Insight Interview: CASHFORGOLD

We caught up with Detroit-based rising star CASHFORGOLD on life, music and collaborating with Tim Schaufert. Read her story here…

Hey CASHFORGOLD, thanks so much for agreeing to an interview. Where are you based? Do you tend to travel a lot, or are you firmly rooted at home?

Thank you for interviewing me – I’m honored! I am currently based in Berlin, but I live more permanently in Detroit. I travel tons! I lived in the Bay Area for a couple of years before moving back to Detroit, and I was in Chicago for college. I like to move around a lot.

Can you recall your first real exposure to music?

My grandma was a jazz singer at a nightclub when she was in her 20s, and she would teach me to sing while she babysat me as a super young child (2/3 years old). The first one I remember learning with her was Tomorrow from Annie. She taught me to sing primarily with my chest voice in a super jazzy way, which was hilarious because I was so tiny. My mom tells me I used to hide in my closet and belt out songs when I was about 4 – she told me she thought I was good, but she didn’t know if it was just because she was my mom, so she invited my aunt over to secretly listen to me before going any further 😂.

How and when did you first begin writing and creating music?

I was always involved in choir and theatre growing up, but when I was 17 I began writing original music with a producer that I found on MySpace! 😂 I asked him if he wanted vocals over his tracks… he said “sure”, so I drove over to his house the next week and sang for him. We proceeded to make some very 2009 sounding chillwave, not knowing a thing about recording vocals or vocal processing. Maybe you’ll be able to find our old Soundcloud… it still exists.

Can you describe your music for us?

I would describe my sound as soulful, ethereal, and haunting. Beth Gibbons, Amy Lee, and Alina Baraz are 3 of my biggest influences. I like to sing over anything that speaks to me emotionally, regardless of genre.

Have you ever played live? Would you like to in future? Any upcoming shows?

Yes! Performing live is my favorite aspect of singing – it’s so important! I find live shows to be incredibly cathartic for audience members, and performing live is an essential part of my vision for how I want my music to impact people’s lives. I’m super inspired by Moderat, Beats Antique, and Björk when it comes to live performance. My time living on the west coast attending festivals and electronic shows inspired me to learn tribal bellydance and incorporate flow arts such as fire performance and hula hoop arts into my live show. I want to create something that is more than just me onstage singing – it’s not about me – it’s about an emotional experience for audience members. I had my first show as CASHFORGOLD in Detroit this past June, and I have some really exciting news regarding performances for 2018 but nothing is set in stone so you’ll have to wait and see! 🙂

What have been your biggest influences?

Moderat, Portishead, Massive Attack, Alina Baraz, SZA, Björk, Sophie Meiers.

Do you tend to find creating music a cathartic or therapeutic experience? Has creating music helped you cope with difficult times in your life at all?

More importantly, listening to music others create has helped me cope with difficult times in my life. My motivation to create is about giving someone else that experience.

You have created several tracks with Tim Schaufert. Would you describe the two of you as a double act? What do you think works so well when you and Tim make music together?

We aren’t technically a duo, but we basically are. We jive well – we have similar workflows – we are both workaholics. He is super communicative and hands on as a producer, which is why I continually wanted to work with him. Oftentimes producers will drop off or not give suggestions if they don’t think that the vocal is 100% spot on, but Tim is super honest and compassionate, so we can consistently roll out final products that we are both proud of. It’s been fun to experiment making different styles of music with him, as we both started taking music more seriously at the beginning of this year and we are still trying to find our sound.

Any new genres or musical styles you’d like to explore in future?

We’re definitely moving into a more jazzy/r&b style while still including garage elements. Wave is cool too. We’re definitely still experimenting.

Do you have any thoughts on the future of underground musical styles? Do you think the scene will evolve further?

I think the internet has helped underground musical styles grow, but I think large-scale success of underground styles is largely dependent on live performances. Scenes/fanbases develop as a result of unique experiences you can give people at your shows, and how you can facilitate the growth of a community through your shows. You don’t have to be small to be underground, and you don’t have to produce pop music if you’re big. Bassnectar is a great example of this. I think it’s more important to focus on your individual art rather than a movement as a whole. The more you try to emulate or fit into a movement, the more generic you begin to sound.

Any new releases coming our way?

YES! Tim and I have so many tracks in the works, and I can’t wait to share them with everyone!

Any artists you’ve not worked with yet that you’d like to work with in future?

Myst. Vacant. Sorrow. Galimatias. Bassnectar. Hehe.

Do you have a favourite track / song of all time? Favourite artist?

If I had to choose… Sweet Thing by Van Morrison
or Bad Kingdom by Moderat
or Innerbloom by Rüfüs du Sol
or Sleepless by Excision
I can’t choose!!!

It’s been said that a life in music can be a hard one. Would you agree with that?

YES… but worth it if it is truly your calling/passion. It can be hard to pursue music as a profession because it is so uncertain, and many of your peers around you have secure and stable 9-5 jobs. Oftentimes I’m met with jealousy or resentment from peers who think that I just play around writing songs and singing all day. They don’t realize how much work is necessary and how many hours it really takes to make progress with songwriting and producing music. I have day jobs to pay for expenses (my grandpa keeps telling me to “stop with the deadend jobs”), because I’m not financially stable from music alone (yet). A major goal is to have music be my main source of income. I used to shy away from the idea of pursuing singing, because it felt as though being an artist is somehow a self-indulgent or ego-centric profession. After years of realizing it’s the only thing that makes me feel happy and fulfilled, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that being an artist is an important job, particularly because of what I mentioned earlier – helping others through difficult times. When I am feeling down about not making money or feeling secure, I remind myself that someone out there is listening and enjoying the music.

Do you have any words of advice for aspiring young musicians?

Keep going. Don’t listen to what others tell you about choosing something more “stable” – you have one opportunity to pursue your passion, and you can’t go back. On your good days, stay humble. On your bad days, choose to learn something about your craft and improve your skills. Focus on personal growth and progress as opposed to comparing yourself to other artists.

Any other projects on the horizon that you’d like to tell us about?

Let’s just say I’m currently living with Tim in Berlin and doing music full time.

And finally – are there any tracks / artists that are relatively unknown that you’d like people to know about?

Underground artists to know: Tim Schaufert (obvi). Brightside. Benoit. Kori. Phelian. Shanti. Vorsa. Unexotic.

Thanks so much CASHFORGOLD!

<3 Thanks so much for this opportunity!!!!

CASHFORGOLD can be reached on SoundCloud, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.