We recently got a chance to talk with Cash Cash, a three piece Dance/Pop/Electronic band out of New Jersey. Jean Paul Makhlouf- vocals/guitar, Alex Makhlouf- keyboards and Samuel Frisch- bass/vocals make up this awesome group who’s music has even been featured on the popular ‘Jersey Shore’ by MTV. Here’s what they had to say:
(For Jean Paul and Alex) What’s it like being in a band with your brother? Does it make it hard or easier to make decisions musically?
“We have a great dynamic. We’ve been playing/making music together for the last 8 years. Sure we fight during the process, doors are slammed, chairs are thrown, etc. Haha. We’re like the oasis brothers but we always get it right in the end. We have a mutual respect for one another. Alex shines everywhere I lack and I pick up the slack everywhere he lacks. We make a great team, and Sam is like the third musketeer. Each one of us has an equally important role in the group. We could not function with one out of the picture.”
(For Samuel) What’s it like not being the brother in the band? Do you feel like it puts you at a disadvantage?
“I’ve been playing music with JP for a little over 15 years…We all grew up in the same town and went to the same schools. We did jazz band together in high school, as well as various different bands together. We have a really solid team. I’m a good unbiased decision when JP & Alex are going at it and help keep progress going when it starts to slow down. I love those guys like brothers and have shared some amazing memories with them over the years. I look forward to making plenty more.”
What made you change your name to “Cash Cash?”
“Our song cash cash was written first when we were under the name The Consequence. After we got signed we realized we had to change the name because Consequence was already taken. We decided to go with Cash Cash after months of not being able to agree on anything. Then the clock started ticking and we had a deadline to decide it. We got together trying to agree on a name and out of frustrating I said why don’t we just name this damn band “Cash Cash”. At the time there was also a lot of money bullshit surrounding us like dealing with bad situations with old agents, other labels trying to screw us us, as well as the rapper Consequence hitting us with legal threats because he had the copyright to the name. It was a mess and I remember saying something like “everyone is already after our cash and we don’t even have any yet…lets just name this band Cash Cash.” We kinda laughed but then everyone looked at each other and was like hmm that sounds kinda fresh. We didn’t think twice and it stuck!”
How important do you consider to maintain a close relationship with your fan base (i.e. meeting them outside after concerts, “impromptu acoustic performances”)?
“It’s very important to us. We like to meet everyone at the shows and merch tables. It means a lot to hear what they have to say about the shows and our music. It’s what keeps us going year after year. Without the fans there is no show and there is no group. <3 you guys!!! We love hearing your thoughts on twitter and Facebook so keep up with us!
Tell us a little about your new full length album you’re working on:
“Our new album is very different than the previous 2. It’s a lot heavier electro wise and knocks way more. The beats are better and the hooks are more defined. We tried to grow with the times and make a style that’s new, fresh and around the corner. We mixed some dub step elements with our first single “Michael Jackson” that’s on iTunes now and has a lyric video up athttp://bit.ly/mjlyrics
It’s a mix of our Cash Cash electro dance vibe blended with some dub step shock bundled with a pop anthem chorus. A lot of dub step groups haven’t found a way to make coherent pop songs and I think we cracked the code with our song “Michael Jackson” Take a listen and let us know what ya think!”
Jean Paul you said, “we’re taking the music in a wild direction” on your Facebook page; would you consider it a big change from what you’ve done before? How do you think your fans will react to it?
“It’s still the same Cash Cash. At the end of the day it’s my same voice over pop anthem songs, but the difference is how the songs are dressed. It’s the same person inside just dressed up in new clothes! That’s how I like to think of each album. It’s like you don’t live your life wearing the same clothes your whole life since the day you were born. You keep changing and evolving with the times. That’s what we did.”
What was it like performing in Japan? Did you ever expect to be international?
“Japan is always a blast!! This was our second sold out tour and the shows just got bigger and better! We never could imagined having success out of our own small town in new jersey let alone selling out shows in Japan, Brazil, and the UK. It’s been such an amazing experience that we are more than grateful for and will remember the rest of our lives.”
What do you consider your greatest success?
“Getting signed to Universal Records and singing a publishing deal with EMI were 2 milestones in our career. It gave us our badges and diploma for all the hard work we put in over the years. The greatest success we’ve had though would definitely be playing shows with people actually singing our lyrics back. We played shows on warped tour and radio shows where there would be thousands of people singing our songs back to us and it’s a priceless feeling. It’s a feeling you can’t explain and when it happens it’s like the whole world stops and nothing else matters except “here and now.”"
What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome as a band?
“The biggest obstacle we’ve had to overcome as a band would definitely be touring full-time. It was very hard on our bodies and lives. Being away on tour for months and months with very little time in between made us miss a lot of things. Friendships and relationships are hard to maintain with that up and go lifestyle. Of course it was the time of our lives and what we always wanted since we were little kids playing in cover bands, but it also came with a lot of drama. It was literally like an MTV reality show. There was a lot of blood, sweat, & tears. In the end, we came out of it alive and stronger than ever making bonds with each other that will last a lifetime.”
What drew you to be signed to a label rather than being an independent band?
We have had experience with every angle. We’ve worked with majors label such as Universal Records & EMI Publishing as well as independent record labels such as Twilight Records. Along with that we’ve released albums ourselves completely unsigned. Every option has it’s ups and downs. It’s great having the support of a big machine if they believe in what you’re doing. If not you can get lost in the shuffle. Being on an indie label is great because you can get a lot more individual attention because they tend to be a little more passionate with their artists. Unsigned is also great if you already have fans because you don’t have to answer to anyone and pocket more of the money, but at the same time, it’s not easy to get the promo and marketing you need when you are financing it all yourselves or dealing with small budgets on an indie. We’re in a good place now. We have our publishing company with EMI, indie deal with Twilight Records in Japan, and release the music unsigned ourselves in the US and every other territory. We are open to signing a new deal in the US if the terms are good and we feel the team really backs and understands what we do.”
As a whole, what’s one goal you have for this band?
“We’ve reached a lot of goals we’ve set for ourselves over the years. Getting signed, touring the world, hearing our song on the radio, and having fans sing our songs are the shows are all goals we’ve met. Obviously we are constantly setting new goals to achieve. Right now, our focus is to keep the group sustainable and just keep doing what we’re doing on a bigger level.”
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans/ new potential fans?
“We love you guys more than anything. Without you we have nothing! It’s means the world to us that you’ve stuck by us over the years and still give us your ears to make music for! We love it when we see our fans spreading the word about our music to new listeners. Our fans are the best and really stand by us. <3 you guys x a million! .”