When you’ve been working together as long as Samuel Frisch and Jean Paul and Alexander Makhlouf of Cash Cash have, the release of a new album makes for a momentous occasion indeed. After weathering the ebbs and flows of the ever-changing electronic music industry for the past few years, the trio have finally released the culmination of their efforts this week in the form of Blood, Sweat & 3 Years.
While Cash Cash had not quite established a strong identity for themselves as an electronic music act up until recently, a brief conversation with them reveals that in person, at least, they’ve got more than enough personality to accompany the studio-length effort.
Sam, JP and Alex were nice enough to squeeze in a quick interview with us before their performance at Marquee Dayclub last weekend in Las Vegas. Being that their album release is today, we felt that it would be as good a time as any to offer their fans a window into their unique creative process.
Check out what they had to say below, and enjoy!
I bet you guys are pretty pumped for your set at Marquee Dayclub, huh? How do you like playing shows in Las Vegas compared to other places?
Sam: We love playing Las Vegas. The energy here is amazing and the vibe is great. The shows have been getting better and better every year we’ve been back, which is awesome. We’ve really seen the fanbase grow.
JP: To be honest, the Las Vegas dayclub parties are the best parties we play. They’re so good that we knew we had to film our next music video here, because it needs to be documented. We’ve been here for three years, and we realized that we’ve never really filmed much here. We just filmed our music video for “Broken Drum” at Marquee Dayclub last month, and it shows everybody who doesn’t get to come to Vegas what we’re all about here and what’s going on so that maybe they’ll get their asses out to Vegas this year!
That video was definitely pretty racy!
JP: You should have seen the X-rated cut! [Laughs] That was the PG-13 cut.
Some critics feel that dance music has been overly sexualized. Do you feel that way at all?
JP: No, I think it’s great, because what it does is it makes people comfortable with their sexuality, which might be oppressed by other forms of religion, or people that make you feel like you’re in a box. I think it’s a release. I think people should be in touch with their bodies, and have these releases.
I wanna talk about your album, because it’s obviously very meaningful to you guys. In your own words, what exactly do you mean when you say, “Blood, Sweat & 3 Years?”
JP: Literally, these are 16 songs that are our blood, sweat and three years. We fight; two of us are brothers and Sam’s our best friend since the third grade – there’s been blood, there’s been sweat, and basically it took three years. It’s not even that it took three years, but basically the record represents the last three years of our lives working on songs and putting out singles here and there while we’re on the road. We’ve been keeping busy, and it speaks for this era in our lives, and we hope it can do the same for our listeners.
Last year, you guys tried out a lot of different sounds, and yielded impressive results. In the context of an album, though, how do you feel that approach works?
Sam: It’s really interesting, because if you look at the songs separately it does seem a little all over the place, but that’s the one thing the album does: You listen to it as a whole and you see the big picture. It all falls into the Cash Cash sound. It was even surprising to us because we wouldn’t think that it all worked, but our friends would say, “No, it sounds like you guys.”
JP: It’s a producer record, and the goal of it was that we wanted to merge different features from different genres with electronic dance music so that we could take electronic dance music in different directions. You can’t just make 16 of the same song, y’know? We wanted to do some stuff with hip-hop artists, alternative artists. We did one with the singer/songwriter Christina Perri, and indie artists like Fitz and the Tantrums, and on the R&B side with guys like Nelly, Busta Rhymes – that’s what made it fun.
I think our sound has always kind of been evolving, and we never sit on doing the same thing over and over again. We’re always taking it to different levels whether it’s feature wise or production wise.
JP and Sam, you guys played in a band together called The Consequence long before the Cash Cash project. Seeing as how instrumentals are all the rage in electronic music nowadays, have you found yourselves returning to your roots at all?
JP: Sam and I started off playing in bands when we were 16 years old, so we have a very musical background. We grew up playing acoustic guitar, piano, and drums – that’s what we grew up doing, so it kind of became the foundation for our creative process. When we’re in the studio, we always have instruments lying around. We always have something to noodle on – so we actually do.
Sam: Yeah, there’s a lot of acoustic guitars on the album and a lot of electric guitars and piano. We try to bring instruments back for sure, because it’s fun for us to play again and that definitely helps us with our creativity.
JP: We always break down our singles, too; we did these really cool acoustic versions of “Take Me Home,” “Surrender” and “How To Love” that are just stripped down with us playing acoustic guitar or piano with live drums. It’s great because we get to do that live, and also in the studio. That’s what we grew up with: recording instruments and actually engineering stuff – not just plugging stuff into the computer.
Alex, you’ve let these two do all the talking so far! Are you secretly the brains behind the operation or something?
JP: Yeah, he’s the one at home just tweaking all the knobs until everything’s perfect. (Laughs)
Alex: Yep, that’s me. Chained to the chair, and I can’t leave until the mix is perfect. (Laughs)
So you handle the kind of workload that both of the producers in, say, Dash Berlin do while these guys just soak up all the applause?
Sam: Well, the difference is that we toured as a trio for a while and we realized nothing was getting done, and we realized that it doesn’t take three people to DJ. I know that there are a lot of trios that DJ together, but you don’t need it. Two is plenty. We do it in Vegas and certain places like New York when he’s around, but ultimately we’d like to keep someone in the studio. Sometimes we rotate and switch around.
That concludes our interview with Cash Cash, but we would like to thank them very much for their time. Be sure to check out their new album, which is out now!