Deejay trio Cheat Codes takes the country music route for new album ‘One Night in Nashville’ | Inquirer Entertainment

Deejay trio Cheat Codes takes the country music route for new album ‘One Night in Nashville’

By: - Reporter
/ 12:20 AM October 24, 2022

Cheat Codes

Cheat Codes

Whether going with the grain or against it, creating music, the deejay trio Cheat Codes said, is “just a matter of doing what you enjoy.”

“It’s super important to do what we want… and be able to make the decisions without somebody else holding us back and slowing us down. That’s the biggest thing for us since we started here,” member Trevor Dahl told the Inquirer in a Zoom interview arranged by Amplified Entertainment.


That shows in the artistic risks they take and lines they blur through the years.


Some discouraged them from putting out albums and told them to stick to singles; they released a 38-song album trilogy. They collaborate with people whose talents they believe in regardless of stature. While the band’s core is electronic music, they’re not afraid to step out of their comfort zones and explore other genres, like alternative rock and hip-hop.

More country songs

And for Cheat Codes’ upcoming fourth album, Trevor and his bandmates, KEVI (Kevin Ford) and Matthew Russell, went the country music route. Called “One Night in Nashville,” the record contains 11 tracks featuring collaborations with some of the biggest names in the genre like Dolly Parton, Lady A, Jimmie Allen and Little Big Town.

While the album won’t be out until early next year, the group recently released one of the tracks—the country-inspired dance midtempo “I Remember” with Russell Dickerson. “We have been country fans since we were little kids. I guess we have always been huge country fans. And as Cheat Codes, what we always aim to do is explore different types of music and genres, and work with different types of artists,” Trevor said, adding that the idea to put together a country album was inspired by a collaboration they did for their previous album, “HellRaisers.”

“When we were making that album, we ended up making a song with a Little Big Town, which sparked the idea of doing more country songs. We just dove in and made a bunch of songs. And we’re super stoked,” he added.

Formed in 2014, the Cheat Codes is one of the most prolific EDM acts today. Its body of work has a collective stream count of about 6 billion across different platforms. Some of its biggest hits include “No Promises” feat. Demi Lovato, “Feels Great” feat. Fetty Wap and CVBZ, “SEX” feat. Kris Kross Amsterdam and “Only You” feat. Little Mix.

Excerpts from the Inquirer interview:


Who are some of your favorite country musicians?

Matthew Russell (MR): I like listening to Morgan Wallen, I think he’s cool… But as far as the people we have been working with, we have been longtime fans of Jimmie Allen, Russell Dickerson and other really, really great artists.

“I Remember” cover art

“I Remember” cover art

Trevor Dahl (TD): Don’t forget Dolly Parton—the queen.

Did you guys stay in Nashville, Tennessee, to sort of immerse yourself in the scene? Anything that stood out?

KEVI: I went there last year around January and I fell in love with the place. We were also there during the summer, a couple of months ago, to finish up the album and hang out with our collaborators. It’s a different culture and lifestyle there, compared to Los Angeles, Las Vegas or Portlandsay.

It’s really cool because in Nashville you can go down Broadway Street and there’s always live music. People are playing music all the time. There’s a dude playing a guitar in every restaurant. A lot of music folk out there were really friendly. I just feel like everyone there was genuine and friendly. Your first single off the album, “I Remember,” features Russell Dickerson.

What was it like working with him?

MR: He’s a very good writer and inspired us with some really cool lines… He’s really smart and detailed. I like how he visualizes everything. He’s a good storyteller, I would say.

How do you choose the artist you work with? Do you seek them out? Do they come up to you?

MR: Yeah, some of them approach us. But oftentimes, we will have a song idea and then we try to find the best vocalist for the record, or whoever matches the vibe. For “I Remember,” Russell had the main idea and set it to us. We just kind of played with the production until we thought it was right… Every song is different, but that’s usually our approach.”

Do you have specific things you look for?

TD: Sometimes, we work with massive artists; sometimes we work with people who are just getting started. They don’t have to be of a certain stature. It’s more about the song and doing what it takes to make it as good as possible.

Prior to working on “One Night in Nashville,” you finally put out the last part of the “HellRaisers” album trilogy. What’s it like having all three albums out there?

MR: We did like 38 songs in a year and a half, so that was crazy to that amount of music… We definitely learned a lot, especially about putting together a body of work. We’re really proud of it—the music, artwork, the solid themes we came up with for each of three parts. It wasn’t our intention to do a trilogy. We just had a lot of demos and they weren’t really of the same vibe. So, we thought we kind of had to break it up into three different vibes. That way, it makes more sense. It’s not just a bunch of random songs. It allowed us to be a little more creative when it comes to thinking of themes for each part.

Some thought creating a three-part album was ambitious. But you have always been about pushing the envelope.

MR: At the beginning of our career, we released a lot of singles. But we wanted to do different projects. We had a lot of people saying, “No, just keep doing singles. It’s working for you. Nobody listens to albums anymore anyway. So why would you waste your time on that kind of thing?”

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But now we’re in a position where we can kind of do whatever we want. We’re independent and can make any business, creative decision we want… But you know how things are when you’re just starting out as an artist? You want to make everyone around you happy. But eventually, you have to get to a point where you just create for the sake of creating. INQ


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TAGS: Country Music, Entertainment

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