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Cassy: fearless and free

Cassy’s new album confirms that she is one of dance music’s most vital forces

  • Words: Ralph Moore | Photography: Dove Shore
  • 30 June 2016

This is not DC10. Outside, the many clocks of this chocolate-box city are striking 7.30pm. We’re inside the prestigious Vienna Konzerthaus, built in 1913 in a unique combination of historicism, secessionism and art nouveau architectural styles. On stage the world renowned Hagen Quartet are performing a blend of Shostakovitch and Schubert, an intriguing classical pairing of dark Russian drama and light Austrian romantic passion performed by four players at the very top of their game. Our host, Cassy, bought the tickets two months previously. “This is the best thing to do in Vienna,” she whispers. She knows precisely how much glamour to bring to the table: already tall without high heels, she arrives in a classy black dress holding a hand-made clutch bag designed to look like the children’s book, Heidi. Let’s put it this way: it’s not the kind you find in a second-hand store.

Age brings many things, but independence and perspective are two of the most important. When you’re 20, getting your foot on the work ladder is incredibly important. When you’re 30, it might be your first home. And if you’ve really grown up, you might consider having (whisper it) children. Now 42 and a mother to beloved son Rocky, Catherine Britton AKA Cassy has a decidedly different perspective to most of her peers. While most DJs love adulation and all the surrounding trappings, Cassy is a singer/songwriter/producer with a soft spot for Russian composers who also happens to be a DC10-trouncing house and techno DJ.

Born in England and raised in Austria to an English mother and a Barbadian father, Cassy came through the ranks thanks to early support from Miss Kittin, Luciano and Ricardo Villalobos to become one of the biggest DJs on the planet. Indeed, one look at her globe-straddling DJ calendar will see dates from Half Baked in Barcelona to Panorama at Randall’s Island in NYC alongside Arcade Fire and Kendrick Lamar, not to mention another summer at Circo Loco in Ibiza. (You might remember her crazy good Circo Loco-centric Mixmag cover CD which dropped precisely five seasons ago: she’s still pretty proud of it too). As a result, she’s been instrumental in paving the way for a new generation of open-minded female DJ/producers, from Laura Jones and La Fleur to B.Traits and Dana Ruh, all of whom have observed her emphasis on playing quality music in quality clubs to a crowd who aren’t after a quick fix of the hits. La Fleur, who also recently became a mother for the first time, has found inspiration beyond the music too: “Its so inspiring to see her in the zone while also being a mother and also staying true,” she says.

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