Cut Copy
'Forest Through The Trees' Mixtape (free download)

Photo Credit: Misha Vladimirskiy

In the midst of their first, full-fledged DJ tour, Cut Copy made their way to the Mile High City to throw down a memorable set at one of our favorite venues, The 1UP Colfax. With the tour in full swing, and such a long and storied career, we just had to reach out and line up an interview with front man Dan Whitford.

TMN: Thank you for taking some time to connect with us today. Welcome to the Mile High City. When was the last time you guys were here?

CC: Pleasure! I think it may have been when we played Red Rocks with Chromeo and Flume, last year. We did a big co-headline thing there. I’m pretty sure that was the last time we were here.

TMN: Was that the first time you played Red Rocks?

CC: We actually did it once before at Monolith Festival. That’s the first time. That was a daytime show, so this was the first time we played at night with a full crowd. It was definitely exciting.

TMN: How does Red Rocks rank against other outdoor venues in the world?

CC: It’s probably the best, and I’m not just saying that. Just as far as being something spectacular, it’s as if someone carved a venue into Uluru and started doing shows there. It’s just something kinda crazy that they turned it into a venue.

It’s obviously got this history, and for us, walking around backstage, they’ve got photos of all the artists that have played there. The absolute legends of music over the years…to be in that company is incredible.

TMN: So, tonight you’re playing at one of our favorite venues, 1-UP Colfax. Have you had a chance to check the venue yet?

CC: Not yet, no. On this tour, we’re doing DJ tours rather than live shows, so we don’t do a soundcheck. We just, sort of, turn up and do our thing! It’s a lot more streamlined, as a way of touring. We’re excited to get down there though and get in front of the crowd.

TMN: Seeing as how it’s half classic arcades and half music venue, we have to ask – what’s your favorite arcade game of all time?

CC: For me, I would have to say Street Fighter 2. It was the one that I probably spent a little too much time on, when I was a bit younger. And probably, a bit too much money on as well. I love the idea of a venue that’s also an arcade too.

TMN: It’s an awesome spot. You guys will love it. So, this is a stop on a rather large DJ tour. How have things been going so far?

CC: It’s awesome. I’ve DJ’d since before the band came together. I did radio and DJ’d in the club for years before. Tim, our guitarist, and I have DJ’d as Cut Copy DJs for a few years as well. We’ve never actually done a stand alone tour where we’re just DJing though. So, this the first time we’ve gone without the live show and said, “we’re just going to go out on the road with a bunch of records.” It’s a new thing for us, but it’s actually been pretty exciting. It’s been a challenge, in a way – just busting out new tunes and some weird old stuff as well. People always seem to be curious as to what we’re listening to our what we’re inspired by, and it’s been going over really well.

TMN: We think it’s important to touch on your guy’s history, as a lot of your fans no were little kids when you guys were first starting out. Share your story of how you guys came to be.

CC: (Laughs) I started writing music as a solo project and was doing stuff at home. I was making electronic jams with keyboards and drum machines and started to do some vocal stuff. Basically, I decided to try and see if I could get some friends in who played traditional band instruments like guitar.

One of my good friends at the time, Tim, who I used to go out to lots of shows with, was doing some guitar stuff – hazy, Sonic Youth kinda stuff. He came around and laid down some guitar stuff on some things that I was doing, and it seemed to kind of work, in a weird way. It felt like something interesting and new.

His housemate, Mitchell, had just bought a drum kit off eBay and was just learning how to play it. We reeled in friends to be in the band. It wasn’t something with high expectations. It was really something we were just doing for fun. Over 10 years later, we still have the same attitude towards music.

TMN: “I Thought of Numbers” was released 14 years ago. 14 YEARS! Do you guys ever step back and say, “holy shit. I can’t believe it’s been that long.”

CC: Wow. Now I feel old! When you mention it like that, I definitely do. It’s kinda funny though. It’s never really seemed like that much time. You’re busy all the time. I never sit back and ponder over things that we’ve done. We’re always looking forward to what’s next.

Having said that, I’m really proud of those records and some of those things that came before we were widely known. But, I’ve never spent much time looking back. It’s always onto the next thing.

I think when you’re an artist, that’s what you do. You make a piece of art, and put it out to the world, and it’s no longer yours. It’s for everyone. So, you move onto the next thing.

TMN: We love that quote about it being everyone. One thing that we find impressive is that you guys have maintained a consistency album to album. Like, I could play “We Are Explorers” then “Future” and most people couldn’t peg that the two are 11 years apart. Is it difficult to maintain your sound, yet come up with fresh new songwriting ideas?

CC: I think that the focus is always – wanting to make something different than what we’ve done before. We always want to evolve what we’re doing, every time we make a record. It’s funny though, when we did Zonoscope, our third record, we really felt like we went off into this world that was so far away from some of our previous stuff. We really thought that people were going to struggle to come to terms with it. When we started playing it to people, they were all like “yeah, that’s different for you guys, but it’s still a Cut Copy record.”

I think that there’s an innate sound that we have, even when we do make something different, it’s kept within that Cut Copy sound. That part has never been a struggle – having the continuity and consistency. Inevitably, there’s a part of us that ends up in there that people identify with.

TMN: You’ve transcended some major shifts in dance music culture. What are you into at this point? Any artists you’re really vibing on right now?

CC: Yeah! For me, there’s as much interesting music out there as there was when we first started. I feel like it’s a fairly inspiring time to be around and making music. It’s interesting to me to hear things evolve, and some of the newer things that I’ve enjoyed in recent times are Jamie XX’s record. I’ve loved Caribou for the same length of time that we’ve been around. He’s been doing amazing records for some time, but his new stuff is a direction I’m interested in.

Beyond that, I think there’s a lot of underground music that’s coming out of a lot of places, and we payed a tribute to that last year, putting out a collection of underground Melbourne dance music. It was a mix that reflected a bunch of the artists and sounds that are coming out of our hometown of Melbourne. It really was inspiring – every time I’d come home, I’d go out for the night and say, “Who the hell is this guy? This is better than a lot of stuff we’ve heard at festivals while touring.”

I think there’s a lot of music out there that’s pushing the boundaries, and it makes me excited about the future.

TMN: Conversely, what turns you off about the current state of dance music, as a whole?

CC: I guess, as with anything, there’s going to be an underground element to music, and there’s going to be a real commercial element to it. I feel like dance music in the states has become ten times as popular as it was before, in the past six years or so.

I guess the downside is, there’s a lot of music that is not really that interesting and no adventurous. Perhaps it’s appealing to an audience that isn’t that educated about dance music. For me, as a listener, I’m not so interested in the bigger EDM stuff that’s going around at the moment. I think, on the upside, as a reaction to that side of dance music, there are a lot of people who have gone back underground. Instead of being inspired by more commercial stuff, they’ve gone back to the roots of Chicago house music.

Out of this commercial crossover comes a lot more weird and interesting stuff. It’s a balance. There’s some stuff I don’t care for, but thankfully, there’s a lot of stuff I do! (Laughs)

TMN: On a positive note, with more people interested in dance music as a whole, that brings more people who are interested in the outlying, underground stuff. And then, you get more kids who are interested in making that, and it furthers the whole scene.

CC: Absolutely. That’s it. I think about when I was a kid, and the first record I listened to is probably something too embarrassing to even mention. You start out somewhere, but often that leads you to something really interesting. It’s good that so many people are engaged with dance music as a genre.

TMN: Before we get into some fun questions, feel free to tell our fans what’s on deck for 2015.

CC: We’re doing a little more touring, finishing off this DJ run that we’re on now. I think we’re doing a couple of festivals in September. Apart from that, we’re working on a new album. That’s what we’ve been doing the first half of this year, and we’ll be flying home to continue with that. That’s what we’re excited about. Towards the end of the year, we’ll have something to share with people.

TMN: Alright, we’re going to play complete the sentence. If I could tell Americans one thing about Australians, I would tell them….

CC: We don’t ride around on Kangaroos.

TMN: If I could tell Australians one thing about Americans, I would tell them….

CC: They’re some of the nicest people I’ve come across.

TMN: We would say the same about Australian people! I don’t think I’ve ever met a rude Australian.

CC: Good to hear!

TMN: When I was a kid, my first job was….

CC: Paper route.

TMN: If aliens landed on earth today, and asked what music was, I’d first play them…

CC: Animal Collective.

TMN: Perfect segway into the next one. If Cut Copy’s music were an animal, it would be…

CC: A unicorn with RayBans on. (Laughs)

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