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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - CookBook
Monday, June 01, 2009

CookBook is one fifth of the California rap group LA Symphony, one half of the duo Cook & Uno, and 100% of the solo artist CookBook (I guess that last one was kind of obvious). It didn’t take the LA native long to figure out that he was a unique soul, as he notes “I was a Puerto Rican kid, not from the east coast, but born in Los Angeles, who skated in his hood instead of rolling with his cholo homeys, who played piano, listened to Hip-Hop, and somehow made it all work together.” His latest project is a solo one, the 80’s inspired creation I Love The 80’s. Since I love the 80’s, as well (hey, who doesn’t?), I sat down with CookBook to find out more about the album, what he was doing in the 80’s, and the deal he’d like to make with VH1.

Adam Bernard: What were some of the elements of the 80’s that inspired you to create I Love the 80’s?
CookBook: The initial inspiration definitely came from the music itself. I was thinking about doing my first solo LP and I had a pile of all types of beats, but these 80’s pop beats kept calling to me. I could really feel some cool ideas coming from the music, so I thought, “what if I just did a whole album with nothing but 80’s music as the backdrop?!?” The idea felt really good because I could see that I could go in a lot of different directions with the music and still have some good cohesion with it. At that point I made some rules for myself. The rules were: 1) All 80’s POP samples! No R&B, no Hip-Hop. Basically, the whitest, most poppiest most non Hip-Hoppest stuff that I could find. Every song had to have some element of this music, even if it was just a melody on a hook. It had to be recognizable, though, even if the listener said “wait, I know this...” but couldn’t immediately name the song that I used. Next, the names of the songs had to at least loosely go with the song’s topic and had to be something from 80’s pop culture. For example, I did a song about remaining strong no matter what life hits me with and I thought, “who is an 80’s symbol of strength, that everyone knows? Andre the Giant!” Plus, it sounded cool. The lyrics are all me. I wanted to take the opportunity to tell my story and let the listeners get a chance to know me. I talk about my life then and now, and the references I make go from the 80’s till the present. I felt by doing that, and making sure that the music was tight, I wouldn’t lose my younger listeners. Maybe I can even catch a few from the Soulja Boy era. {laughs}

Adam Bernard: Do you think a person needs to be an 80’s baby to get the full impact of the album?
CookBook: To get the full, FULL, impact of the album, I would say, yes, but one of my main goals with this album was to make something that even if you never heard the songs I sampled and are not up on 80’s pop culture, you could hear the music and think it’s dope. I knew I had hit my mark when I let my homey who’s only 20 hear it. I purposely didn’t tell him anything about the concept, or the title of the album, so I could get his honest, true reaction to the music. He came back and was like “dude, it is so dope! I don’t know any of the music you sampled, but that don’t even matter, this junk is hot!” I was like, “mission accomplished.”

Adam Bernard: Are you gonna holler at VH1 about getting some airtime for this?
CookBook: Dude, I would LOVE to work with them! Let me be a commentator on their next installment of I Love the 80’s! VH1, holla atcha boy! If they get mad at me for the title of my album, I’ll tell them, don’t be mad, let’s just partner up and maybe you guys can make some money off what I did, just give me a job in the process! For the Love of CookBook… well, maybe not that one.

Adam Bernard: Ha ha, yeah, let’s stay away from any Ray J comparisons. Switching gears a bit, tell me, what was CookBook doing in the 80’s? Was he rapping yet?
CookBook: For most of the 80’s CookBook was a little kid, growing up. Rapping wasn’t even a thought yet. I listened to rap, but it was all mixed in with everything else I was hearing. When you’re a little kid all you have is the radio and when I was in the car with my parents I listened to what they listened to. I finally got this little battery operated radio one Christmas, it was in the shape of an orange, and that’s when I was able to listen to what I wanted. I hung out with the older kids. They were all break dancing and listening to KDAY. I wanted to be down, so I tuned in to 1580. I started skateboarding in the late 80’s and continued on with a few hiatuses here and there till a couple broken legs took me out in the early 2000’s. I have the scars, screws and plates to prove it! On top of all that I was learning to play the piano and sang with my dad all the time.

Adam Bernard: In addition to your solo work you also have LA Symphony and Cook & Uno. How would you say all of your musical endeavors differ?
CookBook: L.A. Symphony is a big group. On any given song, you’re only going to get a four liner or an eight liner, maybe a 16 here and there. That doesn’t always give you an opportunity to show your full character and personality and it doesn’t really let you tell your story. Also, musically and conceptually, it’s always a five way voting process, so when you listen to LAS, you really only hear roughly 1/5 of CookBook and I know that to be exactly true cuz I’m a mathematician. Cook & UNO music is a lot more of me and it’s a little more of a natural flow with the writing/recording process. The reasons for that are simple, not only are there less people, but UNO and I grew up together, so it’s a lot easier to be in sync musically. Plus, I make most of the beats and I write a lot of the hooks, so I basically force him to succumb to my will! CookBook music is really me, all alone in my sweaty single apartment, which is 80% studio, 20% livable, doing me, so it’s the purest form of who I am. I can go places that I might not be able to within the confines of a two to five man group. Who knows where I’ll go next. Maybe opera.

Adam Bernard: I can see it now, CookBook presents I Love Die Fledermaus. Finally, before you go, hit everyone with the story behind your name. How’d you become CookBook?
CookBook: I went through so many name ideas. CookBook stuck because I thought of it, said it, then the Symph thought it was a funny, crazy name and started calling me it. I think it represents me well because I rap, produce, song write, engineer and sing a little. I’ve always said, “I can serve up what you need, I got the recipe for that hotness!” Plus, no one forgets that name… ever!

Related Links

MySpace: myspace.com/cookbook
MySpace: myspace.com/cookanduno
Twitter: twitter.com/cookbookthepr
Twitter: twitter.com/CookandUNO


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:38 AM  
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