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Wednesday 04th, December 2002
Cass Interview online

There is no way you can call yourself a trance fanatic and not know who Cass is. His work in the duo Cass & Slide will always be part of the trance history we are proud of, with such amazing tracks as "perception" and "opera" to name just a few. In this interview with TNU, he talks about music, drugs and the death of monster prog label, Fire Recordings. Read on to get inside one of the best minds in music...

Name: cass
Aliases: Peabody cunna
Age: 29
Website: http://www.sabotagesystems.com
Nationality: British
Favorite dj: jimmy saville
Favorite producer: John Barry
Favorite tune: changes all the time, currently forme – ‘kick a hole’ (marine parade)
Favorite remix: Loes Lees & Meneater – “Territory” (Kemek the Dope Computer's Uptown Throwdown Remix) / Moving Target
Favorite cd: anything by Phil Collins
Favorite label: statra
Favorite food: sushi
Favorite drink: jd & coke
Favorite movie: The big sleep

In my opinion, Fire has the smoothest design of all labels. Its easy, but extremely sylish. Who’s idea was “the smoke”?

We were lucky enough to have an amazing graphic designer working for us called Andy Day from lostrobot (www.lostrobt.net). I come up with a most of the ideas, and he then ignores them and comes up with better ones.

Do you ever feel pressure to release “yet another hit” in this increasingly hard business?

We never really worried too much about that. Our records sold pretty well whatever they were, and I think that only Ben Shaw’s record ‘So Strong’ was a hit – but even that was an underground record.

You are in control over one of the most brilliant labels around. Fire Recordings keeps releasing nothing but quality. Tell us a little bit about how Fire got started, and how Fire has evolved to what it is today?

It started with just a few of us wanting to put out some music that we liked, and that was it really. There’s never been any master plan. Eventually though we all felt that we had come as far as we could and that we wanted to do our own things, which is why we brought Fire to an end.

When it comes to FIRE, is there anything you would have done diferently, have you been given a second chance?

Leave earlier, when it wasn’t as much fun as it was when we started.

How was it working with a living legend like Danny Tenaglia on the “fever rising” release? Is he “larger than life”, and as brilliant in the studio as they claim he is?

He’s not larger than life at all, he’s just very cool, very funny, very talented and incredibly down to earth. That’s why he’s a legend.

You mix “Its time to open fire” is actually legendary here in Norway as one of the best-ever progressive mixes around. For those who have been lagging behind lately, are there other Cass-mixes coming up?

They could check out the mix that I did for Spundae Recordings in the US (www.spundae.com), which came out in July this year. And I’m just about to mix my first cd for my new label Sabotage, which is called ‘8’. I’ve signed all new music for the cd, and then all 8 tracks are going to come out on 4 12’s as well.

We see talents that may have been in the business for 15 years (like Lemon8) all of a sudden jump into the limelight. We can also mention guys like James Holden, and now Yunus Guvunen is on his way. Are there other artists you think we should look out for?

Yupp: Tom Mangan, MOMU, Phil Spoon, Laser Mouse

There is a rumour that Sasha actually wrote the lyrics for “perception”, is there any truth to that, and if yes, what do you think of Sasha’s new album?

The record label that signed ‘Perception’ from its original home wanted to put a vocal onto the track to make it more commercially viable. We did a version with Kirsty Hawkshaw, but the label wasn’t keen on the version saying that the lyrics and feel of the finished product were too dark. So they got one of their regular writers in to write something, I believe his name was Sasha, but not that one.

Do you ever get tired of the “perception” questions?

No, not at all. I still think it’s cool to be have been involved with something that still generates so much interest, even after all this time.

Whats the weirdest remix you have been asked to do? Did you accept?

Kylie, and no we didn’t accept.

How would you describe yourself as a DJ?


How does it feel to be played by ALL the big djs? Do you ever wake up thinking it all must have been a dream? Or does it just “become life” after a while?

It still feels very cool that people you admire professionally are into what you’re passionate about. I think that would be the case whatever job you did.

What advice would you give to young djs/producers out there?

A friend of mine, Sean Cusick, writes a column for Xpander.nl I believe, and in his most recent column he says that producers shouldn’t be worrying about who’s going to play their music, but rather concentrate on making music so good that dj’s can’t overlook it. That seems a lofty but ideal sentiment for the first time producer.

What is the one piece of equipment that you could not do without in the studio?

G4 computer.

What producer would you most like to work with?

John Barry, Lalo Schifrin

If you could choose any producer in the world to remix one of your songs, who would it be, and what song?

William Orbit / ‘Opera’.

If you could remix any song in the world, what would it be?

Couldn’t pick one track, but it would be great to remix somebody like Bowie, Prince (in his early phase) or U2, just for the thrill of hearing their vocals on a backing track, and then being able to manipulate them yourselves.

Electronic music is often portrayed as “drug-music” by media. What are your thoughts on this?

Most main stream media mistakenly portray the essence of drug taking in conjunction with electronic music as an attempt to denigrate its quality, i.e. ‘You have to be on drugs to appreciate that kind of music’. There’s no doubt that the right drugs, with the right people and the right music make for an excellent combination – but they won’t make shit music any good.

Some electronic music, especially of the harder variety seems only to exist as a kind of sonic stimuli for chemical reactions and have no musical value at all, that in my opinion is understandably classed as drug music as it would surely be impossible to handle unless you were mullered. Have you ever heard Hard House on a stereo anywhere?

What is the biggest event in your life?

Hanging out with my friends.

Whatever happened to “glad I ate her” (lovely title by the way)? I have been looking around, and the few copies I can find costs like 100 pounds? Is there any hope at all for a full release?

We only released 999, so I guess it’s just a matter of supply and demand.

Will vinyl always be on top, or do you think cd mixing will take over? Which do you prefer?

I love vinyl, but am also comfortable using cd’s. But it’s difficult to become emotionally attached to a cd, whereas a quality piece of vinyl demands you affection.

Describe your best clubbing experience?

Playing at Twilo

Describe your worst clubbing experience?

Putting on a party where I had 200 people, but 199 of those were on the guest list.

If you could choose to play anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Pacha, Buenos Aires / Centro360, Singapore.

The music-business is well-known for being “mafia,sick and frustrating”, do you agree, or isnt that true at all?

It can be all those things. ‘Music is a beautiful thing, the music industry is not’. I can’t remember who said that, but they were right.

If you had 3 wishes that could come true, what would it be?

Assuming that all of the usual ones are covered like world peace, good will to all men, George Bush choking on a Pretzel, I’ll have the following please:
(1) Arsenal to win the Champions League.
(2) Orange to never charge me for another phone call again.
(3) For Nando’s and Wimpey to do home delivery.

What ringtone is on your mobile phone?

None, I can’t stand ring tones. My phone vibrates in my pocket, so I am alerted to an incoming call and sexually aroused at the same time.

Which song that you have produced are you most satisfied with?

Mind Rewind

What releases are coming up? Any surprises

Check the Sabotage website for updates info.

Finally, any last words for the users of trance.nu ?

Word to the mutha

Trance.nu would like to thank Cass for doing this interview, and all the great music that was, and is to come! Cheers!

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