Cut Copy: Just a right-click away

Cut Copy’s multi-genre barrage may have been unplanned, but their stadium-sized energy is not.

Cut Copy will get you dancing like a robot from 1984.

Michael Muller

Cut Copy will get you dancing like a robot from 1984.

by Joe Kellen

Cut Copy shows transport audiences to the floppy disk era.

In their appearance earlier this month at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., the electronica group was illuminated by a shade of blue that’s usually reserved for the Windows 95 operating system. Band members dressed solely in white, and frontman Dan Whitford’s laptop setup and several other instruments — out of which the electric guitar got the most love from the crowd — populated the stage.

“I love computer generated stuff, especially when it’s old-school,” Whitford said. “It’s an encouraging sign when you haven’t even played the first song and people have started clapping along.”

The Melbourne-based group released their latest record, “Free Your Mind,” at the end of last year. The title doubles as a mantra for Cut Copy shows —performances that rep an array of electronica subgenres.   

“It seems a bit weird at times because there’s such disparity between the styles of songs,” Whitford said. “Some stuff is noisy and full of guitar feedback. Others are much more defined, electronic, in the realm of dance music.”

Tracks from the four-piece like “We Are Explorers” remind listeners of ’80s dancehall with a dash of acid house, which somehow acts as the perfect bridge into the following synth-heavy hypnosis of “Let Me Show You Love.”

Whitford said that variety is indicative of the range of influences that converge during the creation of a Cut Copy record. It started as a solo cut-n-screw project — he took samples from genre-spanning songs and edited them to create new sounds — in his basement when he was a graphic design student.

“The thing that interested me about electronic music was that anyone could do it, you know,” Whitford said. “Anyone could create a sample, and that makes it seem like such a wide-open, creative world.”

After experimenting on his own, Whitford recruited the talents of guitarist Tim Hoey, drummer Mitchell Scott and bassist Ben Browning to form the quartet that is now Cut Copy.

Their multifaceted approach to music has fared them well, with 2008’s “In Ghost Colours,” launching them to the top of the Australian charts for the first time. The album bleeds in multicolor — thumping indie rock, psyched-out trip hop and the familiar bleepy buzz of house music colors the liquid pumping through its artistic heart. 

“I don’t think we ever thought about trying to appeal to a particular audience,” Whitford said. “We mashed together indie guitar-based stuff and studio electronics. Ten years later, it’s the basis of the band, and it accidentally came together without any sort of lofty ambitions.”

The group may not have given too much thought to audiences while creating their music, but Cut Copy’s live energy is all about feeding off of the crowd. Whitford said he hopes the material from “Free Your Mind” provides concertgoers with a psychedelic experience that will encourage them to not only free their minds, but to lose them as well.

“Making this record was a very positive, open-ended experience,” he said.  “We just had this feeling — it was a yearning to bring people together for a shared experience. That’s what we try to do with our music. We try to share this stuff with people directly.”


What: Cut Copy with Classixx and Nile Delta
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Where: First Avenue Mainroom, 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis
Cost: $25
Ages: 18+