Barely knowing him for a year, I was welcome into his home from the cold winter not only by the heat inside but the warmth and hospitality of his family. A chance encounter at a local party, at Virginia Beach’s Fantastic Planet, landed me an opportunity with one of Virginia’s best kept secrets. Boston native, Paul Cunanan, is one of the most humble and loyal people I’ve come to know. What first drew me to Paul were his trucks. We shared a common interest in Toyota’s, specifically Tacoma’s. His loyalty isn’t only branded to his cars, it is a trait I’ve come to know and will always remember him for.
Walking into his room, the first thing I noticed was the “wall of wax.” Don’t get me wrong, turntables are kind of hard to miss and are the first things you see upon walking in but his collection struck more of an interest with me. I know that people don’t walk around with name tags that say their hobbies or blast their basic info but I would of never guessed Paul was a DJ behind closed doors. It suddenly clicked why we barely saw Paul. Honestly, I would of never knew if my friend Ehrl didn’t say so. Getting to know him better, he lets his friends do the bragging for him. Paul is just that humble of a guy.
Paper or plastic?
How many rings before you answer the phone?
Three. Well, actually, it depends on who it is.
What is your favorite color, and why?
My favorite color is yellow. I liked yellow ever since I was a kid and that’s the reason my dad’s truck is yellow. When he re-painted it he was going to do silver, but I suggested yellow.
What article of clothing most closely describes you and why?
My jeans because not the same pair but because I’ve been wearing the same TYPE of pair for four years. But I’ve only had 2 pairs.
What CD is in your CD player?
I have every type of music player except a CD player. I guess I can’t answer that.
Then, what do you listen to on your daily commute?
Killa Tapes Vol. 2 by Ehrlmatic, not Mister-E, EHRLMATIC.
Being that majority of your friends are born and raised in Virginia Beach, how did you end up here?
Well it was because of my cousin, Abigail. Ever since we were kids in the Philippines we always stayed together. When she moved to the States I moved and she moved to another part of Boston I moved there and she moved to Virginia, I moved here.
If you could create a thought for a fortune cookie, what would it say?
It would probably be things I would say to people. Like, short things that give endless advice, like: Don’t do drugs. That’s what I would say, “Don’t do drugs.”
Do you have any other hobbies outside of music?
I used to. In high school, I used to really be into graffiti then I started working and by my senior year it faded. I didn’t have the heart in it anymore. I felt like I was doing it to be cool because people kept asking me to do names and words. BUT, I still do it when my mom asks to write names on birthday cards.
When did you first start your music collection?
It was February 2009. I remember the exact records I bought too. It was one Earth Wind & Fire record, a Tears for Fears record, a POLICE record, and an Isaac Hayes record. When I first bought records, I didn’t even have a record player to play them, but I bought them anyways. I wanted them. At the time, Ehrl was using his MPC I guess you could say intensively. So, I was trying to help him out with finding samples and from there I ended up with a collection of more than 300 records.
What about your tapes?
My tapes? I started collecting them at the same time I started with records. Whenever there would be a day I couldn’t find records I started to look at cassettes and of course my car also had a cassette player and I could listen to those instead of my iPod.
What is the importance of music, to you?
Well, I talk to my lolo about this because he saw that when I first started buying records he let me borrow his turntable and once he let me borrow his turntable I started bringing him with me to buy records. He told me that music was therapeutic. It didn’t matter what kind it was. Just any type that you could get some sort of comfort from is important because no one can take that from you. It’s all about music.
What is your music background?
Well I didn’t listen to much of the radio ever since I was old enough to. In high school, I listened mainly to classic rock like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. It wasn’t until 2006 when I started listening to Wu-Tang Clan that I gave or got more knowledge of hip-hop and its roots.
Who are your major influences?
Well, since I was a kid it was Paul McCartney because I was in pre-kindergarten my mom would always tell me every time that she would pick me up I would tell her to play the Paul McCartney CD that song “Band on the Run.” I listened to a lot of The Beatles as I grew up too. Another influence was, it’s kind of cheesy, but it’s DJ Qbert. He’s a scratch DJ for y’all niggas that don’t know. When I was in 10th grade, I got this PS2 demo disk and it had an interview with the celebrity section and the celeb was DJ Qbert and that’s when I first saw the use of turntables as instruments and I thought that was really cool seeing him scratch records.
Can you elaborate more on how you got the name, “Cool Cut C”?
It was summer 2010. We were cool and we were cuttin’, we’ll just leave it at that. Well, lets just say I heard of people abusing Coricidin Cough & Cold, also known as “triple C’s” and at the time I wanted to be “Cut Supreme” or “Supreme Cuts” and then something sparked in my head with the triple C’s and cool cut thus giving me the name, “Cool Cut C.”
What beat do you “cut” over the most?
Well, one beat that I used to get really good at scratching was “Super Duck Break.” I use that mostly for my scratch practice when I was still coming up or as you can say, when I still sucked. I still think I suck though.
What has been your biggest challenge so far as a DJ?
A lot, actually. Well, it seems like a lot for me because I’m so used to scratching all the time, it’s all I want to do. I came out with a mixtape in August 2010. I think mixing and just knowing what to play is my biggest problem. Even though I know all the music in my library, it’s just being able to decide what to play.
Do you think you’re good at what you do?
Yeah, I do. When it comes to scratching, as Ehrl says Disko would say, “I know I’m nice.”
Let’s just say all the time and hard work he puts in, he has bragging rights. Nigga IS nice. —Ehrlmatic
If there was anyone you could work with, who would it be, and why?
Dang, I don’t know. I am into the whole dance DJ scene, I’d like to meet someone like one of the DMC DJ’s that use Traktor scratch like DJ Qbert or DJ Shiftee.
Any plans to make the conversion to Serato?
Maybe not anytime soon the only reason would be because most of the DJ’s around here use Serato. So, if I ever brought out Traktor and the next DJ would use Serato it wouldn’t be that easy to make a transition. I don’t think I would want to switch because after seeing what Traktor is capable of, it’s just too nice. Even though Serato is stepping up the game, I’d still stick with Traktor.
Given the opportunity, any of the local events you’d like to spin for, and with whom?
I think I’d want to DJ, well, I know Jew Ma’s only has Rolodex only for LRDMRCY and one other guest but after seeing LRDMRCY and Rizzy’s show, I think it’d be cool to be able to spin a hip-hop set there with my nigga Ehrlmatic because we always talk about scratch jams or just cutting it up in front of a crowd.
If you released your own record, what would you want as the album art?
I wanted to have blown out jeans, a blue polo with a yellow inside shirt, holding 2 Technic tables, some black booty bitches, and pixelated hummer H2’s in the background and have it called: Cool Cut C. Well, I forgot the name but it would have just been my breaks. If you know what the old school A-trak breaks look like then you know where I’m coming from.
Any last words?
All I want to say is if you’re going to start DJing please be doing it for the love and not just notoriety and being cool. You have to remember when you start DJing or if you’re going to pursue any type of career as a side job as a DJ, once you establish yourself you won’t be comparing yourself to people that don’t DJ you’ll be comparing to yourself to people that are DJing and probably been in the game longer than you have. Pay your respects, pay your dues, and just do it all for the LOVE.
It’s funny, before, during, and even after the interview Paul found his way back to his turntables just to “scratch one out.” My friend, is your friend. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL DJ’s! ***all media brought to you by Charlie Trout.