Interviews

Interview: Cut Copy



Over the last five years Australian pop music has been undergoing something of a renaissance, due in no small part to electronic acts from the Modular label. One of these, Melbourne’s Cut Copy, have already reached their third album, building up a solid worldwide live following in the process. As they contemplate another sizeable world tour in support of the ambitious Zonoscope record, guitarist Tim Hoey is in upbeat mood. “I’m very good,” he breezes. “It’s Thursday night here in Melbourne, and I’m considering going out to see Ariel Pink“.

So how did Zonoscope begin? “I guess we finished touring In Ghost Colours, and we wanted to strip away what we’d done before and re-imagine sonically with different synths and guitars. We also wanted percussion to become more of a feature, because we had this idea of creating a rhythmic, hypnotic record where time becomes irrelevant”.

And what exactly is a Zonoscope? “It’s a variety of things,” he says enigmatically. “It was an instrument for us, but it’s also the lens you would use to view this kind of world. We wanted Zonoscope to represent this record.”

The Cut Copy sound on this one seems more confident than before. “Yeah. I think as we’ve been doing this for a little while we’ve used the touring to hone our craft, and everyday we’ve tried to find new ways of writing music and creating sounds. We’ve had the music, Mitchell’s percussion, the guitar sounds, and everyone has been keen to grow those and focus on them.”

“It isn’t a destruction of the old world, more a creation of the new – it looks archaic, but at the same time it’s timeless, referencing music from the past”
– Cut Copy guitarist Tim Hoey describes the polarity of the band’s third album, Zonoscope

The unusual artwork and title firmly suggest an album with a concept, or is it just about good pop songs after all? “No, it’s definitely the case that we had a concept here. We treat the artwork as part of it, it’s all part of one idea I guess. In the case of the artwork the image is that of New York being overcome by a waterfall. We saw this representing what the album is about, a tussle between synthetic and organic instruments. It isn’t a destruction of the old world, more a creation of the new – it looks archaic, but at the same time it’s timeless, referencing music from the past.”

Music such as Krautrock? “Yeah, absolutely,” he agrees warmly. “Every record has had some Krautrock influence; it seems everyone has that regardless of what genre you’re in! A lot of tracks rock into a groove and get lost in it, like Sun God and Need You Now, which builds tension and lets it go with a release.”

Since their 2004 debut Bright Like Neon Light, Cut Copy have flourished from a trio to a quartet, and appear to have grown stronger musically too. “I guess we have tried to challenge ourselves with every record,” says Hoey. “It’s about starting again, and not making the same record twice. That said there are certain motifs that will give the listener reference points, there are Cut Copy motifs running through each record to let people know it’s us. We like the idea of having a long career, releasing lots of records, a strong body of work that goes through different styles and genres, reflecting where we are at the time. David Bowie and Brian Eno are good examples of this, when you look at all they have achieved over a long period of time.”

“I guess we try and hide any of our lack of musicianship with some great enthusiasm”
– Cut Copy’s Tim Hoey reveals the secret of success in the live environment.

The Cut Copy sound on this one seems more confident than before. “Yeah. I think as we’ve been doing this for a little while we’ve used the touring to hone our craft, and everyday we’ve tried to find new ways of writing music and creating sounds. We’ve had the music, Mitchell’s percussion, the guitar sounds, and everyone has been keen to grow those and focus on them.”

The unusual artwork and title firmly suggest an album with a concept, or is it just about good pop songs after all? “No, it’s definitely the case that we had a concept here. We treat the artwork as part of it, it’s all part of one idea I guess. In the case of the artwork the image is that of New York being overcome by a waterfall. We saw this representing what the album is about, a tussle between synthetic and organic instruments. It isn’t a destruction of the old world, more a creation of the new – it looks archaic, but at the same time it’s timeless, referencing music from the past.”

Music such as Krautrock? “Yeah, absolutely,” he agrees warmly. “Every record has had some Krautrock influence; it seems everyone has that regardless of what genre you’re in! A lot of tracks rock into a groove and get lost in it, like Sun God and Need You Now, which builds tension and lets it go with a release.”

Since their 2004 debut, Cut Copy have flourished from a trio to a quartet, and appear to have grown stronger musically too. “I guess we have tried to challenge ourselves with every record,” says Hoey. “It’s about starting again, and not making the same record twice. That said there are certain motifs that will give the listener reference points, there are Cut Copy motifs running through each record to let people know it’s us. We like the idea of having a long career, releasing lots of records, a strong body of work that goes through different styles and genres, reflecting where we are at the time. David Bowie and Brian Eno are good examples of this, when you look at all they have achieved over a long period of time.”

Cut Copy’s third album Zonoscope is out now on Modular. Their UK tour lands in Glasgow on 3rd March with a date at the Death Disco, continuing to March 8th. Further details can be found at the band’s website.


buy Cut Copy MP3s or CDs
Spotify Cut Copy on Spotify


More on Cut Copy
Cut Copy – Free Your Mind
musicOMH’s Top 50 Albums Of 2011: 50-41
Interview: Cut Copy
Cut Copy @ Forum, London
Cut Copy – Zonoscope


Comments are closed.