After hitting the jackpot with the brainy and ready-for-the-floor Hot Chip, Joe Goddard teamed up with Raf Daddy Rundell as The 2 Bears, the better to hoist the house flag higher.
Their second album, The Night is Young (Southern Fried), is marginally heavier than the first – at least in concept – with serious themes and some tracks recorded in South Africa in the studio of BLKJKS’s Tsepang Ramoba. They’ll be asking you to lay down your money, man, when they DJ at Panorama Bar on Sat, Oct 4.
What kind of stuff are you doing with The 2 Bears that you couldn’t do with Hot Chip?
Musically, there isn’t that much difference between The 2 Bears and Hot Chip; it’s about the musical relationship with other people. What The 2 Bears gives me is an education and understanding of house music, because that’s really Raf’s kind of background. To generalise: The 2 Bears, in the house music tradition, works with samples from other records and builds tracks that are more dance-floor centred. Whereas Hot Chip is more traditional pop kind of songwriting. The two worlds in terms of the music that we make really kind of overlap.
So if Raf brings his house music knowledge to the project, what do you bring?
I’m pretty much obsessed with pop of different kinds and from different periods over the last 40 to 50 years. I love trying to fit songs together and write the kind of verses and choruses and melodies and synth parts and drums that make up a really satisfying kind of whole. It kind of feels like putting together a puzzle for me.
Do you have a favourite period in pop?
There’s the mid-to-late 1960s, when rock music was becoming more psychedelic and bizarre. Then, in the 1970s when disco was kind of underground and really cool, Patrick Adams, Bob Blank and Blank Tapes, all that stuff. Then, I guess, late 1970s/early 1980s kind of New York stuff like Z Records and post-punk. Then UK pop in the early 1980s, the beginning of drum machines and sequencers like Human League or Heaven 17.
Last year you played some shows in Cape Town and Johannesburg, recording as well.
An old friend of Raf’s runs a project down there that gets people from other countries working with South African artists. This guy, Gavin, brought us over specifically to work with South African musicians and play some DJ gigs. We landed, went straight to a recording studio. This young guy called Sbusiso started to sing over one of our songs. He was quiet and then just said to us “I think I have some words for this one.” That’s the vocal you can hear on the track “Son of the Sun”. He did it just in one take without any kind of mistakes. We also did a DJ set on this street corner in Soweto. Lots of people who were coming home from school or going to do their shopping stopped to listen to us. My song “Gabriel” was a hit in South Africa, so whenever I played that people really knew it and responded. There’s a tendency when DJs go on trips like that, they can be very isolated. You kind of spend a lot of time in your hotel, going to do the DJ gig and then going back to your hotel. This was the exact opposite of that.
The 2 Bears DJ Set | Sat, Oct 4, 23.59, Panorama Bar, Rüdersdorfer Str. 70, Friedrichshain, S-Bhf Ostbahnhof