*All photos by Kenny Rodriguez
Cassy (Catherine Britton) has always considered herself a DJ first and foremost. Even though she might have first made her mark in electronic music through her voice, providing vocals for other producers she insists; “I see myself way more as a DJ than a singer.” A prominent DJ figure today, Cassy travels the world on the back of her skills behind a set of decks and regularly plays two to four times a week from intimate venues like Jæger’s basement to vast cavernous club spaces like Berghain’s Säule.
She is able to go from the immediate intensity of festival crowd at peak time, to the subtle intricacies of a seven-hour set in Berlin. “That’s my job,” she told us in no uncertain terms in the past on this blog. “For me it’s a given, if people pay me to play in the club, and I should pay attention to the crowd.“ She talks from extensive experience as a past Panorama Bar, Trouw, DC-10 and Rex Club resident.
As a recording artist her career has moved perpendicular with her career as a DJ, culminating in her debut LP in 2016, Donna. She’s released records for the likes of AUS music, Perlon and Bass Culture records, and she’s collaborated with some of the most prominent electronic music artists out there. In 2017 she set up her own label, Kwench Records to collaborate with artists like Art Alfie, Demuir and Pete Moss as well as establishing a platform for new artists.
It was since our last encounter with Cassy on this blog, that she’s launched her label and released her debut LP and although she’s been a regular feature in the booth at Jæger, we’ve missed some opportunities to ask her about these developments and others in her career, her music and club culture. We were not going to miss another opportunity however, and with her next set at Jæger looming, we shot over some questions to Cassy, and she happily indulged us. So excuse us, we have some catching up to do….
Hello Cassy and happy new year. Do you ever make new year’s resolutions?
I don’t need to make them in the new year as I make resolutions all the time, every week!
I was just looking over your touring schedule for 2018, and you played every week, most often twice a week (that I can see from RA) and all over the world. What do you do in between to recharge?
I try to sleep as much as possible, work out and eat well. I have also gotten back into meditation again more recently.
It’s been a while since we spoke and there have been so many highlights. The release of your album Donna was one of them. Looking back on it now two years down the line, what did the debut LP affirm and how has your personal relationship with the music evolve after you got some distance from it?
It was the first step into a direction I wanted to take, and it was a very good start. My relationship with the music differs. Sometimes I feel like I can’t listen to it anymore, and sometimes I really love it!
The electronic music album is becoming something of a lost art-form, especially in this era of musical consumption. How would you approach a second LP today differently from the last?
With a more relaxed attitude. Worry less about it being an album and trying to make it fit into what an album should be, and see it more as presenting the music that I have made.
With your record label imprint Kwench Records, the first releases were collaborations. What do you get out of the collaborative experience that is different from working solo?
When you collaborate the end result is something you have no idea of, unless you work together a lot of course, but for me that is not usually the case. It’s exciting and you can learn from each other.
“One thing I have learned in my life and my career is to not look into the past, look to the future and build something.”
The last few releases on the label were solo records from other artists. Was this an intentional shift? Will you continue to collaborate with other artists going forward?
The label is a journey, and it takes time to figure out what the best route is. It’s hard to have a vision of something that lasts forever so you have to allow for adjustments. At first, I had a strong vision, but quickly figured out that that vision was not completely possible, and so I am allowing the process of letting it grow more organically, but still having one eye on the road. One thing I have learned in my life and my career is to not look into the past, look to the future and build something.
Ivaylo featured on a compilation for the label, and I believe he’ll be bringing out an EP on Kwench in the new year. What established this relationship between our resident and your label and what can you tell us about this new EP?
The relationship developed by meeting Oslo every single time I am there, and talking about music and life, and feeling a strong connection.
2018 was the year of #metoo. Have you personally experienced a change in the industry since?
No comment. It’s better this way.
For an artist and DJ like you who came up through the ranks of a predominantly chauvinist industry, were you constantly aware of the challenges and how did you approach, and ultimately curb them?
It was extremely challenging from the get-go. Personally, I think having to deal with egomaniac, greedy, and power tripping personalities is worse, and both men and women can behave like that. I didn’t need to be aware these types of personalities, they were just in my face. When people act out of fear and are very short sighted this creates problems, so you just have to do your best to deal with things in your own way where possible, and stay in your power!
You’re an honorary resident by now at Jæger and you must know the crowd pretty well. How does your set adapt to the crowd here?
I feel at home at the club. It’s so easy to adapt there because it’s such a relaxed and open atmosphere.
What is in store for Cassy the recording artist and the Kwench label in 2019?
Now I have had the label for just over a year it’s given me a chance to think about the direction, and so I will be putting more energy into its identity in 2019. I am also working on my own music to broaden my horizons and release on other labels this year.
And lastly can you give us sneak peek into your record bag, and pick out three of your current favourites
Niles Cooper ‘House Gospel’ (Black Loops remix)
Eddie Amador and Dany Cohiba ‘Crazy’ Julian Chaptal remix