Together (Till The Morning) Feat. Newtimers

I can still remember vividly hearing my first Skrillex song in a hazy dorm room about five years ago–it was around the same time that “EDM,” to some people’s chagrin, became an unstoppable force in mainstream music. For the college kids of that generation, like myself, it was an exciting moment hearing a completely new genre of mind-altering compositions. While frantically looking for all the EDM I could find, I stumbled across a Swedish duo by the name of Cazzette, who created an enormous dubstep remix of one of my favorite songs at the time, “Monster” by Kanye West.

As Cazzette rose to popularity, they signed with legendary manager Ash Pournouri, who’s best known for helping launch Avicii‘s career, and ended up supporting Avicii on his world tour when “Levels” was making him a household name. Just as with every new wave of music, though, EDM eventually hit a pinnacle of commercialization that began taking away from the artistry and originality that once made it so enticing. In the last five years or so, the term has become tied to a negative stigma–some detracting rationales more valid than others. Meanwhile, a number of the popular artists at the time’s music started sounding the same, with only few emerging from the EDM bubble with a distinguishable style.

Cazzette have seen EDM from its inception to its current, somewhat stagnant, state working to push their music forward exploring various soundscapes along the way. EDM’s legacy resonates, at least to some degree, in almost all genres today and electronic music, in general, is in an absolutely fantastic place thanks to the path it paved. In recent years, Cazzette have shown a determination to break free from classification and their upcoming EP, Desserts, sees the two escaping the constraints of EDM, instead focusing on pure grooves across sub-genres of electronic music. Artists are often at their best when they abandon genre restrictions and that’s exactly the crossroads where Cazzette stand now.

We were lucky enough to chat with Alex and Seb of Cazzette and it’s a fascinating, candid retrospective on the EDM movement as well as a powerful story about the artistic freedom displayed on their EP. Enjoy the interview below as well as the premiere of a behind the scenes video about the making of the track “State of Bliss” from the forthcoming project, which drops on August 14th on Spotify and August 28th on iTunes.

TMN: Can you tell us a bit about your first experiences with music—whether it be your parents playing you a record or the first time you tried an instrument.

Alex:  So for me, I’ve always been around music. I never played anything–like I never went to school for piano or anything like that but I think one of my earliest memories of music was being in the car with my dad and I remember we arrived to where we were going and I had to stay in the car because I had to keep listening to that Michael Jackson song “They Don’t Really Care About Us.” I think that’s like, well that wasn’t necessarily electronic music but that’s like one of my first memories of feeling like, music is so amazing, you know?

And then for electronic music I think, I must have been in high school and I went to this super lame disco and some techno song was playing and there were lasers and stuff. I was just really, like, hypnotized by that and after that I started DJ’ing and producing.

Seb: Yeah I think Michael Jackson was for everybody–for many kids in our generation, that was the shit. So that’s my first memory, but then how I got into electronic music was through my dad who always played me house music, trance music, like psych-trance, all this kind of weird stuff. And I think that’s how I got my interest in electronic music. it’s pretty much the same story for me as Alex, my dad introduced me to everything when it came to electronic music. And my mom also had really good taste–she listened more to like Prince and stuff like that.

TMN: When you guys first linked up, it was online, right? What drew you to each other’s styles?

Alex: Yeah, I think we found interest in each other’s music pretty early. We just started talking and sending demos back and forth. We’re a lot alike in the way that we didn’t really think about “Oh I do this genre, you do this genre”–you know like 2 separate genres. And then we started being influenced by each other. But this was more casual, you know, we were both like let’s just make music.

TMN: Can you talk a bit bout the landscape of electronic music back then? Because it was so different with EDM not quite being a full-blown movement yet.

Alex:  Yeah, it was very different. I mean now it feels like you know, every third person you meet is a DJ, right. And it’s a little bit different–I mean I remember watching videos of Axwell and Ingrosso and those guys, they were playing these shows and there were maybe 600 people there or something. Everyone was just going nuts and it was a completely different atmosphere. I’m not saying that it’s worse now, not at all. I think it’s great that it’s available for all these people because I think music should be available for everyone. So it’s awesome. But it’s just different, it was just more underground in a way.

Seb: For me it was very different at that time. I think electronic music was really more interesting back then. Everything was very new, changing all the time, always evolving. Now I don’t think it is as interesting any more, but it’s still good.

Alex: You know what differs the most? I think the arrangement of the songs, actually.

TMN: Like the arrangement of songs now is  formulaic in a lot of ways for artists?

Alex: Exactly. Yeah, it’s like every track is almost arranged the same way. Every one has a 1 minute intro and then there’s a breakdown and then there’s a drop. But back then it wasn’t as as bar oriented, you know. It wasn’t necessarily exactly 1 minute intro, it could be 3 minutes. And then just a switch-up to something completely random. I think Laidback Luke has a song from 2006 called “Molotov” and that’s a really good example of how stuff could sound back then. I miss that a lot actually.

TMN: I can remember pretty distinctly the first thing I heard from Cazzette was your “Monster” remix. Can you speak a little bit on the excitement around dubstep when it first started and how you guys were inspired to go down that path to some extent. And what are your thoughts on how that movement exploded and then fizzled out a bit in recent years?

Seb: At that time, we very inspired by Skrillex, which is still true to this day, but also Nero and stuff like that. To be honest we never really listened to that much electronic music like that. Yeah, I think when we got signed with Ash (Pournouri), we never really listened to dubstep, we just did whatever felt good. And of course as I said, we listened to Skrillex and stuff like that but other than that, it was more other stuff. And it still is to this day, we just listen to weird music, I guess.

TMN: What type of music then do you feel like you listen to that inspires you?

Seb: I think that what we are inspired by today is very diverse. Sometimes it’s rock music and sometimes it’s hip-hop, sometimes it’s straight up pop. It can be anything. Right now I’m in some Drake mood that I can’t really let go. I just love the productions and obviously Drake himself, but more production-wise.

Alex: Yeah that whole OVO sound is really dope.

Seb: It’s something new and interesting and it’s very stripped down mostly, but it’s still very filling. I’m very interested sound-wise in how it’s so comfortable to listen to even though it’s hitting you quite hard. It’s actually something that people, not a lot of producers, have succeeded with before, which I’m really intrigued by. Other than that it’s a lot of indie music. If I would look at my Spotify playlist right now, you would be surprised. Let me name you one thing here, and you’ll see how it is, it’s really strange. J Dilla, which is hip hop obviously, and then there’s Marvin Gaye. Vic Mensa is really good, I really love his stuff. Frank Ocean, Miguel, The Weekend. Travi$ Scott, Jamie xx–the list goes on and on.

TMN: We wanted to touch a little bit on your early touring days with Avicii and working with Ash P, as legendary as he has been in the scene. What were your touring experiences like back then, and how different is touring and playing shows now?

Alex: I think when we started out touring with Avicii and all that, everything was so new, and it was so rare. The shows that we were playing, it was a completely different energy than it is now. We’d show up in towns where you know, nothing would go on and we’re like, “is this even a city?” And 5,000 people would show up and it would just be crazy. But that was the tour with Tim (Avicii) though. That was insane because that was exactly when he was blowing up as well. I feel like now in every major city there’s basically 5 shows per week or something. So I think people have a lot more options now. Which is good, obviously, but I think that’s the main difference.

TMN: Moving on to what you’ve been working on recently, the upcoming EP, which I’ve had a chance to listen to and it feels like you guys have got a lot of great grooves going on in your music. Making it through the EDM craze and still being here, can you talk a little bit about your progression and how that’s manifested on the EP?

Alex: Yeah we’ve progressed a great amount. I think the main difference started when we first created “Sleepless,” we look at that as like a fresh start for us. I think what we told ourselves is that we have to make music that we enjoy listening to as well–otherwise there’s not really any point. Because, at that time, we stopped playing our songs from the Eject album and we actually didn’t really feel it any more. There is so much electronic music out there and ,especially in the EDM bubble that we kind of got stuck in, all the songs were starting to sound alike. So we weren’t comfortable producing songs that were arranged in the same way all the time. So we just went “Fuck it,” and started to make songs that we could listen to at home, but we could also enjoy in clubs. That’s kind of why this EP sounds so different from Eject.

Seb: Yeah I think we just started making music that felt natural and not forced. That’s how we do everything now, we just we just go for a feeling. If it feels good, then I don’t give a shit if the label says “Oh, it’s not gonna be good on radio.” I couldn’t care less. Because if it feels good, then it’s something.

TMN: It means something to you.

Seb: Yeah, not only that, something moves. Something happens to me, and it happens to Alex, and if it happens to the people we work with here in the studio and talk to every day then we know it’s meaningful. If the radio says that they’re not going to play it, yeah I don’t care. It’s good music, and I want to make good music.

Alex: Yeah of course. If you’re creating dance music and you look upon it as you’re not creating EDM, that helps a lot, too because then you suddenly remove all those boundaries, expectations and format. You’re thinking “Oh I’m creating dance music now.” For instance, I don’t care if Hardwell plays it, or if anyone plays it. This is something that I want to play, and I create dance music. It’s not EDM, you know?

TMN: You guys are kind of speaking to a general change towards dance music–just straight dance music without that label of EDM. Did you guys feel like you were a little bit restricted? With your last album like, while you were making it, was it something that was in your head a little bit, and do you feel like you’ve broken free of that on the new EP?

Alex: I think when we were making the first album we were having fun. But also, It became old very fast, in a way. I think that’s what happens when you create. Because we were in that whole EDM bubble back then. Yeah it was just hard for us to keep making tracks like that, so I think we’ve been wanting to move away from that. Even though we didn’t know it at the time.

TMN: Listening to the EP now, do you have a favorite track at the moment?

Seb: I think I like, the song I like the most is between “Dancing With Your Ghost” or “Solo Para Ti.”

Alex: I’m going to say between “Solo Para Ti” and “Genius.”

Seb: The whole purpose of the EP was that every song has its own theme and I think it’s unfair also to say that something’s better than the other, it’s just good shit in our opinion.

TMN: Were there any features that you were particularly excited about? Any one you actually worked with closely in the studio? Or was it mostly sending tracks back and forth?

Seb: LP was really fun to work with but that’s actually the only song that we made in the same room.

Seb: We had a really good time working with her, she’s so funny. She really makes me laugh. It was almost like a comedy show in the, in the studio. She’s very charming.

TMN:  How do you feel like your live sets have evolved? Are you you more building sets more around that dance music theme?

Alex:  I mean we play everything. I think that what the main difference between our sets now and let’s say 2 years ago or 3 years ago, is that now we actually play exactly everything we love. There might be some hip hop, some trap, there could even be like some funk. We play everything now. And we just play music that we believe in and support 100%. Compared to before where we we felt kind of weighed down by the whole EDM bubble. But now it’s more like “Oh, this track is cool. But, oh wait, but it’s not 128 BPM.” Fuck it, we’re going to play it anyway, you know. So now it’s a lot more interesting stuff going on at the shows.

TMN: If aliens came down to Earth and they asked you what music was, what song would you play them?

Seb: “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.

Alex: I would pick some classical piece. Oh! You know what, maybe the, the soundtrack to Interstellar.

TMN: Is there anything else you guys like, you know that we didn’t cover that you guys want to make sure we get out there in the article?

Alex:  Just thanks to all our fans that keep supporting us and letting us do what we want to do. We love everyone of you.

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