During the next few days, hundreds of musicians will flock to Austin, TX with high hopes that they will be the next big thing to come out of SXSW. So, in honor of the impending insanity that is the SXSW Music festival, we talked with a band who played the festival a few years back, and has since gone on to critical acclaim and much bigger venues. Cut Copy began playing together in 2001, and have since become a powerhouse of electropop, launched a record label, and are selling out shows right and left. Arcade44 got the chance to talk with Tim Hoey of Cut Copy about it all. (And there will be a lot more where that came from… Stay tuned for our interview series from this year’s SXSW!)
From starting out as a solo project to evolving into the band that you are today, has Cut Copy changed in terms of sound or your musical aim?
I guess when we started we had no idea how to play our instruments. We were all self-taught so over the years it has been about honing our craft. With each release we get more confident in our abilities. I guess for every artist, when they release a new record, it is about stripping away what you’ve done before and starting again. I think there are certain motifs that run throughout every Cut Copy record—such as the references to pop music, the dichotomy between electronic and organic sounds or the way songs are joined together to create one cohesive listen. But we never want to repeat ourselves. Each record has to stand on its own and represent its own moment in time within our career.
Since the launch of your record label, Cutters, has working this other side of the industry impacted the way you think and work as musicians?
Cutters Records is a hobby for us and we’re purely interested in the idea of launching people’s careers and helping out talented artists where we can.
Recently you celebrated the first of the Cutters’ Parties, with bands like Nile Delta, Das Moth and many others. Can you tell us a little bit about this epic tour and how (as we imagine) amazing the first party was?
The parties were fun! We tried to keep them smaller and more boutique. The music from start to finish was really amazing and the crowds were fantastic. It was great hosting these parties again and hopefully we can put on more around the world.
We absolutely love the new video for “Need You Now.” The scenes where the band plays amongst a frantic sea of people are amazing, were they difficult to shoot?
We were big fans of director Keith Schofield for quite some time. We heard through the grapevine that he was a fan so we struck up a dialogue with him nearly two years ago, right around the time we started writing Zonoscope. Keith has become somewhat of a superstar director and is hugely in demand but thankfully he had the time to make this clip for us. It was purely his vision and we had total faith in his ideas and abilities because he had such a strong body of work. [The concept] was such a simple idea and was based around this camera trick of using a telephoto lens to mess with perspective. It was a great experience watching him work as I’m always fascinated by the process of how things are made. Because “Need You Now” is an emotionally charged song, I thought Keith’s video did a really good job in offsetting the mood of the song with something more absurd. There is an underlying love story but it’s quite abstract. I really liked this.—Annick Mayer