- Words Cal McIntyre
Introducing Cheap Cuts, an electronic duo who are at the forefront of the big beat genre. We catch up with one half of the duo over zoom to talk staying creative and their electronic soundscape amidst isolation.
Cheap Cuts, comprised of multi-platinum selling writer, producer Jonny Harris and critically acclaimed writer, producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Jack Leonard. If you’re not in the know, then now you are as big things are coming.
Formed last year, Cheap Cuts are a conceptual and everchanging duo that effortlessly weave and flow between genres throughout their electronic universe. Their first single, ‘Check Your Phone’, is an upbeat yet ominous depiction of modern society’s most important relationship – the one we have with our phones. Fast-paced yet nostalgic with its spoken-word narrative, Cheap Cuts are onto something special.
Cheap Cuts refuse to be put into a musical box, and rightfully so, they expand and mould continually resulting in multiple versions of ‘Check Your Phone’ being born. Featuring Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, ‘Check Your Phone’ is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what this duo can and will do.
We caught up with Jack from Cheap Cuts to talk about how he is staying creative in isolation and what’s next for the boys!
How are you doing?
I’m ok! We’re isolating with friends which makes it easier – we have meals together and we are going through it together, so it’s less lonely.
How are you staying creative in isolation?
One of the really great things about all of this is having loads of time. I’ve been listening to loads of new music – lots of obscure and new stuff, so as a result of that we have been doing loads of remixes for Cheap Cuts.
Do you have any advice for people looking to stay creative?
I mean it’s kinda funny we just released a track called ‘Check Your Phone’ because that’s what everyone seems to be doing right now. It’s hard because there aren’t any rules to follow, no one really knows what to do in these times, it’s just about trying your best and not being hard on yourself.
Have you learned anything about yourself since isolation?
Yes! I love being outside. I’m a Yorkshire boy, so I’m really missing the outdoors.
What are you most looking forward to?
Definitely looking forward to travelling again, jumping into a lake or something haha! Looking forward to going to the pub. Simple things apart from getting Cheap Cuts out into the world.
How would you describe the sound you create?
It’s funny, someone on YouTube described it as ‘anxiety rap’ which I thought was funny. It’s very DIY, indie, electronic… we like it to be quite rough and ready.
Who are some of your musical heroes?
We both started in bands, so for me personally it’s a lot of great Brit-Pop stuff combined with when recording music changed. When you could do things on your laptop, like Bon Iver, LCD Soundsystem – when you could jump inside the music and see it on a screen.
What’s your creative process like?
Usually, it starts with our concept, idea or riff. Coming up with a thought or idea then Jonny is really amazing at capturing that idea and blowing it up into a different world. Sometimes you can wake up at 3am and the idea will be there that you have to record it into your phone, other times you have to slog it out you know. There’s no magic formula to it you just have to keep going. The great thing about us is that Jonny and I’s taste are very aligned.
What advice would you give to people looking to follow in your footsteps?
I would say just keep turning up, keep going, keep doing, keep reinventing. Listen to as much music as you can. It’s just about consistently turning up and having a belief that something is going to happen.