“My motto? ‘KISS’ – Keep It Simple Stupid”. Australian artist Cassian, who keeps it simple by citing Attack as a ‘must read’…takes on our quick-fire Q&A.
I’ve got my parents to thank for that. They put me in piano lessons when I was really young, guitar not long after that. I grew up with a piano in the house, it was just always around and something that I was always drawn to.
If you weren’t making music what would you be doing?
I have no idea. It was always music for me. I got halfway through a finance degree then realized there was no way I could do that for the rest of my life.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
So much good advice over the years. A big one was from Angus of Sneaky Sound System describing to me how house music needs to feel with these super animated hand movements and it just really made it click to me.
What inspires you?
So many things. Music obviously, my friends, family, landscapes, sports. Basically everything haha.
What’s the next big thing?
People taking care of themselves / each other / the planet as a whole.
Best club experience?
Probably Solomun, HOSH, Adriatique b2b2b in Ibiza maybe 4 or 5 years ago. They played outdoors at this really secluded resort for about 4 or 5 hours until an insane storm came in. Staff covered the dance floor with umbrellas and everyone was raving under umbrellas until the rain short-circuited the system. Then they just moved the party downstairs into a private club and played for another 6 or 7 hours…:0
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
I’ve had some bad ones! Probably Pizza Hut when I was 15. My hourly rate was $4.75 and I constantly smelled like pizza oil.
How do you know when a track’s finished?
When I hit the deadline by which I need to submit it for release haha – I could keep tweaking endlessly. And now that I’m doing a live show, I am tweaking endlessly.
What was your last day job and when did you realise you could give it up?
I was working at this “cool” shoe store when I was 18 and first started DJing. I remember coming in for a shift after a few hours of sleep because I’d played the night before. I put on some music and after maybe half an hour the manager changed it to put your hands up for Detroit or something I thought was lame at the time and I just walked out hahaha. I was teaching guitar too but I don’t classify that as a day job
Which song do you wish you wrote?
This question is too hard. There’s too many. Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah would be right up there. Tracy Chapman – Fast Car. Womack & Womack – Teardrops. I could go on.
What’s the easiest way to make it in the music industry?
Easiest way? Be cute on Instagram, find aggressive management / agents / producers / writers.
What’s the worst track you’ve ever released?
Pretty much from when I first started making music on my computer when I was 18 I was releasing music. As you can imagine there’s been a lot of shockers. I’ll just say that this album I’m finishing now is probably the first collection of tunes I’ve truly been proud of
Recommend us a film.
Recommend us a book.
The War of Art.
What or who is underrated?
Working hard and actually trying to be good at what you do. Focussing on your weaknesses.
What or who is overrated?
What are you addicted to?
What do you lust over?
Haha my girlfriend.
What is your greatest regret?
Not spending more time in Uganda (where my dad is from) the last 10 years.
What one thing would most improve your life?
Honestly just a new phone. Still rocking a busted iPhone 6s.
What’s the worst gig you’ve ever played?
Haha again, I’ve been doing gigs in bands since I was 15 and DJing for the last 10 years. There’s been a lot. There was one a couple years ago where literally no one came but there was a pub upstairs and the only bathrooms were downstairs where I was playing. So there was a constant stream of people coming down to use the bathroom and looking at me performing to an empty dance floor.
Collaboration: rich creative experience or pain in the ass?
Both depending on who you collaborate with.
What’s the secret to a great mix?
Listening! You need the technical skills and the fancy techniques in your toolkit but it’s all about listening and having good taste.
If you could only listen to one more track, what would it be?
Nope cannot possibly answer that.
How do you relax?
What one piece of software/kit could you not do without? Why?
Ableton because without that I wouldn’t be able to do much with all my synths.
Art or money?
Art always first. If your art can make you money that’s great too. Also, money can allow for great art.
Ronaldo or Messi?
Strangest place you ever wrote a track?
My latest release Lafayette was written / initially put together in the front seat of a van.
What’s your single biggest frustration in the music industry?
People not listening to music properly or not having spent the time developing their listening skills.
What’s your favourite label? Why?
Rose Avenue. It’s my new home, it’s the label I never knew I wanted but now that it exists I’m obsessed with it and the idea behind it.
What’s the worst thing about making music?
The time it takes & the isolation. Missing friends & family for studio deadlines.
What’s your motto?
KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid.
Tweet us a tip. What’s the best production advice you can give in 140 characters or less?
Just learn to listen. Being able to be objective and clear-minded with your own music is the key to it getting better.
Cassian’s ‘Lafayette’ is out now via Rose Avenue Records. Find him on Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud.
If you wish to learn more about Cassian then catch him behind the scenes as part of Magnified – a new partnership between Mixmag and WAV. For more information watch the promo video here.