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Cookin' Soul Europe from South to North Our European odyssea continues...next stop: Valencia, Spain. Cookin Soul is a collective of producers kickin mad funky soul flavaz. To be honest, my knowledge of Spanish hip-hop is limited to Cypress Hill's 'Loco en El Coco' and Kurious' smack talk, so time to set the record straight... Hola?

First of all who is Cookin Soul?

It's three of us, Milton, Big Size and Zock, aka Cookin Soul.

Are you all producers?

DJ's and producers.

When did y'all connect?

We knew each other for a while, but it wasn't till 2004 that we got together and started this Cookin Soul thing.

When did you start producing?

Some of us have been buying records since "88, yeah, somehow we were already mentally-producin at that time (laughs)

What have you released yet, what are you about to do in the future?

Before Cookin Soul, each of us, as a solo producer, did some tracks on a few albums. Now, as Cookin Soul, we are currently workin with some of the biggest MC's in Spain. But we're definitely lookin forward to produce some tracks overseas. The scene is gettin global, you got guys like, for instance, Tommy Tee or Soul Supreme, who‘ve paved the way. A few years ago, the main problem for people like us was infrastructure. Internet came out in the equation that took it back to what really matters: skills. Hip-hop started in NYC, is there anything wrong with being born in Chicago, London, Paris, Sweden or Spain?

When it comes down to Spanish hip-hop I'm illiterate, tell me something about the scene...

Within Europe and in terms of mainstream, Spain's hip-hop scene took a bit longer to wake up as compared to France, Germany or the UK. But there's always been an underground scene, major US groups have been touring in Spain since the late 80's. Spanish hip-hop like any other European non-English hip-hop (except for a few French groups) never made it in the rest of Europe or the rest of the world because of the language barrier. But Spanish groups have been touring South American countries on a regular basis for a few years now.

Is there a scene in Valencia? Any venues, parties, festivals, other artists?

Valencia is just like any other major town in Europe. You've got DJ's spinnin wheels in clubs almost every night of the week. Record shops, concerts, etc.


Are you a record collector? Do you buy hip-hop records or are you strictly digging for breaks? You dig for rare stuff/dollar bin records?

Yes. Milton and Zock's parents used to listen to jazz, soul and all of that. Big Size's older brother is an early Spanish DMC champ. We grew up in the right environment. And we are definitely continuing on that way.

How big is your collection?

Hmmm...probably the three of us together must have around 6,000 vinyl records, probably the same amount of CD's too.

Do you think the Internet is an advantage when it comes down to digging?

No doubt. Although 'digging' nowadays probably doesn't mean the same thing as it meant 20 years ago. We guess you can still call it 'diggin'.

What's your opinion on downloading music?

By now everybody knows wich are the advantages and inconveniences of downloading music, with regard to the consumer and the music industry. So far we've benefited from the internet, when we'll produce a track for Fat Joe and we realise how many sales we ve lost because of P2P, ask us the same question (laughs)

What kind of music (breaks) do you dig for mostly, soul, funk, jazz, any rock, pop, reggae, country perhaps?

Anything works. If you listen to our music you'll realize of course that the majority comes from soul and funk. But everything works, we'll sample anything. Records, CD's, Milton's father snoring,... even mp3's. What matters is what you do with it! Nowadays you've got so much more new stuff to work with, it'd be silly not to use it. When the first guys started using samplers and turntables, certainly not everybody approved it. You cannot say no to new technology,.. hip-hop music as we know it today was born because a few guys burnt their guitars and starting messing around with new technology.

Can you name some records that you're proud of having them in your collection?

Hmmm, we'd definitely recommend Nino Bravo's stuff, he was from our hometown, Valencia, our parents definitely had the funk!

What's your set-up?

Each of us works with different sofware, Acid, Reason, Nuendo,... Basically all programs do the same job, but depending on what you are lookin for, some programs seem to be quicker to shape the idea that you have on your mind. Sometimes we'll use a real bass and classic keyboards (Rhodes, Wurlitzer...) here and there just to fill in some of the samples, but not that often. And of course the 1200mk2.

What's essential for a good production/a good beat?

An ill chord change, a bass that hits your chest,... we guess there's not a definite answer to this question!

As for hip-hop producers, who are your influences? Nowadays and in the past.

There's just too many again. Marley Marl, Primo, Pete Rock, Eric Sermon, Jay Dee, there's too many!

If you could chose from all the MC's in the world who would you like to work with?

Without a doubt it'd be Jay Z. Cause he's one of our favourite artists out there and he would put us on the map like no one else! (laughs)

Do you know any Belgian hip-hop?

P Gonzalez and his De Puta Madre crew (cause of the Spanish lyrics), Grazzhoppa, Daddy K (without Benny B), La Guilde mainly DJ's, again this is what we were talking about before, the language is such a big barrier.

Top 5 all-time hip-hop records?

Gang Starr 'Hard To Earn/Moment Of Truth'
Blackmoon - Enta da Stage
Das Efx - Straight Up Sewaside
PE - It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back
Grand Puba - 2000
Fat Joe - Represent
Tim Dog - Penicillin On Wax
Nas - Illmatic
Pete Rock - Soul Survivor (just to name one!)
EPMD - "whatever" business
Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt
Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the 36 chambers
Notorious BIG - Ready to Die

Top 5 all-time non-hip-hop records?

Any Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Jimmy Hendrix, James Brown, you all know the names! They don't do records like those no more

What are you listening to at the moment?

'BE' from Common's new album, daammm!

Where do you want to be in five years?

Showing our crib on MTV!

Any shout-outs?

Our moms and our neighbours (laughs). We just waiting for Jay to call and we'll move, don't worry!! See you all at www.cookinsoul.com!!!


POSTED 08|12|2005
conducted by Cpf

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