Cut Copy’s mid-2000s electro-pop sound, built on a bed of indie, rock, and dance music, had humble origins. “Music was a hobby for me,” frontman Dan Whitford tells Apple Music. “It wasn’t something that I ever thought would become a career.” But after he began DJing in Melbourne clubs and building a collection of electronic albums, he realized: “This is something I can try my hand at.” He got his hands on a keyboard, sampler, and drum machine and started, as he says, “plugging them together and seeing what I could do.” He also got into sampling, which served as the building blocks behind Cut Copy’s 2001 debut EP, I Thought of Numbers. By the time they released their first album, 2004’s Bright Like Neon Love, their focus was on merging the worlds of electronic and lo-fi indie—and it particularly paid off with 2008’s In Ghost Colours. “Each album is a document of what we were vibing on at that point in time,” says Whitford. Here, the vocalist, keyboardist, and guitarist talks through some of Cut Copy’s biggest and best.
“Love Is All We Share” “With the  global lockdown because of COVID, we felt like the message in ‘Love Is All We Share’ was the right message for the time. We wanted to give people something to latch on to and sustain them. ‘Love Is All We Share’ does touch a little bit on ideas of isolation and feeling a little bit separated by technology and different things, but also just affirms that we’re all still connected by this feeling that we share. We were trying to challenge ourselves a little bit with this song, to make something very minimal but also very immersive; trying to create using less elements than we would have in the past. It’s got this dreamlike state to it, as if you’re having a dream and this is the feeling.”
“Where I’m Going” “That was the first track to appear from Zonoscope. We were very excited about that album. We’d had big success with In Ghost Colours, and this was another step somewhere different and interesting for us. ‘Where I’m Going’ was sort of a simple pop song in a lot of ways but influenced by bands like Animal Collective and Velvet Underground. It’s a little bit psychedelic and a little bit poppy–I think it’s an interesting track.”
“Standing in the Middle of the Field” “That one is essentially trying to capture this visceral movement through the song of building almost from nothing to a real euphoric peak. I guess a lot of that album [2017’s Haiku From Zero] was looking back at the past–past relationships or the preceding 10 years of my life, of being in the band, basically. And just thinking about things that had gone right, things that had gone wrong, and just kind of taking stock. The key line for me is ‘You’ve got to give up the things you love to make it better.’ Sometimes to move forward in your life you’ve got to give up things that you love or have loved, and that was the most poignant part of that song.”
“Saturdays” “This one feels like it’s from another time. It was the first song of ours that really got played in clubs a little bit. And people had actually mentioned to us that this was their entry point into our music back in the early days because they’d heard it either on the radio or played at clubs. There was something gratifying about it, because we were really into club culture. And the idea of being out in one of these places where you discovered so much music and hearing your own music in that context is pretty cool.”
“Free Your Mind” “‘Free Your Mind’ is the title track of the album, and it was a good sentiment to capture the spirit of what we were working on with that bunch of music. It’s really just a call to arms–get off your computer, get out of the virtual world into the real world, and get on a dance floor and experience this euphoria. I think on that album I was getting interested in different directions musically: this idea of a connection between the ’60s summer of love and the kind of late-’80s acid house summer of love, and that idea of finding redemption on the dance floor.”