Mixing electro, pop, and dance, the Roseland, New Jersey-based group Cash Cash began with longtime friends Jean Paul (JP) Makhlouf (producer, vocals) and Sam Frisch (producer, DJ). In 2007, a more solid lineup came together when JP’s brother Alex came on board (producer, keyboards).
The musicians spent a summer working inside JP’s home studio and emerged with a stack of demos, including a rough cut of the infectious dance number “Party in Your Bedroom”. They came up with the name Cash Cash in early 2008 and signed with Universal. But it was when they signed with Atlantic’s Big Beat subsidiary a little later and released “Take Me Home” (featuring Bebe Rexha) that really propelled them to being internet as well as club sensations.
With barely enough time to catch their breaths, the Cash Cash boys jetsetted around the world, in and out clubs as well as festivals to further promote themselves and their music. Lucky us, we got to catch up with them (Sam and JP) real quick when they were in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as part of their Asia tour recently. Let’s just say that meeting them was an experience that we won’t soon forget because they were the absolute sweetest ;)
Here’s what went down:
Welcome to Malaysia. What were you looking forward to most when you heard that you were coming to Malaysia?
JP: I think a little bird of everything kind of..from the food to meeting people, to the beautiful buildings.
Sam: It’s our first time and it has been kinda cool. We saw some pictures online before coming here. So far, we’ve seen the Petronas Twin Towers – that was really cool. We also got some good food.
JP: Some spicy noodles, satay..the satay is good.
So Cash Cash actually started out as a garage band. Why the shift to electronic dance music now?
JP: We started producing and recording when we were in high school so that kinda gave us the leg up in the studio you know, just knowing how to record, use different synths and keyboards and stuff. We were always very electronic, we did a lot of remixes that started to influence our sound, then our music started sounding more like our remixes, and then we started to work on different features and collaborations, and that just slowly brought us to where we are right now.
Sam: And we like it! It’s great, yeah.
Do you think that you’ve really settled with this style of music or..what else do you want to dabble with?
JP: We always like trying different things. We just did a song with Busta Rhymes and B.o.B, that’s kinda hip hop and has a trap feel. We also have a really cool electronic ballad that we just did with Christina Perri so we’re always open to trying new things.
Between the 3 of you, what’s the music production process like? Let’s say..a standard day in the studio.
JP: A lot of fights hur hur (laughs)
Sam: Nah! We all produce and stuff and since we’re travelling a lot, sometimes we get ideas on the road so we’ll work on it and we send it back to whoever who’s at the studio at the time, then we’ll start working on it to finish it up when we’re back together in that room. We’ll review the ideas, yell at each other (laughs), figure out what’s wrong, figure out what’s right, and then try to end up with something that we love.
You’ve had 3 albums so far but it was “Take Me Home” that really blew up and the response was crazy. Do you remember what you did to celebrate?
JP: Uh, a lot of alcohol!
Sam: (laughs) It has been great because we got to travel around the world to play that song and we hear it play on the radio, and even at shows we hear people singing along to the song so it has been really crazy. It’s an amazing feeling and it’s kinda like a celebration every time we hear someone singing it back.
JP: It’s great because we actually wrote “Take Me Home” together with Bebe Rexha.
Sam: She came to our studio and we had some studio time together.
Having worked with some notable names thus far, who else is on your wishlist of dance music artistes that you’d like to work with?
JP: Um, for me personally, we definitely checked one off our wish list when we got to work with John Rzeznik for one of our tracks called, “Lightning”. It’s not out here, but you can get it off our SoundCloud. Yeah, I would suggest everybody go there to check it out ;)
Sam: Oh yeah I definitely got to work with one artiste that I’ve always wanted to work with – Tritonal for our track, “Untouchables”. They are amazing producers and that was awesome. There really are a lot of creative people out there and we’ve been meeting a lot of people on the road, just hanging out and talking about things that we have in common. And I’d like to someday work with them too.
Off the top of your head, can you think of any trance artistes that you’d like to work with? Would you want to work with trance artistes?
JP: I would. Yeah, totally.
Sam: Someone like Armin van Buuren probably. He’d be an amazing artiste to work with.
Since you’ve been on the road a lot in the past year, who do you often bump into while touring?
JP: Hmm, we see Hardwell a lot. He’s nice.
Sam: Yeah, he’s always touring like a lot so we always bump into him. We see W&W a lot too because they’re also on the road frequently. In fact, we just played alongside them in Tokyo last week, that was cool.
What would you say are some of your guilty music listening pleasures?
JP: We like everything, you know, there are so many genres. I guess you could say that we like listening to a lot of pop stuff, someone like Katy Perry. We did a remix for her.
Sam: Some Celine Dion, maybe ;) That’s some good stuff right there!
Do you remember some of the best and most memorable moments that you’ve had in the past year?
JP: Definitely releasing our track, “Lightning“. That was really cool because growing up we were such big Goo Goo Dolls fans so to be able to get into the studio with John Rzeznik and write a song with him on an acoustic guitar, it’s pretty mind-blowing.
Sam: I’d have to say..it has to be the tonne of amazing shows and huge festivals that we’ve played at in the past year – we played at like Lollapalooza in the US and Ultra Music Festival (UMF) this year. Ultra was crazy! All of that have been amazing experiences for us, definitely.
What else is in the pipeline for Cash Cash for the rest of 2015?
JP: We’re working on full-length album, that’s the goal for us. Definitely a big, jam-packed album with awesome features. I would tell you who we’re featuring but we gotta work on in first ;) No, kidding. It would probably come out in the US first before it comes out here but you definitely can expect that from us this year.
Special thanks to our awesome friends from Zouk Club KL for making this interview happen ;)
We’ll leave you now with their latest release, “Untouchable” featuring Tritonal, as featured on Hardwell’s “Hardwell On Air” #215:
The full track will drop in a week so hang in there ;)