Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 20 September 2020

RedfestDXB 2020: Cheat Codes are bringing a dynamic new live show to Dubai

The US trio are transitioning from production masters to pop stars of their own

DEL MAR, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 14: KEVI (L) and Matthew Russell of Cheat Codes perform in concert during the 2019 KAABOO Del Mar at Del Mar Race Track on September 14, 2019 in Del Mar, California. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
DEL MAR, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 14: KEVI (L) and Matthew Russell of Cheat Codes perform in concert during the 2019 KAABOO Del Mar at Del Mar Race Track on September 14, 2019 in Del Mar, California. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)

Chatting to Matthew Russell from Cheat Codes is like talking to a chef. When discussing the pop production group’s approach to hitmaking, Russell describes the songwriting process as “adding flavour”, “putting our touch on it” and “finding good taste”.

And it works. For the past five years the US trio have cooked up plenty of catchy radio hits including No Promises with Demi Lovato, Only You with Little Mix and the recent Liam Payne collaboration Live Forever.

With their credentials firmly established as songwriters and producers, Cheat Codes are entering the new decade with their sights firmly set on being performers and artists in their own right. T

his is why their RedFestDXB show on Friday is so important to the crew, Russell states – they will unveil a new and more dynamic live experience.

“This is something that we are working on in that we want to show people that we are really good live band,” he says. “I mean, there are many people out there that don’t even know that some of us sing and we want to bring that part of the show out.”

That move to the forefront also extends to their new work in the studio. After finding great success churning out hits for others, Cheat Codes are presently working on what will be their debut album. This comes on the back of two EPs, Level 1 and Level 2, released in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

For a group who mastered creating songs for mass online playlist consumption, did they have to change their approach when it comes to releasing one cohesive body of work?

“Not really. It’s not really a challenge in that sense but a great opportunity for us to do different things,” Russell says. “With the album we have the time to work on different genres and add that euphoric Cheat Codes sound to it. It will be heard as one piece of work and I think people will be surprised by it.”

That said, Russell says he doesn’t feel jaded by the hyper consumerised state of the music market. After all, it is such an environment that allowed their debut single 2015 Visions to immediately reach to the top of the charts. Such a result allowed them to swiftly move past the underground scene to collaborate with A-list acts and perform in massive festivals.

With singles becoming a hit or miss in such a rapid time span, Russell’s advice to fellow music producers is to keep going. “Normally, the way we work is that we set numbers of songs that are done and ready to go,” he says. “When we feel one song is kind of dying out, we just go to the next one. We always keep working, which is not that hard because we love what we do.”

Cheat Codes will perform at RedFestDXB on Friday at 6.30pm

Updated: February 4, 2020 06:15 PM

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