While they may be the norm when it comes to rock and other genres, it’s fairly rare to find groups in the electronic dance field. Most producers act alone...but that may be putting them at a disadvantage. Why have one person working on new tunes when you can have several?
Cheat Codes is a trio of musicians who came together to churn out pop and EDM smashes (and churn is the right word), and in just a few years, they’ve produced an incredible amount of music, and some of the songs they’ve dropped have gone on to become serious hits on charts all around the world.
They split their time between holding onto their street cred as actual electronic producers and teaming up with big names (like Demi Lovato, Fetty Wap, and Little Mix) to push pop singles, and all of it is going extremely well for Trevor, KEVI, and Matthew.
Cheat Codes talks about how they keep going, what separates the two styles of music they make, and what’s coming next.
You guys put out a ton of music--how do you keep up the output?
That’s the benefit to having three guys--we can own our individual roles. One guy can be in a writing session working on pop hooks while another guy is ironing out dance edits for the set and another is finishing original productions. Our initial success came from the idea of new music every month, so we believe in keeping with that momentum. Even if we’re not releasing music every month, we think there should be some form of new content for the fans every month.
Your debut album only came out in June, but you seem to be releasing music that wasn't featured on it. What's the thought behind sharing tracks that weren't on the release around the same time you're promoting a record?
Level 1 was the first body of work that we released. It wasn’t meant to be consumed as an album, but more a collection of Cheat Codes club records. Our previous releases were more pop-leaning, so we wanted to meet in the middle and create something that could bang in the club without needing an edit or remix.
As far as, “the thought” behind sharing tracks, music today is compartmentalized, we have fans that aren’t old enough to go to the club, and fans that love our club records and have never heard our pop tracks. Why not feed both groups? It doesn’t have to be one or the other, as long as they work together in a live setting.
Doesn’t it kind of ruin the fun when there’s thought behind everything?
You work with a healthy mix of big stars and up-and-coming talents. How do you decide what artist is right for what track?
You gotta be able to find the good in people, whether it’s star power, a story behind their artistry, or just an amazing voice. Sometimes we have songs for years that we can’t find the right voice for, so when it fits, we know.
Also, our mantra is “too easy.” The artist chooses us more than anything. When you’re in flow, things come to you. For example, with our newest single “Feeling of Falling,” our good friend and co-writer on the song Lil Aaron, introduced us to Kim Petras and she was a perfect fit. We don’t fight the universe shouting at us, handing us the obvious choice on a silver platter.
Some of your songs are very poppy, but others lean much harder into electro territory. How do you balance the two different styles and worlds?
The balance is what keeps us sane; the club records are more fun to perform live, and the pop songs are more fun to listen to on repeat. You could say we have a bit of ADD. The balance comes from more of a necessity than anything else.
In addition to releasing music as a group, you all work on solo efforts, right? How do you manage to split your time between two demanding projects?
There’s nothing demanding about what we do. Every day we get to wake up and create. Sometimes those songs work for Cheat Codes, sometimes they don’t. If we can add extra dimensions to what Cheat Codes is all about through solo projects, we definitely want to explore that.
Check out “Think About Us” by Dahl--don’t be late.
Are you ever worried about a conflict of interest when it comes to your attention and creative energy?
What can fans expect from Cheat Codes in 2019? What about with your solo endeavors?
Everything is always expanding, and evolving. More club records, more pop records, some Latin records, some hip-hop records, and everyone will be very confused… Except for us.