featured interview

Cookbook Smells Success Cookbook is on a quest for success. Not just for himself but also for others. 'I want to see people reach their goals.', the LA Symphony co-founder admits. No wonder that his next solo album is entitled 'The Smell Of Success'. Cookbook is on a hunt. Right after the much anticipated performance on last weekend's Paid Dues festival, where his crew L.A. Symphony found themselves reunited on stage, we caught up with Jason Soto to discuss his upcoming release, success, and Suzuki...

You just rocked the Paid Dues festival...

Paid Dues was incredible! We had a blast.

You performed right before Wu-Tang Clan. Did you convince any Wu fans?

I think we won them over. When the show first started, only the few L.A. Symphony-fans were all the way into it. By the middle of the set, we won them over, and by the end, they all were rocking with us! 

And backstage...any new people you've met?

I was really happy to meet Sean Price, and Dessa from Doomtree. It was cool hanging out with a lot of the homey's that I hadn't seen in a while. It seemed like a family reunion back at the trailers!

Talking about a family reunion: how was performing with your crew L.A. Symphony? It's
been a while...

At first, I wasn't sure how it would be. But once we started rehearsing, it felt like we just picked right back up where we left off. The show felt great. A lot of fun, and it really did feel like we never stopped doing it.

So this means you guys are starting to record new material?

We're taking one step at a time. Our focus was on the Paid Dues set, and now, we'll see if the bug hits us to do new material. 

You once said about L.A. Symphony: ‘Even though we all like hip-hop, it doesn’t mean we like the same things’...what are each member’s preferences then?

That's actually a huge question, because we are all so eclectic. It's hard to say all the preferences. We all love hip-hop, but from there, it can go from anything between Johnny Cash, to Phil Collins, to Skrillex. We really do enjoy a broad range of music. That's what always made our music so unique. 

Your new solo album is coming up. Great video for ‘The Party’s Still Jumpin’ by the way.
The track was featured on a Suzuki commercial...euhm...what’s the story?

They needed a real hip-hop track for the spot, and a friend of mine was working on it, so he called me. I sent a bunch of tracks over, and they weren't fitting. So I decided to send him one from my actual album. And sure enough, that's the one they were feeling. It's been really cool to have that song featured in the commercial. I, too, love my video!

Are you driving a Suzuki now?

I wish! 

Pigeon John’s ‘The Bomb’ was featured in a Volkswagen commercial? No seriously,
what’s your link with the car industry?

(laughs) I think we both just coincidentally got those commercials. I really enjoyed his commercial.

You skate, rap and have fun, has there anything really changed since freestylin at your
parents’ garage?

Yeah, lots! I still do all those things, but I have much more responsibilities now too. Family, business, etc. And I have to schedule the fun stuff just like everything else in my life. Not too many spontaneous skate sessions these days! More like, 'Well, I have between 7:30 - 9:00 am on Sunday morning to pencil it in' (laughs)

The video too is about having fun...a lot of your music is light-hearted, but do you think
the ‘fun’ aspect might fade from your music by getting older? Like you would consider switching to more serious topics and tell more about yourself, about Jason, like for instance Eligh’s doing?

I think I have, and always will do those type of songs, too. I am fun-loving at heart, but I have always committed to keeping my music as real as possible, and as true to what I'm going through as possible too. If you listen to my first solo album, 'I Love the 80's', that's where I really took the time to tell my story, from the beginning. Also, on the new record, I really approached it with a no-holds-barred attitude. The result is more edgier material. I was listening to it, and was thinking, 'Man, I don't think there's enough light-hearted, fun stuff on this record!' When the people hear it, they'll hear some really deep tracks, where I'm putting my heart out there, as well as the party tracks.

You started an online community where you read books about success and how to tackle
obstacles...what’s success and being great for you? From where that fascination for it?

Because I've always had these lofty goals for myself, and because I haven't quite achieved them after all this time. I really started going on a quest to figure out why. I started reading, really devouring books on success, and business principles, and I found out that success itself was a true passion of mine. I have a huge desire to achieve my goals, but even bigger than that, I want to see people reach their goals. I'd say that's what I really want to do with my life: help people. So, the book club, and the other projects that I'm working on, are all about that, helping people to achieve what they want in in their lives. And hopefully inspiring them with my life's example. There you go!  My hip-hop Tony Robbins moment! 

(laughs) So since you devoured a lot of books on that matter, what are some of the main lessons you’ve learned and keep in mind?

'What do you want?' A lot of people really don't take that question seriously enough. I know in the beginning, I didn't. You have to ask yourself, 'What do I want?'. I mean, 'What do I REALLY want?' If you start putting that question in perspective of your whole life, you'll see
that it's such an important one, that most of us never really fully answer. If you discover what you really, really want in your life, then it becomes much easier to plan your life, and figure out how to obtain those things. That's all I'll give you for now. The rest, you'll have to wait for my book! (laughs)

Chino XL is on your new album. Being of Puerto Rican descent yourself, what did Chino
mean to you as a hip-hop fan?

Chino is the man! He was so cool about doing the song. He always gives me and UNO (Mas, also of L.A. Symphony, ed.) love on Twitter and Facebook and what not. When I approached him, he was like 'No doubt'! I was so excited to have a legend like Chino on my record. He repped so well, too. The end result, I believe just may be the next Puerto Rican anthem in hip-hop!
Besides Chino XL, what’s in your iPod nowadays?

My album, of course! I love the new Common album, really, such a sick album! Love the new Roots album, Random Axe, MURS 'Love and Rockets', lots of Motown and 80's pop, cause that's my hits!  Oh, and of course, Selena Gomez and the Scene! You know it!   

What movies did you dig lately?

I actually really enjoyed 'Hunger Games'! It was definitely better than 'Wrath of the Titans', which I was a little disappointed in! '21 Jump Street' was really funny. That's about all I've seen lately.

What’s next for you?

New record comes out in June. I'm hitting the road with Pigeon John, Tanya Morgan, and Playdough May 7th-20th, doing a west coast run. And then I'll be out rocking shows in Hawaii in late June. I'm booking for tours in July, and September as well, to promote the new record, and I plan on releasing 2-3 more videos from the project as well. I really can't wait for people to hear the record!!


Big ups to my LAS fam...especially my homeboy, UNO Mas, big ups MURS and the Legends, ChinoXL, Guilty Simpson, Eligh, Open Mike Eagle, Styliztik Jones, El Prez, LD & Ariano, & my DJ inDJnous, all for rocking with me on the album. Big ups to my homeboy MC Prototype. And, big ups to the fans!  You guys have really been holding me down for a minute! Whenever I feel like this thing isn't working, all of a sudden I feel your support, and it inspires me to keep going! I do it for you, truly!

Cookbook's 'The Smell Of Success' drops this Summer.


POSTED 04|10|2012
conducted by cpf

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