The Click: Alexis Taylor
In his own words, the Hot Chip frontman remembers the moment it all changed for him, courtesy of Royal Trux’s wild noise rock.
In 1998 noise rock band Royal Trux released Accelerator. I read a fantastic and very well-written, persuasive review of it in the NME whilst studying in the school library. I’d never heard their music but took a chance on the album as the description really sold it to me.
I was absolutely incredulous at what I then heard. The blend of extreme overdrive and massively compressed sounds, the huge choruses and hooks, at times indecipherable and dense-sounding lyrics, at others banal phrases repeated over and again, the best guitar playing on any record, touches of There’s a Riot Goin’ On, funk etc… I was gobsmacked.
Joe [Goddard] and I went to Brighton to see them play at The Cybar. We saw them eating spinach salads and healthy looking wraps in the cafe above the venue, and sounding very polite – not injecting heroin and causing the trouble the music press would continually reference as their only pastime throughout their career.
There was an underwhelming support band playing, and then they came on. Founding members Neil Hagerty and Jennifer Herrema were joined by Dave Pajo (Slint, Papa M) on bass, Ryan Murphy of Drag City (their label) on tambourine and backing vocals, and Jon Theodore (The Mars Volta, Queens of the Stone Age) on drums. It was definitely the best band I have ever seen.
They played one hour straight, no encore, but every moment of it made me excited to be alive, witnessing this perfectly wild but taut band at the height of its powers. Neil Hagerty and Jennifer Herrema seemed equally ready to fall into each other and argue as they were to join forces, sing in unison and deliver their crazed but brilliant message.
I took influence from this band in many – perhaps confused – ways from that point onwards. They really set the bar for what I thought a band could be like live. Hot Chip never really sounded like Royal Trux, but the joy of repetition in Over and Over is as much to do with their spirit as anything ‘carnal’ (to quote Run Shaker Life, the song they opened that set with). They changed it all for me.
A Bath Full of Ecstasy is out now via Domino Records.