You have been together for a couple years now and have gone through a few line-up changes, Can you give me a little background of the bands history?
Jess: Stevie and I founded the band a few years ago after many nights writing drunken songs in my flat in Notting Hill. The original Cut Outs line up included Scottish drummer, Katie Dryburgh. After a short six month break apart and Katie's departure, Stevie and I reformed and found Kiwi Damian Horner Pausma to play with us. When Damian returned to New Zealand our paths crossed with current drummer boy from Stoke, Sam Aspinall.
What is the story behind the bands name?
Jess: After our first stint of recording some of the virgin Cut Outs tunes in a studio in Battersea we were drinking in the local pub, throwing some names around... which included Speed Queen, Snatch (some w#*kers suggestion). Stevie plucked The Cut Outs and we all concurred.
Stevie: I'd seen the words "CUT OUT" written on one of those Evening Standard billboards outside a newsagent and I thought it looked great written down, so I suggested it at our boozy band name conversation in the pub.
How would you describe your sound?
Jess: Dirty-Dance-Rock to be precise. We're rough and honest with a tinge of old school running through our veins, no backing tracks in sight!
Stevie: We definitely have elements and shades from a lot of genres. Our sound has progressed greatly over the years; there are old school guitar/bass riffs mixed up with synth-driven lead hooks and a good dose of double vocals over the top. It's always hard to pigeon-hole yourself, but as Jess mentioned earlier, 'Dirty Dance-Rock’ has become our newly self-named genre! But we've always tried to stay true to what we believe THE CUT OUTS are about. Good, catchy, honest songwriting and lots of energy that we thrive our live performance on.
When and why did you first start playing your instrument of choice?
Jess: After moving to London from Melbourne and having only played acoustic guitar and piano previously, I swapped to bass and learnt out of necessity for the greater good of The Cut Outs in our early days.
Sam: I was persuaded to a try the drums in high school by my music teacher who needed a band to accompany the school productions. From then on I was hooked!
Stevie: My Grandfather bought me my first guitar when I was five and quite honestly I wasn't too keen on it because it was actually bigger then I was! Then around the age of thirteen I saved and saved to buy my first electric guitar, a Honer Fender copy for about fifty quid. The guy in the store in Hammersmith had seen me go in time and time again and ended up keeping the guitar out the back till I could eventually afford to pay for it. He included a tiny practice amp in with the price and although I don't play it anymore, I'll never have the heart to sell it.
“'Dirty Dance-Rock’ has become our newly self-named genre!”
What made you want to be in a band?
Jess: Watching any live performance or music video as a child, be it Black Sabbath, Tina Turner, Elton John etc. They excited and moved me.
Sam: There's nothing like making music with other people; it's pretty magical when all the parts come together.
Stevie: There aren't many other things in life that give you the adrenalin you get from being on stage in front of a crowd. To share something you've created which I find is actually quite a personal thing is really something else.
Do you prefer playing live or recording in a studio?
Jess: Nothing is quite like performing live, the thrill, the intensity and emotion from pouring your songs into an audience. It's the best.
Sam: It's got to be playing live! It's the reason you work so hard rehearsing and writing so that you can go out and perform a kick ass gig, it's unbeatable!
Stevie: Studio! Nope, just kidding! Live every time. Studio work can be quite intense and not always that enjoyable as it's often long and repetitive and quite intense but playing live for me is always a rush.
How do you guys come up with new material? who contributes what? Tell me a little about the writing process etc.
Jess: Rehearsals are where it happens. Usually we're all dying to write new stuff to keep things interesting and everybody on their toes. I love being inspired by a drum beat so mostly I'm shouting to Sam to play, play, play. The best songs come from Stevie and I both playing different things and jamming them through till eventually they snuggle into each other and make that sound that makes you go 'yeah!' Writing vocal parts are sometimes the same and out of some kind of miracle our different ideas meet up and just work. That's on a good day though. Other times, things maybe don't go so beautifully and in that case we end up in the pub with a beer.
Stevie: I think Jess has hit the nail on the head - things just seem to work. There's nothing better than that feeling of pure excitement, hearing three people playing/jamming something you just KNOW is going to become your next song. On the other hand, if things don't go to plan then yes, a few beers and an early finish never hurt anyone.
What equipment do you use?
Jess: My bass is my child. It's a US Fender Precision.
Sam: Pearl Masters shells and Paiste Signature cymbals.
Stevie: I play a Gibson SG, best guitar I've ever owned. I love it. A slight upgrade to the fifty quid Honer I first bought.
“We're rough and honest with a tinge of old-school
running through our veins, no backing tracks in sight!”
Have you been working on any new material since the release of your debut EP?
Jess: Yes, since the arrival of Sam and the release of our EP we've written a collection of brand new tracks that will feature on our new EP.
What are your plans for 2012?
Jess: Festivals, Recording, new video.
Stevie: We plan to record and release a second EP although we may have to extend it into an album with all the new TCO material emerging!
Who are The Cut Outs musical IDOLS?
Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Tori Amos, Gossip, Fleetwood Mac, Peaches, Depeche Mode, Heart, Killers, Bowie, Kings Of Leon, Pixies, The Kills.
Debut EP 'Honey Where Your Mouth Is' OUT NOW on ITunes.
Interview: Michael Blackmore
Photography: Danny Barter