Cut Copy are prepping the release of their fifth album Haiku From Zero on Friday. The new album would be the Australian foursome's first LP in four years, following up 2013's Free Your Mind. They have already released several hyped singles like "Airborne," "Standing In The Middle of The Field" and "Black Rainbows" prepping fans for the nine-track LP coming on September 22nd. In preparation for the album, we asked them to come up with 10 songs that influenced the making of the LP.
With their selections, they draw upon a whole host of different influences, not just electronic tracks. They include tunes from the likes of Jai Paul, The Avalanches, Paul Simon and Caribou. Check out the full list below and make sure you pre-order their album here.
Shina Williams - Agboju Logun
I probably listened to quite a bit of African funk and disco music during the making Haiku, and as a result a lot of the songs contain some of the feel of the muted rhythmic guitar and staccato leads. People like William Onyeabor, Sunny Ade and Fela Kuti are some of the better known names, but this jam by Shina Williams is an underground classic that I always go back to.
Sensations Fix - Barnhause Effect
Towards the end of touring our last album, Tim put this song on in the band room while we were waiting to soundcheck and I immediately sprung up from the couch, needing to know what piece of genius I was listening to. It turned out to be the work of an Italian prog band called Sensations Fix and it sounds a lot like the recent crop of psychedelic guitar bands, but 30 years earlier. This one has been on high rotation throughout making this album.
The Avalanches - Saturday Night Inside Out
I’m not sure that Cut Copy would have ever come into existence as a band without having seen The Avalanches playing early shows as a teenager in tiny dingy pubs in Melbourne around 1999. I’d never really seen anyone play live dance music like that before, and back then it was like watching the Stooges, DJ Shadow and the Beach Boys all wrestling for control of the stage. Over the years we’ve grown to become great friends and it was a near religious experience to finally see them play live again, almost 20 years later.
Caribou - Our Love
Dan Snaith has been a pretty undeniable force in the world of dance music in the past 5 years. I’ve DJed his music as both Caribou and Daphni more times than I can count and I think his last album Our Love was a pretty perfect intelligent take on pop music and dance music production of today. So that being the case, it’s pretty hard not to put Caribou in as an influence.
The Church - Under The Milky Way
This is probably one the favorite songs of every member of our band - a real timeless, haunting piece of songwriting. I love that the lyrics don’t really ever reveal what the song is about, but the imagery is so vivid. We really tried to divine that same intangible quality with acoustic guitar and shimmering synths for our song "Stars Last Me A Lifetime."
Laurie Anderson - O Superman
On “Tied To The Weather” (the final song on our new album), I tried to build a song almost exclusively from resampling of my own voice much like Laurie Anderson did on "O Superman." Much of Cut Copy’s music over the years has been a matter of throwing more and more sounds and textures at a song until it felt right, and in this case I wanted to try the exact opposite; taking out elements until the song almost falls apart, but still works.
Paul Simon - I Know What I Know
Despite having some influence of West African music on Haiku From Zero, it wasn’t because of that reason that Paul Simon’s Graceland album was an influence. I think for me that album has a real sense of someone who (after being through some of life’s journey) was looking back with nostalgia but also moments of regret at the events of their life. I think in some ways after 4 albums and over ten years touring and making music, I felt the same way and wanted to explore more of that in the songs on the new album. It probably feels a little more thoughtful that previous Cut Copy albums.
NO ZU - Raw Vis Vision
Three years ago, just before embarking the writing of our new album, I curated and released a complication of new Melbourne dance music called Oceans Apart. One of the standout tracks was by NO ZU; an ever expanding menagerie of musicians and misfits, who performed incredible energetic, percussive live shows. In so many ways their music felt out of step with current trends of music becoming more digital/laptop based, but this actually seemed to be a strength rather than a hindrance. And I think in some ways this same philosophy became the same for our own band in the making of Haiku From Zero. Dynamic live performances, and live instruments are much rarer these days for dance acts, so we almost wanted to explore our points of difference and celebrate them rather than trying to fit in to the sound of the moment.
UMO - Can’t Keep Checking My Phone
Despite a lot of current music trends moving away from live bands and live instruments, there are a few (including Unknown Mortal Orchestra) that have been flying the flag brilliantly in recent times. I love how on his most recent album Multi Love, he has underpinned his home recorded psychedelic with an almost-disco-like rhythm section. Can’t keep checking my phone is a great example, filled with percussion wood blocks and shakers it’s as strange as it is danceable.
Jai Paul - Magic
Like a lot of people, I became a little obsessed with Jai Paul as someone who seemed to have come out of nowhere as a new artists already with such a perfectly formed, unique new take on music. While his songs sound very little like the songs on our album, I do really like the minimalism of his work. And the idea of having just a vocal and a couple of other key elements to drive a track was something that Ben Allen was really driving for in producing Haiku From Zero.