Joe Goddard: Mix it up, daddy cool

He's the busiest man in dancemusic –and now a family man to boot. Holly Williams talks work-life balance with the Hot Chip man

Joe Goddard is a busy man. One half of the main writing duo in the band Hot Chip, he's on the road touring their latest album, the gloriously upbeat electro-pop confection In Our Heads. He also DJs by himself, as well as with The 2 Bears, a collaboration with Raf Rundell that's more rooted in house music; their debut album, Be Strong, was also released earlier this year. And, after collaborating with vocalist Valentina to create one of last year's best singles, the sparklingly infectious "Gabriel", this autumn Goddard is working with another strong female singer, the freshly Mercury prize-nominated and much-hyped Jessie Ware. The two got together in the studio in August as part of a Bacardi-funded mentoring project. He remixed her next single, "Night Light", out next month. And he had a second child this year. How does he manage it all?

You could call him the Woody Allen of intelligent dance pop. "I really love working, and I realise you don't have for ever to keep working," Goddard muses. "I was watching this documentary about Woody Allen, and how he doesn't really take time off. He just starts the next film. Not every film is going to be amazing – he just likes the process. I just like the process." He is lucky, then, that the product of those processes is so darn danceable. In Our Heads has been hailed as Hot Chip's best album yet, while Be Strong, more clubby in sound, was also well received. And if there's one thing that comes through in all his various musical outings, it's a sense of joy.

Is this good-time music for hard times? "I can't read too much into that," he says. "It wasn't really trying to lift spirits in economic crisis or anything – but, at the same time, I guess … I started a family with my wife. I've got now two children, and that has made me quite grounded and positive about what is going on, so maybe that comes through."

Goddard, an understated, thick-set, slightly shy figure, who you sense is happier looking down at his decks than engaging with the press, certainly seems a grounded family man. But that packed schedule of live tours, muddy music festivals and late-night DJ sessions must sit uneasily with starting a family; if he's up at 5am, it's as likely to be because he's igniting a dancefloor with his choice of tune as because he's taking his turn doing the night feed.

"It's hard," he begins, before correcting himself. "Well, it's basically hard for my wife. But she's incredibly giving and she really has things sorted. She loves looking after them, and our new baby is actually quite chilled. I miss them a lot after just a couple of days away. But it's what I do and she understands that." And, although he loves both playing live and DJing, getting older also means reining it in. "I don't have so many big nights out where I get really drunk. I try to be a bit more sensible, come home fresh so I can help at home."

At two years old, Goddard's first child is still a bit young to tag along on tour, but he'll make a mini-raver of her before long: "She hasn't been to that many gigs yet; I guess I'll take her around soon." And Hot Chip's music does attract some very young fans, it seems. "There were some videos on YouTube of babies dancing to 'Ready for the Floor'. Apparently, it's a big hit with babies. I just wish they bought records," he jokes. Hot Chip's frontman and co-writer, Alexis Taylor, has also had a child recently, and they've joked about a next generation of the band, called – wait for it – Micro Chip.

Goddard and Taylor may not have known each other in the cradle, but the pair go a long way back. They met when they were 11, in their first year at Elliott School in south-west London. (The comprehensive is something of a hotbed for musical talent, a sort of accidental indie Brit school: Goddard was pals with Kieran Hebden of Four Tet, while other alumni include The xx, members of The Maccabees and Burial.) A friendship that began over lunchboxes in a Putney playground flourished as they both became "obsessed with music".

"We were going to tons of gigs together and really were very serious about music," he recalls. "It was a fantastic time. It was when people still bought records. There's a great musical education you get from being in London."

They both went on to university – Goddard to Oxford, Taylor to Cambridge – but continued to meet up in the holidays, making music in their bedrooms, the name Hot Chip already in place. They applied an undergraduate earnestness to it, burning CDs and hawking them round record shops, before eventually pressing a seven-inch which won them some industry attention. In 2004, with Owen Clarke (also a schoolmate), plus new additions to the band Felix Martin and Al Doyle, Hot Chip released their record-label debut, Coming On Strong, on Moshi Moshi Records.

Such long-standing friendship might turn the writing partnership into the aural equivalent of a favourite old jumper – warm, cosy, and a tad overfamiliar. But Goddard says it frees them up to try new things. "A large part of it is trust. I don't ask him what the words to [his songs] mean, I don't question him or tell him to rewrite. We have respect for each other. And the songs end up being slightly more unusual, sometimes, but much better for that."

They do, however, have a shared language of musical references. Hot Chip have long been known for their magpie approach, with any given song potentially tipping its hat to disco, funk, synth-pop, R&B, hip hop and house. "There's nothing methodical about it at all. I guess it comes down to a mix of things we're listening to currently that are inspiring, and things that, because myself and Alexis and Owen have known each other since we were really young, went in during those years and are still bubbling around," explains Goddard. "There's always Prince references, and that's a very early thing for Alexis. There's a real love of R Kelly, which comes through on 'Look at Where We Are' on this album. And for me, it's Nile Rodgers [of Chic]: I just find him really inspiring as a songwriter, producer and guitarist."

Such pick '*' mixing has led to people thinking of Hot Chip as arch humorists, nodding knowingly to uncool genres. But these choices comes from a real place. "We never really felt we were too tongue in cheek. People just took it that way. Sometimes, it's that we genuinely like stuff which other people call cheesy. Alexis is into Phil Collins. People will think a reference is, like, 'you must be joking' and it's not.

"But that's interesting: whether things are cheesy or plain trendy and cool, those lines are constantly changing. Everything's in flux," says Goddard. Perhaps. But it seems, almost in spite of himself, that Joe Goddard's musical output has wound up in the (daddy) cool camp, his DJ skills ever in demand for dedicated clubbers, while Hot Chip play ever larger venues, finding fans from hipster teens to broadsheet journalists and fellow muso dads – and their smiling, dancing babies, of course.

Joe Goddard is in the studio with Jessie Ware at bacardi.com/beginnings. The 2 Bears DJ from 27 Sep. Hot Chip tour the UK from 8 Oct

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'

After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violence

film
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams will be given a 'meaningful remembrance' at the Emmy Awards

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music
Arts and Entertainment
Blue singer Simon Webbe will be confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing

tv
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Cliff Richard performs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 17 May 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Educating the East End returns to Channel 4 this autumn

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch will voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis' movie take on The Jungle Book

film
Arts and Entertainment
DJ Calvin Harris performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush

music
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Mark Crown, DJ Locksmith and Amir Amor of Rudimental performing on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park, Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
Gary Lineker at the UK Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape