Cassyette Is Wearing Her Heart On Her Patch-Adorned Denim Sleeve
You’d be forgiven to think you’ve stepped straight out of a time-capsule when you meet Cassyette. She is the hypothetical love child of Joan Jett and Penny Lane, and comes dressed from an era we’re both too young to know of. Take a scroll through her ever-growing Instagram account and you’ll see what I mean. Black patent platforms meet skin-tight leather trousers and tassels. Oversized double-denim looks adorned with stitched on patches meet just the right amount of animal prints. “Time has taught me to be myself and not to feel bad about that,” she tells me five minutes into our conversation.
“If I am really honest, this EP has been that for me; I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve,” she says. For a girl who is in the midst of moving into a new home, getting ready to embark on her UK tour, and releasing her first single in a matter of weeks, she is surprisingly poised. Her energy is captivating.
From her lyrical inspiration, to her love of Dolly Parton and finally learning to let shit go in her twenties, nothing I question is met with anything other than a positivity to the point of sheer excitement. Very few artists have the ability to take a serious, and admittedly current, issue in their life and turn it into a track you’ll want to both cry and dance to, possibly at the same time. Much like her upcoming EP, Cassy is optimistic, refreshingly honest, and doesn’t take herself too seriously.
So, this month you are releasing the first track from your upcoming EP Devil Inside, which was co-written and produced by Fred Abbott from Noah and the Whale, with Olly Burden of The Prodigy working on the production too. How did working together come about?
Sian, my manager, introduced me to Fred [Abbott] of Noah and the Whale, and we just got on really well. Fred works in this little underground studio in Vauxhall and it literally is a 70’s time capsule. It’s based below this Pakistani bridal shop and he’s filled it with loads of strange trinkets and some taxidermy. It’s really cool, but a bit weird. It was the first day that we ever worked together that we wrote “Jean.”
Lyrically it came about as my best friend, Bella, had been going through some stuff in a relationship and we just had a really long conversation about it before we arrived at Fred’s studio. I’m a little older than Bella and had gone through all of this stuff previously, so that day I was giving her advice. We began to talk about a relationship I had been in before, which was similar to what she was currently going through, and from there we constructed this idea of naming the person specifically, as a release almost, but we also wanted to talk about them in a way that wasn’t necessarily negative.
When you listen to it, you can totally relate. I think every girl, every person, has been in that situation.
Totally! I feel like a lot of women slate each other when it comes to relationships, but instead it should be like, “actually, this girl is so beautiful and she’s just being her.” I realised I shouldn’t be nasty about her, this stranger, you know?
Totally. Do you draw inspiration from your personal experiences or do you write under a persona?
You can’t get the heart into it if you haven’t actually gone through something yourself, and I don’t think I could ever write about something that I haven’t lived through. I like to play around with different angles on things, but most of the time it comes from a personal experience. With “Jean,” I drew a lot of my inspiration from Jolene by Dolly Parton because I loved the way she spoke about her.
I naturally am a really sensitive person – and maybe it is an alter ego – but I have got to a point in my life where I just don’t care about outside opinions anymore. It’s liberating! I don’t mind opening up and putting myself out there. If I am really honest, this EP has been that for me; I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve.
We see that side of you with “Devil Inside,” which is so honest and raw. How did you approach tackling these challenging issues and times in your life; did writing the song become a form of therapy in itself?
You know what, it really did. “Devil Inside” is a song I wrote with my friend Bella, the same friend who worked with me on “Jean.” We had a lot of fun writing that track actually because it was so up tempo and kind of crazy. I feel like everyone can relate to having of their own inner demons and I was almost poking fun at mine, but still acknowledging that raw emotion and seriousness through the lyrics.
Can we use this as an indication of the tone of your upcoming EP?
I would say so, yes. All round, it’s personal, it’s raw. The last release from this EP is super, super emo and probably by far the rawest of the album. That draws on my current experience of trying to break into the music industry as a female.
All in all, I don’t think things that are too depressing, so though the EP has an underlying dark tone it is masked with a fun, synth pop sound. Basically, you won’t feel like shit when you listen to it.
Let’s talk about that and being a female in the music industry…
It’s 100% been the hardest thing I have ever done. To be honest, not only is the industry difficult, but record labels are different nowadays – people don’t want to get involved until it’s a moving train. No one really warned me about it. When I first started, I didn’t know anyone in the industry so I’ve had to make all my connections myself.
Luckily, I have an amazing manager who is also a young female, so she gets it. She has really taken me to that next level and finally I’m about to release music which can really go somewhere—well…hopefully! It’s taught me a lot and the silver lining is that I’ve done absolutely everything myself.
It’s being released in April, right?
Yes, it’s being released in April. We were waiting for funding for a while, that’s the downside to being an independent artist. It’s a bit of a nightmare at first. So, “Jean” rolls out in April and then over the next two months “Devil Inside” will be released and the EP will follow.
And you have an all-girl band?
All girls, yes! I’ve got two guitarists who are fucking awesome, they can both shred on guitar. I have a female drummer who is only 18 and she is one of the most talented drummers I have ever worked with. It’s crazy. They are all legends.
Even though not all of your music is out yet, you’ve got such a presence online. What’s your relationship with your online self and do you find social media a positive outlet for self expression?
For me, it’s knowing that people follow me for the right reasons. I know how fucked up it can be, literally. I think it’s amazing that people do follow me even though not all of my music is out yet. It was definitely weird having that size of a platform at first, but I have got to this point – and I don’t know what happened to me this year to get me there – but I just don’t care for negative opinions anymore.
Sort of like, “here I am, take it or leave it?”
That is exactly it, and for me, that’s positive. Online, there is a sense of community, and as a musician I hope I can use it as a positive outlet and let my followers feel good about themselves by doing relevant and important things.
How do you feel growing up has impacted your life experience and sound?
I live in London now, but I’m originally from Essex and that’s where I grew up. To be honest, Essex is just a massive bubble. Though the people are really nice, I knew that I wouldn’t have fit in being my own authentic-self there. It got better as I got older because I became less insecure. Time has taught me to be myself and not to feel bad about that. My childhood friends are still based there and I love those guys, they really are one in a million.
So, as you’ve gotten older, have you found your true-self and style?
My confidence in who I am has definitely grown as I’ve gotten older. I’ve been through so many phases! I was such an insecure kid and I really went through that emo phase – Oh my god! Terrible eyebrows, terrible everything! So yeah, it really has evolved. I love the fact that you can wear anything you want, especially when you’re an adult and have no one to tell you otherwise.
What are some rules you live by?
My mum always said, “treat others how you want to be treated yourself” and because I am so sensitive inside, I would never ever be mean to somebody because I would never want someone to be mean to me. Also, smiling at people is really important. You don’t know when someone else is having a really bad day!
What’s your star sign?
Aries sun, Leo rising.
And finally, if you could be transported to any city, in any era, which would it be?
You know in Austin Powers, the swing club in that first scene of the movie? That exact club. If that was a real thing I want to be there.
Cassyette’s debut single from her upcoming EP, Devil Inside, is available to download this month from Apple Music. You can listen to Cassyette on Spotify here and see her support Broken Hands on April 25th at The Black Heart in Camden.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND ART DIRECTION LEANDA HELER //@LEANDAHELER
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