As a music fan, I have some skepticism when it comes to electronic music. I have heard plenty of electronic songs that I like, but many of the musicians in the scene seem to lack creativity and end up copying each other, creating a pattern of really bad songs. Jon Hopkins, who will be playing a show Nov. 23 at Lincoln Hall (2424 N. Lincoln Ave.), is a refreshing alternative to the scene.
Hopkins is an electronic artist and producer from London, who fuses hypnotic techno rhythms with different sounds of synthesizers to create complex songs. Hopkins is known for co-producing with Brian Eno some of the songs on Coldplay’s 2008 album Viva la Vida, which won the Grammy for Best Rock Album in 2009.
He released his fourth solo album, Immunity, on June 4 this year. The album has received a lot of praise for its lucid sound and was awarded Best New Music by Pitchfork. He took some time to speak with The PHOENIX about the success of Immunity, as well as his current tour.
Hopkins recorded his previous albums in his free time while working on other projects. Immunity is different because he was only working on that album at the time, which took him nine months to record. He said he slowed down the recording process and really focused on finding the right sounds.
His interest in the art of hypnosis, which he learned through meditation, was something he focused on incorporating while recording the album.
“I was trying to introduce a sort of technique that I use to send myself into a trance in the music,” Hopkins said. “[I think] it was important for me to get where a lot of the music comes from within me.”
Songs on the album such as “Breathe This Air” (featuring Purity Ring) and “Form By Firelight” have a lucid sound that shows this inspiration. The album’s first single, “Open Eye Signal” is an eight-minute track that combines trance-inducing synth patterns and drums for a very smooth sounding deep-techno song. “Collider,” the album’s fourth song, is a dance-floor jam with a mesmerizing melody.
Hopkins said fans can expect to experience more of his creative vision at his upcoming Chicago show.
“I’ve been playing this set for quite a while now, and the set has evolved a lot by keeping the admin tracks recognizable but taking them places that hadn’t occurred to me at the time [of recording] and extending some of them further,” Hopkins said. “It’s a little heavier and … it goes with the [hypnosis] theme.”
Hopkins said there aren’t many differences between U.K. and U.S. fans; the fans here are just as energetic.
“A few years ago I would have said yes, but it feels a bit more like there are more Americans listening to electronic music [now],” Hopkins said. “I remember the first American show of this tour, in May, was on a Wednesday and I expected people to be standing around listening intently. But they were all just going crazy.”
The Chicago show will also feature opening acts from English electronic artist Clark, who will play some of his techno jams such as “Ted” and “Alice (Redux)” and English electronic artist and producer Nathan Fake.
The show is Nov. 23 at 9 p.m. at Lincoln Hall (2424 N. Lincoln Ave.) near DePaul’s campus, off of the Fullerton Red Line stop. Tickets are $20 at the door and you must be at least 21 years old to attend.