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Cheat Codes: EDM Trio Drop Beat at Pure Lounge

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BIEBER'S FEVER: Cheat Codes’ frontman was a childhood friend of the Biebs, until he razzed him too hard...

BIEBER'S FEVER: Cheat Codes’ frontman was a childhood friend of the Biebs, until he razzed him too hard...

The last time Kevi Ford hung out with childhood pal Justin Bieber, the Canadian megastar quite literally shit himself. The Biebs, standing atop a table in a Vegas nightclub, soiling his white leather Dolce and Gabbana pants after apparently succumbing to food poisoning. Bros being bros, Ford couldn’t resist cracking wise about the incident. He kept at it for a while before the pop singer decided he’d had enough and tweeted out Ford’s number to his rabidly faithful followers.

“We stopped being buddies,” Ford says, adding that he received multiple death threats. “I couldn’t stop it. I had to get a restraining order.”

The seriously surreal went down around the time Ford moved in with two soon-to-be best friends, Trevor Dahl and Matthew Russell. The three bonded over music, coming together to produce a rap-electronic hybrid, with Ford on the mic and Dahl and Russell working up beats. Collaborating under the name Cheat Codes, they abandoned crowded production for simple, hypnotizing melodies.

“We just kinda started making what we thought electronic music should be,” Ford says, explaining Cheat Codes’ bare-bones approach to writing. “There’s a concept in psychology that you can basically only focus on three things at once. So if a song has more things going on than three, then the person is not going to hear it anyway.”

Their biggest hit, “Sex,” repackaged Salt-N-Pepa’s anthem, “Let’s Talk About Sex.” The fellas flipped the feminist touchstone into a raunchy club banger where talking factors far less into the equation. Russell stumbled upon the germ for the song while absentmindedly humming the melody over a beat they had been working on. When the sample cohered seamlessly, they scrapped their original idea and wrote the lyrics in 15 minutes, following their tendency towards simplicity.

Their sex-ed-themed video features a beyond-suggestive female teacher acting out various sexual euphemisms, IRL. It’s racked up over 35 million plays on YouTube—a phenomenon the trio maintains won’t affect their process.

“We keep the mantra of keeping it moving,” Russell says. “We don’t get overly hyped on what we’re doing. We never get bummed about what we’re doing. We still have a long to-do list. We’re not just going to play around and get drunk on champagne.” —John Flynn

Cheat Codes
Aug 12, 10pm, $10-$15
Pure Lounge, Sunnyvale

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