Cassette Electrik – Interview Pt 1

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Cassette Electrik - Oli and LucyAs we are fast approaching the 1st November album launch gig for Cassette Electrik, presented exclusively by MusicRiot, we decided it was time to get the two people behind the band sat down and answering questions!

Here is Part 1 where we look at how the band formed, when they started gigging, and why they were nearly called “Hot Buttered Elvis”!

Cassette Electrik are the combined talents of Oli Freke and Lucy Bugiel, with extra band members drafted in for live gigs. MusicRiot tracked them both down to the roof garden of the Big Chill House just down from Kings Cross. As the sun shone down we started off by finding out a bit more about their backgrounds.

Oli: It seems like I have been doing music for ever, but my major experience was about five years ago when I was doing hard house dance music and ran a label with some friends. We were doing live PA’s in places like Heaven and Brixton Academy. Then, just on the verge of success, we did a Spinal Tap and fell out… So our final gig was us just loathing each other, which was nice…

Then I got into Brazilian drumming and I realised that dance music was actually quite boring.

MusicRiot: How do you just get into Brazilian drumming?

O: Well dance music is all about percussion and rhythm, so I thought I should teach myself a bit more and, of course, Brazilian music is all about rhythm. So I hooked up with a bloke who taught drums at Kingston University when I was doing my MA in Music. Because Brazilian music is so exciting I realised that hard house is not really that interesting, musically, and so then I was looking around for new projects to do – and here we are.

Cassette Electrik - Oli and Lucy - keyboard and fanMR: Cool, how about you Lucy?

Lucy: My musical history is a bit more just me and my guitar. I’ve always just done acoustic stuff, although in the last seven years I’ve met up with people who have done music with a bit less mellow acoustic and a bit more mellow dance. Which is how I happened to do the song that Oli and I hooked up on the first time – he just wanted some vocals on it.

MR: So how did you find each other?

L: A mutual friend introduced us. And so we did that first track, and then thought “we could do some more interesting stuff other than this couldn’t we?”

O: That was the moment that I was going off all that hard house.

L: So my background is more acoustic song-writing.

O: You should mention your “Big Chill” appearance as we are in the Big Chill house.

L: Yeah, I played the “Big Chill” in a band called Pop Damage, where we performed the KLF’s Chill Out Album Live which was quite a challenge and a good experience, but a one-off thing. Other than that it was just me doing my stuff and also collaborations with people that I know or who I was introduced to.

MR: So when you did your first piece together what was the moment where you thought you both clicked?

L: It was probably the first song that we did even though it was hard house.

O: We thought there was something there.

L: And then I did a cover of “A Little Respect” and Oli really liked it and went away and did amazing things to it, and I was like, “wow that’s so cool.”

O: We didn’t go, “this is exactly what we are going to do”, right from the start. We just did another track, and then another track…

L: It was quite organic

O: And then Lucy suggested we play live so I was like “yeah right, let’s try it.”

L: I’ve been wanting to do some more dancey stuff live for ages, and never really find the right vehicle, shall we say.

O: Yes I’m just a vehicle to you…

L: Haha. Of course writing and playing music with someone else is so much more fun than doing it by yourself.

O: Yeah, and ditto with electronics. You can do electronic music by yourself but you don’t necessarily want to turn into a laptop musician, sort of hunched over a mouse. It makes it a lot more interesting to have a human element.

L: Very early on we were very keen to do something that we could do live, a live experience. And we came to the conclusion that we needed other people for the live gigs. We write and produce the stuff ourselves but generally we need more people for the live show.

MR: So when was your first live gig?

O: August 31st at “Lark in the Park” in Islington.

L: Slightly inauspicious beginnings.

MR: How did that go?

L: It went really well actually.

O: It was very good. Although it was just like a pub night, with an indie band and a rock band and …

L: Yeah, we were a bit random, but it went down well so we thought we’d do another one.

O: We had the most people there, and they all cheered which was good. Because you never know when you first do something like that it could just fail horribly and you realise you were just barking up the wrong tree.

Cassette Electrik - Nov 1st gigMR: You started out as Cassette, but are now Cassette Electrik. How did you decide on the name in the first place?

O: Band names are the biggest pain in the arse. We spent about two months pinging suggestions backwards and forwards. “Hot Buttered Elvis” was out quite early on I think. Although that’s actually a real band.

In the course of this I have discovered some great band names like “Armageddon dildo” and “Gee, that’s a large beetle I wonder what it’s called”.  It’s easy to think of ridiculous ones but it’s more difficult to think of names that do capture what you do.

Come back for the rest of the story, in about a week’s time, when we discuss their live gigs, the new album and the future! And keep an eye on MusicRiot.co.uk for more info from the band.