Cheat Codes is one of EDM’s most successful commercial ventures. From their hit collaborations packed with star power from the likes of Demi Lovato and Fetty Wap to creating their own brilliant singles like “Sex” and “Let Me Hold You (Turn Me On) by taking a look back at some of dance music’s most classic records. The trio consisting of members KEVI (Kevin Ford), Trevor Dahl, and Matthew Russell have become the focus of blending the elements of outside genres like pop and hip-hop and blended it with the aesthetic and core mechanics of dance music and in the process have made music that has updated the current sound of contemporary EDM. Already one of the top 30 most streamed artists in the world, with a UK Top 10 and Top 20 single under their belts. Having already collaborated with pop royalty, including Demi Lovato, Maggie Lindemann and now Fetty Wap on their new release ‘Feels Great’.

You’ve got to tell us where you got your name? Searching for you on the internet gets about 5 million results. What’s the idea behind ‘Cheat Codes’?

Kevi: My two older brothers Tom and Rich were in this rock band called Clear Static back in the day. They were only teenagers and they were opening for Duran Duran at a sold-out Madison Square Garden in NYC. I went to the show and was mind-blown that they were doing all this cool stuff. So I asked Tom, “How are you doing this?” and he told me, “I got the Cheat Code lil bro.”

I told Matt this story when we first met, and when we’re wondering what to name the group Matt was like, “‘Cheat Codes’ its perfect.” Ha-ha.

You talked about turning EDM on its head in the past – what’s your approach with DJing and producing – how are you different?

Trevor: We’re outsiders when it comes to the DJ world because we come from song writing. We’ve been writing songs individually since we were 12-13 years old. Since we approach our songs, with vocals and melodies first a majority of the time, they turn out differently than a lot of DJ’s.

How would you describe each other’s personalities? How does your trio dynamic work, especially when you DJ?

Kevi: Matt’s the Brain, Trevor’s the Beauty, and I’m the Braun.

When we’re performing typically Matt is on the decks, Trevor’s handling most of the live vocals, and I’m hyping and MCing.

Before electronic music, what were you guys listening to?

Trevor : John Mayer, Drake.
Kevi : A lot of different stuff Kanye, The Beatles, and singer-songwriter as well. But we all are into all this different kind of music and that’s why we wanted to produce dance music cuz we can blend a lot of stuff together and switch it up.

And two of you use to collaborate together before it become a trio, correct?

Matthew : we collaborated at different times with each other. Me and him used to sessions and then later me and KEVI got together. KEVI used to be a rapper and I would produce his beats. Then one day, Trevor came in and we become Cheat Codes.

Last year was a big year for you guys, how as it? Can you tell us the highlights?

Matt: 2017 has been incredible. This year we’ve played the most shows we’ve ever played and travelled to so many new countries including, Mexico, Brazil, Estonia, Croatia, and Spain. We played our first U.S. late night TV performance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and got our first American Top 40 hit with ‘No Promises’ featuring Demi Lovato. We’re hoping to make 2018 even better.

Your remix credentials are super impressive, tell me about some of the tracks that have come your way, name some of the bigger artists and tell me about the remix that you are all most proud of.

Trevor: We recently got asked to remix Cardi B’s Bodak Yellow, but we missed the deadline so we’re a little bummed about that ha-ha!

The remix we’re most proud of is “Pretty Girl” with Maggie Lindemann. If you listen to the original it sounds completely different. A lot slower and not a “dance” format at all. We honestly didn’t expect it to blow up the way that it did, but any remix we decide to do we’re going to put our best foot forward when it comes to the production.

You toured with The Chainsmokers – what is it about their tracks that was so successful this year, what did you learn when you went on tour with them?

Kevi: Before touring with The Chainsmokers we couldn’t hang, when it came to partying. These guys got us drunk on Fireball every single night. After only 6 shows we were all sick and had colds ha-ha. Seems like a proper introduction to DJ culture if you ask me.

Do you feel that it was your track ‘No Promises’ that put you on the map in the UK and Europe?

Matt: Ha-ha it’s hard to tell, because we’re mostly over in the U.S. so it gets kind of disconnected, but SEX was the first track that we were amazed on how well it did in Europe. Ever since that track we’re a lot more conscious on how we produce are tracks and how it might connect in different parts of the world.

How was it working with Demi Lovato? What is she like in real life and are there any stories of you guys hanging out on the set of the Video. Have you stayed in contact?

Trevor: When we shot the video she made a comment about my hand tattoo, she said she really wanted to get something similar. A couple weeks later she got a big lion’s head on her hand. After “No Promises” hit top 10 on pop radio in the U.S. she hit up her tattoo artist “Bang Bang” and bought us all new tattoos. We’re getting them done in a few weeks!

You’ve had a UK top 10 with your remix of Maggie Lindemann’s ‘Pretty Girl’ – How did the remix come about and what did you learn about Maggie?

Matt: We’re actually on the same label as her, 300 entertainment. They asked us to do the remix and we had a spare weekend that we were able to put something together. Maggie is really shy, which is something we didn’t expect.

Two million streams in 5 days of your brand-new track ’Feel Great’ and no signs of slowing down. what the message behind this track?

Matt: This song is our version of a John Hughes movie. If he decided to remake The Breakfast Club, this song would be in the soundtrack. Ha-ha the message is that, ‘you’re as young as you feel, and don’t waste too much of your life talking about the good old days, because the best days of your life are happening right now!’

How did you hook up with Fetty – it’s a great collaboration, do you know him personally? Have you managed to hang out? What’s he like in real life?

Matt: We’ve met Fetty 3-4 times now, and every single time he has the biggest smile on his face, so when we were coming up with the concept of this song he was the perfect collab for it!

Who have you got your eye on for your next collaboration? Have you already got songs ready to release in 2018? Can you’ll tell us anything about them?

Trevor: We have a song with another female artist we hope to release in 2018 so stay tuned for that, we’re also finishing up some songs with just our vocals on it, which is how we started out. We want to make sure we’re constantly switching it up and keeping you guessing.

What big festivals have you played this year and have you got any plans to tour Europe in 2018? Ibiza? What’s Next?

Kevi: This year we played EDC Mexico, Tomorrowland, Lollapalooza, and Beyond Wonderland, all for the first time so it’s been a busy year! We’re hoping to get back to Europe in February of 2018. We love playing in Ibiza! We performed at Ushuaia with Nervo a couple times and its one of our favourite places to play!

Can you give me 5 tracks that are in your ultimate party playlist?

Here we go:

– Rockstar – Post Malone
– Fly – Sugar Ray
– Wasn’t Me – Shaggy
– Gucci Gang – Lil Pump
– Feel It Still – Portugal The Man


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