Los Angeles DJ Trio, Cheat Codes, sit down with The Idle Man to talk about the impact they're making on the EDM scene. We discuss everything from style to hanging out with Diplo and Demi Lovato. Take a look.
For three young guys like Kevi, Matt and Trevor, spending time in the limelight has become something of the norm. The trio burst onto the scene in late 2014 and in that time have amassed an enormous following, working with everyone from Demi Lovato to Fetty Wap on the way. Besides playing sold out shows with The Chainsmokers, having 1.5 billion (BILLION) streams cumulatively and having 23 million monthly Spotify visits, it's safe to say that the guys have had a busy few years.
If all those stats aren't doing it for you then let this interview change your mind. Although they might be busy in the studio, the guys certainly know a thing or two about having a good style for the everyday. They sat down with me to discuss what it's like working with such prestigious artists, touring the globe and wearing some of the biggest designers in the game. Check out the interview below and see what Cheat Codes had to say.
For those who don’t know you yet, introduce yourselves and let us know what you do?
Matt, Trevor and Kevi: What's up? We are Cheat Codes and we are a DJ trio from Los Angeles, CA. Trevor’s the beauty, Matt’s the brains, and Kevi’s the brawn.
Tell us about some of your biggest releases to date? Which ones have helped you break through to the big time?
T: No Promises, featuring Demi Lovato is probably our biggest single worldwide to date! This is the first song we’ve released to break into the Billboard Hot 100, so we’re stoked about that! Before that SEX was the viral song that really took us from producing in our bedroom’s to travelling the world performing every night!
You’ve collaborated with some huge names in music - tell us a story or two of what it’s like to hang with pop’s royalty? What other DJs do you hang with when you’re are touring?
M: Pop Royalty huh? (laughs) Well if you’re talking about Demi Lovato, she’s really chill and down to earth. If you didn’t know her music, she would be the girl next door. I think that’s what makes her so likeable. When our song went top 10 at pop radio she brought us three new tattoos, pretty bad ass present if you ask me.
We don’t have a lot of time to hang out with our busy schedule but we’ve got to catch up with Diplo, The Chainsmokers, Jonas blue, R3HAB, Nicky Romero, Shaun Frank, 3Lau, Zedd, Afrojack, to name a few. Always good to pick their brains a little, see what they’re up to creatively. The first tour we did was opening for the Chainsmokers actually.
Tell me about your current release ‘Feels Great’ - what’s the story behind it and who have you collaborated with?
T: This is our attempt at a John Hughes movie in song form (laughs). It reminds us of the Breakfast Club when we hear it but with modern production of course. The idea is that you're as young as you feel. It’s really easy to waste time and reminisce about the good times, but the best times are right now, be present in the moment.
When we started working on this song, the concept of “Feels Great” made us instantly think of Fetty Wap because the three or four times we’ve met him he’s always had a huge smile on his face (laughs).
You had some big gigs lately - tell us what it feels like to stand in front of such big stadium crowds - What’s the pressure like? Has it always gone to plan?
M: No, it hasn’t always gone to plan! Playing international dates for the first time is an interesting experience because you realise that every country listens to different music. I remember playing EDC Mexico - it was in front of like 50,000 people and we dropped a remix of Bad and Boujee which was a number 1 in America at the time, and nobody knew the song - gotta know your audience!
As far as pressure goes, there’s not really any pressure. This isn’t about us, it's about the fans and the crowd - we just want them to have the best time possible. As long as we’re learning, growing and getting better every day then we’re happy!
Would you consider yourselves image conscious? Is it important to have a good sense of style for a touring DJ trio?
K: Yeah I’m kind of the fashionista of the group. I just like nice things, to be honest, and I grew up living in L.A so whenever I can grab the new Supreme drop or custom items, I go for it. It's another way to express yourself. You just gotta find that balance between comfort and style, because the travelling gets intense.
How would you describe L.A Style? What’s the look?
K: Streetwear is really “In” right now - Supreme, Off-White, anything that looks really fly that I can wear anywhere. People wanna look good in the grocery store (laughs).
Can you all pick a style icon - someone that has influenced your style in the past and you want to extend some respect to?
K: J Balvin, he always has the freshest shit.
M: A$AP Rocky, love his mixture of streetwear and high fashion. I love to be comfy but stylish at the same time.
T: Jared Leto, he’s that perfect mixture of rockstar vibes, mixed with class.
What flavour and brands or trainer are you guys rocking at the moment? Are you classic trainer guys or can’t wait for the latest release?
K: Buscemi shoes are amazing, anything Off-White is dope. Also Doc Martins, Gucci and Y-3. We’ve been getting more into new releases for sure, but at the end of the day, we just want something that's original and comfy.
What’s the future of EDM in the USA looking like – is there a move towards more underground sounds or is the big stadium sound here to stay?
M: I think anytime a genre crosses over to the radio in a mainstream way, it's gonna result in bigger and bigger events. But with streaming at an all time high, I just think it's gonna result in a lot of different styles. People get bored easily so they want to be able to switch it up. Urban styles are huge right now - people want to escape their lives and transport themselves mentally to a life of fun, luxury, adventure, so dance and urban are good outlets for that.
We’re living in an era of opportunity for people, so they want to listen to music that can inspire them to chase their dreams, or help them feel confident. Also, people are connected more than ever and festivals are a huge part of that. EDM styles that provide an amazing festival experience are gonna be the ones that rise to the top and stay there for a long time.
You see what DJ’s like Calvin Harris are doing where they’re able to combine multiple genres into a unique style. I think that works really well because of the originality of it, obviously, but also because it draws in multiple audiences, dance fans and urban fans, which goes back to how people want to feel connected.
What’s coming up for you in 2018?
T: In January we’re gonna lock ourselves in our studio and see what happens (laughs). That’s how we started this project two and a half years ago, and we want to get back to that for a little. We’re still getting used to producing on the go - we learned our craft making music in our bedrooms, so travelling the world the last couple years has been an adjustment, but we want to make sure we’re prioritising the music over everything. We’re gonna focus on our first body of work, whether its an EP or an album, and just see what we come up with.
In 2018, we’re launching the first releases on our label Too Easy. Since the beginning we’ve always made more music then we can possibly release as Cheat Codes, so we’re gonna put out some very different music than Cheat Codes stylistically.
M: We also have big plans for our live show - adding in more production, more custom visuals and really creating an experience for people to enjoy. This year we’ve been lucky to play on the biggest stages we’ve ever played on, and we want to make sure we’re continuing to push ourselves when it comes to performing. We’re an interesting DJ project - between the three of us we sing, DJ, rap, hype all in one show. So refining that and making it something that everyone can enjoy is something we pride ourselves on.
K: 2018 we’ll be dropping some new merchandise as well, so be on the look out for that! I’ve been making some custom hand made jackets that we’ll be selling as well more traditional merch for Cheat Codes!
K, M, T: See you later!
After chatting with Cheat Codes, it's easy to see why they have had such an incredible rise to fame. Not only are they three of the most genuine, down to earth and creative young producers in the EDM scene at the minute, they're incredibly humble. Nothing is taken for granted and everything is taken with a huge sense of being blessed. Working out of a studio in L.A three years ago, I doubt any of these guys thought they would be working with Demi Lovato and playing with Diplo.
If this momentum continues, which I am sure that it will, then there is nothing that these guys will not be able to achieve. It's only the beginning for Kevi, Matt and Trevor.