Artist Q&A: Catching Up with Cheat Codes

Artist Q&A: Catching Up with Cheat Codes

Trevor Dahl, Kevin Ford and Matthew Russell – the three friends who formed Cheat Codes in 2014 – were making a name for themselves prior to their collaboration earlier this year with Demi Lovato. The LA-based EDM trio got a lot of recognition for its 2016 hit “Sex.”

But when they put out “No Promises” with the GRAMMY®-nominated Lovato, the band’s profile got significantly higher in a very short time. “No Promises” is the band’s first song on the Billboard Hot 100. Now they’re on a worldwide tour. Despite performing before crowds from Croatia to Finland, they still had time to talk to us about working with Lovato, performing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and what they’d be doing if they weren’t making music.

And what’s the cheat code? It’s loving what you do.

SoundExchange: It seems like you guys have been working non-stop since your 2015 debut, “Visions.” Do you feel like you guys are in a creative groove right now? Does it have something to do with the relationship you’ve built since forming the band?

The Cheat Codes (pictured left to right: Matthew Russell, Kevin Ford, Trevor Dahl)

Cheat Codes (Matt): It honestly doesn’t feel like work for us! Every day we wake up grateful that music is our career, and grateful for all the fans who are listening. We hope to inspire anyone who has a passion or a dream to go after what they want. For us, the cheat code is when you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. All three of us share that mentality so we hold each other accountable and make sure we’re appreciating all the progress that we’re making every day. It’s tough to see how far you’ve come when you’re in it. We believe in taking moments every day–taking a step back to see the growth.

SoundExchange: Speaking of working non-stop, you guys had quite a year in 2016. You were prolific, and you were on the road a lot. Looking back, do you feel like 2016 was the year everything changed, and have you been happy with how things have evolved?

Cheat Codes (Trevor): Every day above ground is an amazing day. 2016 was the year of firsts for us – we played our first late night TV show, we played our first festival, we traveled overseas for the first time, first platinum records, first label deals etc. etc. We want to over-emphasize for all the fans reading this, we’re just as happy now as we were when we were making music in our bedrooms, eating ramen noodles… lol. Wake up and decide to be happy, decide to count your blessings and more will continue to show up!

SoundExchange: You signed with 300 Entertainment last year. How has that relationship helped the band?

Cheat Codes (Kevi): 300 is the partner we’ve been looking for from the beginning. We’re happy we turned down so many deals before them, and held out for exactly what we wanted. We knew before we ever signed a long-term deal that we wanted the flexibility to put out music as often and whenever we liked. 300 gives us that! Also, we owe a lot of our success to digital platforms, and we wanted a label who understood how important it was to continue building with streaming and digital media platforms because we believe that’s the future of music and entertainment!

SoundExchange: Tell us about “No Promises.” How did you decide that Demi Lovato was the artist you wanted to feature in that collaboration?

Cheat Codes (Trevor): We played a show with Demi in Sao Paulo, Brazil last December. Seeing her perform set the tone for the collaboration. We were working on the song not too long after that, and a lot of fans were hitting us up on social media saying we should collaborate with her, and she was actually number one on our list, so we sent it to her! A month or two later, we met up with Demi in the studio and finished the song!

SoundExchange: With whom else would you like to collaborate?

Cheat Codes (Trevor): We’d love to collaborate with artists that haven’t been on dance records before. We love blending genres and seeing what happens. Someone like Paul McCartney, Elton John or Drake would be awesome!

SoundExchange: “No Promises” has a bit of a different feel than earlier releases like “Visions.” Were you trying to do something different?

Cheat Codes (Matt): I personally have ADD, so I don’t think trying is the right word, more like inspired distraction… haha… Trying to do something different just to be different, kind of defeats the purpose in my opinion! We like to do what comes natural and go from there!

SoundExchange: You made your television debut May 22 on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. How did it feel to sing for a television audience of millions of viewers?

Cheat Codes (Trevor): It was pretty surreal since that was the first time we performed with Demi, so to do it for Fallon was amazing! Jimmy and Demi are BFF’s too, so that made it less pressure.

SoundExchange: What would you guys be doing if you weren’t making music?

Cheat Codes: (Kevi) Well I used to be a stunt driver, so maybe I would see how many cars I could crash without getting seriously injured…

(Matt) I would probably be a transcendental meditation guide and lead people to enlightenment…

(Trevor) I would have my own Food Network show and make better food then Gordon Ramsey just so I could yell at him and make him cry on national TV.