Owen Clarke is known for his moves. The Hot Chip multi-instrumentalist can be found in a host of YouTube videos, getting down to his band's beats while slapping the bass or rocking the keys at a gig. There's even a Facebook page called "Owen Clarke -- Dancing King." While somewhat modest about his own dance floor capabilities, Clarke does admit there's a very special thing that happens when it comes to playing a gig.
"It's this energy meeting -- it sounds sort of hippie-ish but it is kind of true -- people come together to see a thing, you go there to do a thing and so, you know, it's set up for a good thing from the outset," he says.
Hot Chip made their mark back in 2006 for creating an irresistibly danceable combination of R&B and synth pop on "The Warning," and three albums later, with the recent release of "In Our Heads," the band finds themselves still keeping the energy level buoyantly blissful.
"Whenever we make a record, we are the same people and we have the same sort of agenda every single time," Clarke says. "There's no sort of plan. There never is, which is how we've ridden our luck for so long, I think ... [the songs] just turned out the way they did. That's not a great illumination in terms of an answer but we were just feeling a bit uptempo and happy. It's quite nice when things can turn out like that."
The band's playful sensibility has always been particularly notable when it comes to their music videos, in which more often than not, anyone from a fake boy band to award-winning actor Terence Stamp will be singing their lyrics to the camera. But why have stand-ins when Clarke in particular is such a smooth mover?
"There's a perception of who we are that isn't very close to the actual truth of who we are because we've never put up a front of being guys who are in a rock band, or being aloof and very synth-y, or being anything in particular, regardless of what anyone may or may not think," Clarke says. "It's nice to let the music speak for itself and let the video tell the story that it does with other people. We're not afraid of being in our own videos. It's just nice to let the best people do the best job. We like to make the videos as fun as we can and we don't like to get in the way of that by insisting on being in them and posturing and doing that sort of thing -- we save that for being on stage. We don't posture onstage, but, you know."
Get down for city and town
Clarke notes the differences when it comes to an audience in the city and an audience in the 'burbs.
"I think major capitols, they're not stand-offish in any way but they have quite a high expectation. They have lots of touring acts coming through. It's not like you have to win them over, but you sort of have to prove your mettle as it were. Whereas, if you go to places that don't get bands very often, they're very excited to see you. ... It varies to a certain degree but in general, it's a positive thing wherever we go."