VIPER caught up with North London’s very own Casscade to discuss what inspires his fuel-filled flow, his roots and his music influences. Here, he talks about his earliest memories of music, greatest achievements and what’s in store for the rest of 2020.
Who is Casscade the artist?
Casscade is 1 of 1 that represents 1 of millions around the world; the people who are constantly overlooked but keep the faith that one day all the hard work will pay off. A people’s person who is also a lone wolf. An artist who lives at the meeting point of crippling self doubt and absolute narcissism, but in art form.
What’s your earliest memories of music growing up in a household of DJs?
Well I’ve been told I constantly used to crawl over to my dad’s vinyls and literally scratch them before I could walk [laughs] but my actual go to memory was DJing at my little sister’s christening. I was like seven years old at the time but I remember exactly where the sound system was placed and I can remember Toni Braxton ‘You’re Making Me High’ starting it all off. That was a big riddim! Around those ages my dad was part of a sound and all I remember was loads of events, parties and weddings and me being lucky enough to get my time to shine being a young selector. The look on peoples faces to see me playing songs before I was even born by myself in a wavy sequence… CLASSIC!
What was life like growing up in Stonebridge and what effect did your experiences have on your relationship with music?
Growing up in Stonebridge definitely wasn’t for the weak hearted. You either made it out, you were coasting, or let some of the lifestyles surrounding you swallow you whole. In some worst case scenarios you might not have made it out alive. I’ve seen and experienced traumatic things but in the same breath, sometimes I wouldn’t have it any other way because it shaped who I am today. There’s just some lessons in life that being from here gave that you couldn’t learn anywhere else. I think being from here is what helped give my music its authenticity and character. If I had issues, I’d turn to the music as it was pretty much my outlet to tell my truth.
How has the lockdown affected you from a musical perspective?
I’ve had more time to really understand myself as an artist more. Specifically in direction. I’ve also had time to experiment with new things. You might see some new vibes surface from me who knows! But it’s definitely been a positive for me in that aspect going forward.
Describe your sound in three words.
Thoughtful. Blissful. Ignorance.
Describe the creative process of making your album, ‘Ignorance is Bliss’.
I just wanted to make a project that really reflected my mind state at the time. For me, a project is like a timestamp that I attempt to make live on. At that time I felt like I was hearing loads of people’s opinions on what I was doing or what I should do next. I had this thing in my head that basically said “You believe in yourself and your taste right? Put it to the test.” So on that project I was fully just being unapologetically me. ‘Sexy’ was the first track contributed and the rest was history.
How did the collab with Germany’s very own Joshi Mizu come about?
This was the most organic thing ever. So I got booked for a show in Germany in 2018 because ‘sexy’ had a lil bit of a breakout in a certain part. There was this young trap artist I met called Young Pirate who was also on the line up.We connected and sometime late last year he gave me a shout, saying a very important person I needed to connect with needed some help as he was in London. I accidentally fell asleep but Pirate gave me the guys number. I called but the next day he was back in Germany but he said the person he was with might still need help. That person turned out to be Joshi Mizu. We spoke via Instagram, linked up and the rest was history. I remember playing the unfinished version of ‘Hurry Up & Buy’ in the car and there was this “This is it” moment. One of the coolest guys I’ve met on this journey, Joshi is basically extended family at this point. That’s my guy!
What was it like shutting down the Mastermind x Supermalt stage at carnival last year?
This moment was one of those surreal ones. I’d gone to carnival every year since I was a kid and Mastermind was always the first stop. To actually be on the stage was just different. The crowd was HUGE. To perform to that many people and not be a major artist AND to get the crowd rocking with what you’re doing isn’t an easy task. It was crazy. I was originally only supposed to do one day but because it got so lit I got called back to do the stage the second day too. Big up Mastermind every time!
What did it mean to have DJ Semtex and Kilhoffer play your tune live for the world to hear?
This was one for the books. I had been trying to get a hold of Semtex for ages but I’d never met him nor had a contact. He’s a hip hop legend and definitely one of the people I felt like needed to hear my music. But who it came from made it even more impactful. To see Anthony Kilhoffer get lit to ‘Finesse’ like that was wild. A four time Grammy winner and he’s worked on more than half of Kanye West’s discography… unreal. If you know me, you KNOW how much of a fan of Kanye I am so [that was] definitely a big deal for me. Just let me know I was heading in the right direction. Even more dope is the fact me and Semtex have somewhat of a relationship now. Kilhoffer also has some of the new tracks at the moment so fingers crossed.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
Damn that’s a hard one. I guess it would be selling out Camden Assembly by myself. Literally did all the liaison, marketing/promoting myself too. Didn’t have any self-made promoters involved and it was my first time. Secretly, the biggest flex was having my mum and dad in the building to see what was going on in my world though!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I can’t lie, besides myself I think I’m really good at seeing the direction other artists can take and potentially putting them in the right positions to better themselves. I would definitely still need to up my network but I’m good at having the vision for others. Hopefully I’ll have at least one classic album with a label in full effect, looking after all different kinds of talent. A position where the money will be making itself too.
Name 3 artists you’d love to collab with.
Right now? It’s gotta be: Skepta / Blood Orange / Don Toliver
And what can we expect from Casscade this year?
Right now we’re in the midst of the zero collection. Just a series of music videos/songs that I had there. Once that is all said and done… All of you can expect are BIG riddims for the rest of the year!
Interview – Victor Davies
Photography – Louisa Wilkie
Styling – Kashmir Wickham