INTERVIEW: Cash Cash (2013)
From rock band to EDM trio, the story of Cash Cash is quite interesting. Originally a power pop foursome, the band toured with everyone from Cobra Starship to Kevin Rudolf and was even part of the Vans Warped Tour. As their tastes went more electronic and they started doing more remixes for other artists, their own releases followed suit. Two buzz records on Spinnin, including the infamous “Michael Jackson” tribute track, along with their remixes, really increased their presence in the EDM world. Now signed to Big Beat records with a single “Take Me Home” exploding on radio, the Jersey boys are definitely ones to watch.
Ron Slomowicz: You guys were originally a rock band, how did you make the move to dance music?
Jean Paul (Cash Cash): It was a slow process, but we were always putting electronic elements into our music. We had keyboards, electronic drums, and we were doing remixes during that time for other artists. We were always in touch with that side of it and we slowly went over to dance music. Eventually we dropped the guitars and it was more keyboard-heavy and from there we dropped the drums and parted ways with our drummer. We just started bangin’ the beats and then we were doing remixes and DJing. It all started to make sense in conjunction with some stuff that we were doing with Spinnin’ Records overseas. It worked well, so we’re bringing it back here to the states. We just signed with Big Beat Records of Atlantic and we are doing a whole new thing with them.
RS: You mentioned Spinnin’ Records, that’s who put out your “Michael Jackson” record. What was the story behind that record, it kind of blew up out of nowhere.
JP: We grew up listening to Michael Jackson and we were trying to write something that would be the next big song. I was chasing a topline and thought “what could be bigger than Michael Jackson,” and we decided to roll with that and pay homage to the king of pop. It felt good and it was a fun record, we didn’t want it to be too clowny, but if you listen to the lyrics there are some real deep elements and the lyrics of the verses are all Michael Jackson’s song titles matched up together to make coherent sentences. It got a lot of love on the Michael Jackson blogs; at first we were unsure and thought that the fans may think that we were mocking him but they got it, they got what we were going for and knew that it was really about paying homage to him.
RS: Are there 3 or 4 of you now? What role does each of you guys play?
JP: 3 of us. We are all producers, we grew up producing and we all know how to DJ. Each of us shines a little bit better in certain areas. I shine in certain mix areas, my brother shines in keyboard areas, and Sam shines in programming with drums, etc. We all come together and each person adds a little bit to everything.
RS: When you do your mixes what software do you use?
JP: We use Cubase as a host for everything, but we mess around in Ableton and use Traktor a lot.
RS: You are based in New Jersey, right?
JP: Yes, dirty Jersey.
RS: New Jersey has kind of a guido reputation, not the most credible thing in the world, how are you breaking through with that New Jersey thing behind you?
JP: For me, personally I am half guido, and inside I am a guido. I grew up in Soprano town watching the Sopranos and went to the High School that they all went to. They used to film on our block, it is in our blood. Forget the Swedish House Mafia for a second; we grew up with mafia, so we know what that is all about. It’s cool and it is a part of us, we took a lot from it and there is toughness and a hustle that we have gotten from it. We have used it in a positive light, versus the negative exposure that it has gotten from Jersey Shore and other TV shows. It is a part of us and it is who we are, we come out of it because we don’t take it too literally and we aren’t just a bunch of raging guys.
RS: You guys are all about the same height, was that planned or did that just happen?
JP: There is something in the water in Roseland; I don’t think that we drank enough milk growing up. We were really more soda guys, orange crush and ginger ales in the morning instead of milk.
RS: Are you working with The Jane Doze on anything right now?
JP: We did some stuff with them in the past, but we aren’t right now. We have done a Katy Perry remix with them and some other stuff. They are great girls and we are good friends with them. They are doing some good stuff right now, we hooked them up with one of our buddies named Mike Gazzo who is an up-and-coming artist and is working on some stuff with them that is really, really fresh.
RS: Talking about collaborating, when you work with Bebe Rexha do you do the track and she writes to it, or how do y’all collaborate?
JP: For that song particularly, she wrote the melody and the lyrics for the chorus and the first verse. Our label played it for us on a beat track and they said that they weren’t thinking about doing anything with the track. I heard it and I thought it was a hit and had to have it. We called up Bebe to see what she would say and she said would love to finish it with us. She came to us and we finished the second verse, wrote completely different chords, and made a brand new drop and everyone felt great and awesome about it. The label got stoked on it, and that is how that happened. It was cool because we both came from the same place and scene back in the day but we separated and then came back together for the song.
RS: How did y’all hook up with Krewella?
JP: It started with the remix that we did for them, we remixed their song “Alive,” and that came about from the relationship that we have with Columbia Records. We had done remixes for them in the past and they thought that we would be a good fit, so we did the remix and we were so excited about it. We got such a good response from it, Hardwell and other DJs started to support it and play it and from there we decided that we should do a song with them. They had a song they wrote called “Live for the Night,” which is their new single now, but at the time the label wasn’t happy with the track, so they sent it to us and we came together. We redid the music and produced it; it’s out right now and is doing really well.
RS: It says co-written and co-produced by Cash Cash, what exactly did you guys do and what did Krewella do?
JP: They had a track set up for it and wrote all of the lyrics and the melodies, then sent us the accapella. We built the track around that, wrote the drop, did all of the writing part, and from there we hooked up with Chris to tighten up the production and work on programming and some of the vocoder and dubstep elements. A lot of people ask how it all works when you are co-producing a song; it is weird that even when you aren’t in the same studio and do work over the phone and via Skype, everything still comes together and a record is made.
RS: Did they pay you in Sony waterproof phones?
JP: No, they actually paid us in Sony TVs… just kidding!
RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
JP: I just want to say thank you for supporting us over the years, it has been a long journey for us, starting in 2007. We have had some ups and downs and right now we are on the upswing and it feels good to have the fans that have stuck by us. The cool thing about this is that I don’t really call them fans because the truth is that we are a community and we are integrated with radio guys, promotions guys, producers, artists, and writers. It is a big community and I just embrace it because it’s awesome, positive and it feels really good. It even goes for the press side of things; the press is interested in it because they feel connected.
Interviews conducted during Promo Only Summer Sessions – August 2013. Photo Credit Meghan Benson.