VMAN.COM EXCLUSIVE: LISTEN TO CUT COPY'S PERFECT-FOR-ENDLESS-TOURING PLAYLIST, AND GET THE SCOOP ON THEIR NEW ALBUM FREE YOUR MIND
With lyrics like "We are explorers when beat goes on / We’re on a journey to the morning sun", Cut Copy’s fourth studio album, Free Your Mind, is a rallying cry for togetherness on the dance floor. The beats are palpable and the songs are energetic, which is no coincidence as the band was hugely inspired by the Melbourne club scene when making the album. V spoke with Dan Whitford, the frontman of Australian EDM group Cut Copy, just hours before their Tempe, Arizona show to talk about what it means to “free your mind” and how the album title is a testament to the experience they want their listener to have on the dance floor.
Where are you right now?
Dan Whitford Tempe, Arizona.
Have you played in Arizona before?
DW A couple of years ago. It was a crazy college crowd so we're hoping for something similar to that tonight.
Well given the songs on this album I’m sure you’re in for a wild ride no matter what. The lyrics are incredibly uplifting, almost religiously so.
DW We became intrigued with the power of dance music as a way to bring people together, there’s a connection that’s made between people in a big crowd, a shared experience. There's this sort of mind control where people become slaves to the music. The record plays around with these ideas. It’s a call to the dance floor.
You’ve said it's a record that invites participation, how do you plan to foster and facilitate a participatory listening experience?
DW The look of the show is definitely designed to enhance the experience of coming together, that psychedelic aspect of dance music that we try to bring to the live show. Even just playing our new tracks we have this instant reaction from people. We are breaking down dance music to its nuts and bolts and bringing people together for a shared purpose.
The album design is super simplistic, retro even.
DW I wanted the record artwork to be simple. Our album work up until this point has been super elaborate and intricate, so this time around we wanted it to be a statement with no mention of Cut Copy—like a piece of pop art on your wall.
But what does “free your mind” mean to you personally?
DW While making the record there was some sort of weird yearning to be in that moment of feeling free. I really connected with the dance music that was happening in our hometown of Melbourne during regular club nights, and I started DJing locally again. I reconnected with what it means to go to a club and enjoy dance music rather than just playing it on stage. It was about getting refocused and inspired by that again. For me, to "free your mind" is the ultimate moment when you are out at a dance party; it's the moment of a new experience. The beauty is that this affirmation can mean something different to everyone.
It also sounds like it's more a state of mind than anything.
DW Totally, that's the best way to describe it. It doesn't need to mean physical freedom or anything specific. Freedom is freedom.
Tell me about this pilgrimage you took upstate with music producer Dave Fridmann.
DW We were in touch before starting the project. He was a fan of our records and wanted to work with us with mixing and doing additional production on the album so he invited us to his studio in upstate New York and it's basically a cabin in the middle of the forest. It’s quite isolated. We all slept in the same cabin and cooked our own meals, and hung out 24/7. The experience was in keeping with the record because it was in an artist commune almost, a self-sufficient life.
How long were you up there for?
DW A bit over two weeks. By the end of it we were definitely getting cabin fever.
Did any songs came out of it or just mixing?
DW Mostly mixing, but the song “Footsteps” came out of that time.
How do you prepare for a show? Any special regimen you’ll do to get ready for tonight?
DW We do a little bit of stretching since we get really active on stage. We do vocal warm ups, we have this mobile stereo set up that’s a party in a box that we take on tour with us, so we can play our own jams in the band room. We also put on the Smiths and other bands that are near to our hearts.
Where are you off to after Arizona?
DW [laughs] I’m not exactly sure where the next show is to be honest. We're never looking farther than our next show. If we look too far ahead we would burn ourselves out thinking about the next twelve months on the road. One show at a time.
I saw you guys are headed to Russia? Intense.
DW Yea, we went there once before. Last time we had a problem with our papers when our bus was trying to cross the border into Russia, so we got delayed ten hours, so by the time we got to the show we didn't see any of St. Petersburg, so it will be cool to actually see some of Russia this time!
FREE YOUR MIND IS NOW AVAILABLE ON ITUNES
PHOTOGRAPHY MICHAEL MULLER