Electro-funk duo Adam Rudolph and Matt Cashdollar of Love Hustler have been friends for several decades and played together in a few different bands before creating their own.
The two were in a cover band for years and began writing original music on the side.
“We started to have a cohesive sound that was kind of unique to us and sounded fresh,” Cashdollar said.
Then, in 2009, Love Hustler was born.
From studio to Performing
The band was a studio project for the first several years, but in 2015, they started performing live.
The name Love Hustler was born from a brainstorming session. Cashdollar created a list of about 20 name possibilities, and Love Hustler was one of the first he read aloud.
“It made Adam and his wife both chuckle and ended up being the one that stuck,” Cashdollar said.
Venues around Fort Wayne have been the home for Love Hustler’s performances. One place they’ve been frequenting lately is Dreamers Hookah Lounge.
“They’re fairly new, but such a great setup for what we do,” Cashdollar said. “So they’re at the top of the list for what we do now.”
Other spots where they perform include The Brass Rail, 1601 Dance and Night Club, The Club Room at the Clyde, The Tiger Room at Welch’s Ale House, and The Ruin.
“We just try to avoid playing at sports bars where music is the afterthought,” Cash-dollar said. “We prefer playing at music venues where music is at the forefront.”
playing for the camera
Because of COVID-19 concerns, the duo has had to look to other forms of performing their music, such as streaming shows. These streaming tactics have been a challenge, and not something the two are fond of.
“It’s not satisfying,” Cashdollar said. “I hate playing music for a camera. It just feels like I’m practicing and maybe somebody else is going to see.”
Rudolph mentioned the streaming sessions are not as easy as one would think.
The pair just released their album On the Take, but it was not the way they had envisioned.
“We had shows booked and everything strategically placed,” Rudolph said. “We got all the dates we wanted and it was going to work great with the release date. Now here we are, just trying to do anything we can to market it.”
One by one, their tour dates fell apart. Now, it’s a waiting game to see when they can confidently book future shows.
“I don’t know if we want to commit to something until we feel 100 percent that it is going to happen,” Cashdollar said.
Focused on their album
As of late May, Love Hustler has no solid dates they’re promoting. Instead, they’re focusing on promoting their new album.
Part of their hope for this album was to create better performance opportunities for themselves.
“We were looking into a West Coast label, hoping to tap into those listeners,” Rudolph said. “We were hoping to get some opportunity to float to the top after this album came out, but obviously that’s changed in the short term.”
Their desire is to perform at music festivals, so they’re going to continue marketing to them.
Though they mainly perform in Fort Wayne, Rudolph and Cashdollar agreed they don’t try to be a Fort Wayne band.
“We’ve always looked at this as making music we enjoy, and there’s going to be an audience out there,” Cashdollar said. “If it’s in Fort Wayne, great, but we’re making the music for everybody.”
Positive vibes only
When fans attend Love Hustler concerts, they can expect a very positive atmosphere.
“We don’t sing about sad stuff,” Cashdollar said. “We keep everything positively charged and upbeat.”
According to Rudolph, their show is designed to not stop in between songs.
“That’s something we pride ourselves on in the funk business,” Rudolph said. “You sort of perform as a DJ, and we’re able to do that with all of our equipment. That’s something that’s been a challenge, but part of our secret.”
Going along with this idea, the two are trying to experiment with live looping, the recording and subsequent playback of music in real-time.
“It’s definitely one of a kind,” Cashdollar said. “We don’t try to sound like anybody but ourselves. So hopefully people are looking for something that’s refreshing, different, and fun.”
Cashdollar and Rudolph both expressed that getting live responses to their music is the best feeling.
“Even if it’s just one person understanding it or 50, it’s the same feeling,” Rudolph said. “To create something like that and showcase it and watch it live is fun.”
As for the future, one sure thing is there will be more writing.
“There is a performance factor, but it always starts with writing songs that we like and in the format we like, so I think that’s just a nonstop thing for both of us,” Rudolph said.
The duo is very thankful to anyone who listens to and shares their music.
They hope people listen to their new album, find favorite songs, and reach out to them, as they love hearing feedback from listeners.
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