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A conversation with Fort Wayne’s Love Hustler
By EA Poorman
Fort Wayne Reader
The 80s get a bad rap at times. Sometimes that bad rap is deserved. Things like pegged pants, pet rocks, Monster Truck shows, and a good portion of 80s Saturday morning cartoons should never have existed on this earth. So let's put all of those out of our minds, shall we? Good. Musically the 80s were judged unfairly, in my opinion. There were some not-so great bands, but there was some great stuff that emerged from the neon decade. Early Prince, Duran Duran, The Human League, and Zapp were all filling dance floors with amazing electro funk. They went on to influence countless other artists that made many a booty shake over the years.
One of those artists is Fort Wayne's Love Hustler. This duo, which consists of Adam Rudolph and Matt Cashdollar, create a kind of electro funk that feels both nostalgic for simpler musical times and quite futuristic. They take those influences and make something completely unique and catchy as hell.
I sat down with Adam and Matt and asked them about the band and their music. Here's what they had to say.
EA Poorman: So tell me about Love Hustler, guys?
Love Hustler: Love Hustler is Adam Rudolph and Matt Cashdollar. We met in 1997 playing horn based funk/dance music with Always in the Fridge.
EA Poorman: What other bands have you two played in together?
LH: We also have played together in Klubber Lang and the Freak Brothers, Rudolph as drummer and Cashdollar on saxes. Rudolph currently runs a small recording studio in Fort Wayne. Aside from these bands, Matt currently plays with Unlikely Alibi, the Farmland Jazz Band, FW Jazz Orchestra, and has played in a variety of other jazz, blues, and jam bands. Occasionally, he performs on saxophone with the Philharmonic.
EA Poorman: How did Love Hustler come together?
LH: LH conceptualized when we started to write music for one of our bands at the time. Rudolph became passionate about recording at home and experimenting with songwriting on his own. Cashdollar began to share the same goals with songs and production so it just became a natural thing. We began trading demo recordings and adding to each other’s songs. After a few years of studio collaboration we felt it was time to make it priority to present our music live in a tactical format. Through a 12 month process of gear acquisitions and liquidations, computer programming, midi mapping, and sequencing wizardry, we landed on what we feel is the best representation of our style of electronic funk music AKA Electro-funk.
EA Poorman: What about influences on your sound?
LH: Eighties electro-funk groups like Zapp, Mightnight Star, early Prince. Modern groups Chromeo, Tuxedo, and Jamiroquai. Though we are influenced by a lot of great artists, we take pride in the fact that we don’t sound like anyone else.
EA Poorman: Tell me about the gear you used to make you 2015 album White Hot.
LH: VSTs in Logic (Mini Moog, Jupiter 8, Arp 2600) Pro Tools and Reason. Moog Voyager, Korg MS 2000. Additionally, I sang and played alto/tenor saxophones and flutes. Rudolph, being the resident funky drummer, he set out to program drums with a few different methods. We utilized drum sequencers, analog drum machines, midi drums that triggered live drum samples and probably a few other sneaky tricks. Though there are a few presets used, we strive to personalize our sound through creative sound design. Since this album, we have acquired almost a dozen analog and digital synthesizers and drum machines. Live instruments include Moog slim phatty, Yamaha Motif, Roland TB-3, Roland Tr-8, Roland JD-xi, Korg KP3 Kaoss Pad, and a few different Moog Volcas.
EA Poorman: Speaking of the album, how did White Hot come together?
LH: Collaborative effort dates back to demos as far back as 2006 (recorded on a cruise ship), and home studios in Chicago, Auburn, and Fort Wayne. More recent recordings at CosmicKid Studio. White Hot was recorded between two computer systems, with audio file exchanges happening over the internet. Cashdollar made the move to Chicago around the time we started compiling demos. We were always up for the challenge of finding a way to keep collaborating even though we lived hours from each other. With the aid of identical studio monitor setups, we were able to bounce audio files of ideas back and forth and know exactly what the other is hearing.
EA Poorman: What's the songwriting process like for you guys?
Matt Cashdollar: Every song is different. Sometimes it starts with drums, build the instrumental, add vocals last. Other times it may start with a hook or melodic idea. Typically, we compile demos individually and will pick the best ones to work on.
Adam Rudolph: It’s very much about the chorus for me on most tunes. I would say many times I’m starting with a bass line while exploring chorus ideas right out of the gate. My “go to” is a bass synth or software synth sound. “Shoot Me Up” was a spontaneous one for me. I ironically wrote that bass line on a bass guitar. I have a vintage Gibson Ripper that is very fun to play. I would lay down a quick drum loop and just jam from time to time. It was one of those bass lines that was just fun to play so I had to write a tune around it.
EA Poorman: What's the live setup like? Neon, strobes, and glow sticks?
Matt Cashdollar: Ha. As of now, you won’t see neon lights, strobes, or glo-sticks but you will be treated to a light show that is synchronized to our music. It’s hard to describe briefly. I encourage everyone to follow us on Instagram at iheartlovehustler to see video and photos. We frequently share insights to our setup which has continued to evolve.
Adam Rudolph: The heart of our set up is of course a Macbook Pro, but we came up with a seamless integration of analog drum machines, samplers and intelligent lights that network together to sync with a master tempo. This allows us to bring analog elements into the digital mix of Ableton Live (software). And of course, the “LH” light boxes are a great conversation piece. Rudolph, being a child of the 70’s, remembered those old “speaker like” cabinets that flickered lights with the music. They called them color organs. A Radio Shack top seller! Lol. Inspired from this design, Rudolph hand soldered the circuit boards and wiring for the letters that react with 3 ranges of frequencies.
EA Poorman: Are there any gigs coming up?
LH: We will play a late 2 hour set at Hush (1601 S Harrison St.) Saturday May 13th with Coma Coz (Columbus, OH). We have plans to perform on the radio show “meet the music” with Julia Meek on WBOI and we look forward to private events we have scheduled. As always, the details are being worked out for several unique shows this Summer. Follow us on Facebook for updates.
EA Poorman: So what's on the horizon for new music from Love Hustler?
LH: We already have completed a handful of new songs for our next release. You can hear our newest single called "Something Fun" on YouTube and SoundCloud.
EA Poorman: What's in store for Love Hustler for the rest of 2017?
LH: We hope to build our fan base locally and online. Regionally it makes sense to have our eyes on Chicago and Detroit. We will continue to rehearse, record, and book exciting events. We personally hope people embrace the unique product we have created. We will continue to embrace the music that makes us unique and expresses our personalities. Outside of making and recording music that excites us, we want to be able to share our dancefloor vibe wherever we are appreciated.
Keep May 13th open and head out to see Love Hustler's amazing live show at Hush (1601 S. Harrison St), and check out their new track "Something Fun.” You can check out White Hot over at lovehustler.bandcamp.com/releases