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Home » Mag » Cole James Cash: absolute masked beats

Antonio Sol - Cole James Cash: absolute masked beats

Cole James Cash: absolute masked beats

Cole James Cash has clear ideas in music and bold ways

Antonio Sol 20/04/2016

Cole James Cash appeared on the beat-making scene a few years ago, driven by an interesting personal story of defeat and redemption which makes him much more human than many others. A producer with very clear ideas compared to what he wants to do, he has decided and chose to put together his own roster of emcees and talents, the Elite Squad, formed by LEX, Eff Yoo, Tweety Bird, and vocalist El Ay. And he’s starting to get noticed seriously. Enjoy the reading.

First commercial beat sold/placed:
I sold a few beats here and there to some pretty below average artists who I won’t name, but the beats I am most proud of was material I made for a rapper named Dubbwerth. He paid me a substantial amount of money, paid for my hotel in Austin, I worked on stuff for him for an album in his studio, partied, he also booked my way to LA for a photoshoot with some pornstars for my album BBW A Pornographic Opera and everything. He never even used the material, but it was a free vacation and me and him we are cool to this day, that was a wild 2 weeks.

I don’t really advertise beat sales, most of the time, if I like someone I’ll just give them something, but if I don’t know them, usually my prices are a few hundred, which isn’t cheap, but it makes it so people understand, my work is quality, so I want quality money. I prefer to concentrate on a body of work as opposed to selling beats: when your name gets big enough, people will come to you. Since right now I’m trying to build a small label “Elite Squad Recordings” I am more interested in getting verses from my favourite rappers.

I got shit in the stash from Blu, Shabaam Sadeeq, Mitchy Slick and a few others to help build my little movement. Most of the time I like to just work with my people, LEX, Eff Yoo, Tweety Bird and El Ay, that’s the Elite Squad. I’m not much concerned with placement or money for the most part. I work with kids for a living.

How long did it take you to produce something that you were proud of:
About 2 years of doing it every day. There is a beat on the album BBW A Pornographic Opera called Bunny De La Cruz and another called Lexxxi Luxxe: those beats were from 2007, I remember thinking I really had gotten ahold of the MPC and FL Studio to the point where I had the right records, but I was manipulating them the way I wanted them done.

Now? I have developed my own “sound” per se. I began messing more with the plug-ins before I would just straight sample, no plug-ins, nothing, just sample and loop manipulation. Now I try to make things into a more dreamlike state. I just try to have fun.

Favourite production set-up:
Turntable, Akai MPC, FL Studio. I am a simple man.

Best digging advice from someone ever:
Real talk, my next-door neighbour was the first DJ I knew, his son and I, DJ JD are close friends to this day, his dad used to do these house mixes and eventually I bought my first pair of Numark belt drives in 1996, I remember his father taught me how to take care of records and how to keep them in good condition, dude was a fantastic DJ but his son? My boy? 10X the DJ I’ll ever be. My father abandoned us at a young age but he never took his records, so I had this super deep record collection of the 80s, 70s, 60s jazz, fusion and pop. My dad had great taste in music but he’s a shitty dad.

The first record I ever bought was Mr Kirk by 4hero, I was a house/breakbeat DJ before I really delved into hip hop. I had so many classic records I didn’t have to dig for YEARS, my dad had thousands. Once I got older I just started looking for ANY records, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Italian, prog rock, pulp film soundtracks, anything I could find. Fuck it.

Producer, in the last 3 months, that made you say: “Oh, shit, I have to go back to the lab!”:
I’m in the lab every day, I have about 5 albums ready to go, I know my boy Jamison Grillo over at Redline Distribution is annoyed with me for not turning my shit in and registering my publishing/songwriting credits lol, but one record I have on repeat is Mr T by Westside Gunn and Apollo Brown. That record is just beautiful, you feel it from the intro to the very end, I wish I would have produced that.

Your worst production mistake ever made:
Thinking my ideas weren’t good. Or that I needed validation from others in order to be considered “dope”. I used to always look for others to tell me what’s good and what’s not, once I just said fuck it and did whatever I wanted, that’s when the accolades came in. Being from the Bay Area you are expected to have a certain sound, I don’t give a fuck about expectation, I do whatever I want. I’m not on here offering deals or sales for my beats, you press play and move on.

One essential mixing tip:
Experiment, it’ll come to you. What I do is so simple I could teach my 5-year-old son to do it, don’t overthink it, if you feel it works, it works.