Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Concert Round Up: CUT/COPY Live In Manila

Words by Kix Suarez
Photos by Seth Valenzuela

And as the other half of the metro wept for Anberlin’s Farewell gig, the other half danced to the disco punk tunes of Cut/Copy.  SM Aura’s Samsung Hall filled up quite nicely as early as 8pm with giddy fans of the Australian group. Everybody was on full-on party mode – a few people even joked around by stretching just to warm up before the dance-a-thon. It was the first time the group was to perform Manila and Manila’s scenesters wanted to show the dudes of Cut/Copy how we define a good time.

For those of you who don’t know the group’s history, Cut/Copy was established in 2001 in Melbourne, Australia as the solo project of Dan Whitford, a DJ and graphic designer. Whitford was educated at Scotch College, Melbourne and studied graphic design at Monash University. During his studies he became interested in dance music and began DJing while hosting a radio-show. Around this time he bought a sampler and keyboards to experiment with. Musically he was "inspired by indie low-fi stuff as much as dance, I saw a way to combine them'. Upon graduating Whitford co-founded the design-agency Alter, who continue to produce all of the graphical material for the band. Whitford began producing music at his home-studio and submitted a demo-tape to Modular Recordings, who subsequently signed him sometime in the first half of 2001. He enlisted the help of veteran guitarist Harry Howard to record the debut single "1981", which was released on vinyl only.

According to Whitford the bandname was a random choice: 'I was in the edit menu [of my computer] and I moved down in the document to the few words that didn't make sense together, and at that particular day and time the words 'cut' and 'copy' really stood out to me. At the time it felt like a fairly abstract choice but now it feels very tied in with what we do'. The name is often displayed as one word with a forward slash in between: Cut/Copy.
With Howard filling in on guitar, Whitford asked his childhood friend Bennett Foddy to join on bass with the view to release an EP. The band was assisted by Robbie Chater of the The Avalanches who produced the seven largely instrumental tracks that were leaning heavily on samples. I Thought of Numbers was released in September 2001 and spurned a number of remixes on vinyl. The following year saw Whitford remould the band with a view to take to the stage. Their live debut at the 2003 Livid Festival was described by Foddy as 'our first show was in front of 5,000 people at a festival, which was sort of terrifying'.

In 2003, Howard was replaced by Tim Hoey, a student at the Victoria College of Art after he and Whitford began exchanging demo tapes. Drummer Mitchell Scott joined shortly after, explaining that 'we were just in the same circle of friends, and Tim was sort of roped in because he could play guitar and Dan’s sampler had actually broken down, which kind of brought on the need to find a new way of thinking about a live show'. Prior to Hoey and Scott joining, a Cut/Copy performance was essentially Whitford together with Joel McKenzie doing a DJ set that included sampling their own material. Throughout their career, the band has continued to do DJ sets and remixes for others.

We were lucky enough that the whole band came and it wasn’t just another DJ set. There were two opening acts before the main event. Taken By Cars kept things groovy while Up Dharma Down got everyone in the mood. Both bands gave the crowd a stellar performance. They played with all their heart and the crowd definitely responded to it favorably.
Taken By Cars was the first band to play, followed by Up Dharma Down.

By the end of the final song of Up Dharma Down, just before Cut/Copy went on, the crowd got pretty rowdy. Finally it was time.

I have to admit, I knew only a handful of songs by Cut/Copy but they were songs that I really liked – songs that I listened to and even used during DJ gigs. I didn’t know they had such a big fan base in Manila who actually knew every guitar lick, lyric, bass line and synth breaks.

As the band got on stage, riots ensued. Not a single person in the room, dead or alive, wasn’t dancing, cheering, and screaming from pure adrenaline provided by Cut/Copy. It wasn’t like anything I’ve been to ever. People were actually dancing, not fist pumping, but DANCING. People were actually singing, not trying to record the whole show on their cellphone. It was not your typical gig where everyone was holding a drink and staring back at the stage where a few dudes were trying to make sense of noise. People were actually reveling in the moment. They weren’t worried about capturing everything on camera, they all just wanted to move and groove and dance to their heart's content.

Everyone had a grand time. Vybe Productions is definitely on a roll with the groups they’re bringing in. Next up, Chvrches! Make sure you don’t miss it!


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