DJ Cassidy’s “Blame it on the Freak” will get you dancing, even in vintage Chanel
DJ Cassidy has undoubtedly had his part in putting together some of your favorite songs, all of which are straight bops: take “Calling All Hearts” featuring Robin Thicke and Jessie J, or “Honor” featuring Grace and Lil Yachty as some prime examples.
Cassidy’s passion has always been music, the primary reason being that while Cassidy has DJed and performed for all different demographics around the world, he’s seen firsthand how music serves as a unifying force for all of these people. No matter who you are or where you’re from, it’s hard to resist a good beat.
Such was the concept behind his latest single and music video, “Blame it on the Freak”, featuring dance star Dytto and creative visionary Sasha Samsonova, one of the only people Cassidy completely trusts creatively (I mean, she’s more or less the Jenners’ private Instagram photographer: she’s obviously doing something right). But despite the endless list of credentials both Sasha and Dytto have to their names, nothing speaks louder than their talent. DJ Cassidy brought these two powerhouses on to “Blame it on the Freak” because he knew what they were each truly capable of. Their joint music video is further proof of that.
We spoke to the three talents and asked all about their latest creative project, “Blame it on the Freak.”
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Where did you come up with the concept for the song?
DJ Cassidy: “Blame It On The Freak” was a collaboration between myself, my production partner Greg Cohen, legendary guitarist Nile Rodgers, hit songwriter Midi Mathers, and newcomer Royal Love. First, Greg wrote the chords and we laid down the track. Then, Nile sprinkled his magic potion. This is the third time I’ve worked with Nile. It’s always crazy to think that the same guitar he used on my record, he used on “We Are Family” and “Like A Virgin,” just to name a few.
When Midi and Roy got together, the lyrics for the chorus poured out almost instantaneously the second the drums dropped. The phrase “Blame It On The Freak” seemed so epic to all of us right away. What if every time music was trying to move your body and you felt inhibited, you could just let all those fears go and simply blame it on the freak inside you. I believe there’s a freak in all of us. And that freak is freedom.
Dytto: And one of Cassidy’s favorite dance movies is “Break In” and it’s actually one of mine as well. We took a lot of inspiration from that too, because one of his favorite characters is this guy Turbo who is just an insane dancer. But there’s also a girl in the movie named Kelly who kind of has the look were going for. So we were kind of like “If Kelly could dance like Turbo, what would it look like?” We just kind of took that “Break In” old school pop it, lock it inspiration and added it in with Sasha’s insanely cool vision and it was just all so special.
Cassidy, how would you describe your sound in general?
DJ Cassidy: I make dance music with the touch of a human hand and the pulse of a human heart. But simply put, I make funky feel good sexy dance shit.
How do you want people to feel when they listen to “Blame it on the Freak”?
DJ Cassidy: I want people to feel free. No fear. No inhibitions. I want people to feel united. No judgement. No ego. Simply put, I want people to feel good. That’s where my saying comes from…”You feel good? I feel good!”
Dytto, how did the song make you want to move?
Dytto: When I first heard the song it was just so funky, but at the same time I felt like it wasn’t just for dancers which is what made the concept come to life for me. I felt like you know, if I wasn’t a dancer and was just someone hearing this song in the supermarket or the club or wherever, how would it make me feel? And it makes me feel like running wild, you know?
So I kind of wanted to incorporate all of this dance stuff that I’ve trained in for years but also wanted to incorporate what someone who isn’t a trained dancer would dance like when they hear this song: just like feeling themselves, jammin’ out and being like “this is my song!”, running around singing singing along.
Sasha: My hope is that people who are watching will start stomping their foot and try to mimic her freaky dancing, in the same silly way we all did on set. Just go with it, no overthinking.
Cassidy, how was it working alongside powerhouses Sasha Samsonova and Dytto? How did you bring all of your unique perspectives to the table in order to make this video happen?
Sasha directed my last video for “Honor” feat. Grace & Lil Yachty. She is one of few people in the history of my creative life that I have ever trusted 100%. Her direction, her eye, her style, her taste. I defer to her. I don’t defer to anyone. She is genius and I am honored to work her.
Did you know what kind of dancer you wanted for this video?
DJ Cassidy: I wanted this video to be stripped down like the song. I wanted it to represent the essence of my music: dance. I wanted one dancer, a true original, someone who would blow your mind, someone who moved in ways we couldn’t comprehend, so much so that it was freaky. That was Dytto.
We wanted Dytto to represent the freak in all of us, because when she dances, she moves like no one is around her. She’s in her own world. Ditto reminds me of one of my child heroes – Michael “Boogaloo Schrimp” Chambers aka Turbo from the cult classic breakdance film “Breakin.” I am in awe of her now like I was in awe of him then.
Sasha: Cassidy called me about this song, I listened to the track and thought, it would be good to do a freaky dance video, right away we started looking at dancers and talking about possible talent, but once Dytto came up it was a no brainer- I’ve been wanting to work with her for some time, and this couldn’t have been a better option.
What’s the style of dance in the video called?
Dytto: I kind of call it popping and animation since it’s a combination of a few things. You see a lot of tutting in there as well which is all of those lines with the hands. I just tried to create moments where you feel like this character is really your everyday bougie woman in her beautiful home with her vintage Chanel on, and that when she hears this song and she can’t help but like, break it down all of a sudden.
Dytto, how did it feel being the only dancer in the video? Was it intimidating?
Dytto: It’s intimidating because it’s like this is the artist’s song and I’m somewhat responsible for bringing that song to life: but it’s also a huge compliment that I was what made sense for the vision and to be able to bring it to life because that’s what dance is: it’s what music looks like.
Who or what exactly is the freak?
DJ Cassidy: The Freak is the wild person in all of us. It’s the part of us that wants to dance like no one watching, sing like no one is listening, and love like no one is judging.
Who came up with the choreography?
Dytto: It was all freestyle. What we kind of did for each section was like set the tone for each scene ahead of time.
No way! All freestyle? Are you kidding me?
DJ Cassidy: Dytto needs no choreographer. She is one robotic, funky, freestyling bad ass young woman.
Dytto: That’s the great thing about Sasha and Cassidy, they both knew that all my dance videos are freestyle, so they trusted me and were just like we’re gonna let her do what she does and run wild and I was like, “Yes, please!” and it ended up translating so well.
They were just understanding of my style, and that what I’m truly feeling in a moment is what’s going to look best on camera. So I don’t have to fake anything or fake how I feel because its legitimately how I’m reacting to the music! It’s the most genuine response you can get and I think it makes people watching connect with it more.
And who styled the video?
DJ Cassidy: Sasha, my girlfriend Kelsey and I styled the video. I envisioned the iconic Chanel ads of the 1980s and 1990s with Claudia Schiffer, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington. Sophistication at its most classic, yet funky too. I envisioned a song coming on and making these supermodels go crazy and dance like Karl Lagerfeld put the camera down. And that was Dytto.
Sasha: Styling was a big part of the video, I really wanted something classic and timeless and most importantly something that won’t look like dancing or athletic attire, something you would look at and undeniably love. Dytto gets sort of obsessed and possessed (in a very fun way) by the song, so I wanted to highlight that contrast and put her in an outfit that doesn’t particularly say: dance! So we went with vintage 86’ Chanel.
Dytto: They already had the idea of like okay, she’s gonna be in some insane Chanel outfit: something to contrast the street dancing that was about to happen. They wanted to juxtapose the street dancing as much as possible, so they really dolled me up in vintage Chanel and jewelry to make it more shocking.
DJ Cassidy: She wore an iconic 1988 Chanel pink and black polka dot blazer dress with all vintage 80s and 90s jewelry and accessories. And of course, white-on-white Nike Air Force One Mids with scrunchy tube socks.
Dytto: Sasha went and found this vintage Chanel blazer. At first it was a size ten and they took it to this tailor in Beverly Hills and tailored it down to me, which is like a zero. So we had it taken in and then they went and grabbed all the jewelry, Cassidy brought some of his own personal jewelry, we had some Chanel earrings, Chanel belts and threw on some Air Force 1s and called it a day. He was like “I want this to have an element of you and an element of the way you like to dance, so we’re gonna have you in vintage Chanel, but we’re also gonna have you in like, fresh kicks.”
DJ Cassidy: I wanted my style to reflect the Old Hollywood leisure life spirit of the video…so I debuted the premiere collection of my fashion brand…RESORT. “It’s not a destination, it’s a state of mind.”
Dytto: I think the outfit really sets the character in place.
Where did you all shoot the video?
DJ Cassidy: We shot the video in a playland known as the Elyx House, the actual Hollywood Hills home of Absolut Elyx‘s CEO. Their entire aesthetic, from the custom copper palm tree wallpaper, to the copper pineapples and flamingos, to the Hollywood Regency decor is pure DJ Cassidy paradise. In the same way I like to think of my music as the sound of celebration, I like to think of the Elyx House as the home of celebration. It served as the perfect setting for Dytto’s dancing, our wardrobe, and the themes of the video.
Sasha: The location we ended up shooting in was our one and only choice, it’s so DJ Cassidy, it’s so freaky, it’s so old Hollywood!
Sasha, how’d you get the video to look so old-timey?
Sasha: There wasn’t a specific color scheme, since the house dictated such strong “set design” and art direction. However, we shot this all on film, and I used a certain film stock to give it the look it has.
Plus, I think we added another layer to the track with this visual. The song is so sexy it’s pouring out that energy, and instead of taking the obvious route we gave it this, stepford wife, freaky Barbie doll in an old Hollywood world feel. Plus shots of Cassidy on the diving board are just my favorite, it’s actually his real DJ equipment in the floatie on the water, how do you not love that? Haha.
What inspired those super long takes? They definitely added a very specific element to the video.
Sasha: I’m a big fan of long takes, specially when it’s justified by exceptional performance, which Dytto was so incredible at. Even the few cuts in the video came hard to me, since I was kind of with my mouth open watching her move.
I think it’s safe to say the song achieved what it was looking to achieve: we listened to it at least five times, and we’re sure you did the same. It’s songs like “Blame it on the Freak” that put things in perspective in that they remind us that though we all have inhibitions, the right dance track can make all of that can disappear.
And needless to say, “Blame it on the Freak” is but the latest of many of DJ Cassidy’s creative endeavors to come: the artist is currently launching his own clothing line “RESORT” (which he is seen wearing in the “Blame it on the Freak” music video), which he describes as “not a destination, but a state of mind.” And of course, you can always expect new musical projects from him, all of which we’re staying tuned for.
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