Cash Cash is “Untouchable” with their latest track
Cash Cash, an American EDM group consisting of Samuel Frisch and brothers Jean Paul Makhlouf (JP) and Alexander Makhlouf, recently came to our shores to spin some tracks.
Formed back in 2002, the group started out as a band called The Consequence and went through several member changes before Alex joined JP and Sam to form the final lineup – a fourth member Anthony left in 2011 due to creative differences. The group changed their name to Cash Cash in 2008 because of legal issues. That same year, they signed with Universal Republic Records.
The group is currently signed with Big Beat / Atlantic Records, since 2013. Since their debut as Cash Cash, the group has released several tracks such as “Take Me Home”, “Lightning” and “Surrender”. The trio produced Krewella’s “Live for the Night” and did remixes for them as well as other artists such as Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Icona Pop, Kelly Clarkson and Capital Cities.
Hoolabaloo managed to talk with Sam and JP (Alex was absent) during an interview at Marini’s On 57 at the Petronas Tower, and they spilled the beans on their new single, their craziest fan experience and their boy band member persona.
Sam (left) and JP during the interview.
Can you tell us about your journey toward forming Cash Cash?
JP: Sam and I started producing really early. Probably around 7th grade, we just started fooling around, recording on our computers. We got better as the years went by. We started mixing and mastering and eventually got things to sound the way we like them. We didn’t have anybody to teach us, we learnt ourselves.
Sam: We just spent all night in our basements – working with our computers, getting the audio stuff to work right. We started playing too in different bands, getting some live performance experience.
JP: We knew how to play instruments, so that really helped when we were writing songs and putting them together. It just got more serious as the years went by. We eventually started working with some record labels, putting music out. And slowly just started to build and find our sound.
Do you think you’ve really found your sound now? How would you describe it?
JP: Yes but I’m sure 10 years from now, we’d be like “I don’t know what we were thinking when we were doing that stuff.” Really to sum up our sound I would say electronic pop music. I wouldn’t say we just make house music or a certain type of music because we don’t, we do it all. We love it all.
How do you think you’ve evolved musically over the years?
JP: So much. We grew up playing instruments but the one thing that’s stayed the same, we’ve always been electronic. We slowly just evolved. It made sense, it’s not like we ever went from something far left or far right, it was just slowly evolving. We drop the guitars, but bring them in once in a while. Just kind of electrify things.
Sam: I think because we’re always listening to new stuff and we listen to all genres and music, from acoustic to indie rock to hip hop songs. I would say the biggest difference for me, we’re doing the song writing, a lot of feature work, expanding our sound. Like doing songs with Busta Rhymes and B.O.B., we take completely different approach.
Cash Cash members Sam, Alex and JP.
You said you can play instruments, so why an EDM group now and not a live band?
JP: For us, maybe it’s the generation that we got.
Sam: Yeah, I think just having computers around us so much, working and producing on computers. There’s so much sound possibility, a lot more freedom working in electronic stuff. You can do all this different crazy sound and there’s a lot of innovative music coming out in the last 10 years of electronic stuff. This pushes us to be more creative, to do more experimental things and I think that we just took that energy and rolled with it.
How different do you think the musical direction would’ve been had you gone with live band instead of EDM?
Sam: For us it’s all the same. We still write songs on piano and acoustic guitars. In our mind there doesn’t really need to be a separation, it’s all connected. And we did versions, like for “Take Me Home”, we had an acoustic version for that. So for us there’s really no divide for the two. Whether you’re playing acoustically or you’re playing in the club, it’s all the same.
JP: We put instruments in our songs all the time. We did this song called “Lightning” featuring John Rzeznik from Goo Goo Dolls and there’s acoustic guitar all over it.
What do you think of the competition in this industry?
Sam: There’s not much of a competitive nature because it’s very collaborative. Pretty much all the time we’re meeting DJ’s, we end up sharing emails to keep in touch and we’re doing remixes for each other or we’re sharing our newest songs that aren’t out yet and everyone’s playing them in the club.
JP: Well, it is competitive but it’s not a fight. There’s so much music out there and only so many slots and hours in the day for people to listen to it.
Sam: It pushes people to really try to make the best song.
“Take Me Home”, the group’s highest charting song so far.
How do you see EDM grow ten years from now?
JP: Music in general is becoming more electronic just because everybody’s really excited about it. And also it’s there, that’s the sound that’s shaping things.
Sam: I think it’s going to become more of a part of pop music but I think it’s not just going to be like the EDM sound that we know today, it’s going to keep changing. There are a lot of creative producers out there that are making electronic hip hop, giving different vibe and energy. I think it’s going to be there but it might not sound the same as what it sounds like in 2015.
What are your thoughts on the collaboration between trance DJ’s and pop artists?
Sam: I think everyone collaborating is going to make better music. It’s cool that a lot of pop singers are embracing the EDM sound and different electronic stuff.
JP: And people aren’t afraid to do outrageous ones. Skrillex and Diplo worked with Justin Bieber, Martin Garrix with Usher. That’s how we felt when we got in with Busta Rhymes and B.O.B. It does get ridiculous if everybody’s doing the same song with the same EDM dance singer.
Okay, so your upcoming track “Untouchable” is a collaboration too, how did that come about?
JP: Yeah, that was a cool one, we did it with our friends Tritonal. We’re not used to doing so many collaborations, we usually just do all the music ourselves so it was interesting to get with other people where you let them do their thing, they let you do your thing and obviously, you’ll need to change little things here and there but hey, it’s a collaboration!
Sam: We’ve played with them and shared the stage with them a lot. They’re awesome guys, great energy, that’s how we got together. We started with sending ideas back and forth through emails, sharing tracks on Dropbox. They would start working on something and send it to us, vice versa, we’d be sending files back and forth.
JP: We also did a collaboration with Krewella, “Live for the Night”. But other than that, the remix collaborations, those are fun too. But there’s something special about “Untouchable”, because it’s our own song.
Sam and JP posing with Malaysia’s famous landmark in the background.
What was your craziest fan experience?
JP: 600 fans bombarded our stage at San Antonio, Texas, and it collapsed. It rained the night before, it wasn’t ready for that many people on it and it sunk into the ground.
Sam: But no one was hurt.
Last question, if you were part of a boy band, which role do you think you’ll be filling in?
JP: I’ll be the filthy one, they’d probably kick me out after week 3.
Sam: [Laughs] Me, I don’t know…
JP: The cute, baby one.
Sam: Yeah, the cute, quiet one at the back.
While we wait for their new single to drop, check out Cash Cash’s official video for “Surrender”: