You've likely heard of Cassian more than once across the past decade, whether as a remixer for the likes of Rüfüs Du Sol, RAC, Anna Lunoe and Touch Sensitive or as a mixer and engineer for What So Not's 'All The Beautiful Things', Hayden James and more, or as a DJ across Australia, the US, Europe, and beyond.
Coming up in the heyday of Australia's electronic boom alongside more than a handful of other familiar names and talents, Cassian has honed his craft as a mixer and a sound engineer for years despite a consistent interest in producing and creating himself.
It's an overdue welcome for Cassian to finally be stepping into his own. He's released 'Lafayette', a tune that seems to have already stopped people in their tracks on the dancefloor, which serves as the first taste of his upcoming album. The album is a monumental release not only for Cassian himself, but also serves as the inaugural release for Rüfüs Du Sol's new label, Rose Avenue. He's also part of Mixmag and WAV's Magnified program and it seems as though there couldn't be more signs pointing to Cassian as one to keep an eye on.
Ahead of his upcoming full-length release, Cassian dropped by for an exclusive Q+A plus a one hour mix with teasers of what's to come.
Did you come from a musical family?
Absolutely. My grandad was a musician: he had a guitar, piano and all the string instruments. My great grandad was an orchestra conductor. The piano I learned to play on was my great grandma’s, which got passed down. It had ciggy burns in it and drink ring marks, from being the center of the party back in the day.
How did you become interested in the electronic side of music?
I was 10 or 11 when we moved to Sydney, and I used that to guilt my parents into getting me a guitar. [From guitar], I got into bands and I joined a band with a family friend who was a bit older and was doing shows in the city.
The lead singer's big brother ran a nightclub. When we started doing gigs, DJs would come on after us and I remember being curious, so I asked if I could practice after sound check. Every time we had a show, I’d go in early or stay after and mess around on the decks.
When I turned 18, I started doing gigs in the back room [of Candys Apartment]. Hayden James, Emoh (What So Not), two of his friends and myself had a party called Kacid. Alex was in a band playing bass and started DJing. We almost had a DJ duo together! [Laughs] She eventually went on to become Alison Wonderland.
How did you become a mixer and sound engineer?
I was in another band around 2007 or 2008. I was a session player and played keys for Snob Scrilla. He got a song on triple j, and then went on tour and [brought] me. I worked on his album a tiny bit - that was the first time I was doing stuff in the studios.
I slowly figured out the mixing and production stuff on my own. I had a project with a guy called Shazam, [who] was a year or two younger than me. We pushed each other and accelerated, working together. He was an amazing producer and mixer.
There was a remix that we originally did together that I ended up using for my project, and I did a 100 different mix downs on it, and it still doesn’t even sound good to this day. I knew I needed to learn how to do it consistently so I just started figuring out my own way of doing things. I was good at math in high school and I use metering a lot, so I applied it and the more practice and the more things I got to work on helped me figure it out on my own. Only in the last six months have I really been able to make my own stuff sound the way I want it to sound.
Why did now feel like the right time to focus on your own career?
A good opportunity came up. As I was saying, I only feel like just now am I really making things sound the way I want them to, and I’m more confident in my songwriting now as well. I didn’t want to do a whole album of just dance tracks - it just never made sense to me.
I finally found a good manager, too. I met her, it was instantly a good vibe, plus the core of the songs of the album are from sessions she set up for me. After that, it started to feel like an album.
Then, a few months ago at a Cut Copy show, Danny (Rüfüs Du Sol's manager) pulled me aside, asking if we could talk and eventually offered to release my album on what would eventually become Rose Avenue. At the time, we were talking to another label, but we were knew no one is would get it like they would.
When did you know you were creating an album?
The oldest song is from four years ago, from when I started writing songs. I’ve helped other people produce something they wrote, or mix something they wrote, but I've never sat down and written my own songs... even as a kid, or playing guitar. I wasn’t writing lyrics, or arranging or singing - which I am on the album!
The best compliment is when people hear it and are like, “Wait, that’s you?”
What's the album about?
Relationships. The whole album is about relationships, and the cycle of relationships.
What does it mean to you to be the first release on Rüfüs' label, Rose Avenue?
It means a lot. For me, I’m just so happy. When I was 18, I got signed to my dream record label in Australia at the time, Bang Gang. I was making modular records, I was touring… and I was like, "This is it. This is exactly what I want." It ended up falling apart, and while I’ve found many labels I love in between, I had never found a place that felt like home. Now, the guys have a label and it’s all music I love and am actually involved in. It really feels like home.
Cassian's debut album is out on Rose Avenue in early 2019
Valerie Lee is Mixmag's US Digital Editor. Follow her on Twitter here
Rufus Du Sol - Underwater (Adam Port Remix)
George Fitzgerald - Burns (Lane 8 Club Mix)
Eelke Kleijn - The Calling
CIOZ - Lucky Shot
Mr Sanka - Gallon (Cassian Remix)
Dusky - Amongst The Gods
Cassian - Lafayette
Andrew Meller - Godfather’s Dance
Yotto - Kantsu
Durante - Reprieve
Wally Lopez - La Dorada (Betoko Remix)
ARTBAT - Prometheus
Dena Amy - Jol