Cut Copy’s Savvy Seven

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Well, what do we have here? Another killer Savvy Seven you ask? This week Aussie electro groove masters Cut Copy have provided us with their savviness. With 15 plus years of top-notch experience, you know there’s gonna’ be juicy goodness in this one. They boast five studio albums since 2004, five ARIA nominations and the win for Best Dance Release in 2011 with Zonoscope. This outfit really are one of Australia’s greatest electronic dance music legends.

We spoke to Dan Whitford before the release of their latest album Haiku From Zero. All four band members live in separate countries now but that doesn’t stop them! Currently, Cut Copy are touring around the U.S but they’ll be back in late December! Grab some tickets here.

We are very lucky, to say the least, to have Cut Copy’s Savvy Seven Tips this week.

1) Who was your first musical inspiration and who inspires you now?

I think it was some strange combination of DJ Shadow, New Order, Daft Punk, sort of even people like Fleetwood Mac. Celebrating the more unusual moments in pop music, then also finding some real interest even in the most mainstream pop stuff, but then also some experimental influences as well.

Now, I think probably the list is getting broader and broader, it certainly is on this new album. It’s been less about maybe directly finding influences to riff on and more of looking to one another within in the band, looking internally to what we do has sort of formed inspiration for this one. Certainly, there’s a lot of really awesome music out these days. I love Caribou and what he’s been doing over the last 7 or 8 years, his last couple albums were stunning. I’ve also been listening to a lot of West African music, sort of disco stuff, there are a million names out of that which are amazing. Floating points I really love, there’s probably a plethora of influences I could throw in, even just sort of more ambient weird experimental stuff. Old reissues of kind of private press records that seem to be happening in recent times. That’s sort of become a trendy thing these days. Certainly, that’s opened up a lot of interesting music that never got onto the radio, people didn’t get to hear that stuff when it first came out, so I think that’s really cool.

2) What advice do you have for someone who is about to start their first album?

That’s a big question to begin with. I’d say just don’t compromise, follow stuff you’re interested in, even if it seems like it’s purely just your own thing. But ultimately, it’s better to stand out and be kind of different than sit in with the pack. Be your own person.

When talking inspiration for albums, I don’t think I’m even conscious of it. I was almost doing a little psych analysis on myself, I listened to all the songs and I realize there’s a lot of common threads through a lot of this music. One that kind of jumped out at me was sort of this – maybe this slightly more anxious outlook on the world. Perhaps it’s partly getting older or partly the way the world today changes from moment to moment. So, I think that kind of jumped out, obviously, that was going through my mind writing a lot of these songs. I think it’s not necessarily all bad, it’s just that we live in this moment where we really are kind of bombarded by information, images and everything else. It can be unsettling but we can also find a real beauty in it. You can find a poetry if you will. That’s sort of where the title of this album came from. Haiku From Zero.

3) How did you manage to make your latest album sound new?

In a strange way it was more of a traditional recording process, which I think we kind of realised we’d never gone through with any of our previous albums. We’ve always sort of recorded at home, or setup up our own makeshift recording space and done stuff. We’ve even worked in studios but just in unconventional ways. Whereas this time, we tried to focus on the core elements of what we were doing, getting the best possible take of a bass, or the best possible sound from recording microphones. Just trying to do the classic recording studio, recording craft stuff. A lot of that went down to working with Ben Allen, he’s the co-producer on Haiku From Zero, he really has a lot of know-how and experience and that really came to the fore.

4) How has your music practice changed over time?

Yea, it changes every album, or even in-between. Mid-album a lot of the time. Music is sort of inspired by a pretty diverse range of stuff. One week I might be listening to some seventies kind of smooth rock album, the next week Karl Stockhausen, the next week it’d be The Trilogy Tapes, like some sort of techno thing. Music always incorporates so many different things, the changing nature of it is part of our interest in music.

5) My top business tip for new artists is…

Well, I don’t know whether being in the music industry is a good business tip. If anything, I would say, don’t look at music as being a meal ticket because I don’t think even when we started it was like that. I think you’ve got to do it because you love it, that’s got to be your guiding thing, not because you think you’re going to make a bunch of money out of it. I would pick pretty much any other profession over music if ya wanna make a bunch of money and to be able to pay your rent. But if you really love it, that’s kind of the justification in itself. Still, for us, we don’t make a squillion bucks out of the music we make but we love it, so I guess if you can wake up in the morning and that’s there as your motivation then, you can certainly do a lot worse.

6) The biggest challenges of producing music for you?

I mean probably a geographic challenge, all the members of the band now live in different countries (different continents). Just trying to make an album where no one’s living in the same place was a pretty huge challenge. Through the magic of Skype and the magic of flying with frequent flying miles to do some recording together, that actually ended up working.  Where there’s a will there’s a way.

7) In my opinion, the most important issue facing the music industry is…what do you think can change that?

I think, having said what I said about making money out of music, I think the biggest issue is that people don’t want to pay for music anymore. They want to listen to music, they just don’t want to pay for it. So, I think whether it’s via streaming or for whatever reason, I think music has almost become devalued to the point where people just expect to get it for pretty much nothing. Obviously, there are people out there who are making money out of music but it’s not the artists, whether it’s the remuneration via Spotify and that kind of thing or through other means. Yea, that would definitely help. Particularly when you’re starting out, but also for established artists.

Cut Copy will be back in Aus December 28th at Beyond The Valley festival.
Their tour continues January 18th, details here.

Catch a sneak-peek at their new album Haiku From Zero with their latest track “Standing In The Middle Of The Field”. Click below ↓ ↓ ↓

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