Cassyette: "I’ve always been myself and I’ve always liked the same things as I like now. But I feel like when I was a kid, I really was always just trying to fit in."
Meg Atkinson | 21/03/2022
Cassyette is on her way to the hall of Rock ‘N’ Roll fame. Truly she is. She will be carried there by her almost family-like alternative cult community, in their droves. You may think Cassyette has come from nowhere, but this is far from the truth. She has come full circle with her sound and who she is an artist that is taking the alternative scene by storm in 2022 having already collaborated with Frank Carter & The Rattle Snakes and Kid Brunswick.
From what I have just described you would think Cassyette is busy, and she is. Preparing for tour in the next few days, recording what seems to be an album and a new single that as I write this has just been released as BBC Radio 1’s hottest record in the world. Cassyette’s life is what every upcoming musician is craving, momentum. But underneath this success and fame, Cassy has had to deal with loss and heartbreak, and she reveals all here.
We sit over zoom. It’s been a long time since we last spoke and having a lovely welcomed catch up is great. But if you don’t know of Cassyette with her amazing fusion sound of dance and heavy rock that feels so refreshing, I want to ask her where her journey of discovery started for herself and her music. Going to a Catholic school as a young girl, Cassy highlights breaking away from fitting in.
“I’ve always been myself and I’ve always liked the same things as I like now. But I feel like when I was a kid, I really was always just trying to fit in. So, I liked my things in secret, a lot. I suppose when I got to year 11, then I started making more friends with like other girls who liked the same things, and then we would go to gigs together and do stuff and that was cool.”
“When you’re a kid, you don’t really know who you are. So, you’re trying out loads of stuff and phases and all that. So, I feel like this is funny thinking about it because I went through so many phases, but really, I ended up exactly the same person as I have always been. I’m just honest about the things I like now. I think the music’s like gone on the same sort of journey, as the first-ever thing that I did was a band and we were quite shit, but you’ve got to start somewhere. All of the music I was writing when I was younger was rock music and then I learned to produce, making loads of different stuff. I made a lot of dance music and someone I knew was like, You should be a DJ because, at the time, there weren’t that many female DJs. So, I did that.
I did a lot of things I didn’t necessarily like doing, but it taught me what I did like, and then I was producing the weirdest, when I say that weird stuff, I’d make some, like really experimental things. That did teach me a lot about the technical side and electronic music in general. Then I went on to do quite like heavy stuff like purely rock music, and a lot of it now I look back on it, it makes me cringe. Because it didn’t feel like fully me. It was kind of like me experimenting with things, but I still released it anyway because I was shameless. But then I feel like I merged the dance and the rock, I suppose.”
Now harnessing her sound fully, Cassyette just needed an outlet to showcase this talent and during lockdown, as we all did, start a TikTok. During this time no one knew what power this app held with projecting success, especially Cassyette. I ask her how she feels about this app propelling her career forward creating a fanbase.
“I thought you know what, I’m just gonna do this TikTok because I was so fucking bored. I was writing music; I was bored of not engaging with people because it was locked down at the same time. So really, I feel like I got quite lucky with the timing of it all.”
“It’s sick. I feel like it gives you a chance to show what you can actually do, and I’ve followed so many super talented musicians, artists, tattoo artists, fashion designers, all through that because I genuinely feel like it’s the only platform that actually lets real talent shine.”
So now we have the lowdown on the sound of Cassyette and her development, what I just want to know is what life has really been like for her at the moment underneath this whirlwind of success.
“So, I basically I worked out I’ve moved six times this year. Well, not this year, the year before. So actually, no, that means I moved five times last year and then once this year. But anyway, the point is, I’ve moved a f*cking tonne which has been really annoying because you know when you just don’t feel grounded.”
“I broke up with my ex and then I had to obviously move out and we did all that. Now I’m here and I’m in a new place and I’m really happy. I feel like I’ve finally found a place where I can settle my things. It’s just nice. It’s nice to feel settled somewhere. So, that’s a good thing. I’m living with my mates as well. So, it’s good.’
With this breakup comes “Mayhem”, a track that really holds nothing back lyrically. Its release came with a huge reception, being BBC Radio 1’s hottest record in the world. Cassy touches on the painful breakup she experienced.
“Over the last year, I’ve learnt that nothing good lasts forever and sometimes you have to let things go. I loved him, and he loved me, but after going through so much, it changed things between us, and we had too many problems beyond repair. I had that feeling in the pit of my stomach that our time was up, and we both wanted to let go. We had reached the bottom line and my whole world turned upside down.”
“I don’t think you ever fully get over heartbreak. We broke each other’s hearts. It feels like Mayhem.”
Loss is hard at the most normal of times and through the Coronavirus pandemic, in and out of lockdown, many experienced losses of family and friends like no other time in our recent history. The isolation was bleak and funerals small. During this time Cassy’s dad passed away. In the most honest way, Cassy speaks to me about how this affected her.
“If I’m being brutally honest about it, it was the fucking worst, darkest time in my life because you have to imagine, my dad actually passed away in Barbados. So, we had to go over to Barbados to bring his body back. And it was just so traumatic.”
“We had to stay there for nearly a month to finish it all. I was with my mom, my sisters, and we did that, came back over, then, we were so lucky Just before lockdown, we had his funeral. So, we got to do that, and I know people who have had people pass over that time and didn’t even get to have a funeral. So, we were so lucky in that sense.”
“But then going into the lockdown, It was just so lonely. Genuinely I look back now… I feel like I might cry but I want to tell you because mental health is such a big part of what I stand for and it was a really hard time.”
Hearing Cassy being this brave about the loss of her dad shows how strong she is. That strength and honest songwriting are within the track Petrichor. Cassyette continues telling how the feeling of loss poured into this track.
“I think that it was definitely one of my darkest times and you do silly things and not be think about silly things. A lot of the music I’ve written is about that. Petrichor was about that and spiralling out of control. In the second verse, I say some quite f*cking dark things. But it’s exactly how I felt at that time, and it’s warranted.”
“I’ve had so many people, Meg it’s been mental, message me about that song and how they’ve been through the same thing and similar things and how it connected with them. I think it’s amazing how music can do that.”
“The shit that some people go through, and I think, oh my God, you’ve got to fucking count your blessings. I always have to remind myself to do my gratitude in my head because I think so many people have it’s so much worse.”
Not shying away from difficult issues and conversations Cassyette released “Prison Purse” in late 2021, Cassy tells me all about the meaning, writing, and recording of this track that really defines her wonderous original sound.
“I wanted to write a song about sexual assault for ages, but I didn’t want it to be f*cking scary. I have quite a dark sense of humour, and so do a lot of my friends as do my sisters. I think me and my sister were watching Orange Is The New Black and someone said, ‘prison purse’ and then my sister just started saying prison purse anytime she talked about her vagina. She was like my ‘prison purse’ And I was like, that is actually f*cking jokes.”
“Things have happened in my life that I haven’t consented to, and I will talk about them openly because I think it’s really important too. But you know, it’s not the same for everyone and not everyone wants to talk about things. I had this one night where I and my friends had this really open conversation about it and a couple of them said things that they’ve never told anyone and it just made me fucking rage, like, I was so angry, and I think everyone was just feeling really angry.”
“The person who I wrote and purse with, as well, is a really good friend of mine, who has also been through a lot of that kind of trauma. I thought was the perfect person to write this song with.
“We wrote it in this really weird pub in Brixton, under the ground. They had this basement, and it was literally a basement. It wasn’t a studio and one of my friends was just renting it as a studio. It was really hot. It was the hottest day of the year. We were getting quite drunk while we were writing because it’s so intense. We were getting beer cups and pint glasses, and we made the smashing corner. In the song, you can just hear so many smashes, because we just kept recording everything. We were breaking so much shit. It was really getting something out of us at the same time. So, I feel like the process of making that song was really fun, but also really intense, and quite sad.”
There is a sense that what Cassyette is doing is not hiding anything. Her emotions are on her sleeve lyrically and vocally. This creates this musical landscape that a listener can relate to and take solace in. I ask her how she feels about being so honest.
“For me, it’s the most important thing you can do. For me, as a musician, I’ve always written music because it makes me feel better, and then I guess now I’ve been able to turn it into a career, that’s given me even more incentive to be as real and as raw as possible.”
“If it makes me feel better, it’s going to make other people feel better and connected. When people write stuff to me, like those messages, I’m like ‘oh my god, I’m going to just not hold back at all.”
“I could never just make something up. I think it would turn out shit if I did. So, for me, it’s like a really, and it sounds cliche and cringy to say it, but it is therapeutic. Everyone f*cking says that but it’s true. I’m happy to share my experiences with people because music should be something that connects people and that’s personally why I do it is because I want to feel connected with people. I love sharing my art and I love other people sharing their art with me as well.”
So, What’s next for Cassyette? Download Festival has been confirmed and maybe an album that’s for sure, but if not, definitely more hard-core heart-wrenching music that is the new voice for the alternative youth. She is redefining this genre. She is being real, being empowered and most of all being her true self that is healing.
Words: Meg Atkinson
Photography: Jamie Waters