Q&A: Tim Hoey of Cut Copy
For the members of synth-pop band Cut Copy, recording their forthcoming album, "Zonoscope," was purely a do-it-yourself process. Written and produced in their home country of Australia, the album didn't come together until the band members found an old warehouse that was being converted to a studio.
"It began in our bedrooms in our home studios," bassist/guitarist/sampler Tim Hoey told SoundSpike via telephone from Australia. "We documented our ideas and got our sounds together. But it wasn't until we found this warehouse space in the outskirts of Melbourne that the record really started to take shape. It's a huge open warehouse which was filled with this vintage musical equipment. This guy was setting up this music studio but he hadn't done anything yet. We asked if we could use it to record our album. He let us use it.
"We pretty much built the studio within this warehouse. It's very much a DIY set up. We were using old mattresses that we found on the side of the road as drum enclosures. It was a very exciting time because we weren't in a proper studio. We weren't constantly looking at the clock or wondering how much money we were spending. It gave us a lot of freedom to experiment a lot more. We spent a lot more time together as a band to work on the record."
Produced by the band's vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist Dan Whitford, "Zonoscope" will be released Feb. 8 in North America on CD, deluxe CD and 2-disc vinyl. The deluxe CD and iTunes deluxe version of Cut Copy's third collection will include a new cut of the Krozm-directed documentary "Artificial Interpreter," featuring footage not previewed on the Web episodes found on Cut Copy's website. In addition, the deluxe CD will come in a special Alter-designed box.
The iTunes pre-order for "Zonoscope" (both regular and deluxe versions) is now underway, and those who pre-order will receive a previously unreleased mix of the first single, "Take Me Over."
Hoey, who is also joined in the band by drummer Mitchell Scott, spoke to SoundSpike about "Zonoscope;" the album's cover -- which features New York City engulfed in a waterfall, created by the late Japanese photomontage artist Tsunehisa Kimura -- and his deft interview skills.
SoundSpike: You must be excited about your new album coming out early next year.
Tim Hoey: We finished it probably two months ago. We finished mixing. It's been finished for a little while. We finished writing it around June. We were mixing it in Atlanta in July/August. We're getting excited for other people to hear it.
How does the first single, "Take Me Over," compare to the rest of the album?
I think it's indicative of the album. It's very much a piece of the puzzle without giving away the full picture. I think it's one of the more pure kind of pop moments on the album. We used a lot of percussion on that track, organic and synthetic. I guess that's the theme that runs through that record. Maybe something that ties the song together. It's always really tough just releasing one track. The whole idea for us each time is to create a record that you can listen to start to finish. We find it really tough to separate [the songs]. The songs gives an indication of where the album is going, but there's a lot more to come.
Tell me about the cover for "Zonoscope." It's an interesting image.
Yeah, I guess we came across that image while we were recording the album. It's an image that stuck with us. It's this image of the New York skyline being overtaken by this waterfall. It's very much a man made monument overtaken by a natural phenomena. We kind of saw that as a way of representing what the album was saying. Instead of it being a post-apocalyptic image, we saw it as something very calming, and it kind of created this new world which is our whole idea with the record. We thought it was very representative of that and the coming together of man made synthetic elements and organic elements. That was very much what the album was about sonically as well. We kind of thought it worked on many levels, not to mention just being a beautiful image.
How did you come up with the name of the album?
"Zonoscope" is the bird's eye view of the world we created. It's the lens that is used to view this world. That was kind of one idea. It's also the name of the instrument that we created from scratch. If we were stuck for ideas, we would use the Zonoscope on a song and we'd see it take shape.
Did you expect your last album, "In Ghost Colours," to be the breakthrough album for Cut Copy?
Um, I don't know. It's tough to say. We were really proud of that record when we finished it. We were really happy with it. But everything that happens after that feels really kind of at its end. We were really happy that all Cut Copy fans liked it and then maybe getting some new fans as well. Everybody measures success kind of differently and for us our goals are always artistic ones. Once we've reached those we can feel really happy with where we are and everything that happens after that is kind of a bit of a bonus.
So you just came back from New York and Los Angeles? What did you do while you were here?
Yeah we were over there for about a week and a half doing a lot of press and shooting a new video and stuff like that. It was a whirlwind kind of trip.
Did you do the video for "Take Me Over"?
No, it's actually for the next single that's coming out in January. We worked with this director, Keith Schofield, who we're really big fans of. We wanted to work with him for a long time. So we had an absolute blast working with him in L.A. Hopefully the clip turns out OK. It was a lot of fun.
What was the name of the song?
I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say yet. I always get into trouble whenever I do interviews. I'm always giving away information that I'm not supposed to give away. I'm not even sure if I'm allowed to say yet.
31 - Santiago, Chile - Industria Cultural
31 - Auckland, New Zealand - Aotea Square (St. Jerome's Laneway Festival)
4 - Brisbane, Australia - Alexandria Street (St. Jerome's Laneway Festival/!!!)
5 - Footscray, Australia - Footscray Community Arts Centre
6 - Rozelle, Australia - Sydney College of Arts
11 - Adelaide, Australia - Fowlers Live
12 - Perth, Australia - Cultural Centre
3 - Glasgow, Scotland - The Arches
5 - Manchester, England - Gorilla
6 - London, England - HMV Forum
8 - Oslo, Norway - Rockefeller Music Hall
9 - Malmo, Sweden - KB Halle
10 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Loppen
11 - Stockholm, Sweden - Strand
12 - Helsinki, Finland - Helsinki Hall of Culture
14 - Tallinn, Estonia - Rock Cafe
16 - Berlin, Germany - Lido
17 - Cologne, Germany - Gebaude 9
18 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Melkweg
19 - Paris, France - Nouveau Casino
23 - Lisbon, Portugal - Coliseu Dos Recreios
26 - Miami, FL - Ultra Music Festival