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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

SnapCacklePop Interview - Cut Copy

Australian synthpop electronic band Cut Copy first burst onto the music scene with their debut Bright Like Neon Love back in 2004 and achieved international breakthrough success with their second album, In Ghost Colours, which peaked at number one on the ARIA album charts in 2008. Following their 2010 release Zonoscope, the home grown Melbourne band are back with new album Free You Mind...

Before they headed off on tour, we caught up with the boys to talk about their new record, working with Dave Fridmann, 90’s dance music, old school advertising, loving Melbourne, Alexander Skarsgard, the Cut Copy Brain Trust and SOOOO much more. It’s EPIC, its fun, its the SnapCacklePop Interview with Cut Copy...

Welcome To SnapCacklePop Tim, you're down in Melbourne aren't you?
We're based in Melbourne, but were in Sydney yesterday promoting Free Your Mind...

Before we continue then, can you solve the debate in what's better Sydney or Melbourne?
Oooh! I've lived in both cities actually, yet I am going to be biased here, as we always called Melbourne home.

Is it good to be home at the minute?
Yeah it is. We spent the better part of the last year and a half at home working on the new album, apart from 2 months in New York mixing the record. It's been really good to spend some quality time here and hanging out with friends. It's been great.

So where would we catch you hanging out in Melbourne come a weekend?
 Well it's pretty cliche I say this but hanging in one of the many thousand great cafes we have here.

You certainly don't have a shortage of them?
Yes exactly and many of the great local bars you can hang out when you get past 3 o'clock in the afternoon. It's a tough lifestyle in Melbourne.

You have a new single out Free Your Mind, want to tell us a bit about it?
Free Your Mind is the title track from the record of the same name and I guess the track encapsulates what the theme of the record is, both sonically and also lyrically. So very much the idea of coming together, referencing early 90's house and a lot of gospel music as well. So felt the right track to lead with.

You mentioned 90's house music, who were you listening to in the 90's? 
I was listening to bands like Pavement and My Bloody Valentine, but discovered and took interest in house music when The KLF appeared, I was very much a Indie rock die hard fan, actually I am still that. [laughs]

You never lose that, you just gather more musical styles as you get older..
Yeah I still have that Indie rock chip on my shoulder since the 90's and it hasn't disappeared. But The KLF have been a massive influence on this record in many ways.

So you have been working on the album in New York?
We recorded it all here in Melbourne, but then we went to up state New York in April this year to work with Dave Fridmann at the famous Tarbox Road Studios where most of The Flaming Lips records were made.

How was that?
Yes, it was incredible. We have wanted to work with Dave for some time and respect his work. We kind of found out he was a fan of ours, so we just found a way to make it work; it was a great experience. It really opened us up sonically and pushed us into territories we hadn't really been before.

Being your fourth album do you [as a band] see it as a challenge in coming up with something new every record?
Absolutely. It's weird having our fourth album, it's like we almost have a career. [Laughs]

So should we expect a greatest hits?
Oh Jeez, now I feel old! Look, as an artist you need to feel constantly challenged and constantly inspired and that's obvious on the record you release. The audience isn't stupid, so you need to be honest with what you are doing and show you are constantly evolving. There is still so much more to do too.

So talking of your new album Free Your Mind, you have done a very interesting promotional campaign regarding billboards. Care to explain?
There were a few reasons. Late last year we kind of had the thought we were going to do things totally differently in the way we release music into the world.
You work a year on a record and you put it up on SoundCloud or YouTube and it's a bit of an anticlimax to the whole of the build up in releasing music.
So, we only wanted to do real world events to promote this album. Of course it would be on the internet eventually, however for a short amount of time it would be available in the real world. So, we first cut 120 copies of the single to Vinyl only and that was the only way that song was in existence for a while.

We love vinyl being released still...
Absolutely. And with the Billboards, it's a very outdated way of advertising. Everyone is advertising on the internet these days, people on their phones, so they are not really looking at billboards any more. So we had this idea of having the title of the song on billboards in remote places around the world.

Some of them were quite remote..!
Well Mexico City & Detroit were quite accessible, yet outback Australia and the Californian Desert are not. People who travelled to the boards were rewarded by listening to the song via our geo-tagging campaign.

Sounds great.
Yeah, we got sent photos and stories of other fans who met each other there, so became a very shared communal experience, which is a theme in the record.

A very good and different way to engage your fans..
Yeah, we liked the idea of a sense of discovery and back in the 90's you had to work to find out about new bands and records. Especially in Australia.

On the billboards you were encouraging fans to "free their mind" by the power of suggestion. So what were some of the weirdest things that were suggested?
It was interesting as there was this euphoric sense created, which we were trying to achieve with this record and seeing these photos of people hugging each other, jumping up and down, it was kind of 'mission accomplished'. It was an experience for the fans to have and slightly better than just watching the YouTube clip.

An interesting video for the track starring Alexander Skarsgard from True Blood, how did that come about?
We met Alexander when we were on tour with our last record and he came and introduced himself after the gig.

He's a groupie then?
Possibly the best groupie you can possibly have then! When we were performing, he was in the centre front row. This huge tall beautiful Swedish man, slam dancing at the front. It was quite hard to concentrate. So we ended up staying in contact and when it came to making the video the director said we should ask Alexander. And he agreed and was great, very committed to his work and it was great to work with him.

So back to the album, what tracks are you most excited for fans to hear?
When we make a record, we have this idea of an A to Z record. A record you can listen to from start to finish. We spent so long sequencing it, inserting interludes and joining it all together, that when it comes to releasing a single, it is very hard to pick which one to release next as we love them all. It's all about the album.

So what's planned for the rest of the year?
We are heading back on the road again from now until January, over in America, then South America, Europe, UK and back here for Future Music Festival.

YAY! We'll be there. So looking forward to it.

So Tim, to end we have our 5 SnapCacklePop questions of the week...

Heart on Fire shot you to fame following the success of Bright Like Neon Love... not to mention sell out tours with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, The Presets and Daft Punk... Have you ever had an instance where you had wished you had masked your identity with a helmet like Daft Punk?
A bit of mystery these days can take you a long way. I like mystery in artists.

2013 has so far been a pretty amazing year for music with some stellar albums released, and just from listening to Free Your Mind we are certainly excited for your new album! What has been your favourite album so far of 2013?
I'm going to say The Knife record Shaking the Habitual

For your billboard campaign you said the Cut Copy Brain Trust erected these 6 mysterious boards around the world. Who in the band has the biggest brain?
Going to say Mitchell our drummer, he knows facts like no one else. Crazy!

One of those billboards was in Mexico City, what is your favourite Mexican food?
I liked eating the Cactus in Mexico, which I had never really eaten before and was very interesting.

Zonescope was nominated for a Grammy up against David Guetta, Robyn, Deadmau5 & Skrillex. If it came down to a hunger games-esque last band standing, fist fight for the grammy who would you NOT want to face off with in the the final bout and why?
Going to say we'll take on anyone, we'll smuggle in knuckle dusters and all things in our pockets to cheat our way through. [Laughs]

Tim, it's been a pleasure. Thanks from all at SnapCacklePop HQ and we wish you all the best with the album and can't wait to see you back here in Australia on tour.

Thanks SnapCacklePop

Free Your Mind is out on the 5th November and available on iTunes pre-order now..!

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