Chicago production duo Supreme Cuts just released their debut full-length album of dreamy-sounding future bass music titled Whispers In the Dark. They bring those vibes to a sold out sweaty dancefloor at The Independent tonight, August 20.
How did you guys first start working together?
Mike: We’ve known each other for 4 or 5 years and have always been making music; it kind of materialized into this.
Austin: We’ve fiddled around with some guys in bands and you’re like “do this, do this” and they’re like “oh, I can’t.” Then you meet someone who gives you ideas, you’re given ideas and that’s how it was. Like musical equals.
What are the differences between your first EP Trouble and your new album?
Mike: Biggest difference is when we made Trouble we were still figuring out what we wanted to do. Messing around with a lot of ideas. It worked for what it was but with Whispers I feel like we had a much more precise vision of what we wanted. We’re just much more focused on this one.
Do you do everything on computers or do you use instruments as well?
Mike: All computers. We do a lot of field recording but everything is done on the computer.
Austin: Sampling from the internet, sampling from movies, sampling around town, nature sounds. We’re not sampling musical passages from other songs, especially on our original stuff, maybe on some of our hip hop beats.
All the synth parts we play ourselves but we don’t have the money to record on really expensive synthesizers. If we used the actual synths it would be like $15,000 so we have a synth that controls these old sounds on the computer.
Supreme Cuts “Sherm”
What led you guys to work with the future sound?
Austin: We were really into lots of different throwback stuff from the past like soul music, different genres of metal, old hip hop, Talking Heads, all of that. One day I just ate mushrooms and had been taking all these classes about Eastern religion, technology and singularity and the future. It just hit me to stop being nostalgic and push music forward a little bit.
That day it snapped. Mike was going through similar things although he didn’t eat mushrooms. We both got in the studio and started really trying to push the limits of what we were doing.
In all art I think you should take steps forward instead of getting sentimental about some genre
Mike: You know, I don’t want to recreate 80s Chicago house, that already happened.
Would you consider what you make to be dance music? What is the ideal listening situation?
Austin: Ideally, close your eyes and listen to it on headphones.
But in our live shows, everyone’s dancing and sweating. It switches up a lot. There’s a lot of bass going on. The music’s more overwhelming than a lot of boop boop boop, kinda electro. When the melody’s actually captivating it does make people dance just as much as really obnoxious electronic house.
It’s not dance music per say but it is beat music, people are going to move. Couples always break up and find other partners, it brings weird stuff out of people.
You’ve started to work on hip hop too, what led to that?
Austin: That’s what we’ve been listening to since we were kids. We have soft spots for pop, really weird avant garde noise music, ambient music, stuff like that. When you’re 15 you really want to get edgy so we’ve been through it all.
My first memory is Snoop Dogg changing into the Dogg in his video. It just makes sense for us to make hip hop. I want to produce beats for my favorite rappers. I know how those beats are made and think I can make them a little cooler.
The Neptunes and Timbaland aren’t doing anything crazy right now so might as well give it a shot.
Supreme Cuts and Poliça perform tonight, Monday August 20 at The Independent. More info.