Photo: Press (Cassy)
Cassy’s DJ sets were always marked by an extreme tension that put more emphasis on the actual journey than the ups and down along the way. Having helped shaping the sound of Berlin’s Panorama Bar with her residency between 2003 and 2010, the British-born producer relocated to Austria, where she had grown up in a musical environment and, after a brief pause, re-emerged in 2016 with her debut album for Aus Music. Donna showcased yet another side of Cassy Britton’s sound, putting a heavy emphasis on vocals and song structures that owed as much to R’n’B-inspired Chicago house as they did to Sade, Chaka Khan and other artists Britton cites as early influences. With the launch of her label Kwench, Britton added yet another facet to her oeuvre by collaborating with artists like Demuir, Art Alfie and Peter Moss for a slew of releases that further broadened her signature sound. Cassy’s contribution to our Groove podcast is however dedicated to techno and strongly influenced by two recent compilations on Curle and Klockworks.
You were raised in Austria and got into jazz music at a very young age. You were also introduced to Sun Ra at this time. Which role does jazz and specifically the music of Sun Ra, whose Arkestra is still touring heavily, play nowadays?
I’ve been exposed to many eye opening things in life, and Sun Ra was one of them. Rather than his music being an influence on me though, I would say it was more an overall cultural influence. The life choices you can make, be who you want to be, dress how you want to dress. Be your own normal.
Between 2003 and 2010, you’ve lived in Berlin and held a residency at Panorama Bar, where you occasionally return to these days. How do you perceive the scene in the capital compared to when you were living here?
I don’t party enough in Berlin to be able to make a fair analysis from then to now. I can only say what I see in Berghain and Panorama Bar when I play. What I will say is that people used to dress more wild and free, with much more colour, and now I think because of this rumour that you must wear black to have a good chance of getting through the doors, it seems to be mostly people dressed in black. I’d love to see more colour back on the dance floor! The wild and free vibe is still very much within the walls though, it’s always a pleasure to play in front of a crowd that are really connecting with the DJ, having moments losing themselves. This is something they have always had.
With your new label Kwench, launched last fall, you focus on collaborations between you and one other artist come together for a release. Why this particular concept?
I wanted to try and release music differently in a sense that it’s more conceptual. To have collaboration as the basis of the label, two persons’ minds, personalities, creativity, working together is a much more interesting approach. So far, I have had an amazing experience, and worked with some very talented artists, some whom I have looked up to for many years. It’s a very satisfying process for me, and I’m looking forward to the label’s potential.
In the meanwhile, you’ve also returned to releasing music on your Cassy imprint after seven years of radio silence and a slew of releases on other labels. What made you reactive Cassy?
I guess no more time to waste!
Your contribution to our Groove podcast seamlessly navigates between house and techno. What was your idea behind it?
It’s odd that you have said this, because I would really say these are all techno tracks, maybe all different fields of techno, but all techno for sure. The idea, I recently bought the Klockworks and Curle compilation and really loved the music, and so wanted to put some of it together along with other techno tracks I love. All the music in this mix really resonates with me right now.
On June 30th, you will play an all-nighter at London’s fabric. How do you prepare for gigs like that and what is important to maintain the energy in sets that run for 8 hours or more?
Energy bars! Maintaining my own energy helps me maintain the energy in the room. And of course, I try to get as much music together, and really listen to it as much as possible before hand.
Last but not least: Where can we see you behind the decks in the near future, and what are your plans as a producer and label owner?
To make as much music as possible, to have more interesting releases for Kwench. I am also looking forward the summer in Ibiza as I’m playing a couple of different gigs again. I’m playing two all night long sets in the room two of Cocoon at Pacha this summer, which I’m really looking forward to!
Stream: Cassy – Groove Podcast 157
01. Theo Parrish, Craig Huckaby, Carolyn Ferrari, Jovia Armstrong – Gullah Geechee (Sound Signature)
02. Anthony Parasole – My Diary (MDR)
03. Cassegrain – Future D’Argent (Curle)
04. Nastia Reigel – Figures in Brine (Truncate Repaint) (Credo)
05. Pascal Hetzel – Noxious Stimulus (Caduceus Records)
06. Newa – Dance of the Warrior (Klockworks)
07. Carl Cox – Your light shines on (Pan-Pot Remix) (Intec)
08. Mattia Trani – Future Funk Return (Ben Sims Remix) (Pushmaster Discs)
09. Steve Bicknell – Running (Curle)
10. Pom Pom – Untitled 1 (Ostgut Ton)
11. Darren Emerson – Birdcage (Intec)
12. Cassy – One (Cassy Reshape) (Cassy)
13. Sterac – Scientific Methods (Klockworks)
14. Sterac – Lately (Klockworks)