The boys in Cut Copy have much to smile about this year. Their acclaimed sophomore album, In Ghost Colours, has brought a much-needed warm front into the often icy genre of electronica. They’re coming fresh off of a well-received, House-shaking Stateside tour with fellow indie dance upstarts the Black Kids (with more festival dates lined up) and there isn’t a blog or music site on the web that can go without posting about them. Including this one. Guitarist Tim Hoey recently took a time out from the band’s hectic summer schedule to talk to MXDWN about their tour, their album, success, and current musical tastes.
How do you feel about the whole “blog-house” scene that people have been so quick to lump you into? How do you feel that you fit into this scene, or do you feel that you fit in at all?
I’m not exactly sure what blog-house is. Is it like Chicago house? We like Chicago house!
Many critics (from Pitchfork, etc.) are regarding In Ghost Colours as a warmer, more positive-sounding record than its predecessor. Was this your intention as a band and if not, what sound were you aiming for, and what was the motivation behind it?
I guess for this record we wanted to capture us more like a band. We’d been touring the first record for 3 years and became more confident as a collective. I think the main thing for us was that we wanted to push all aspects of our sound forward– like Dan is singing a lot more. There are a lot of ELO/America inspired harmonies. The guitar sounds are a lot more abrasive and euphoric at times. The arrangements of the songs are more complex than the first record. We kept the pop sensibilities of Bright like Neon Love but we wanted to take it in a more cosmic direction.
There definitely seems to be more comfort and confidence in performing on this record. What brought that on?
Sure, although I don’t think any of us have mastered their craft yet. We didn’t really know how to play our instruments before starting the band, but it was this kind of way of making music that appealed to us. We certainly got more confident with all of the touring we did. I think we absorbed a lot of different musical landscapes in the time of touring the first record that we had so many ideas when it came time to write In Ghost Colours.
It has been said that more influences can be heard on this record than on Bright Like Neon Love. Were there any particular musical influences that were consciously used by the band when making it and are there any that may not be as obvious as others that they tried to incorporate?
70’s middle of the road Californian pop was probably the most direct influence…but like you said there are so many going on. At times we take so many ideas from different genres and cram them into one song.
This album seems to have a liver, more organic feel. Was that intentional and if so, what went into to making it that way?
That was definitely the intention. We had more time in the studio to develop the songs and experiment with different sounds and add a lot of texture to the record. When we had recorded the first record we had one day in a studio and a whole bunch of bedroom recordings. We certainly kept a lot of those bedroom recordings for this record for aesthetic reasons, but we had 6 weeks in the studio with Tim (Goldsworthy) in NY to fully realize all the tracks.
How did/does each band member contribute creatively in the recording process and how much of each member’s input actually makes it to the final songs?
It’s really different for each song. We all kind of work on stuff at home separately and exchange files for each other to work on…Dan will come into the rehearsal space with a new song he had worked on that week and we’d all learn how to play it and go about re-structuring it or adding new elements. Then we’ll record all that and he’ll take it away to work on it some more. Everybody throws in their two cents at the end of the day.
You’re obviously receiving more of a push stateside with this record, between their joint tour with the Black Kids and a well-received performance at Coachella. How does the reception and promotion here compare to how they’ve been received and marketed in other parts of the world, specifically their native Australia?
It’s great. It feels really organic in the States, kind of like in our native land. We would certainly prefer it that way than being splashed all over the press as being the next big thing without really releasing anything first. We felt all the touring really paid off there and the audiences seem to be very loyal. We were initially concerned when there had been such a gap in releases but we were totally blown away by the response when the album finally dropped. I think we’ll be spending a lot of time there this year
After the current tour, does the band have any other plans in the immediate future (projects, remixes, collaborations, etc.)?
We have remixes for Ladyhawke and the Midnight Juggernauts coming out and we’re working on a whole bunch of new ones now. We have some unreleased material that we might compile into a 12 inch for later in the year. We’ll probably work on another mixtape, perhaps a book. We’re always keeping busy.
Finally, just because I always like to ask, who are you currently listening to right now?
The Juan Mclean, Spaceman 3, Space oddities-A rare compilation of European library groves from 75-84, Daniel Johnston
Cut Copy will be playing several more dates and festivals in Europe through the rest of the Summer into September.