by Shannon Petrick
Cass Cutbush (from the infamous Cass and Slide) has been one of the most hardworking and prolific producers in the dance music industry. Whether you know his name or not, you've most definitely heard his work. He is the mastermind behind Flying Rhino Record's growing popularity and he has tracks on some of the best mixed CDs ever to come out. To name a few: Sasha's Global Underground Ibiza (track: "Perception"), John Digweed's Global Underground Hong Kong (track: "Diablo" Evolution Mix), and the amazing, ethereal track on Jimmy Van M.'s new CD, Trance Nation America (track: "Opera" Beckett's Phantoms Only Mix). Not only is Cass an outstanding producer but he's also one of the rising DJ talents.
This interview was done shortly after his awe-inspiring performance at Mythos in Charlotte, NC (brought to you by Progressive Collective).
Name: Cass Cutbush
Lunar: Who were your musical influences growing up?
Cass: Oh, there's so many. One big influence was a French producer by the name Jean-Michel Jarre. He was one of the pioneers in dance music. I remember he used to hold these massive concerts...so he was definitely one of my first exposures to electronic music.
Lunar: What did you listen to growing up that wasn't dance music?
Cass: I used to listen to a lot of hip-hop, believe it or not. I love freestyle. I really liked the pioneers in hip-hop too, like De La Sol. I also grew up on The Cure and Joy Division and New Order. I think Depeche Mode was a big influence on me as well...especially the Violator album...I would listen to that constantly.
Lunar: What are your favorite all-time tracks in dance music?
Cass: Let's see...probably Massive Attack, "Unfinished Symphony"...Catch 22, "Auricom"...and I love Aria...it's the ultimate in progressive records.
Lunar: So tell me the situation with Flying Rhino Records. Didn't you help them get off the ground?
Cass: Well...sort of, yes. I was the label manager there for a while. I got the job out of 250 applicants...it was crazy. They wanted someone fresh because they really didn't like the music they were making. At the beginning, they were only selling like, 700 records but then when I came in...well, let's just say that we [Cass and Slide] sold about 7,000 for them...so they really took off.
Really, at the end, I had so many ideas and I wanted my own label and I wanted to leave Flying Rhino. Everything ended up fine when I told them I wanted to leave. There was no anymosity...I put them in a position to sell records and they left me to do what I wanted to do. It was crazy though, in 3 days I went from being unhappy with my job at Flying Rhino to having my own label.
Lunar: Only three days??
Cass: Yeah, isn't that crazy? To quit a job and have your own label in 3 days...[shakes head].
Lunar: Are you starting a new label now?
Cass: Yes...it's called Fire Recordings and it's me, Pete Martin [his partner, Slide] and Grant Collins. We already have four tracks from Excession (including a Corellian track), two tracks from Rogue Audio, and a Ben Shaw vocal track. Ben Shaw is amazing...he's only 21 years old and he's so talented. And of course, we have our [Cass and Slide], "Opera" [on Jimmy Van M.'s Trance Global Nation CD].
Lunar: So, who are your influences now?
Cass: I'd have to say one guy tops them all: Craig Richards. He's the head of Tyrant. I admire him because he plays what he wants to play and he's so intelligent in the way that he approaches everything in a business sense. I also really love Jimmy Van M. and Lee Burridge [resident at Tyrant in the U.K.].
Lunar: Are you making tracks with anyone now?
Cass: Yes, of course, Grant Collins and Danny Tenaglia...and Tarentella is engineering his first solo record on Fire [Recordings].
Lunar: Do you have any residencies?
Cass: No...not really. But I just signed on to Dave Seaman's management agency. I'm most known for the music that I make but I've been a DJ for 10 years. I only started making music 18 months ago.
Lunar: Okay, so you only started making music 18 months ago and already you're this talented?! You make me sick...
Cass: [laughs] I suppose I've just had the right people to influence me in my life.
Lunar: And, last but not least, what are your favorite clubs to play?
Cass: Oh, it has to be Rimmel in Mexico City and Alderaan in Liverpool...I really love Twilo too but I've never played there.
Lunar: So how do you like playing at Mythos [Charlotte, NC]?
Cass: Oh, I love it. I've had so much fun this weekend...I've played golf...and I'm really, really hoping to see X-Men while I'm here. It's not out in the U.K. yet.
Lunar: Well, it was fun hanging out with you these past couple of nights...
Cass: Oh, it's been so much fun! I'll be back [to the U.S.] really soon...
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