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CASSYETTE: THE ALT – ROCK FEMME TALKS ABOUT RIPPING UP THE RULEBOOK AND THE UK ALTERNATIVE SCENE

Cassyette Music Soundwave Underground Jessie Rose Photography

Before inviting Cassyette down to Denmark Street, we had an opportunity to talk to the up-and-coming star. The Essex-hailing artist is one to have made a large stamp on the UK alternative scene, creating music that is an amalgamation of metal and alternative tropes, in turn creating something that is solely original. On the back of the release of the stripped back ‘Petrichor’, Cassyette gave us an insight into her ADHD and song writing, the inner rumblings of the UK rock scene, and what the future holds for her.

You described yourself as a “shithead” of a kid, how did your childhood influence your introduction into the music world and wanting to create your own art?

So, a lot because I guess I’ve always been into music and started singing and writing music when I was very young. That was really the only thing I was good at – that and sports! And I loved drawing and art. I’ve got ADHD and Dyslexia, so I was never really good at school. I was lucky to have parents that always pushed me to do the things that I was good at. Although they did get me a maths tutor once- that went down like a shit sandwich (laughs) – so that ended quite quickly.

I’m guessing you’ve always been very creative as a kid.

Totally, I think it’s definitely built into me.


After your dad passed away in early 2020, how did this affect your tonal shift into darker music with heavier topics? Are these topics that you would not have covered otherwise?

Totally, like I’m very conversational with my music so everything’s exposed, like I just don’t really hold anything back from it and everything is really relative, all the songs I write are completely relative to what’s going on in my life, either past or present. That was obviously a huge thing that happened, so it completely changed what I was writing about. Still though, the only song I’ve written really that’s partially about my dad is ‘Petrichor’ so far. I haven’t really written much about him because I haven’t even found the words to do that. I think it’s going to take me a long time to be able to write about that experience and him. It’s literally changed the tone because after you lose someone, I feel like you just always have a heavy heart so [you’ve got to] live with it. So, it’s definitely changed the emotion through the music.

I noticed when listening to ‘Petrichor’ there was themes about your dad, and you became a god mother too, can you describe the juxtaposition between the light and the dark that you wrote about on the song?

Just that my best friend whose daughter I became a god mother of, she was just there for me throughout the whole thing, and she has always been such a rock to me. You go through this part of you when you are grieving where you are bargaining with yourself, and humans are so good at adapting to different emotional situations and you have to bargain with yourself to get to a place where you can grow and be happy because being sad all the time is really bad for you! (laughs) I feel like I am trailing off a bit on this question…. It’s hard to explain but I think that what I am trying to say is it was a beautiful thing having my goddaughter being born after I had just lost my dad and it’s just a nice reminder to have perspective on things and to remember to just look forward because you can’t control certain things.

Cassyette Soundwave Petrichor Underground Jessie Rose Photography

As someone with anxiety and ADHD, has this been something that has been a hurdle within starting your music career?

(Laughs)… It’s a hurdle in life! It just affects me in life, but I am making a special effort to try and do things that work for me, I can’t sit there and write an essay. My attention span is really bad, I forget things, I try and write things down all the time to try and remind me. I guess one of those things, it’s difficult because I’ve learnt so much about myself and about ADHD and the condition – and for me the worst thing is I have big crashes. So, if I am overstimulated for too long, I will just completely crash and I think it’s called an autistic meltdown, and it is literally what it says on the tin, it is a meltdown. So that I find really hard, and that’s probably something as things have gotten busier for me. And I am trying to do a million things at once all the time, that is quite hard because I can crash, I’m lucky I’ve got a good team around me, so that everyone helps.

Does that change the way you go into a studio, some artists can go in and write song after song, when you go into the studio is it something that you have to break from?

No. I will sit in a studio longer than anyone (laughs) it is crazy because that is the only time where I am hyper-focused. For me writing a song is a formulaic process as well as a cathartic process. The two producers that I have been working with for years now [are amazing], Tylr has ADHD as well, he is more high functioning than me, and Olly is amazing at overseeing the room, so he will navigate how we do a session. It’s not something we talk about, it just happens naturally, so we just have this process where I am able to hyper-focus for hours and feel comfortable doing this. I do sometimes have a nap (laughs) because if you’re using your brain that intensely for that amount of time obviously then that’s when the meltdowns occur – so that is something I need occasionally.

I feel like we all need a nap at some points!

Yeah! A 20-minute cat nap is the best, I feel like that really fixes me.

Going on 10 years ago now, you released a dance track before transitioning to producing, writing, and eventually releasing your own music, how far do you feel that you have come since then?

(Laughs)… Do you know what it was called?

‘Push and Pull’ – was that it?

Yes! Do you know what? I’ve written music for so, so many people and for so long and that just came out of some session I was doing with one of my mates, I was still working on my sound, and we just liked the song and didn’t know what to do with it, I didn’t really know that many people and I didn’t know how to go about things then. I was like oh we’ll just put it out. The weird thing is there was quiet a lot of people who liked it and for some reason even though it’s been deleted it keeps reappearing. (laughs)

It took me a while to find it – I was confused thinking is this the same ‘Cassyette’!?

The thing is I guess I’ve written so many genres as well, not just for myself, that just so happened that I just decided to sing on that song.

Cassyette Music Soundwave Underground Jessie Rose Photography

When approaching the creation of music, you said you wanted to “rip up the rulebook” when it came to making music, how challenging do you feel it is being individualistic in a time where it feels like modern music cannot be completely original?

I think that’s a really special thing and I don’t think that that’s necessarily true because I think that since forever the way that you get new ideas is from old ideas, and you take parts of many different things that you like.  And just because it seems like there’s so many genres out there already and there can’t possibly be any new genres – that’s bullshit! Taking from ideas and building new things out of old ideas, that is making something new, and trust me watch it, new fashion will come out of that, and I think it’s just about people being ballsy enough to take it to the next level, whatever that is. And people have just been playing it safe for so long. I look at the rock scene that is happening in America they’re just fucking ripping off blink 182 – what’s that about! Come on, it’s silly! But you look at what’s happening in the UK and it’s totally different, look at bands like Bring Me the Horizon, they are literally like the front line of it right now and I don’t know if you saw their show the other day, but it was incredible and it just shows how Oli Sykes has ripped up the rulebook too. He’s literally crossing over so many genres but still remaining metal as fuck, and he is just taking metal into the future.

I can tell with your music it is very experimental, is there any specific inspirations you draw from?

Oh my god – I draw from so many different things. It’s really hard to tell you specifics because when I’m making music, I’m literally like ahh I love this song, I love this song, I love this song, I love this song, and we’d name the little things that we like and then we’d do something similar but then we have our own sound, and I’ve got my own sound that I’ve formed with the boys. I don’t know it’s really hard to say specific people, but I think a good song is a good song at the end of the day and I don’t just use inspiration from rock songs or alt songs, it could literally be anything.

Having spent two years working on your new music, mostly in lockdown and going from writing at home to performing onstage, how did it feel to have such an amazing reception both at Download Pilot Festival and making waves within the British alternative scene?

Sick!  The other day I played my headline show and I was sweating so much I couldn’t cry a tear, but I was literally crying inside so much, because just to literally hear people signing back your songs, that I sat in my weird little studio on my own writing. When you’re writing a song you never think I’m even going to put this out – for me I’ve got hundreds and hundreds of songs that I’m sat on, so for the ones that I actually end up releasing, they really have to stick in your head, and you have to really love them. So, when I’m writing them, I don’t fall in love with them as I’m doing it, so it’s like a really special thing to think back and remembering when I first wrote that song and came up with that idea and the to see and hear people actually singing it back. It’s genuinely the most indescribable, amazing thing ever because it just totally legitimises that moment, and it shows you how connected you are with that person because they feel the same way or they’re just loving that song and it means something to them too. I think there’s something beautiful out of making something out of nothing.

Cassyette Soundwave Underground Music Petrichor Jessie Rose Photography

To hear your songs being shouted back at you, knowing that you are inspiring them, whether young men, women, or fans, how does it feel knowing that people can relate to your music?

So, so good because as a massive music fan myself that’s what I get from other artists and bands – to know what other people’s songs mean to me and that mine would mean that to somebody else, that’s so awesome and that makes me feel like I’m doing my job right because I think for me being an artist is like being an activist too because if you don’t stand for something then what’s the point. I am a massive feminist and I wish that I had someone when I was 16 years old, an older sister or –someone like that telling me that it’s going to be alright and sharing raw stories and real stories and actually delivering it in a fun way – for me  I feel like the music you don’t always have to listen to the lyrics it doesn’t have to be like that, we make it like that so people can relax to them, and enjoy themselves, let their hair down, party whatever they want to do or you can sit there and  connect with the words. I just guess that that completes me (laughs).

It must be nice to have that feeling knowing and giving people someone to look up to, and you’ve said before and just now that you are ‘an activist’ for feminism. And at Underground we do our part in trying to represent female musicians, how important do you think it is that not only is there more of a spotlight being shone on female musicians but more gender equality within the music scene?

I just don’t think it matters what gender you identify yourself as, I don’t think it should ever matter, and I don’t know why it ever did matter, personally. Because look at all the greats, it’s just that side of it just bends my mind a little bit, I won’t ever get with that at all. And I think there still is sexism, like especially within metal music – like how many times I’ve had bad comments from always old dinosaur men being like ‘Who does she think she is?’ ‘She can’t scream’ she can’t do this, she can’t do that, and then I laugh because when you play shows like Download you’ve got all these old metal head men who are standing there judging you at first and then you see them nodding along, and then it’s like okay so did I get past your gatekeeper! (laughs) It’s just so bizarre and I just think I don’t want anyone like that at my shows. (laughs) I want people who don’t give a fuck about if it’s female fronted or not, like that’s bollocks! I think it should just be about the music and appreciating talent and appreciating the artist. And there’s bands like ‘Wargasm’ that are doing that really well and I know that’s a thing for them as well – people love to just be judgy about women, and I don’t get that, they shouldn’t be at the shows. (laughs)

Wargasm are amazing, I’ve seen them supporting Yungblud and it was incredible!

They’re wicked! We are in a collective called Culture Cult together and I’ve seen them play loads of times.

Cassyette Soundwave Petrichor Underground Sounds Jessie Rose Photography

Final question, after your sold-out headliner at the Courtyard Theatre, and the news that you will be joining Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes on tour, what is next for you?

So, I’m going to do the tour, which I am so excited about. I just can’t wait to do that, and then I’ve got a single dropping, well actually first of all it’s the tour, and then I’m going to put out the acoustic version of ‘Petrichor’ – no one knows that yet, but you can know that! And then basically there’s just a jam-packed load of music ahead before Christmas and then hopefully by the time we get to January/ February – well there’s going to be a lot more coming basically! (Laughs) I’ve written so much it’s insane, I have such a backlog of things, I need to get it out quick cause I’m going to die before it’s all out!

Check out Cassyette’s Soundwave Session Page here.

You can listen to ‘Petrichor (Stripped) here.

Photos by Jessie Rose

 

Underground Soundwave presents an ongoing series of reports on emerging and established bands with close-up Q&As, new release reviews and gig reports with a special emphasis on supporting diversity in music, women in music, independent labels and venues and the local music scene.

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