“Tell any rock artist in the early throes of their career that, within the space of a year, they’ll perform as part of a Download headline set and play a 30,000-strong stadium show in support of My Chemical Romance, and they’ll probably laugh in your face. For one person, though, that’s already become a reality.
“You just can’t put it into words,” begins Cassyette, easing herself into a chair in the East London studio where our photoshoot is taking place today. It’s a Monday morning, and not even 48 hours on from her opening set at Stadium MK, where the singer was invited to support one of her favourite teenage bands upon their long-awaited return to the UK. And while Cassyette may be yawning, she can’t wipe the smile off her face.
“I actually had anxiety dreams about it the week before!” she laughs. “I was really anxious before. Playing with Frank Carter at Download [at last year’s Download Pilot] was massive, but then this was even bigger, and it’s just like, “Oh my god!’”
For the Essex star, it’s evident that these huge moments aren’t just the fodder of bucket lists. Having found solace in rock from an early age (the likes of Green Day and Fall Out Boy were on constant rotation during her school days), it’s a community she’s been drawn to ever since those formative years. “I’ve just always been a rock music fan,” she says simply. “My mum and dad always played that kind of music so I guess [it came from] them. My mum actually found this letter - she keeps everything - and I don’t know who the hell it was to, but I was about ten years old and I was saying how I really wanted to be in a band and I really wanted to be a rock star. It’s funny because I’ve been on such a journey musically but it always started with rock music and I’ve just come back to it. It’s always been there.”
Having first begun writing music after her neighbour - who was coincidentally also a music producer - heard her singing and asked her to work with him, Cassyette soon found herself exploring genres outside of the rock remit with which she was most familiar. “I guess he was the first person that got me into recording music,” she begins. Their original collaboration was on a Dixie Chicks-ish “slow-rock” record. “He also wrote these dark musicals and darker pop things like that. We just had so much fun together.
“I’ve worked on so many different projects,” she reflects on her time DJing and producing. “I’ve written for friends and other people, done some really random things, so I guess it’s easy for me to pull people in and out of my creative zone. It’s cool because even though this project is very much rock music and guitar music, that’s more of an umbrella and it’s a bit more of a genre blend.”
That’s something best reflected through her eclectic set of singles so far; take the swaggering classic rock twang of debut “Jean’, the guttural beats of “Dear Goth’ or the pummelling breakdowns of “Petrichor’, and Cassyette has already painted a pretty varied picture. It’s this back-and-forth that she relishes.
“I feel like my thing is very much a spectrum,” she confirms. “I love the idea of being able to drop something really heavy, as well as something more on the pop end; just always being between the two and never boxing it in.” Even her most recent release - a “triple drop” of tracks - sees her playing with boundaries: alongside the cathartic pop-rock anthem “Sad Girl Summer’, she’s shared the simmering “Dead Roses’, and a stripped-back acoustic version of recent track “Mayhem’.
Written after she found out an ex had cheated on her, “Sad Girl Summer’ is the kind of earwormy but epic track that’ll be echoed back to her all festival season by fans facing the same kinds of issues. “It was so nice the other day because people were singing it back to me and I’ve literally played it twice. It properly gets you going and I love that it’s about something so aggy,” she laughs. “It’s just a massive “Fuck you’ song, but it really makes you feel good.”
So will she be applying this same mix-and-match attitude to anything more longform in the future? “Oh, for sure! I’ve got a bigger project coming out towards the end of the year. I just want it to appeal to everyone,” she grins. “I’ve always enjoyed so much different music that I just don’t want to box this in as one thing. That’s the fun in this project.”
As featured in the June 2022 issue of DIY, out now.