Published Nov 15, 2013There are a million ways to promote an album. This summer, Cut Copy randomly placed cult-ish looking billboards in psychedelic colours that simply read "free your mind" in various locations across the world: Mexico City; Santiago, Chile; Detroit, Michigan; Moora, Australia; Blaina, UK and in the middle of the California desert. Oh and without any mention of the band's name.
"We were almost hoping people would get confused about what the message was," says frontman Dan Whitford of the billboard's pseudo brainwashing vibes. "The name of the record and the slogan are something you can take either positively or sinisterly, so we liked the ambiguity of it."
The sign, which doubles as the cover of the Australian band's fourth album, Free Your Mind, implies the nostalgic themes running through the music. According to its press release, the album was inspired by the two summers of love: the original hippie counterculture movement in 1967 and the dawn of rave culture in the UK in 1988.
Whitford says the open experimentation of these eras gave Free Your Mind its biggest stimulus. "These two time periods were very much facets of the same idea: the hedonistic, ecstatic dance music side and the slightly more spiritual, contemplative, psychedelic side. It's like there are two directions on the record that are equally represented."
Over the last decade, Cut Copy have freed their new wave-inspired pop to integrate any number of genres, from shoegaze to disco. Free Your Mind dives deep into the MDMA-crazed acid house sound born during the Madchester-ruled second Summer of Love. Like the younger sibling of Primal Scream's period-defining classic, Screamadelica (a favourite of Whitford's), Free Your Mind is an all-encompassing, euphoric experience.
"I found an affinity with acid house and what happened in the UK around the late '80s and early '90s," explains Whitford. "There was a weird mash of music people were playing in Ibiza — Detroit techno, Chicago house, weird European pop music, soul and funk, dub — all thrown together. The scenes, the people and the cultures were very diverse. I think that's exciting, and with our music I love pulling in unlikely combinations of different styles."
With all this free-thinking and lovin' though, Whitford says Cut Copy don't identify as flower children. "I guess there is a theme of wanting to bring people together. 'Free your mind' can be taken as a hippie slogan, so I can see how that could be interpreted. But I wouldn't call myself a hippie," he says laughing.