CUT COPY + VICTOR TANGO'S.
Tunes N' Spoons : 9 :
Our conversation with the boys from Cut Copy ranged from their favorite foods to their favorite places. They expressed regret for having their only show in Russia cancelled and their lack of enthusiasm over Nutella (the band hails from Australia).
So, do you guys try to eat healthy while on the road?
Mitchell: I enjoy trying to eat out at a nice place. It's more like, you don't get enough meals a day. Sometimes it's just one or two meals a day, we try to make them good ones. But yeah, we're not about to go to a McDonalds or anything like that.
Ben: Sometimes we're at the mercy of where we are, or the venue sometimes will sorta provide with the bar they have or a kitchen, and they're like "Here, this is dinner", and we're like "uh, alright".
How was Coachella?
Mitchell: As a place, I must say, it's pretty weird, a pretty giant festival, but it just draws so many people, and so many bands playing there.
Did you see any artists that you guys liked?
Mitchell: Yeah, we saw a bit of the Odd Future show. Coming out of Australia as well, it was interesting to see what all the crazy fuss and hype and buzz was.
So I was telling the others in the car our first band that we did this concept with was Miami Horror.
Dan: Oh, really?
Yes, they came in, wonderful show. In Australia, where is synth pop? Is it an expanding genre?
Dan: There was a time in Melbourne, three or four years ago, where dance music was like, something that crossed over and became popular with indie kids, around Cut Copy coming out and Daft Punk becoming really popular. There was a time where four or five nights, night clubs with all the same guys, all the same same kids going to them, all playing the same music. Miami Horror started as a bed room producer, kind of a dance music producer, and he evolved his thing into this live act. Probably sounded more like Cut Copy than he originally thought. He was definitely someone who went to those nights religiously, he was just like a dude was just out and about. And then he started to do his own thing, just a few steps removed from what we do. But yeah, it feels like the stuff that we were doing a few years back have given birth to a whole bunch of people who are just as passionate about dance music, which is a pretty cool thing.
So, what do you guys think about that place? Where's your favorite spot?
Ben: Cookies is a great place. An example about what makes Melbourne cool, I guess, is that there are a lot of these places that seem to be interesting, and kinda have a cool idea behind it but are able to work and be popular. It's a weird place -- it's actually this whole building of stuff really. There's a pub upstairs called The Talk of Town, there's a store, a gallery, a rooftop cinema, and then there's Cookie.
Ben: It's all really cool stuff, right in the center of Melbourne. As well as being a bar with a really nice feel, it seems to cater to some sort of a work crowd, and has a menu that has an Asian/contemporary influence.
Is there an Australian dish that really specific or unique to Australia?
Ben: Nothing good.
Mitchell: There really isn't. The only things that we claim as our own are things that New Zealand claims as well and it's rubbish, anyways.
Ben: I think the thing about Australian food, or modern Australian food, that's really good is that we have so much fresh produce. I guess we don't have a lot of Australian food because we're not that old of a country.
This is a really touristy, American question. Vegemite. If you had to describe it to a food that someone from Texas has probably eaten, what would it be like?
Mitchell: It's like a savory version of molasses or something like that. It just tastes really salty.
Dan: Yeah, rich, and salty.
Mitchell: Yeah, intensely salty. But you just have a tiny bit.
Is it an acquired taste?
Dan: Well, if you're not from Australia, it definitely is. But most people that have grown up in Australia have sorta had it since they were kids. I mean, not everyone likes it in Australia.
Tim: I don't know anyone who likes it.
Dan: Oh, you don't know anyone who like it? I like it.
Mitchell: I like it.
Tim: You're like one of the only few people I know who likes it.
Mitchell: Like, I don't mind it. I prefer another one though.
Ben: I generally only have it on toast for breakfast. And it always got to be on equal level of flavor with butter on the toast.
So, Texas is known for its BBQ. You mentioned that a lot of Asian influenced foods are a big thing in Australia, in Melbourne?
Dan: Yeah and probably more over the last 20 to 30 years I guess.
You guys joked a little bit on Australian food earlier, would you say that's the British influence coming over? You know, British food not known for being ....
Ben: You know, our grandparents boiled their vegetables 'til they were nothing, and cooked their meat until you could build a house out of it.
Mitchell: And then they'd separate them on the plate. It's what you'd have: meat, like a lamb chop or something, with some peas, intensely boiled peas, intensely boiled carrots, and intensely boiled potatoes. And if you're lucky there'd be some gravy, but often there wasn't. And, I don't know, that was their idea of cooking. You know, there weren't herbs or spices or flavor really. Nothing really other than salt.
So boil ... salt. Like dry meat and rubber peas. Are there any fast food chains that are popular in Australia?
Mitchell: I love the ones that are more local.
Ben: There are some more gourmet kinda chains that have started up recently.
Really? Wow, gourmet?
Ben: I guess more casual really.
More owned by the conglomerate.
Mitchell: So they've actually tried to redesign Vegemite recently. You know, kinda change the formula which has been the same for forever. And that was the thing, it was exactly like New Coke. They wondered if it was a shrewd marketing strategy, or if it was real 'cause they changed it to something just terrible. What did they call it? Vegemite 2.0?
Mitchell: No, no. They called it I-Snack. I-Snack 2.0. And then pretty quickly took it off the shelves and changed it to something else.
Coke = sugar. There was this article in the New York Times saying how sugar was just as bad as corn syrup, and for a while everyone in America was just hating on corn syrup. And now it's like, great, now sugar's just as bad. You have to eliminate it all
Mitchell: It's interesting, the science behind that. I saw a presentation that said that high glucose-corn syrup, which was the agenda of the scientist, is a poison, and is treated by the body the same way a poison is. It's processed by the liver, and it doesn't go to the same parts of the body. It's like a poison. And I'm interested in seeing the ads from the corn syrup association saying that sugar's bad.
So, one of our Facebook fans posted a question. How did you guys come about with the Zonoscope name, the name on the CD?
Dan: I guess we wanted a name that wasn't taken by anyone else. And both the previous records had quite long names, so I felt like it would be kinda cool to have a one word name and maybe also have a name that no one has used before. Therefore, we pretty much had to make a name to avoid names used in the past. And yeah, the name Zonoscope was borne out of that.
I saw an interesting comment how two of the songs next together, "Pharoahs & Pyramids" and "Blink and You'll Miss a Revolution", where these guys know something about Egypt, like it's happening or premonition.
Ben: Yeah ... none of us can see the future.
Dan: Yeah, people were talking about the album cover with the tsunami, and how the cover has a waterfall run through New York. We didn't see it as a disaster.
Mitchell: We didn't cause the tsunami. We're not responsible!
Dan: So that happened. And then all the stuff happening in Africa... it's strange, with everything happening in the world.
Is there a favorite place in the States you like to go to?
Mitchell: It's probably different for all of us, but for me it's New York, when we come to the states. I love it. And there are a couple other ones, like San Francisco and Seattle. I also love Portland.
All the major cities in Australia have the mega, New York feel to them, right? Would you say that?
Dan: Well, it kinda varies. I wouldn't say that any of them are like New York really. I mean, in some respects, like in terms of food in where you get the best of everything. And that's kinda cool.
In addition to the US, are there other countries that have taken you in like no other?
Mitchell: There are weird places, like as a band larger that what you'd expect. Like in really small countries where you can get really large shows, like in Portugal. Portugal's not a really big country, but we played in a 4,000 capacity place. And it's really a small place, like Lisbon very small, really, compared to other big cities in the world. And I guess there are some other small places like that. Mexico is one of them. We've done a few places there, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterey.
Dan: We'll be back there in about a month, Monterey.
[Dan goes for the mussels]
So, I know that your mussels must be pretty amazing over there, how do Victor Tango's compare?
Dan: These stack up pretty well.
Is there a big fishing scene in Melbourne?
Dan: There's definitely plenty of fishing, but I guess you're asking the wrong person 'cause I don't really eat fish. We're around the water in Melbourne, so yeah, there are definitely fish.
Ben: There's a big fishing industry off the coast.
[he's been eating away since the food got to the table]
Mitchell: How's your chicken n' waffles? (Mitchell and Tim being vegetarians)
Dan: It's actually really good, almost like it's sauteed chicken or something. There's so much flavor.
Have you guys played at a bigger festival where it seems like the crowd is squeezed in like sardines?
Dan: Well, all festivals seem a little that way.
Ben: A few shows.
Mitchell: The worst one was the one in Philadelphia.
Ben: The one in Philadelphia was horrible, like to the point where you wanted to stop playing. It was like a club, the place we were playing at, that could only fit a certain amount of people. And the whole club was getting into this spot, and I saw these girls fall down, getting kicked in the head and trampled on the ground. And I was like, "I don't want to play anymore."
Mitchell: Like the club holds 1,000, but half of those people are supposed downstairs. So when we're playing a show, 1,000 people are trying to get into a space for 500.
[plate gets taken up]
So how's the meat?
Ben: Fantastic, that lamb chop was so good, so tasty.
How do you like your meat? I guess that was rare, medium rare? Do you like yours medium rare?
Ben: Sure, it's more flavorsome.
Is the whole organic thing pretty big down there?
Ben: Yeah. We have organic everything. We even got organic sunglasses now.
Mitchell: We have a lot of places with steak, where they'll pay attention to where the steak has been, how many days it's aged, and all those sorts of things.
Can you taste the difference?
Mitchell: Well, I don't eat it, but Rockwall Restaurant is one of those places that does a little crazy steak venue, where it's a 45-day steak or whatever.
So have you always been a vegetarian?
Mitchell: For a couple of years.
Was it a movie, or a girl maybe, that converted you?
Mitchell: I think a friend of mine, really, when I finished high school. Conversations with my best friend that got me really started reading a few books. We started talking about things at the same time, and I guess it became something we couldn't justify anymore.
Another one of our fan questions was "What's on your playlist right now?" What do you guys listen to when you get from point A to point B?
Dan: I guess kinda recently we've been listening to Animal Collective and Panda Bear. Tori y Moi is another record that everyone's been listening to recently. I guess everyone has their own thing that they obsess with.
Ben: I've been reminiscing over some Elvis Costello. I really liked him when I was 13, and I've been revising some things I listened when I was a kid.
So are you guys still going to make albums, even though you really don't have to at this point? You can do just a song?
Mitchell: Well, we do release singles. And it's not because we'll not do an album to not do an album. We've always really loved that format, where one song strengthens the other. I feel that it gives more meaning to the other songs on the record when you reference other songs on the record, especially when that's the context it was made in and was supposed to be listened to in. There are so many bands out there that can come out with great songs, but when it comes to records you want something with a little substance to it. There are just so many examples of bands you might really like, and you listen where the songs are, and the songs that you like aren't necessarily the singles.
I miss the A-side B-side on the tapes, where on the B-side you'd have the 9 minutes songs.
Dan: It's sorta that thing where you have that album you really love, you think back you first heard it. It's rare you immediately got into it. You gotta listen to the tracks, get familiar with it, and then grow to love it. I guess that's the problem with the way we appreciate music now, they just want to hear the singles and then download another track that's not the same album, and it's just all over. I like to think we still protest to that.
When you guys were approaching the album, did you have in mind an album approach where "this song will go here, this song will blend into another" or was it more like you had these songs and you started noticing the trend and the energy each one brought on.
Dan: It wasn't like we knew in advance what it was going to be. You just kinda look for clues as to where the record's going or where this piece of artwork was going to take you. But it was pretty clear once we did a little bit of work on it that there was a theme to it, there was a distinctive sound. And putting it all together, I guess we try with each album to fit it all together so that the album is the most important thing, not just the individual songs.
Mitchell: There were demos that grow along the whole time, but there are some that instantly seem to make sense in a certain spot, like when we started working on "Need You Now". It almost makes sense immediately for that song to be like an opener. Certain things about a song just seems to just fit in a certain place.
Ben: And that song came about a little way into making the record. It was like when we needed an opening ballad tune; it almost came out in that context.
Mitchell: And some, in the other respects, were like another bookend. You couldn't think of it any other way.
Ben: Where do you put a 16-minute track on your record? We couldn't put it in the middle, so at the end sorta made sense.
I think that the attention towards food, food shows, and that culture is starting to come back.
Dan: The biggest thing in Australia, the biggest phenomenon on TV there in the last couple of years has been "Master Chef". I don't know if you have that here, it was a take-off of another show. It's basically like "Top Chef".
Mitchell: "Top Chef" is where the chefs are ready; these guys are amateur cooks at home who do battle -- it's like a reality show for cooking there.
It's addicting. Iron Chef is great, where you get celebrity chefs come in. The original or the American version?
Mitchell: The original is definitely better.
Ben: I have a memory of you one Saturday afternoon, it's you shouting to me, right at 5pm, going, "I gotta go, Iron Chef's on!"
So going back to the eating any part of any animal ...
Dan: Yeah, I'm slightly more adventurous than some of the members of this group, as far as food goes. I'm interested in different flavors and things I haven't tried. Just have new experiences. And we don't know where are the best restaurants are in Dallas, so you being able to introduce us to some awesome restaurants and great hotels and food.
Victor Tango's Entree Selections:
photo of Rare Lamb Lollipops
Tango's is a pioneer of sorts. They were one of the first restaurants in Dallas to do gourmet tapas like their now-famous version of Chicken and Waffles, as well as doing things like flatbreads. Their name has become synonymous for "fancy cocktails," like the Moscow Mule that are now seemingly commonplace in Dallas. While the menu has evolved over its nearly three-year existence, this foundation of great cocktails and staple dishes has firmly rooted Victor Tango's as a Knox Henderson favorite. Like many of the new breed of tapas joints, Victor Tango's encourages sharing, and there were plenty of wonderful dishes to share. We started with a delectable Mussels Plate, moved onto their famous little chicken and waffles topped with a luscious cream gravy, and then had perfectly seared, plump Dayboat Scallops in a cauliflower puree. Moving on to the carnivore portion of the meal, we were served perfectly medium Rare Lamb Lollipops, and probably my favorite of the evening, their Grilled Hanger Steak.
Vegetarians don't fret, there are plenty of great non meat options including a wild mushroom and asparagus flatbread, two different side dishes including a delectable Asparagus Tempura, and three different salads including a beautiful Red Beet Salad, which received rave reviews from vegetarian band members Tim Hoey and Mitchell Scott. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their cocktails - from the perfectly balanced passion fruit gimlet to their signature self named drink, Victor Tango's offers an exquisitely prepared drink for everyone, not even mentioning their great selection of craft beers.
Dan's drink: Victor Tango - Fresh English Cucumber, Local Mint, Blanco Tequila, Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice, House Made Simple Syrup
Mitchell's drink: Grapefruit Rickey - vodka, Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit & Lime Juice, House Made Simple Syrup, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur & Club Soda
Ben's drink: Deschutes Black Butte Porter Craft Brew
When it came to the live show, Cut Copy more than delivered. Already huge fans of their music, we didn't need or expect much in the way of theatrics, but they certainly came out with an incredible amount of energy. Of course, Tim Hoey, the quietest one at dinner, was the most crazy on stage, climbing up the walls, rolling on the floor, and throwing and playing his guitar every which way possible. Lead singer Dan Whitford brought a steady dose of high energy, pumping and stomping his way through all the songs, churning out vocals that actually sounded better than the recording. And we couldn't help but picture drummer Mitchell Scott as a modern day Beatle - with a sort of Paul McCartney vibe about him. The already visually entertaining crowd, equal parts 80's and hipster, more than matched the high energy from Cut Copy - all in all, one of the best shows we've seen all year! Don't you dare miss an opportunity to see these guys live.
A special thanks to Cut Copy, Greg Katz and Taryn Anderson of Consilient Restaurants, David Timmons, PRess Here Publicity, and Gavin Mulloy of The Granada Theater.
Cut Copy is:
Dan Whitford - lead vocals, keyboard, guitar
Tim Hoey - guitar, sampler
Ben Browning - bass
Mitchell Scott- drums