All posts tagged zonoscope

  • The Vine interview: Dan Whitford of Cut Copy, February 2011

    An interview for The Vine. Excerpt below.

    Interview – Cut Copy

    Known affectionately these days as just ‘Cutters’, the profile of Melbourne-based electro-pop act Cut Copy has grown considerably since their humble 2001 beginnings.

    A career borne from the bedroom of singer and band leader Dan Whitford, who also runs a graphic design business named Alter, the band are now three albums into their career. The group has also expanded to a full-time quartet, including guitarist Tim Hoey, drummer Mitchell Scott and bassist Ben Browning. Cut Copy is at the point where they can headline Australian festivals like Parklife and Laneway, play to big crowds throughout the United States and Europe, and enjoy consistently high ratings from the a raft of online tastemakers. (Including *ahem*, The Vine’s recent‘first listen’ to the record.)

    Alongside acts like The Presets and Midnight Juggernauts, the band has been instrumental in paving the way for the wider acceptance of Australian music built around synthesisers, samples, and electronica – electro-pop if you will. The new album’s title is, apparently, an instrument as well as a concept. (“We built it from scratch”, Hoey told The Music Network in November. “Whenever we were working on a track and stuck for ideas, someone would suggest it needed ‘more Zonoscope’. Then the song would truly begin to take shape.”)

    On the eve of the band’s first headline appearance at the 2011 Laneway Festival in Brisbane last Thursday – coincidentally, the day before Zonoscope was released across Australia – TheVine connected with Whitford to discuss setting expectations, leaked albums, their record label, and hearty dance moves.

    Hey, Dan. We’re talking because Zonoscope is released in Australia tomorrow. What’s on your mind?

    That’s probably largely on my mind, the fact that it’s finally out tomorrow. It seemed like such a long way off for quite a long period of time since we finished it late last year, but now it’s less than 24 hours away, so we’re pretty psyched on it. And also, we start on Laneway Festival [today], so it will be the first time I get to perform a lot of these songs as well. So it’s doubly exciting.

    I’m always curious about this moment for recording artists, because the four of you have been pouring your heart into this music for a long period of time, and now it’s about to be out there in the wider consciousness for people to make up their own minds about it.

    I guess that’s the point of popular music, that people will hear it. All the hard work leads up to a point like this. While we’re not making records necessarily just to please our fans or anything like that; we’re motivated by our own personal goals artistically. But it’s obviously important to us what people think when they hear it, and the experience of people hearing the songs for the first time.

    For the full interview, visit The Vine. For more Cut Copy, visit their website. The music video for the song ‘Need You Now‘ is embedded below.

    Elsewhere: a ‘first listen’ review of Zonoscope, for The Vine, and a track-by-track interview with guitarist Tim Hoey.

  • Junior story: Cut Copy’s ‘Zonoscope’, track-by-track, February 2011

    A story for Junior. Excerpt below.

    Cut Copy: Track-by-track

    Tim Hoey – the guitarist and sampler of Melbourne-based synthpop quartet Cut Copy – walks us through Zonoscope, the band’s third album, and their first since 2008’s chart-topping In Ghost Colours.

    1. ‘Need You Now’: This is the most personal song on the record, for me. We loved the idea of having this really epic song, like Bruce Springsteen’s ‘On Fire’; a stadium [sized], really emotional song, without it sounding too emo. It’s certainly my favourite, and it’s a perfect way for us to begin the record.

    2. ‘Take Me Over’: This one is our straight-up AM radio pop song. It’s pop in its purest form, as far as Cut Copy knows it. There’s a heavy emphasis on percussion, and that song very much is representative of that. It’s certainly one of the more pure pop moments on the record.

    3. ‘Where I’m Going’: It’s one of my favourite tracks, because it’s quite different: it’s quite ‘chanty’ and there’s no real chorus. We really like those old Beach Boys records that deal with subject matter that’s quite depressing; the songs are about heartbreak, but the music’s quite uplifting. We always found that really interesting, to see people singing along and smiling to these songs about alienation and heartbreak.

    4. ‘Pharoahs + Pyramids’: This track is straight-up house music, boiled down to its simplest [form]. We were listening to a lot of Chicago house at the time; Adonis, and stuff like that. We added live percussion over the top of it, along with sequenced, synthetic percussions, so it helps tie in with the rest of the tracks on the record. It’s quite a pop song as well; it was our intention for it to exist within a club, but you can also listen to it at home.

    5. ‘Blink And You’ll Miss A Revolution’: This one surprised the hell out of us. The verses were built on this rhythmic groove that referenced stuff like Moodymann; Chicago and Detroit techno stuff. The choruses burst out into this mysterious ‘Cities Of Gold’ type of thing, which was quite unexpected. We wrote this very strange-sounding chorus that we felt people wouldn’t have expected [to see] coming. It felt like a bit of a stylistic triumph for us.

    For the full story, visit Junior. For more Cut Copy, visit their website.  Part 1 of a 3-part ‘making of Zonoscope video series embedded below.

    Elsewhere: a ‘first listen’ review of Zonoscope, for The Vine.

  • The Vine ‘first listen’: Cut Copy – ‘Zonoscope’, January 2011

    A ‘first listen’ for The Vine. Excerpt below.

    ‘First Listen’ ruminates on forthcoming records we’re excited about – penned before their release date and whilst still drunk with the confusing hot flush of first impressions. Previously: The NationalM.I.AArcade FireMatthew Dear.

    Cut Copy
    (Modular Recordings)

    Release date: February 4th 2011

    Three years after Cut Copy’s breakthrough second album, In Ghost Colours, comes the much anticipated follow up in Zonoscope. Now a fully-fledged four-piece, there’s a lot riding on this release for the Melbourne-based act. Such as, “Do people still care?”.

    But upon hearing the disco throb of opener ‘Need You Now’, there’s no initial announcement of urgency on the band’s part. The track doesn’t so much reach a climax as maintain an insistent rhythm across six slow-burning minutes. This is a new tact for Cut Copy. The hooks of In Ghost Colours were built around verse escalation toward euphoric choruses; remember the way that they stripped everything back for those few seconds before reaching the chorus of ‘Lights And Music’? That doesn’t happen here. This is disorienting at first. ‘Need You Now’ is a crafty opener, because it confounds expectations. It reveals that the quartet hold higher aspirations than what they’ve achieved thus far, as – alongside The Presets – Australia’s chief synthpop proponents.

    So it’s with some disappointment that Zonoscope’s next track, ‘Take Me Over’, follows that established formula of leaving a bar of vocal silence before launching into a chorus that’ll sound most at home sung by thousands-strong audiences. There’s the familiar echoes of swooning “oohs” that colour the song’s backdrop; the same they worked throughout In Ghost Colours, so much so that they’ve become something of an integral part of the band’s sound. The song’s familiarity – its sheer Cut Copy-ness – acts as a buffer between the system-shock of the opener, and the blatant pop of ‘Where I’m Going’, which was first released for free via the band’s website in late 2010. The latter track’s mood is ebullient, contagious; it’s difficult to shake the image of the band members yelling “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Woo!” while fist-pumping at their triumphant Parklife 2010 headline spot.

    For the full ‘first listen’, visit The Vine. More Cut Copy on their website. The music video for their track ‘Lights & Music‘ is embedded below.