Hot Chip's Joe Goddard brings The 2 Bears to Belfast

The 2 Bears – Raf Rundell and Hot Chip's Joe Goddard – are bringing their heady mix of house, soul and hip-hop to Belfast this weekend. Goddard talks to Brian Campbell

2 Bears member Joe Goddard 

JOE Goddard clearly likes Belfast. The London-based musician was in the city in November past for a gig with indie-electro outfit Hot Chip and this weekend he’s back with his other band – The 2 Bears.

Goddard and singer Raphael ‘Raf Daddy’ Rundell joined forces because of their love of 80s pop, house music, hip-hop, 2-step and soul and they’ve now made two records together – Be Strong (2012) and The Night is Young (2014).

Yet when they first got together in 2009, the original plan was to have a third `'bear’.

“That’s a true story, but it never really came to fruition. The idea at the beginning came from Stephen Bass from Moshi Moshi Records. He said to Raf and I, 'You should form a band called The 3 Bears with Joe Mount’.

“We thought it was a good idea. I emailed Joe, because I was friends with him at the time and still am, and suggested it but he was very busy with his band Metronomy. So we turned it into The 2 Bears.”

But then wouldn’t it have been odd to have two Joes in one band?

“Yeah, that would have been weird. I would have felt a bit threatened,” he laughs.

He says he and Raf have always got on well.

“We met initially over 10 years ago when we’d both get booked to DJ at the same warehouse parties in London. I was becoming really interested in house music at the time and Raf was a really good house DJ.

“When he first moved to London he lived in Brixton and went to a lot of the early Basement Jaxx parties, before they’d put an album out or anything. So they’d put on these cool underground club nights in Brixton and Raf became the resident DJ at them. So we bonded over wanting to make house music together.”

Part of the latest album, The Night is Young, was dreamt up in South Africa.

“That was a really fantastic trip,” says Goddard. “The British Council and a magazine called Live helped to fund it. It was about promoting South African artists and bringing international artists over there.

“We got to meet some amazing South African artists and recorded with them and DJed in the townships in Soweto and Cape Town. The track Son of the Sun really benefited from us going over there. This kid called Sbusiso stood up and said 'I can sing’. We didn’t know what was going to happen, but then he unleashed that entire vocal that you hear on that track.”

Goddard is working on solo material that he hopes to release later this year and says Hot Chip will do a few headline and festival gigs in the coming months too.

"Al [Doyle] is going to be very busy playing with [the reunited] LCD Soundsystem this year, so we are winding down a little bit. But we might start to make some new music towards the end of the year.”

He says he and his bandmates enjoyed the Belfast gig in November and is looking forward to coming back this weekend with The 2 Bears.

“We always have a good time there. And it’s always going to be good in Belfast on a Saturday night.”

And will the bear costumes be making an appearance in Belfast?

“They don’t honestly make it out that often. In the beginning we did a couple of shows with them on and it got so disgusting inside those costumes – because combining that horrible synthetic fabric with big men and sweaty clubs, it’s a terrible terrible thing.”

:: The 2 Bears play The Black Box in Belfast tomorrow at 9pm, as part of Out to Lunch ( Tickets £14.

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