Australian trio Cut Copy scored an international breakthrough with their 2008 album, In Ghost Colours, and after a few teaser tour dates this summer, they’re poised to release its follow-up. SPIN can exclusively reveal that it’ll be called Zonoscope and will arrive in stores on February 8. Check out the artwork here, and some behind the scenes video from the band’s recording sessions below.
The band’s Tim Hoey tells SPIN the album artwork, which uses an image of New York City engulfed in a waterfall (created by the late Japanese photo montage artist Tsunehisa Kimura), is emblematic of where his band has netted out with their new tunes.
“We certainly are using all sorts of electronic instruments, more synthesizers, computers, all of that, but contrasted with more organic sounds, more organic percussion,” says Hoey. “Since [frontman] Dan [Whitford] came across the image a few months ago, he’s stuck with it, and thought that it summed up what we wanted to get across.”
Kimura also designed a post-apocalyptic vision of Sydney, Australia, for the cover of fellow Aussie band Midnight Oil’s 1984 album Red Sails in the Sunset, and Hoey says Cut Copy actually ended up working with the artist’s wife to track down his original print.
As for the music itself, the new behind the scenes video from the studio reveals Cut Copy tinkering with loads of digital noises and synthesizers — an interesting revelation considering, “Where I’m Going,” the first taste of Zonoscope which was released as a free download earlier this year, veered into a more conventional-sounding, guitar-bass-drums combination and seemed to indicate a departure from the sleek, electronic-laced sound of In Ghost Colours.
“I knew it might throw people a little bit, but at the end of the day it still sounded like a Cut Copy song,” says Hoey. “It’s got a pop music element, which runs throughout every Cut Copy song or album. I thought it was actually great to put out first from the record.”
But, Hoey revealed, it’s another version of “Where I’m Going” that made the final cut. “There’s actually a new mix of that song on the album which is more like the original vision we had for that song: more chant-y, kind of tribal, and probably less pop than the version that came out a couple of months ago,” he explains.
Hoey also feels the raw warehouse space in Melbourne, littered with discarded vintage recording gear and instruments, that was used to record Zonoscope had a profound influence on the finished product. In the middle of winter, they loaded in all of their own equipment, set up exactly how they wanted to, and cut themselves off from the world.
“There was no Internet in there, barely any heat, nothing, just fucking industrial Melbourne,” he says. “We just knew we could kind of go into there and not feel pressured. We were just kind of locked in there by ourselves, and we couldn’t have had it sounding how it sounds without us going in there.”
Between now and February, Hoey says he and his bandmates will be reinventing their live show and figuring out how to bring Zonoscope to life onstage. “We’ve created this new world with the record, and we certainly want the new live show to represent that, to take it into new territory,” he says. The band will also sort through songs that didn’t make the cut, try to finish some, and figure out how to possibly release even more music in 2011.
What do you think of Cut Copy’s new title, artwork, and video? Tell us in the comments.
WATCH: Cut Copy in the studio — “Skies of the Ape”