Cheat Codes Talk 'Level 1' And EDC In An Exclusive iEDM Interview
The Electric Daisy Carnival got the summer started just right in Las Vegas, and ravers all across the world are currently gearing up for the rest of this summer's sick festival lineup. We are taking a special look back at an interview that was conducted during EDC week with three guys that are skyrocketing to the top of the electronic dance world.
iEDM sat down with Trevor Dahl, Matthew Russell, and Kevin Ford of Cheat Codes, and discussed what was going on in their heads before shutting down EDC Las Vegas 2018, and what fans can expect when their first EP, Level 1, drops on June 8.
Get hyped, because Cheat Codes not only came to play; but to win, and win hard. They didn't need to hit Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Select, and Start to knock the ball way out in the never-ending Nevada desert. Sorry (not sorry) Konami Code.
iEDM: Cheat Codes! You guys are on a serious roll lately. It's EDC; this is my first one out in Las Vegas representing iEDM. It's totally crazy out here. From all of the performers walking around, to the fans putting on their own festival fashion show, to the videos on the walls showing the evolution of the festival over the years; it is truly a sight to behold. You three are pretty much shutting the show down on a Saturday night. How are you feeling?
Trevor: It's amazing, man. I came here last year, as a spectator. This is my first time playing EDC Vegas. The fact that we are playing at 4 AM at such a great stage, it is something else. We played EDC Mexico and EDC China; both of those were incredible, but EDC Vegas is obviously the crazy one. We are stoked!
iEDM: The last time I was out here, it was about 10 years ago. I was turning 21 in Vegas. I was with my family. This time around, I'm enjoying the scene that much more. Have you guys had the opportunity to check out the area a little bit and do a little something offbeat?
Matt: I was here last year, and had the chance to see Porter [Robinson], Alesso, and Dillon Francis. I think this might be the best EDC just because it goes so late. You could really see the lights for everyone's different sets. I think that's important. We are excited to check all of that out. This is the first EDC that we are playing at night. We did China and Mexico during the day. We are hyped for that level of production that fans will be able to check out.
iEDM: It's funny that you mention that, Matt. Before we started recording, I was talking about how I saw you guys at Ultra in Miami this year. You played during the daytime. For you guys, do you approach your performance a little bit differently depending on the hour? Do you guys bring something different if the sun is out as opposed to the vibe underneath the electric sky?
Trevor: I think it depends. I think a big part of it is the same; we switch up a couple of things as far as the production work goes. The fireworks and the crazy visuals. We switch it up a little bit. Today is going to be cool, because the sun is going to rise at the end of our set. That should be crazy!
iEDM: Everyone is going to be in for quite a special treat, for sure.
Matt: We are now just getting to the point of doing the nighttime slots. This year, we are closing a couple of festivals. There's definitely an element of our set that we want to add to, as far as the visual aspect goes. That's going to continue to be more important to us as we grow as artists. We really weren't thinking about that part so much during our first couple of years, because we were always opening or supporting other acts during the daytime sets. We keep wanting to make our set better, and better, and better. That's going to be one of the things that we work on this year.
iEDM: You guys are building a legacy. There's serious momentum going on right before our eyes, because the EP, Level 1, is dropping June 8. It's right around the corner, and it's a big opportunity to really make a statement. I know fans can't wait to listen to it. What does it mean for you three to put the music together in this specific package, and present yourselves as 'next level' players on the scene?
Trevor: This is something that we wanted to do since we started, you know? We always wanted to put together a body of work as opposed to just singles. We just didn't have the time. Now, to be able to present this body of work; it just feels great. It's a little more dance-leaning as opposed to our other stuff, so it's cool. We are excited about that. It's a little heavier.
Matt: When we first started, some of our goals included playing Ultra, EDC. We are playing our entire EP tonight, in Vegas. It's really cool. This is our first EP; we have never done an entire body of work. When fans catch our set, they can hear it all. We have six songs. They are all dance records. We have done a lot of pop records, but we wanted to do something specifically that is dance orientated and we centered it around EDC. We did that on purpose. It's all coming together. We recently released a song, with DVBBS, it's called, "I Love It." Trevor is on the vocals; we are excited about that as well.
iEDM: Totally cool. You guys have millions, and millions of streams of Spotify. The songs "Turn Me On," and "Let's Talk About Sex," are always on rotation. Those tracks helped really solidify you guys as top level performers. When you all dropped those tracks in particular, did you ever expect them to take off like they did? Looking back at it now, does it seem surreal?
Trevor: That's what we were hoping for, honestly. In the beginning, it was one of those things where we were hoping that every song that we released would get bigger, and bigger. We kept releasing a song every month. We were producing, recording, and writing. We were doing it all. We felt really confident in the music. We always felt really confident in our music, and our ability to create something that people like, and we like. When it happened, we were all excited. We were beside ourselves. That was always the goal.
Matt: Our game plan was to always do a ton of records, and just put up the best ones. We did it that way. We would go, 'Oh, this one is one of our favorites, so we are putting this out.' Usually, our favorites wind up getting the most love. Sometimes, the ones that we least expect are the ones that wind up going viral, for no fuckin' reason. We are blessed in that way. We are pretty picky when it comes to songwriting, and producing. We just love doing that. We love pushing the envelope. We don't like being too repetitive. We don't like to make the same record, two or three times in a row. Expect different music coming soon. Different styles.
iEDM: That's awesome. I know you guys bring a different kind of energy when it comes to playing live. You have a bit of an edge. You put it all out there, leaving nothing on the table. As a spectator, it is special to watch. I'm a born and raised New Yorker. That does have an impact on how I carry myself. You guys are based out in California. How has that atmosphere impacted you as artists?
Trevor: I don't know if that has an effect on the music, necessarily. Maybe it affects the way that we make music...so now that I think about it, I'm sure it does; when it comes to the style. The way we make music is very relaxed. We try not to put pressure on ourselves. We take our time. We make our songs the best that they can possibly be.
Matt: The only thing that I can say, that is California-based, and obviously, they do this in New York too...we all bonded over music by smoking a lot together. We shared a lot of creative ideas together. We wrote our song "Sex" while we were all stoned. We just started humming that melody, "Let's talk about sex, baby." We were writing over the track. The rest was history. Definitely, California has an influence over us. We all became friends, and bonded over the love of creating music, and producing it as well.
iEDM: You guys are making me want to jump on a plane to Cali right after your set; for real though. I'm sold. I get the impression that 2018 is going to be your biggest year yet. As we wrap up, are there any dates, or specific announcements that you can make besides dropping the EP on June 8?
Trevor: We have a couple of collaborations that are coming out in June as well. Those are a couple of things that we are really, really excited about. There are two more songs that are coming out besides the EP, so keep your eyes open.
Matt: One of the things about our group is that not only do we write and produce, but we also sing. All of us sing. Trevor sings on a lot of the records. KEVI sings on a lot of records as well. There are going to be some new records with KEVI singing that are about to drop. We just want to give people so many different things that they can grab on to, and just keep them interested. We are not going to make the same record a million times in a row.
KEVI: Bet on it.
iEDM: No doubt about it. June 8 can't come soon enough. The EDM community is hyped. Thanks for taking the time to chat guys. Kill it tonight!
Trevor: Shoutout to iEDM, thanks man.