Following the success of ‘Surrender’ and ‘Take Me Home’, Cash Cash threw down an absolutely stacked set this weekend for their Ultra Music Festival debut. The trio premiered some unreleased music and loaded their hour with the best of vibes.
Have a listen for yourself via Mixcloud, but you might want to strap in first.
We had the opportunity to catch up with one-third of Cash Cash before they fly out to Australia in continuation of their Surrender Tour. Read on to hear JP open up about the evolution of their sound, brotherly love, and what 2015 holds in store.
So you just got done with Winter Music Conference and Ultra.
Yeah we were down there for a few days, it was silly man! We did Ultra for the first time, it just was an overwhelmingly amazing time. We were down there with all our friends and got to link up with a lot of DJs that we haven’t seen in a long time. It was cool!
You threw your own Royalty party as well, right?
Yeah we hosted our own Royalty party, that was cool, a bunch of our friends played it, Dzeko and Torres, Dannic, and Hardwell swang by. It was cool we were all hangin out!
Any particular sets and shows that blew you away?
Oh, the Big Beat party! The Big Beat party we did at the Delano with Galantis and Clean Bandit was my highlight of the week. I think it was a lot of people’s highlights – the energy was just like really, really, really good. Everybody was just feeling it. It was just a beautiful night, you know? Can’t beat it.
So the crowd was pretty dope this year?
Yeah this was our favorite year. We were there two years before as well just doing all the pool parties and stuff. And they were doing this thing called artist and artist interviews which we did with Nicky Romero and Hardwell, that was two years ago. It’s cool to see how much we’ve grown since then. We’ve made friends and we ended up doing a remix for Hardwell for his song called Dare You. It’s just an example of all the collaborations that start in Miami. We met Krewella one year and then we ended up producing ‘Live For The Night’. Beyond just playing for fans, it’s just a great week for artists you know?
For those who don’t know, how would you describe the essence of Cash Cash?
It’s tough because we love so many different styles of music and we never really stick on one specific genre or subgenre, but we really just like to have a good time. And the thing about us is when we’re playing these shows, it’s not like we’re up there as performers, we’re up there as people. Same thing as the people that are in the crowd. We’re just up there having the same good time that everybody’s having, we’re drinking, just hangin’ out, partyin’, and you can see that when you’re at a Cash Cash show. You can definitely feel the energy and the synergy that we share.
So you guys are all musicians yourselves. That direct connection to an instrument helps convey a lot more raw emotion as opposed to sitting behind a computer. Does that play a part when you’re writing new music?
Yeah, 100%, definitely. When we wrote ‘Take Me Home’, we were messing around on acoustic guitar. That’s the cool thing, for us at least, we grew up playing instruments, so we always have that a part of it at least to some extent. We all play instruments, so we start writing the music with guitar, piano, playing around in the studio with real instruments and it just brings a different side. And we like to always do broken down versions of our songs. Like ‘Take Me Home’ and ‘Surrender’, we had these acoustic versions where we could really just strip it down bare, take away all the glitter, all the electronic production, all the bells and whistles and you’re left with the pure song.
In the evolution of Cash Cash, there’s been a decided shift from the poppier sounds of Take It To The Floor. Looking back at that, how do you feel now that you’ve created ‘Surrender’, ‘Take Me Home’, and the Overtime EP?
The cool thing is that it was always electronic, so for us it was easy to shift from what we were. It’s not like we went from being a rock band to DJs, we were this electro pop band that was doing stuff with electronic drums, electronic production, keyboards, synths, all that stuff and that’s what made it really easy for us. We’d been remixing since the very beginning, like back in LA we’d be doing remixes for tons of different artists and that kinda set the template for where we were gonna go with it. It took us years to slowly evolve and find out where we shine and just focus on that. It’s been a really cool process, we’ve had fun the whole way. And that’s the cool thing is the fact that we started playing instruments makes it really easy when we want to do cool things like play the songs acoustic and break them down.
So you’ve been picking up production techniques along the entire way?
Yeah, and not only remixing, but we’ve always been recording, producing all our own music, mastering, mixing, all that stuff since the very beginning. So it was easy because we grew up in the studio, that’s how the group was formed. It was Sam and Alex and I messing around in our basement with a bunch of, when we started there was just 8-Track recorders and stuff like that, mixing that with like the worst digital software you could have, before people had logic and keybase and protools and all that you know.
But you still made it happen.
Yeah, we made it happen and just kinda learned ourselves. We didn’t really go to school for it, we just picked it up on more of a trial and error basis. There were some things we learned in school and on the way and from interning at other studios but it was all just trying and making mistakes and figuring out what you’re good at and what you like.
There’s three of you, how do you split the workflow when you’re creating new music? Has it changed from when you first started until now?
No, it’s really the same, I mean, an idea might come from one of us and then we’ll pursue that or we’ll just the three of us get in a room and jam and mess around with it, noodling on a riff or a keyboard or piano or a little toy piano or an acoustic guitar. But yeah, it’s kinda like we just keep switching in and out of the hot seat. You know like, Sam will get done something that needs to get done that he’s better at, or vice versa for each of us. We all kinda have our certain things that we shine in, you know that we would look up for the other person to kinda take control of.
Is one of you the go-to for melodies, one for percussion, and then another for lyrics, or do you trade off?
Yeah, I shine more for the melodies and lyrics. Alex is a keyboard player, so obviously the keyboard stuff, and Sam’s a drummer so he’ll focus on drums and bass. We all go up there and I’ll mess with his stuff, he’ll mess with my stuff, and you know, we all know how to produce using the software so as far as mixing and mastering goes it’s just in and out. Sometimes it’s just stringing that together and being like ‘let’s do this, let’s do that.’ It’s very very collaborative. It’s cool because it takes the stress off of just one person. I don’t know how some producers do it just by themselves. I tip my hat to them, it must be so stressful not having someone to pick their brain and get a second opinion on.
What’s it like working with your brother? Does Sam ever have to step in?
That can be a nightmare. At the end of the day we’re brothers, so you know, that’s when the best stuff gets made is when we’re just goin’ at it. There are times when we get pretty aggressive, I will definitely admit that, but you know, it’s one of those things where we’ve known each other for so long and we’ve been working together for so long that we know how to deal with it. We know how to channel our frustration and our brotherly love into positive, positive, positive vibes. Sam is super neutral all the time, so he’s always the guy in the middle, so we’ll look at him and ask ‘who’s right and who’s wrong?’ and he’ll just be like ‘well both you guys are idiots.’
So what’s going on in 2015, what can fans expect?
We’ve got a lot of good stuff. Our single ‘Surrender’ is out right now. We put out a video for it that I’m really stoked on, you know we got together and knew we needed to do somethin’ crazy and out there so we pushed the limits on this one. It’s cool, we didn’t just get edgy and sexual for the sake of getting edgy. It all kind of bases around surrender, it goes back to the theme of surrendering. And if you watch it carefully you can kind of pick up on the little things that embrace that theme. So we got the video, and then we got a bunch of new stuff we’re working on. A lot of cool collaborations, one with Christina Ferry, one with Busta Rhymes and B.O.B., lots of stuff. Yeah for us we just wanna try new stuff, you know? Working with rappers or singers or songwriters it’s just, the sky’s the limit, there’s no ceiling. Yeah it’s gonna be a fun record.
It’s going to be a big year for Cash Cash, with a new album and upcoming tour, they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. If you need a steady drip of good vibes, their Royalty Radio series will satisfy your cravings.
Photo by PachaNYC