You guys have been making a name for yourself independently for a few years now. Do you feel like more and more fans are catching on to your music?
Jak D: Without question! We are constantly being contacted to get down with projects and performances from around the world. The internet is an amazing tool. Recently a fan sent us a picture of our album for sale at the Tower Records in Japan. Another fan said he was on vacation in Berlin and heard a car drive by blasting the Bar Hoppin album. Bottom line, the more exposure you get the larger your fan base grows. Thank you to all the fans that support the movement. It’s Cold Heat!
Jay W: Jak and I make music for people who appreciate real hip-hop. We do this for the fans, its that simple. The more people we reach the better, we've been very lucky to have certain opportunities like our "No Place Like Home" track on the Regis and Kelly Show played during a Jack Nicholson segment, to our own release party at legendary SOB's with the who's who in hip-hop. We're very grateful.
How did Cold Heat come together?
Jak D: The first time we met was at a cage fight in Mexico. I think it was Poison Pen vs. Craig G in a ladder match! (laughs) Actually I've been rocking with Johnny since the late ‘90s. We were introduced by a past mutual friend. Johnny actually showed me how to correctly count bars and engineered the first real track I ever recorded. Later in the early 2000s we linked up to form Cold Heat and it has been on ever since then. He makes the beats and I lay the vocals, it’s Cold Heat! He still engineers all of our sessions to this day and we're just getting started.
Jay W: A lot of people don't know this but I used to rhyme back in the day, after meeting Jak and seeing how talented he was I stepped away from the mic and started making beats cause all the producers we were meeting were either full of shit, busy with there girls, or just clowning around. We have a true passion to create the type of hip-hop we love.
You've done some good work with JS-1. What’s it been like working with him?
Jak D: In one word, hilarious! There is never a dull moment with JS. He is super talented and creative. I have learned so much from him about both the business and culture from being around him. He has definitely had a tremendous impact in our life, period! The only thing wrong with him is that he’s a Met fan!
Jay W: Who the hell is JS-1? (laughs) No, seriously JS-1 has been the biggest impact on our music career. He's an amazing talent and all around good dude. No one would even know who Cold Heat was if he didn't help guide us in the right direction. I have such love and respect for that guy, I don't care what Rahzel says about him, he's a sick maniac. Right now as you’re reading this he's either in the studio making treats or on the road abusing people. Much respect to DJ JS-1.
Jak, I loved your work on Ground Original 2: No Sell Out, JS-1’s latest compilation. How do you approach collaborations, especially with MC's like Craig G, Copywrite and others?
Jak D: The best part about working with legends and dope emcees is that it makes you step your game up. Most of the people involved on the album are family. We have been rocking on and off the microphone for over a decade. It is never about competition, but I always bring 110% to every project I’m involved with. We recorded some of the tracks for this at our studio so it was a lot of work and fun!
Life Behind Bars, your biggest album to date, dropped last May. Are you happy with how that album did?
Jak D: First of all, I definitely want to thank Torae the Young Vet and Jim from Soul Spazm for helping make all this possible. I am thrilled with the way the album is moving. In fact, it was named one of iTunes best of 2010 Indie hip-hop albums. One of those tracks made the Indy Spotlite and iTunes also just recently used the track "Why You Wanna Do That" with Large Professor, Sean Price and Craig G for their “The Nicest Part 3” release. This track is also available on vinyl. Big shout to the staff at iTunes for showing us so much support.
How do you think that album showed growth from Life Behind Bars?
Jak D: We did everything ourselves for this album. We recorded it at our studio, we did the artwork in house, we shot the videos in house, we made the beats and wrote the material, Johnny engineered all the sessions, we set up all the collaborations, we pressed the hard copies and secured the distribution. We truly pride ourselves on being independent. It has always been like that and will always be like that.
Jak, what’s your song-writing approach like?
Jak D: I prefer to write in the comfort of my own home. If there is no deadline I like to marinate on the beat and try a few different ideas before we record the track. We have recorded hundreds of tracks so its second nature. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of times I write it on the spot and jump in the booth, but I prefer to take my time and make it right. A lot of MCs are real sloppy with their recording, we don't rock like that.
Jay, what’s the first thing you do when you sit down to make a beat?
Jay W: The very first thing I do is call Charlie Sheen for an 8-ball and a top notch porn star. After a few bumps and some good brain I turn on the machines and get to work. Cocaine is a hell of a drug.
No doubt. Don’t forget the tiger blood. How do you know when a beat is finished?
Jay W: Everything I do is a process, usually what I do is start with some samples or play my own melodies and add percussion, basslines or whatever , then I give them to Jak to see what he likes. After he picks those beats and writes his verses we record them and then I build on that with more sounds, drops, et cetera, et cetera. Sometimes I give the track to JS-1 to add cuts, then I render all the files and bring them to genius Earl Blaize to do his magic.
What equipment do you use?
Jay W: I'm working with some top secret shit. We have a private section of land out in Area 51 that is heavily guarded by the military. I would love to invite everyone out for a tour of our facility but its next to impossible to get clearance if your not in the Cold Heat Camp, but just a little insight of what I like to use is the Motif hooked up with an MPC tied into my computer. We're not building rockets out there, its hip-hop.
What’s next for Cold Heat?
Jak D: Hopefully a chopped BBQ dinner from the Royal Rib House in Bed Stuy. Besides that, you can look for the new album "Raising The Bar" sometime late spring or early summer on Soul Spazm Records featuring cats like Blacastan, Nico The Beast, Meyhem Lauren, and of course our peoples DJ JS-1, Craig G, and Sadat X, plus a few other surprises. We also just re-released Bar Hoppin, January 2011, so go cop that. You can also check us out headlining the new Black Sheep's DVD Vol 1 featuring live performances by Sadat X, Rahzel and Son, Large Professor, Craig G, Torae, Pack FM, Poison Pen, Nems, DJ JS 1, Swave Sevah and the Brown Bag Allstars all live from the Life Behind Bars release party at SOB's. So stay tuned for the next chapter.
Jay W: We've been very fortunate to work with a lot of cats we know and respect like DJ JS-1, Craig G, Sadat X, Blaq Poet, Big Noyd, Buckshot, Sean Price, Large Professor, OC (DITC), Torae, Marco Polo, Da Beatminerz, Keith Spitz, SR NBK, Poison Pen, Nutso, Brown Bag Allstars, and many more. Jak and I have been at every major hip hop event from 2007 till the present to support our favorite artists, places like Knitting Factory, BB Kings, Nokia Theatre, all the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival shows, Rock Steady events, you name it , we been there, just peep Photo Rob's picture catalog for all the proof. Also shout to DJ Premier, DJ Eclipse, Susio Smash, and all the DJs who support what we do. We're gonna keep doing what we love so who knows what's next for Cold Heat. Stick around.