SS: You’ve come a long way during the last ten years or so and yet remained a heavyweight disco-punk band while also clinging to the label of an ‘underground act’. What enabled the band to remain so popular and yet shadow yourselves from the blinding limelight?
Nic Offer (vocals): Maybe it's more a case the 'underground act' label clinging to us. I really have no idea how we're still able to be here. We're still just a bunch of friends having a good time. Maybe that's what has kept the music fresh as well, but also stopped us from taking it seriously enough to really push it to the big time. That's the big time's loss, as far as I'm concerned. ?
SS: What was the motivation behind the new album - Strange Weather, isn’t it? - was it out of desire to get back in the studio or were there some other driving forces behind it?
?Nic: The motivation was the same as it's always been. It's just more fun to create. Nothing is more exciting to us than making music. It's more fun to go on tour playing music with your friends than it is to work a real job, so we had to write some new songs. ? ?
SS: If the new album could be aptly described as a colour; what would it be?
?Nic: It's strange; I always attach the actual colors of the album cover to the album. That particular shade of blue will always be Hatful of Hollow (The Smiths) blue to me. Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division, In the Flat Field by Bauhuas, Heroes by David Bowie and The Idiot by Iggy Pop have always seemed like black and white to me. So I guess I would say our record sounds like that kind of ice color with warmer earth tones behind it.
SS: The record takes a few melancholic twists, with a few more funky interludes and, dare I say it, less rave sections than what we experienced in former albums - would you say that in your latest material you’ve taken a different point of departure?
?Nic: Yeah. We like the artists who move forward and change with each album. Who'd you rather end up like, Blur or Oasis? It's quite possible we'll bring back some ravey parts for the next album just to change it up.
SS: The album/single artwork from your releases always projects a neat visual of what you’re listening to; do you have a hand in the artwork?
?Nic: Yeah. It's frustrating but important to us. Especially these days, you need to give people a reason to want the CD/LP if you want them to buy it. Gorman always has a hand in it.
SS: Pardon my freedom for asking but did you and Jamie (of track, ‘Jamie, My Intentions Are Base’) ever pull it off?
?Nic: There's been many Jamie’s. I wrote this for all of them, though I have not pulled everything off with all the Jamies I wanted to.
SS: Do you have a particular place that you like to go when making new material? Where was the bulk of your latest album made, for example?
?Nic: The bulk of this last album was done in NY, which is always fun ‘cause it’s home. But we did a lot of work on this record in Berlin and that was a great place to work. We'd go there again in a heartbeat.
SS: Meeting disco crowds from around the world must have an influence on the sound and form of your music, but you have a particular affiliation with Germany’s proud capital, could you elaborate on that a little? What’s so alluring about Berlin for Chk Chk Chk?
?Nic: The sound systems and the clubs are so much better than what we're used to in NY. Even the sausage stands have better sound systems than many clubs in NY (I'm not exaggerating). That's why most of what you hear out of NY is rock. Even NY's most significant contributions to dance music lately have been through 'dance rock'. NY is for rockers and that's great, but rockers go to bed too early.
SS: Growing up in the ‘90s, who were you listening to that made you think “bam, what the world needs is Chk Chk Chk”?
Nic: Chic, Bohannon, James Brown, Sonic Youth. I remember the night my old punk band broke up, i went to see James Chance and the Contortions do a reunion show in San Francisco. I thought, "We could do this so much better".
SS: If you could collaborate with any band from history and make one, sweet record who would it be?
?Nic: I think it would have been great to be on [record label] On-U-Sound in the early 80's, and let Adrian Sherwood have his way with us.
SS: Who are you listening to at the moment, any bands you’d recommend plugging into?
?Nic: The Mole, Conforce, Tame Impala, Efdemin, Caribou, Wavves, Ariel Pink.