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THE JERSEY SHORE SOUND

Cash Cash gains exposure through hit MTV series

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The cast members of Jersey Shore may have vague ties to the Garden State, but the same cannot be said of Cash Cash.

The four-man band hails from Roseland and keeps a recording studio there. Roseland is a good 75 miles or so north of fist-pumpin’ Seaside Heights, but it’s well within the state’s borders.
Cash Cash’s music is well within the realm of what’s been heard in past seasons of Jersey Shore. So it’s easy to understand why MTV featured not one but two Cash Cash tunes — “Naughty or Nice” and “Jersey Girl” — in the official trailer for Shore‘s fourth season, which begins Aug. 4.

Singer Jean Paul Makhlouf recently checked in to talk about how Cash Cash hooked up with Jersey Shore; his band’s second album, Love or Lust; and what the future holds.

Medleyville.us: Were “Naughty or Nice” and “Jersey Girl” written specifically for Jersey Shore, or did you already have those songs in the works before MTV came into the picture?
Jean Paul Makhlouf: “We had the songs written and released on our new full-length album Love or Lust months before MTV contacted us to license the record. We always wanted to write a song about Jersey, and after we recorded it, I said to the guys, ‘Imagine if the song was used on Jersey Shore?’ It’s such a crazy coincidence that it actually happened, and we’re so stoked it did!

“MTV licensed our full record, but we had no idea what shows they would use it for or what songs might be used. It was such an awesome surprise to find out the day the trailer got released that we had two songs in it.”

What was your opinion of Jersey Shore before your band’s music was associated with it, and has your opinion of the show changed since?
Makhlouf: “Being from Jersey makes us a little biased. We might not be juicers or have blow-out fades, but damn right do we have some Jersey guido in our blood. Three of us are Italian, and we’re brought up in very Jersey, modern Italian homes. A lot of Italians freak out over stuff like Jersey Shore or The Sopranos, but we embrace it. I think those kind of shows are awesome and can’t be taken too seriously. Obviously everything is an exaggeration of character, from Tony Soprano to The Situation, but there is a lot of truth to both characters and the lifestyles that are depicted. I can honestly say I’m proud of both in a lot of ways, and they are a huge part in who I am, as crazy as it might sound.”

Talk about the band’s decision to self-produce Love or Lust. Was that the plan all along, or were some big names considered and contacted first?
Makhlouf: “It was our choice to self-record and produce the record. A lot of people might not know, but we’ve always been self-producing and mixing our albums since we started the group. We get to do exactly what we want, and it’s helping us make a name for ourselves as producers and engineers. We’ve gotten a lot of side work from it, and it’s been great. We do a lot of remixes on the side, as well as tons of other studio work. We’re currently setting up a music production company under Cash Cash Music that will be launched this August. We’re very lucky to be able to have an artist career as well as a producer one at the same time.”

What are Cash Cash’s U.S. tour plans for 2011 and beyond?
Makhlouf: “We’re doing a small East Coast tour in August called The Summer of Lust Tour with Breathe Electric and For the Foxes. We’ll probably be doing some random off shows in the fall as well. But other than that, we don’t have any full U.S. tours lined up. We’re going back to Brazil in November, and we’re already making plans for another Japan tour sometime next year. We’re going to be releasing an acoustic EP this winter and then definitely plan on releasing another full length album in the spring.”

— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior