“I never thought I’d be in Oklahoma with a crowd of kids singing our song,” says Jean Paul Makhlouf, lead singer of Cash Cash, in awe over the popularity they have received on their current tour. “It’s a feeling you can’t describe.” Not a small accomplishment for “this little band from Jersey.” In fact, this is exactly the type of moment that occurs when you are a hot band on the rise.
Cash Cash is an exciting techno-pop group from the 2 mile long town of Roseland, New Jersey. The band consists of Jean Paul Makhlouf (vocals, guitar), Alex Makhlouf (keyboards, programming), Samuel Frisch (vocals, bass), and Anthony Villacari (drums, percussion). With a sound that is refreshing, electric and infectious, Cash Cash is able to seamlessly tap into 70s funk, 80s anthem pop and 90s mellow alternative all at once. Their mission, described perfectly by Jean Paul, is to “Bring back some of that 70s funk guitar, mixed in with the life and fun of the 80s.”
And they have done just that.
But how has Cash Cash reached the precipice of stardom? You would have to go back to the third grade, because that is how long Jean Paul has known Sam Frisch. Playing together since they were kids, the band originally formed as The Consequence in 2002, a predominantly studio-based act that released a 5 song EP titled “Your Own Place” in 2003. After releasing a self-titled LP in 2005, the band began to lose focus, using a myriad of musicians as various members decided to go off to college. “Being in our band was like being on the show Survivor, we were going through bass players, drummers, keyboard players …” says Jean Paul. With the future of the band nebulous at best, younger brother Alex Makhlouf jumped on board, and he and Jean Paul began refocusing the band: “I knew I had to get the hell out of school, so I did the complete opposite and dropped out of college,” recalls Jean Paul. “My brother and I knew what we had to do and decided to give it one more stab.”
The brothers decided to spend an entire summer crafting new material and honing a sound, day in and day out, virtually living in Jean Paul’s home recording studio. At summer’s end, they knew they created something special. By fall the brothers, stacked with backpacks full of cds, began an arduous, yet fulfilling campaign to make their music heard. Storming clubs in and around New York City, including Pete Wentz’s AK-47 club, the brothers partied, networked and hustled as many A&R men and record executives as they could find. But the real turning point came when Rob Hitt of Crush Management began DJing their song “Party in Your Bedroom.” The infectious, easy-to-sing-along-with, pop sound of the song began turning heads. Shortly thereafter, Jean Paul’s Gmail account began filling up with offers from record labels. Changing their name to Cash Cash in March of 2008, the band, with Frisch aboard as bass player/art director, and Alex’s friend Anthony Villacari locked in on drums, signed a record deal with Universal Republic records and is poised to premiere an EP in October of 2008. Consisting of 5 songs, including the driving force of “Breakout” and an acoustic version of “Party in Your Bedroom,” the EP has all the hallmarks of a band that not only is burning with confidence, but is comfortable with their own sound.
Having just completed their first tour, a tour which not only expanded their fan base, but further matured and coalesced the band in ways only riding a bus can, Cash Cash is mixing a full-length album and setting their sites for a release by year end, with a much larger tour in 09’ in support of it. Extremely fan friendly and very much aware of their roots and the influences that drove them, Cash Cash reaches out to their fans at concerts by meeting them outside for impromptu acoustic performances. That extra effort, a sound work ethic, their melodic pop songs with fantastic 3-part harmonies, and the confidence that motivates them are all the ingredients that really separate Cash Cash from the rest of the pack. No “get rich quick scheme” for Cash Cash – they’re taking this all the way to the bank.