Hagop Tchaparian used to play in '90s UK punk-pop band Symposium, but in the early '00s became obsessed with electronic music. He was soon a regular at London club Fabric and ended up tour managing and doing live sound for Hot Chip in their early days (they named a song on The Warning after him). Around the same time, he also tour managed Four Tet, who became an even bigger influence, mentoring him as he began to make his own electronic music. He amassed snippets and beats but kept looking for emotional resonance that would tie them together, which ended up being found sound and field recordings. “I love synthesizers and music gear but there are some sounds that I hear around me as I go about my life that make me sit up and really pay attention," Tchaparian says. "I try to capture as much of them as I can and have used them as the main building blocks of the album. I need music to mean something to me otherwise I'm not as interested. It's a bit like younger days where I would just gravitate to certain inspiration like oxygen - I just really need it.” Bolts is Hagop's debut album, a decade in the making, that's out on Four Tet's Text Records and presents his unique, heady mix of dance music styles -- techno, drum and bass, footwork -- and those ambient field recordings. You can listen to the album below.
We asked Hagop to make us a list of influences behind Bolts, but what he sent us was something more, basically a history of how he went from skateboarding punk to clubgoer to travelling the world with Hot Chip and Four Tet to making his first album. It's a terrific read and he included lots of photos as well. Check that out, and the album, below.
HAGOP TCHAPARIAN - INFLUENCES BEHIND 'BOLTS'
1. Chris Christodoulou (TV & Film Director)
Accidentally meeting Chris was a pivotal gateway in to a whole new life! The band I was in had a part in a UK film [Five Seconds to Spare] with Ray Winstone. It was pretty boring with early starts and lots of waiting around but I had the good fortune to bump into this guy Chris Christodoulou who was a runner on the film. We had some shared heritage, were both from Fulham and our parents had both had greasy spoon cafs -- we just hit it off.
Pretty soon we were getting stuck in to London clubs like Fabric and going to drum and bass raves with people like DJ Hype playing. It was so much fun, we met loads of people and it was just a great change for me from being in a band, Coupled with the flyering outside clubs that I was doing to make money (due to some misfortune related to the band I was in), I was fully getting sucked into clubs and electronic music like never before. At some point Chris said: "I have these two friends that are making music in their bedroom, you should meet them," and that was when I first met Joe and Alexis of Hot Chip. If it wasn't for Chris, I would definitely not be here writing this. He is now a director and directs a lot of popular TV shows in the UK. Shout out Chris! This is us, Chris on the right:
2. Hot Chip
After being introduced to them via Chris and attending some of their early shows, I pretty much instantly loved them and their music. They are five super smart, hilarious people.
The thing that inspired me the most was that they had made everything themselves and had released DIY (at first). Prior to that, my experiences had been with record companies and producers etc and it was my first time seeing up close that DIY was possible (and fun) and that there was a whole interesting scene going on. There was some talk of me being the manager but I ended up helping them out on the road and I learned so much from them. How they saw things. They way they looked at music. Travelling in between shows in the van, they would play song after song that I had never heard before. I also learned a lot doing the sound for Hot Chip and distinctly remember finding certain frequencies in the low end where the crowd would immediately respond when they played places like Sub Club in Glasgow and the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. "What if I just add a bit more here... oh yes!"
I love their music and they continue to be a huge source of inspiration and great advice. Bad Photo Of A Great Early Hot Chip Show: