Sonic Generations saw many memorable tunes reworked for both classic and modern stages much to the delight of the fans, old and new. This week, TSS caught up with Cash Cash’s Alex Makhlouf, performing artist extraordinaire and the driving force behind many of the remixes on Sonic’s 20th Anniversary title.
What does a typical (if there is one!) day in the life of Alex Makhlouf consist of?
Well, lately my “typical day” has been pretty low key. We’ve been incredibly busy with our production company, recording/producing and writing for artists. We are also in the process of making our third record, so the majority of my days are spent in the studio/dungeon. I definitely need to get some fresh air now that it’s getting warm out! Haha!
When did you first pick up a musical instrument, and what inspired you to take it up as a profession?
PI first started playing piano when I was about 7. About 5 years later, I quit because I hated it! The lessons were so boring, and I hated the music I was learning. It felt more like work, and all I wanted to do was go outside and skate with my friends. Years later when I was about 15, I started messing around on my old keyboard and learning my favorite songs by ear. This felt amazing since I wasn’t restricted to playing certain songs. After that point, music became my life.
As music plays a big part in your life, who are your great musical influences? What gets listened to most on your iPod/CD player etc…at the moment?
This list would be PAGES long since I love every genre of music out there. I grew up as a 90s kid, so I’ll always love bands like the Goo Goo Dolls, Smashing Pumpkins, and Stone Temple Pilots. Also, since I grew up in the Dreamcast years, Crush 40 was always on my CD player as a kid. It’s pretty crazy that I now have great relationship with Jun, and got to perform on stage with the band. It’s almost hard to believe! Haha.
In recent years I’ve been heavily influenced by electronic music. Ever since I heard the album “Cross” by Justice, I’ve been hooked on Dance and Electronic stuff. Lately I’ve been into a lot of Electro-House, Dubstep, and Drum and Bass. The scene is pretty over saturated (ESPECIALLY DUBSTEP) and a lot of it sounds the same. But there are some high-quality “gems” [Nero! - T] if you dig deep enough.
Great taste in music then! So, do you have any songs you love singing at Karaoke, or songs you mime to in the mirror with a hairbrush as a microphone?
As for my karaoke/hairbrush microphone jam…it would be “That’s The Way It Is” by Celine Dion. Hahaha that song is literally a pop masterpiece!!… And a guilty pleasure. “Don’t hate, appreciate”!
No comment! So before there was Cash Cash, you were in the band the Consequence – how did the band come about? When did you become involved?
My brother had the band for as long as I can remember. They were looking for a keyboard player for a few years, but none of them were working out. Eventually I was old enough, and my brother realized I wasn’t just the annoying little brother who played piano. He said I was better than a lot of the kids they were trying out, so he asked if I would join. We’ve been making music together ever since.
Where did the name Cash Cash come from? Were there any other names that were in mind but didn’t make the cut?
We got signed to Universal as “The Consequence”. As soon as we signed the deal, the rapper “Consequence” sent us a letter asking us to change our name or expect to be sued. Also, we had an old lawyer/manager trying to get money out of us that we didn’t even have. It was quite a mess. We had the song “Cash Cash” first, so JP said “Why don’t we just call the band Cash Cash, since everyone’s after our money!?” We all looked at each other and were like “Alright I guess that works!” It’s not the most ground breaking and compelling story, but its how it all went down.
What are your favourite memories from recording and touring your most recent album? Which songs a do you get the most kicks out of performing?
Most of our touring was done during our first album cycle “Take It To The Floor”. It’s tough to just pick one memory from that time of my life because everything seems nostalgic at this point. I must say though, one of the greatest experiences was touring in Brazil. Our music reacted way more than it did in the USA. It gave me chills to hear giant crowds screaming our lyrics at the top of their lungs. I never thought my music would leave my basement, let alone go all the way to another continent.
Out of all of our songs, I like performing “Party In Your Bedroom” the most. It always gets the crowd going crazy. We feed off the energy from the crowd and it always feels really good when we play it. It’s also the song that started it all for Cash Cash, so it’s definitely special to me.
Besides the plethora of amazing musical abilities, what other skills (as well as being able to robot dance) do you possess?
I can moonwalk fairly well, as well as juggle! I also used to aggressive skate. (Like rollerblading on rails/half pipes and stuff) In the time period I mentioned earlier where music wasn’t a part of my life, skating was quite abundant.
Ok, some rapid-fire questions now…Sonic CD (US OST) or Sonic CD (JP OST)? Sorry, just had to be asked!
DEPENDS ON THE LEVEL!!! I refuse to take a side! Haha. When I play on my iPhone I constantly switch between the two.
Bruce Springsteen or Bon Jovi?
Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan or Craig?
Correct answer, haha! Sonic the Hedgehog 1 or Sonic the Hedgehog 2?
Mac or PC?
Right now I’m 100% Mac… but each day I find myself inching closer and closer back to PC. It’s like dating a girl who is absolutely gorgeous and then slowly finding out her terrible personality. Time will tell at this point.
NY or LA?
Like what you hear? Check out Cash Cash on their website:
Cash Cash Official Site
Need to get some of those tunes? Download Cash Cash tracks on iTunes:
Cash Cash on iTunes Store
Look out for PART TWO of TSS’ Interview with Alex, where we will be talking everything and anything Sonic the Hedgehog!