chip bandmate Al Doyle, that he truly understood the degree to which his outlook had shifted. “We’ve been working there producing a lot of other bands,” he says. “Looking at the group psychology of the people that come into that space, the creative process can be completely derailed by someone wanting to assert themselves and control the process. I’ve been guilty of being that person myself in the past. Sometimes you get this aggressive urge to be the person that leads the decisions. I’ve been working on my ability to turn that off.”   Joe tried to set aside those thoughts while writing and producing his third solo album, Harmonics. Across 14 tracks of left-of-centre dance music – touching on UK garage, house, hip-hop, pop, and disco – Joe opens the floor for a number of collaborators. The voice of Ibibio Sound Machine’s Eno Williams rides the afro-house groove of “Progress”, while starry-eyed boom-bap track “When Love’s Out of Fashion” features UK rapper Oranje. Former Wild Beasts frontman Hayden Thorpe lends his uniquely expressive vocal to the low-slung house of “Summon”, and Joe’s Hot Chip bandmates Alexis Taylor and Al Doyle both appear on the gleaming half-step ballad “Heal Your Mind”. Other guests on Harmonics include Brooklyn dream-pop singer Barrie, emerging British singer-songwriter Findia, Bronx-raised singer Fiorious, Tom McFarland of the London dance-pop group Jungle, Guinean vocalist Falle Nioke, and UK jazz musician Alabaster DePlume.   Yet for all the collaborators that Joe brings into his world, there are a handful of solo songs like “Follow Me” that capture the more reflective and inward-looking side of his music. “With all the different people on this record, I’ve been working on how to respect the contribution they make and not trying to be the one who has to lead everything,” Joe says. “That follows through into the songs where I’m singing. I tried to write words without having too much of an idea of what I’m trying to express, where I’m just writing a stream of consciousness.”   Nevertheless, working without a set intention still led to some serendipitous moments. On lead single “New World (Flow)”, a rhapsodic house track with a powerhouse vocal performance by Fiorious, the lyrics coincidentally ended up being about releasing yourself to your natural instincts. “There was no discussion of that,” Joe says. “In a commercial writing session, there’ll be a lot of discussion around the title of the song and the subject matter, and a brainstorming session for the lyrics. With the artists on this record, I just wanted them to be free to write what they wanted to. There wasn’t a lot of overthinking.”   Album opener “Moments Die” arose from another such coincidence. The electronic pop duet features the lush vocals of Barrie, an artist who Joe reached out to after initially discovering her voice by accident. “I was working on a remix of a song by Psymon Spine that she featured on. She comes from an indie background. I just thought: ‘That voice is really great,’” he explains. Elsewhere, the album features two songs with the emerging singer Findia: the out-and-out festival banger “Destiny” – perhaps the album’s most exhilarating moment – and its more ruminative counterpart, “When You Call”. Joe first encountered Findia when she booked studio sessions at Relax and Enjoy. “Her lyrics reference mysticism and that kind of English magickal pop in the vein of Kate Bush, which struck a chord with me,” he says. “I sent her these instrumentals. She’s incredible at giving these ideas a structure and turning them into real songs.”   Over the years, Joe has to come to embrace his role as ‘producer’, in all of its different definitions. “The psychology of recording sessions is fascinating,” he says. “The role of producer is totally amorphous. There are technical aspects you need to know, like how to engineer sounds and mix, and being able to make suggestions for what instruments to use. But there’s a whole other side to it, which is just about managing the energy of different people in the room. That’s been the amazing thing about having the studio space. You have days where a group of people’s energies are just working together, and you get an incredible building of creativity and openness where ideas start to flow. You can feel the energy building in the room and coming into focus. You can feel the music coming to life.”   This openness towards collaboration and the acceptance of people’s individual human nuances is where Harmonics gets its name from. The history of dance music is replete with words like ‘ecstatic’, ‘euphoric’, and ‘uplifting’ – but here, those words do not describe hands-in-the-air clichés, but the spiritual and human side that Joe explores in his music. “Part of the reason why I wanted to call this Harmonics is that I was trying to create something very inclusive and empathetic, something harmonious,” Joe says. “There’s a lot of aggressive division in the world, and I wanted this to be loving, romantic – and fun.”   This is the soulful thread that runs through all of Joe Goddard’s favourite music – genres from soul and funk, to house and garage, that were born in Black America and enthusiastically adopted by the UK. Of course, Joe himself was not raised in downtown gospel churches, but in the London suburb of Fulham. That’s a side of his personality he’s never shied away from, either. “It’s possible to cover up that lo-fi Englishness using a computer,” he says. “But doing that is not being honest to yourself. If a track is gentle, or sonically leftfield, allow it to be that. Don’t let the computer take over and turn everything into some glossy, gleaming, powerful, but essentially inhuman thing.”   Joe’s infatuation with dance music began as a teenager in the ’90s, as he graduated from indie onto hip-hop and dance music. DJing and producing electronic music was a natural progression for someone who attended taste-making clubs like That’s How It Is, Metalheadz, Fabric, and Basement Jaxx’s eponymous Brixton party. At the same time, he remained busy writing leftfield electronic pop music with Hot Chip, the band he co-founded with Alexis Taylor, his classmate from Putney’s Elliott School.   Since then, Joe has become a mainstay of British dance and indie through his vast number of bands and collaborative projects, his live shows and festival dates, his production and songwriting credits, his remixes and solo singles, and his DJ sets. He has released eight albums with Hot Chip, two with The 2 Bears (with Raf Rundell), and one with HARD FEELINGS (with Amy Douglas). Other collaborations include the groups Extra Credit (a collaborative project with Justin Strauss and Marcus Marr) and A Pulse Train (whose other members include Caribou’s Dan Snaith, Junior Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan, Floating Points, and more). He’s produced tracks with Franz Ferdinand and Bernard Sumner; collaborated with Jarvis Cocker and Peter Gabriel; remixed Jessie Ware, Kraftwerk, New Order, Disclosure, and the Chemical Brothers; released the untouchable 2011 hit “Gabriel” with Valentina; and co-wrote Katy Perry’s “Into Me You See”. Across his career, he’s been nominated for two Grammys and the Mercury Prize. Of course, he’s much too humble to bring any of this up himself.   Harmonics is Joe Goddard’s third solo studio album, following 2009’s Harvest Festival and 2017’s Electric Lines. Rooted in instinct and empathy, and featuring a diverse range of talents, Harmonics is not just a title but a promise fulfilled – an unbridled celebration of compassion, collaboration, and creation.

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