Cazwell: The Atlanta ‘Ice Cream Truck’ Interview
Have you been to Atlanta before?
I played in Macon – I know it’s different (laughs). I’m realy looking forward to it. I can tell Atlanta is gonna be one of those amped up audiences. Everyone I meet from Atlanta always has an outgoing spirit. I feel like it’s where people go out to have a good time. In New York City it’s harder to impress people. People here just look at me. They get into with their head but not really their bodies. In Atlanta it seems like people get loose.
How did you get the name Cazwell?
It’s my last name. My real name is Luke Cazwell. Only my mom calls me Luke.
Everyone I meet from Atlanta always has an outgoing spirit. I feel like it’s where people go out to have a good time.”
Do you consider yourself a singer or a rapper?
I do a little singing and rapping. Ultimately I consider myself a live performance artist. I know that sounds corny, but I always wanted to perform on stage. When I was a kid I was in acting classes, but the concept of having to say what someone else wrote never worked for me. Rap is the perfect thing for me because I don’t have to sing and I can perform what I wrote.
How would you describe the music on ‘Watch My Mouth’?
It’s dance more than anything else. There are some hip hop elements, but I wouldn’t call it a hip hop album. All the songs are different because I worked with different producers. Ultimately it’s a lighthearted dance rap album.
Was there a plan for ‘Ice Cream Truck’ to get over 1 million views the first week?
Absolutely not. When people are like ‘I knew it would be a hit,’ I’m like ‘whatever, bitch.’ There’s this movie called ‘Spork’ coming out my friend J.B. Ghuman wrote and directed. He wanted two songs for the album, and I was feeling really lazy about it. So just gave him two songs I already wrote. Because I’m thinking it’s only gonna be in the movie for seven seconds. He was like, ‘No dude, I really want you to write an original song for this.” He was really on my ass about it.
I was working in the studio and had to have something to him that night at midnight. He said the movie had a lot of 80s influences like break dancing, so he wanted something with an 80s video game feel. There’s actually a song bycalled ‘Ice Cream Truck’ that was never released, and somehow he had a version of it. I literally wrote the song in 45 minutes. I didn’t give a shit. I had like a Chinese food hangover and just didn’t care.
I literally wrote ‘Ice Cream Truck’ in 45 minutes. I had a Chinese food hangover and just didn’t care.”
We shot the whole thing at my apartment. The whole concept was me and a bunch of boys who live together in a New York City East Side apartment and there’s no air conditioning. The background is spandex fabric. The room we’re all dancing in is my bedroom/living room. We painted the ceiling Mexicana rose – I remember we thought it would be cool if we got 100,000 hits. I really didn’t care. I was just trying to make something simple. That’s what people love – they don’t really want to think, they just want to have a good time. It seems like the more retarded something is the better it does.
A lot of the lyrics are funny. Do you consider yourself a funny person?
I’m definitely a funny guy. I’m an entertainer. I just have a lot of funny friends. A lot of the lyrics on the album are funny things I’ve said or that my friends have said.
Who were some of your musical influences growing up?
Definitely the Beastie Boys, Eminem. I don’t own all of his albums or anything, but I love the fact that proved that he could do it. Because before that the only white rapper was Vanilla Ice, but people kind of laughed at the idea of a white rapper.
With your ‘I Seen Beyonce at Burger King?’ song, were you worried about a backlash?
I just thought the concept of Beyonce owing me money was funny. If you saw her and she wanted to borrow something, you would just give it to her because she’s Beyonce. Jonny Makeup was in the song because he was in a rap trio called the VIP Party Boys, and they were playing at Boy Room. Jonny Makeup doesn’t do drugs or anything, he’s just naturally nutty. He was going on this 20 minute monologue because he met Beyonce at American Apparel and she was going on about the clothes – the whole concept was hilarious to me.
I just thought it was funny that she would be at a fast food restaurant. This was at the time whenwas always in Taco Bell and it seemed like she was subtly asking for attention. If I said I saw Britney at Burger King, no one would care. But ‘I Saw Beyonce’… it’s like she’s the queen of beauty and perfection in our society. She never seems fucked up, she thanks Jesus before every award. She’s a quadruple threat.
If I said I saw Britney at Burger King, no one would care. But ‘I Saw Beyonce’… she’s the queen of beauty and perfection.”
She’s fucking perfect – you can’t throw the girl. You can tell she’s just a really good person. So the fact that she’s in a low-brow environment is just hysterical. She apparently really liked the part where the food was flying. Some of the producers I work with know her people and they said that made her laugh. The original lyric was she had a 40 oz on her lap – then I was like I’m gonna keep it funny but I’m not gonna accuse her of drinking and driving, so I changed it.
Sometimes you hold up a big phone to your ear while DJing. What is that?
That phone was my ‘head phone.’ I made it. It had a shoulder piece so I would be DJing but I was on the phone. Sometimes I have a desk with a rolodex and pencils and that is my phone. Other people decorate their headphones with crystals or whatever but I wanted to do something different and take it to the next level. The sound quality isn’t as good because you take it apart. A couple people have copied it since then. It was my idea though and you can put that in print.
How do you come up with your lyrics?
Each song is different. ‘I Seen Beyonce?’ just came to me. The more sober and clear headed I am the more open my brain is to getting new ideas. Things happen really quickly for me when I’m not fucked up. I would never smoke weed then sit down and write a song. I like to smoke weed then watch ‘American Dad.’
You’re known for having really hot guys in your videos. How do you find them?
They’re my friends. The whole ‘Ice Cream Truck’ song has a Spanish spice to it. I wanted to make a dedication to the hot Latino boys that are always on my block shirtless. I recently moved to Hell’s Kitchen, but I used to live in the East Village. Nobody got paid. We’re all friends and everyone was gay except for Geronimo.
The cover of ‘Watch My Mouth’ is kind of bloody.
Originally I was gonna have a grill on my mouth and we were gonna make it look like a timepiece. Jay Z and Kanye all have really nice watches on the cover of their album, so I was gonna make one out of tin foil and make it look like an expensive watch with diamonds and shit. But it just wasn’t working. We were doing a lot of bloody stuff at the time, so my friend who’se a makeup artist gave me a bloody lip and it looked so real.
I did a lot of colorblocking and primary colors – that’s how gay I am. I was like ‘the color blocking!’”
I did a lot of color blocking and primary colors – that’s how gay I am. I was like ‘the color blocking!’ So if the background is red my eyes are blue – it just helps to intensify everything. I know it sounds really easy, but I actually put a lot of thought into that. My videos are extremely color coordinated – I put a lot of thought into it.
You’re always so rough and tough in your songs and on your videos.
I have two brothers that were very rough growing up, so I learned at a young age how to defend myself verbally and physically. I mean I was bullied and was just as much a fag as everyone else at 13 years old. So yeah I was bullied, but the more I came into my identity the less it happened. I just had a cocky attitude most of the time. A cocky attitude is typically a straight thing. I have that same attitude except I’m gay. Like the song ‘All Over Your Face’ might be gay as far as content, but I’m talking about sex with the same entitlement as a straight person. And that’s how I think gay people should be – they shouldn’t feel that they’re different.
What are you working on now?
My plan is to drop two new singles then a new album. My new single is with Peaches. The song is called ‘Unzip Me.’ I’m shooting the video for it tomorrow. That single is some serious vision board shit because I really wanted her on my album. I met her at a party and I was like, ‘Listen girl, I really want you on it.’ I sent her two songs – one was ‘I Changed My Mind.’ But the second single is actually gonna be ‘Rice and Beans.’
The video is a different than anything I’ve ever done – this time a combination of guys and girls. It’s being directed by Stupek who directed ‘I Seen Beyonce?’ It’s a lot of cameos and individual shots of people. There’s a lot of fashion by John Renaue and Asher Levine.
Britney Spears is gonna be OK, but for independent artists like me, buy our music so we can make more. iTunes, motherfucker.”
Is it hard working as an independent artist?
If you like my music, buy it on iTunes. Britney Spears is gonna be OK, but for independent artists like me need, buy our music so we can make more. Support your independent artists.
What can we expect when you come to Jungle?
I’m gonna be performing. I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m gonna have fun!
- To learn more about Cazwell, visit him at Cazwell.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Comment on this Atlanta story...
Powered by Facebook Comments
Comment on this Atlanta story...
- Beyonce’s Magic Wind Machine Causes Power Outtage In New Orleans (performance video)
- Keyshia Cole’s Twitter Shade To Michelle Williams A PR Stunt Gone Wrong
- What Did You Think of The “Beyonce Bowl”?? Full Halftime Performance… (VIDEO)
- In The Tweets: Keyshia Cole Loves Beyonce… Michelle Williams? Not so much!
- Where’s The Beef? Keri Hilson Says She Has None With Beyonce Or Anyone Else… [VIDEO]
- Beyoncé Lip Synced National Anthem At Inauguration… [PHOTOS + VIDEO]
- Beyonce Sings National Anthem at 2013 Presidential Inauguration… [PHOTOS + VIDEO]
- Candid Outtakes From Beyonce’s Provocative GQ Spread… [PHOTOS + VIDEO]
- Hot Mama! Beyonce Bares Her Child Birthing Body For GQ Magazine… [FULL PHOTOSPREAD]
- Quick Diss: Wendy Williams Says Beyoncé is NOT Smarter Than A 5th Grader… [VIDEO]