CookBook Apologizes for Being Long Winded

CookBook loves the 80'sCookBook was so kind as to do an interview with me for this site. We conducted the interview via email, as I am lazy and hate transcribing interviews. Here is the interview, CookBook apologized for being long winded, while I think his answers are great and help us get a little look into the life and times of Jason “CookBook” Soto.

Thanks for giving me the chance to talk to you, we’ll start simple. Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Jason P. Soto aka CookBook. Born and raised in L.A. grew up on hip hop and skateboarding. 1/5 of LA Symphony. Traveled all over US and the world with LAS, I’ve been doing music with UNO Mas for the whole time as well, and now I’m releasing this solo project. My first solo endeavor!

I have always been a fan of LA Symphony and the solo projects I’ve heard some out of the group. Commercially, it seems that Pigeon has been the most known, what have the rest of you been up to lately?

Well, Joey is doing a pop album in which he sings…no rapping at all! Poems is releasing his next album on Mellow Music. I just heard it 2 weeks ago, hotness!!! Flynn has an EP out right now, and put out an EP with Pigeon John as the group RootBeer.

UNO and I have an album that’s coming out right after my solo one called C & U Music Factory with guest appearances from Evidence, DJ Rhetmattic, Scarub of Living Legends, and production by JJ Brown (Gym Class Heroes, Ludacris, Louis Logic) and DJ Shok (Rough Ridas, Rah Digga, Busta Rhymes) and others. Very dope album. We’re excited about getting it out to the people!!!

Cool. So, how about this new CD? What’s different? What will we recognize? What’s it all about?

The CD is really 100% me. I produced every track, wrote every hook, sang and did all the rapping on it, except for a limited group of guest spots. It was really important to me that I do all of this album myself. It was such a personal project. My first solo joint, and I really wanted to give the people me…let them really get to know who Jason is, and not just CookBook from LAS. It started out as a playful thing, where I was figuring I would do some fun songs, and call it a day, but as I made each track, they started drawing something deeper out of me. The end result is a really well rounded view of who I am. Playful and fun, yet touching and serious as well. I feel it is a very well rounded album.

With a CD entitled I Love the 80’s, I assume that you have watched your share of the VH1 series by the same name. Have any specific fond moments of the series? I personally love when then talk about the cartoons, as I was pretty young in the 80’s and these hold a special place in my heart.

I think the parts about the cartoons and toys, and the old tv shows like Growing Pains, Diff’rent Strokes, etc…I love those types of shows. I’m trying to get hired by VH1 as one of the commentators for I Love the 80’s Part 12, or I Love Toys, or I Love Whatever! That’s the dopest job to me! They show you clips, you make fun of them, they give you a check…where do I sign up?

On a related note, what is your favorite 80’s fashion trend?

Jordan 1’s, all the skate gear that came out. Jimmy’z, T & C surf, breakdance gear (ie. bomber jackets, and parachute pants) Oh, and piano neck ties!

You sample all type of 80’s music on this record, my personal favorites being “In Your Eyes” and “Girlfriend in a Coma”, what are your greatest musical influences as an artist and a producer?

Because of my background and upbringing in music, I have a lot of diverse musical influences. My parents were really into oldies, jazz, salsa, and blues, so when I was a little kid, I used to say I wanted to play the blues! My brother and sister are much older than me, so they really introduced me to classic rock, and my sister got me into the 80’s music. I was old enough to experience a lot of the 80’s songs for myself, so that’s really my own musical discovery. I was into whatever was on the radio, but I also had a lot of older friends in my hood who used to breakdance and listen to hip hop. I loved hip hop from the first time I heard it. All my friends were black and latino. I myself am Puerto Rican. So I thought I would get dissed for liking all the 80’s pop music, seeing as that was supposedly “white music.” There was this dude that I looked up to bigtime when I was a kid. He was a dope graff artist, and he was hands down the coolest guy I knew. One day we were at my friend’s house, and a Dépêche Mode video came on. He started rockin’ to it, and he was singing along word for word. To see this black dude rockin’ to that type of music made me feel cool about liking all the music that I did. From then on, I would rock to Run DMC, and Duran Duran at the same time, and not feel bad at all about it!

Back to the CD, any guest appearances or other interesting surprises you want to mention?

Like I said before, I really wanted most of this album to be just me. But I did want a few people on it. I’m down with shining light on the people on my team, so of course I had my man UNO Mas on the record twice! My man King Charizmatic has always supported, so I had to have the homey on. Also, part of my team is the group “Souldado” which consists of DJ Rif, and Site Raw. That’s my fam right there, so they had to get down on a track! That’s pretty much my click these days. I like to keep it tight nit. But I’m a big fan of Theory Hazit, so I asked him to be on a track with me. I had one more verse to fill, and I thought long and hard about who I’d want on there. I’ve known my homey Playdough for a long time, but hadn’t talked to him in a while. I started twittering, and soon found him on there. One day I was listening to my songs, and it hit me that he would be perfect for the one spot left. I hit him up, and he murdered the track so hard!!! I’m really happy with my guest spots. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

On the album, you reference some issues with poor decisions and situations relating to LA Symphony. Is that something you can expand on a bit?

Rockin’ with LAS has been a bittersweet experience. Those are my brothers right there. They always will be. I’ve been through more hard times with them than anyone else. We’ve also seen a lot of really good times, and some of my best memories in my career are with them. We have made all kinds of mistakes, been mad at each other, and at times probably we’ve all blamed each other for things that have happened. But one of the overall themes of my album is “my life is my fault…good or bad. It’s the result of MY decisions.” So, regardless of what has happened, my decisions led me to where I’m at, cause even though we’re in a group together, we still are responsible for ourselves.

With the CD due out on the 23rd, what is on the horizon for you?

We’re really trying to start a movement right now. After all that we’ve been through, my philosophy, or mantra is “Just-Us.” Me and UNO are realizing that no one really cares about us but us! So, we’ve just taken our music into our own hands and are going to do it our way. People ask me what label is I Love the 80’s coming out on, I say “Just-Us”. They say, who’s your management? I say, “Just-Us.” They say who’s your booking agent right now? I say, “Just-Us.” Like I said, I have a tight little click right now, and we all have the mentality of “Just-Us”. We are going to make it happen with or without a label, management, or anyone.

Now, having said that, I’m not a fool! I’m gonna be open to any and every opportunity that may arise. I don’t want it to be “Just-Us” forever! I would love to have the whole team in place, so I can take this thing further than I ever could on my own. I’m just not waiting for fools…they can catch up to “Just-Us”!!!!

The goal of this album, and the next album (C&U Music Factory) is to raise the awareness of Cook & UNO, and get us in a place where we can tour better than we have been in the past. So, I’m going to be giving I Love The 80’s away for free as a download on-line, in the hopes that hundreds of thousands of people will be exposed to the music, and support me, and UNO and my team at our shows, and buy our merch, and become genuine fans. I want to connect with the people. I want them to know me, and feel like they are a part of the movement. I hope to constantly be doing shows off this album, and me and UNO’s album too, and be out there connecting with the people. We’re using the music as another promotional tool so the people can get to know us. LAS has always enjoyed connecting with people. That’s one of the things our fans have always appreciated about us. We’re just trying to take that connection to a whole other level, and expose ourselves to a lot more people than ever! (PAUSE!)

Well, good luck with “exposing yourselves”… haha! Coming to the east coast by any chance? I’d love to see you live and I’m sure my readers here on the East Coast would, too.

If you book me, I will come.

Really, I hope to get all over with this record. My whole goal is shows, shows, shows. I would love to take this music to every city in America! Are you listening promoters?!? If you book me, I will come…

Well, don’t be a stranger. I hope to check in with you from time to time and see what’s new in the world of CookBook. Leave the readers with a few final words until next time.

Yo, thank you all so much for even checkin’ for me. I know everyone will dig the music. Please come out, and support the shows, and check out the merch when we get it up on line. This is only the beginning! You will be hearing a lot from me, and UNO this year! I’m very excited, and can’t wait for everyone to hear the music! Remember, I Love the 80’s comes out JUNE 23RD!!! It will be available as a FREE DOWNLOAD on my MySpace page. Please add me, follow me, friend me, all of the above! Go to and, peace, and thanks to thepaintedman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


~ by thepaintedman on June 17, 2009.

6 Responses to “CookBook Apologizes for Being Long Winded”

  1. […] While I vacation in North Carolina, you will be treated to interviews from Uno Mas (LA Symphony, Cook & UNO, The Eternals) and YTCracker, reviews of Shael Riley and Ed E. Rueger, and a Hip Hop 10 in […]

  2. […] that I couldn’t leave you out. That’s just be unfair. So, anyway, my readers have met CookBook, but the question still begs, who is Uno Mas? UNO Mas was born Rene Palma to Mexican immigrants. I […]

  3. […] Cook & Uno – Monie Love (feat. Joey the Jerk) (CookBook and Uno Mas bring their LA Symph homie on board to rock the proverbial […]

  4. […] is what Robin would say if he listened to your remix of CookBook’s “Solid Gold” off of the LA Symph alumn’s newest album I Love the […]

  5. […] ok. I don’t hate you or anything, but check out the song. CookBook is dope. I like his […]

  6. […] C&C Music Factory? Well, this is by no means them. Rather, it’s the newest release by Jason “CookBook” Soto and Rene “Uno Mas” Palma, C&U Music Factory, released on Just-US/Audio Sketch Book […]

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