US-based trio Cheat Codes have quickly made a name for themselves on both sides of the pond. Having recently just finished supporting Steve Aoki on his UK tour, the band have collaborated with the likes of Demi Lovato on No Promises and the UK’s biggest girl band Little Mix on iconic Only You. The electronic trio made up of Kevin Ford, Trevor Dahl and Matthew Russell most recently teamed up with UK based DJ Daniel Blume on Who’s Got Your Love. It’s fair to say right now Cheat Codes are rapidly becoming one of the hottest artists on the scene thanks to their writing and remixing talents, we chatted to Matthew Russell about the band’s latest single, teaming up with Demi Lovato and what the rest of 2019 holds for them.
Hi Matt, can you sum up Cheat Codes in 5 words?
Erm five words? I would say eclectic, over the top, fun. What else would I say? Energetic?
Not too long ago you completed a UK tour, are there any plans for UK shows on the horizon?
Yes, we’re hoping to so the SW4 festival that would be really cool. We were actually supposed to do it last summer but our plane got hit by lightning so we couldn’t make the show.
That’s definitely a cool story to tell but less than ideal.
Yeah, we were on the tarmac waiting to get on the plane and they told us that the plane wasn’t going to be able to go so it was a pretty big bummer. We just did a tour with Steve Aoki and hit a bunch of cities over the UK where we’ve never played before so it was really cool to branch out as before we’ve only played London. But we love London. We’re finishing up planning our Europe tour for the Summer in August so we’ll definitely make sure to swing by.
You recently teamed up with Daniel Blume on Who’s Got Your Love, can you tell us more about the track?
It’s actually interesting because Daniel was one of the first people we’ve met in the UK, we met the first time we came. It was like four years, we just kept in touch with him and he kept sending us tracks back and forth and I remember he sent us this one and we thought it was dope. We decided to work with him on it and he had the track so we had Trevor sing on the vocals and added our kind of flair to it so definitely cool how everything came together. Shout out Daniel, he’s the man! We got to bring him out on tour when we were in the UK which was really cool as he’s from the UK and these were the biggest shows he’s been a part of. It’s cool to just build with people in different areas across the world and make something cool.
What would you like to ‘be the one’ to be remembered for?
I think we just want to like switch things up and we really like people coming to our shows and just knowing they walk away after having a really good experience. We try to offer something for everybody whether it’s Be The One which has more of a club feel to it as the drop is very dance-centric so that song is meant more for our dance fanbase. We definitely want to be remembered for bringing people together as we play all kinds of genres in our sets. We just want to bring different demographics of music lovers into the same club or the same festival, that’s kind of the end goal.
We definitely have to talk to you about No Promises with Demi Lovato, did you always have Demi in mind or did it fall in to place naturally?
We had the vocal or the vocal idea pretty much finished and we built the track around that. We were thinking of who would be the most ideal person on the song and she was the first person to come to mind. We always had the mindset of just put your best foot forward and just go for it to try and get the best version out of every song. So she was the first person that came to mind, we sent it to her team and she loved it. It only took like three or four hours in the studio to nail the vocal with her and it came together pretty quickly which was pretty cool.
Over here in the UK, Only You with Little Mix has become incredibly well known and rightly so, did you ever expect it to explode as much as it has?
Little Mix are so big in the UK we just figured it would do really well over there. It’s one of those songs which is kind of classic sounding. The melody is like folky which is really cool. We thought it was a really good track for them in terms of being different to what they normally do. We’re glad that it worked out and it became as big as it did as it’s been really good for both of us as it’s targeting different audiences so it’s cool. We have a lot of fans in the US who are like ‘Only You is my favourite song, Only You is my favourite song’ so I think it’s good for Little Mix too getting them a different audience like out in the states.
You’ve worked with so many different artists whether that’s writing or remixing, what’s been your favourite track to be involved with and why?
Hmm good questions, we’ve got a lot of tracks! Favourite track. I would probably say No Promises with Demi as I would say the whole experience and doing the music video with her, like filming it with her and we performed on Late Night on Jimmy Fallon with her. The whole campaign for the song was really fun, I think it’s really good when you collab with an artist if they’re just down to work with you on not just the song but everything surrounding the song as it makes it better for the fans before.
We’ve talked about the artists you have been worked with and the tracks you’ve been involved with, but which track do you wish you’d been involved with?
I would The Middle by Zedd would be a really cool one, also Back To You by Selena Gomez is really dope. I feel like it would be a really good dance-pop song if done the right way. Also, let me see we listen to a lot of urban music too. Wow. by Post Malone is pretty sick.
You’ve got a songwriting background but you’re also now working in DJing too, how did the evolution come about and is there one side you prefer more?
We were songwriting and just working in a studio. We used to do engineering work for the publishing companies and labels and stuff, so when we started putting out our original music and it started getting traction online our managers would hit us up like ‘we’ve got our first show offer come in’. We were like ‘crap we actually have to learn to DJ now’. We actually didn’t know how to DJ at all until we started getting show offers, we just wanted to put on a good show and we were down to do anything to put on a good show. But yeah, once we dove into it it’s really fun DJing and feeling like you’re controlling the party and putting it all together. I think the preparation of the show is really fun too because for us we’re not just DJing random songs, it’s like our show. So there’s a lot of preparation that goes into it. We have live vocals every show, it’s not just us playing other people’s track so it’s a really fun experience. I really love performing!
Last but not least, what’s next on the cards for you in 2019?
We’re finishing up pretty much planning out our whole summer, we’re doing a lot of festivals in the US and we’re doing a lot of festivals in Europe as well including Ultra Europe which is in Croatia which will be really cool. We’ll be all over Europe and all over the US and we’re finishing up a lot of music. We’ve been finishing up our second dance EP so we’re almost done with that and after that, we have some poppier song we’re finishing up as it’s always fun to get back into the pop music side of things. We like to switch it up so it’s going back and forth between club records and pop songs and we have some urban leaning songs we’re finishing up. You can pretty much expect everything and nothing at the same time from us in 2019!
Who’s Got Your Love by Cheat Codes featuring Daniel Blume is out now.