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Atlanta

Cashew Company

DJ BURNONE

DJ BURNONE

Cashew Co

Photo: Diwang Valdez

Photo: Diwang Valdez

Interview: Bobby Finch

Where are you from?
A small town at the bottom of Atlanta named Hapeville. It was like an old country town that was dropped in the hood.

When did you first get interested into making music?
I started off experimenting with blends when I was a freshman in high school. I was a huge fan of DJ Jelly & Oomp Camp tapes so I’d mess around and try to make cool mash ups like they did. From there I started working at a local mom & pop store called Super Sounds and began selling the mix CDs I was working on at the time. It pretty much took off from there.

How would you describe your sound?
I call it retro-future. I grew up listening to a variety of southern rock, 80s pop, 90s rap and country music so it’s really a combination of all of my influences. I like to take certain elements from each kind of music and kind of fuse it together in each beat.  I formed a production crew with 3 other guys and called it Five Points. Each of the guys play different live instruments and really help give the sound soul and bring it to life.  

Who were some of your favorite producers coming up?
DJ Paul & Juicy J, Organized Noize, Pimp C, Mike Dean, Cooly C, Dr. Dre & pretty much anyone making g-funk. People often misconstrue my intentions when I talk about making country rap tunes. I think they feel I’m simply trying to remake or “bring back” music that’s already been done before but it’s really just my way of paying homage to those who came before me. The last thing I want to do is retread old ground.

Who are some of your favorite artists to work with?
Starlito is definitely a favorite of mine. We’ve been working together closely since our collaborative project Renaissance Gangster came out a few years ago. He’s a vibe guy like me so it works out. For our last project Mental WARfare we went to a castle in Nashville to record, it was pretty cool. Other than him I enjoy working with my artists Scotty & iNDEED as well as SL Jones.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere for me. Music is played in more places than ever so I always keep my ears open to new sounds and vibes. Shazam is my best friend.  Haha.  

What is the hardest part of the business?
The fact that the producer is usually the last person to get paid, if at all. For some reason artists have no problem paying for videos, photo shoots, recording time, mixing and everything else EXCEPT the beats. They have some notion that because they’re dope (in their mind) that I should just give them music. In reality, it takes time to make music - time away from my family. So if you want music, we’re going to have to do business.

What is your goal as a producer?
I have quite a few but first and foremost is to bring that soulful sound back to the forefront of music. Rap music has gotten so quantized and mechanical that I would just like to balance that out with music that really makes you feel some kind of way. I put out my instrumental album The Ashtray so people could connect with where I was at and to hopefully inspire new producers to pick up an instrument or try something other than the norm.

How has Atlanta influenced your music?
Growing up here really gave me a great palate to work with. There’s such a vast difference between downtown, the suburbs and the outskirts along with the club scenes, radio and everything in between. It gave me a variety of different influences to grab from and flip into my own style.•