TheWireHangerByWinnie: Well hello! It’s great to catch up with you! I heard you just came from visiting the Philippines? How was that?
Alex “Excel” Cruz:
Yes. It was amazing. Very revealing. I got to see the importance of eating naturally. These are natural foods that I literally grabbed from a tree or the ocean. I noticed that my mind and my body was running so much better and I thought more efficiently. I realized that nature is such an important aspect of life.
TWHBW: So let’s talk about your life in the history of faith and music, how long have you been a music engineer?
AC: Personally since I was 15 years old in 2001, but professionally since I was 22 years old in 2008.
TWHBW: What was the first song that you engineered professionally?
AC: [laughs] A club hit, “Twerking and Texting”
TWHBW: What did you realize after engineering that record?
AC: I guess I was challenged with the thought of, ‘Hey you’re going into the music industry, where you’re not going to agree with a lot of the song topics that can lead you astray from God’.
TWHBW: Working in a worldly career field, what are your views on influencing the music industry in a spiritual manner?
AC: Thinking about the twerking and texting song, it shows how much influence my skills can have and leave impressions on people. I came to the realization that if I neglect those in the music industry who may not know Christ, that I don’t ever give them a chance to see what Christ can be like. If I am being a true Christian and reflecting God’s righteousness, how are they going to be able to see it if I neglect them? I get to be in a unique position where in the recording studio, I can get to know the artist on a more intimate level. For me it’s about connecting with the artist, as far as their music, they are going to make it anywhere they can but I get the chance through my engineering, to reveal Christ to them. But what I will say is never neglect the opportunity to reflect God’s light upon someone else.
TWHBW: What has The Lord taught you on your walk towards becoming a musical engineer?
- All of us [believers] have the same goal. To be with God and to receive His gift…eternal life.
- Engineering in the studio, I wouldn’t have this gift if it wasn’t for God. The way to receive His gift of eternal life is to obey God.
- All of this is just a vehicle to glorify God.
- It really simplified everything business wise for me. Now it wasn’t how to become the best studio, or the best engineer. Instead it’s like, ‘You know what, let me obey God, do the work that I need to, and now that I know what His will is for me, I just gotta let Him work’.
- I realized that God wanted me to learn about rap and engineering before becoming one of His messengers. Because when it comes to hip hop, and being an Asian kid from the suburbs, I was so disconnected from the culture of hip hop but I loved it. I decided to research, made sure to respect my elders, I had to make sure I knew the culture in order to represent the elders of hip hop correctly
- God instilled me then what it is like to fear Him, be in awe of Him and respect Him. He taught me how to bring glory to Him. What it means to be a follower of Christ.
- To represent and do it every single day. Seven years of doing this everyday…you’re gonna get good [laughs].
But I didn’t know all of this naturally. I learned through people and through tools. God had exposed me to that through hip hop. God taught me through hip hop what it took to make a living out of engineering, so why wouldn’t I use the same skills to follow Christ when it’s regarding life or death?
TWHBW: Your studio is named ‘The Jungle’, when did you open it?
AC: I started with a business partner 3 years ago when I couldn’t find jobs at other studios. One day I was complaining to my business partner. He kept asking me questions as far as what would I do if I opened a studio and what would my goals be and then one day he presented me with a business plan. We started the studio then. The name of the studio came from my mom. Where I first had my studio was at my mom’s house in a room with a bunch of plants. She would walk in like, ‘Ugh this is a jungle’, and I said, “Hmm yea the jungle, survival of the fittest. It’s a habitat. We have the tools but it’s to you to see how far you go’. Just like the jungle has everything there for you but it’s up to you to survive. This even reflects in our mission statement: Re-establishing the Chicago music industry through genuine and quality productions. Now when I look back at it, I see that I was doing God’s work. Music is run by Satan, and I’m getting into that industry where he seems the best at it. What our mission statement says is that essentially we are reclaiming where the [music] industry is and reclaiming it, taking it from Satan and reclaiming it for God. I didn’t see it that way then but that’s how I see it now.
We are meant to be here as a vehicle of God, we can do good business without being shady. We hold true to what we stand for. We are going to make it and fulfill our mission statement without sacrificing our values…which is what a call to Christianity is.
For business and booking inquiries feel free to keep up with Alex ‘Excel’ Cruz via:Studio Company: Jungle AE@jungleae (twitter)@junglemg (instagram)@excelcruz (twitter/instagram)Tell him Winnie sent you!!