Cut Copy: Interview


    Face it: Cut Copy deserve a vacation. For the last year, the Aussie trio spent nearly every breathing moment on the road, with generous amounts of touring here in the U.S. that included numerous festival appearances and three cross-country tours. In the meantime, their second full-length record, In Ghost Colours (Modular), landed on many critics’ best-of-2008 lists and earned them a fervent legion of new fans. Somewhere along the way, they found time to DJ heaps of afterparties and produce some stellar remixes (Ladyhawke’s “Paris Is Burning,” CSS’s “Move,” and Kaiser Chiefs’ “Never Miss a Beat,” to name a few). So it’s with a reluctant sympathy that we must bid adieu as they embark upon a break. Here’s hoping it spurs the beginnings of their much-anticipated third album.


    With all the touring you guys have been doing, has it been really grueling or not so bad?
    Dan Whitford: It’s the usual things. Being away from home isn’t ideal, but you’re doing something that’s so amazing and you only really have a limited opportunity to do it. When you balance it out, yeah, the good outweighs the bad, but the bad’s pretty much the same for any band or any person who has to be away from home a lot.


    Mitchell Scott: It depends on what the shows are like. If you’re having great shows, a lot goes unnoticed, but if you have a show somewhere and you don’t enjoy it, then you start noticing how tired and wrecked you are. It averages out.


    With all the touring you’ve been doing, how do you stay sane on the road?
    Tim Hoey: You pick up things. We started playing chess on the last tour. We watched the NBA basketball last time we were here, we got kind of obsessed with that for awhile.


    MS: That tour was healthier than this tour. [laughs]


    TH: We kind of try and stretch, because we’re feeling our ages a little bit – not that we’re that old or anything, but I feel like I’ve aged about 20 years in about six months.


    How would you describe each other?
    TH: Tall and adventurous [all laugh]. Herbivore. Mitchell’s, um, Captain Snooze, easy-go-lucky-slash-hippie. I’m just Tim.


    DW: You’re like a Spanish soccer player [all laugh], something like that.


    The chemistry the three of you have obviously works extremely well. Why do you think that is?
    DW: We started out as friends and have continued to be friends. I think that’s almost more important in the beginning than actually being able to play instruments or write songs or anything like that, ‘cause that’s kind of how you would hope a band would start — people who just enjoy hanging out and share a bit of interest in music. I think we’ve just gotten lucky. We’ve never really have had any fallings out or things like that. You hear about lots of bands that are constantly fighting. Like The Police — even in their heyday just hating each other the whole time. I couldn’t really imagine how you could do that.


    TH: I don’t know how you could be in such close quarters every day. There’s no real ego between us. We’re all really excited by what each other’s kind of bringing to the band and we’re all kind of learning. We’re fans of music first and foremost, so there’s not a real kind of “I want an 8-minute guitar solo” or something like that.


    You’ve continued to do lots of afterparties and DJ while you’re on tour. Is it all three of you who DJ?
    TH: Dan and I DJ. Mitchell drinks our rider. He plays one song every night, actually. He’s got like the golden record. He has it in his suitcase and he brings it to the turntable …


    DW: [pretending to be Mitchell] “Someone press play on this.” And then he disappears again!


    MS: The Stone Roses’ “I Wanna Be Adored.” It’s great! It’s been a while, though.


    DW: It’s sort of like, if you’re gonna go out to an afterparty or something anyway after the show, you might as well play some records. It’s just fun, like playing a show except you don’t need to cart gear around or soundcheck.


    Australian artists have been major musical forces here in the U.S., as well as in the rest of the world, in recent years. Is the music we’re hearing here reflective of the mainstream in Australia, or just coming from one particular scene?
    DW: It’s starting to become more mainstream in our country, and I think it will probably continue to become more so. I think it’s just like any country — we’ve sort of got our own dodgy, domestic, commercial sort of music that doesn’t do a whole lot outside of our shores. But in terms of music that seems to operate overseas as well as in our country, probably our scene would be one of the most exportable things at the moment.


    Are there any artists you’re dying to work with?
    DW: I think we’re probably just more interested in doing stuff ourselves. If you’re gonna collaborate on something, I think we’d rather do our own record. Like we were saying before, it’s been such a long time between our first and second records, we just want to keep doing our own stuff for a while. Maybe down the track. I mean, there’s so much collaborating that just happens anyway with remixes, you get your fix of that. You’re always sort of excited by some people to have remixed your stuff and to do some remixes for others.


    Much has been made of the similar career path you share with your friends and fellow Modular labelmates The Presets, who you toured here with last fall. Would you call it a friendly rivalry?
    MS: We just have open hostility!


    DW: We try to sabotage their shows. If the crowd’s really responding, we try to unplug their mikes, and they’ll try to get us back.

    TH: There’s not really a rivalry. It’s kind of funny, we were actually talking about this a few nights ago: It’s seems like such a preoccupation with journalists so they can get some crazy story —


    I’m not trying to —
    TH: No, no, I’m not saying you, but people always kind of comment on it and it just kind of gets really annoying, because we’re so proud of what each other’s doing. We had to work really hard to get here, and there’s never really been that kind of rivalry. It’s more of a press thing.


    And finally, is there anything people would be shocked to know about Cut Copy?
    MS: Well, Dan’s actually pitching a new TV show where he’s going to appear as a giraffe — a giraffe detective, actually — so I don’t know if it will make it to the States, but in Australia they’re pretty excited about it.


    TH: [laughs] It’s a bit of an ongoing joke we have, because he’s very tall.


    DW: It doesn’t get old.


    TH: Dan steals the alarm clocks from hotels we stay in.


    DW: Why me? Because I’m standing at the front?


    TH: Yeah, that’s it. Definitely!


    Photo Credit: Olga Bas/