Last December, when Demi Lovato met Cheat Codes, a Los Angeles-based electronic pop trio, at a Brazilian music festival in Sao Paulo, they never guessed the serendipitous encounter would lead to a hit single a year later. “After the show, Brazilian fans were hitting us up on social media saying we should collaborate [with Demi],” recalled Trevor Dahl, the vocalist in Cheat Codes. “We had already composed the song ‘No Promises’ in the studio, and realized it would be perfect for her!”
Remixing what they’d already laid down, is no foreign concept to Cheat Codes, who caught the public’s eye after releasing a remix of Kevin Lyttle’s 2007 hit “Let Me Hold You (Turn Me On),” followed by “Sex,” a collaboration with Kris Kross Amsterdam, which garnered 300 million streams and a place on the Billboard Hot 100 Dance Songs.
Thanks to their fans’ encouragement, the guys sent Lovato the song. A few months later, the four musicians gathered in a L.A. studio and recorded “No Promises” in just a few hours. “Demi’s a pro!” Dahl said of working with the pop star. The track was released in March of this year and quickly climbed the charts, resounding in clubs, on the radio, and during live performances on national television. “Performing the song with Demi on Jimmy Fallon and Good Morning America, those were surreal moments,” said Cheat Codes DJ Matt Russell.
The song’s success prompted Cheat Codes to record an acoustic version that stripped down the heavy production and delivered the emotional heft of the lyrics, the bright vocals, and the instrumentation unadorned. The bandmembers re-cut the original music video into black and white frames, slowed down the song, and played various live instruments (Matt played bass, Trevor played acoustic guitar, and Kevi manned the piano).
“She cried tears of joy,” Matt recalled of playing Lovato the acoustic version for the first time.
The song wasn’t the only thing that came of their collaboration. At one point, they noticed Lovato eyeing Trevor’s hand tattoo. “Demi said that she always wanted a big hand tattoo like [his] but was nervous about it,” Matt explained. “We told her it was no big deal, she should just do it. A couple weeks later she got this big lion tattoo on her hand. When ‘No promises’ reached top 10 on pop radio she sent us a credit to get tattoos of our own with her tattoo artist in New York, so we have that to look forward to.”
Later this year, the boys have a merch line coming out, and a handful of singles they plan to drop. “With Cheat Codes, we’re not tied to a specific genre—the possibilities are really endless.”
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