Jun 06, 2016

Maximizing Cazzette

We caught up with Alex from Cazzette before a recent show at Soundcheck in Washington, D.C. Learn how Cazzette balance their touring, production workload and much more! Enjoy the brand new music video for their single "Blue Sky" feat. Laleh.
You guys are a duo where you’re both capable DJs and producers. What is that like? Do either of you take more of a lead on DJing or producing?
We always have shared our workload 50-50. It’s a little different now because recently we decided to split things up. Seb is actually not DJing anymore. I’m doing that part and Seb is working on a lot of the productions while I am away. Being on the road has always been a problem for us, and we struggle to release music at the same time when we are traveling. Both of us really need our studio. We need to be in the studio and focus and not just squeeze our sessions in during the time between flights - it’s really hard to be creative when it’s like that. We just decided that Seb will stay home and work on music while I’m on the road touring. We are always going to make the music together, no matter what. We send our project files back and forth to each other. It’s just that I’m doing the DJing now.
This is to maximize what you guys can do and get out of Cazzette?
Exactly. Last year we were out on the road for almost the whole year, and what happens when we travel that much is that we unfortunately don’t get to put out that much music. And when we don’t put out that much music, people think we aren’t active, which isn’t really true because we are trying all the time!
How does it work with you playing a new track or edit out that maybe Seb worked on more in the studio and isn’t there in person to gauge the response?
I think he trusts me to test our new music out and at the same time, I trust him with production. We would never play a track if I hadn’t had a say in it or if he hadn’t had a say in it. Our opinions are equally important.
Do you guys share a studio?
No, that’s another interesting thing. We met online. We are used to having our own time and space to finish ideas and songs. I can spend five hours on a high hat if I want to do that and he can do the same thing. So, we never really worked in the same room. That’s just how we always have worked - we send project files back and forth.
Do you guys do studio sessions over video?
We kind of like our space, to be honest. We don’t really want to interfere with each other. We will do that later when we do feedback and go back and forth on a track until we are done. I feel like it is really hard for another person to see where I’m going with my idea because it’s all in my mind. It sounds probably really bad when I first start making it; it may take several hours to get it right. So, to have another person interrupting that creative process doesn’t make sense to me. It’s as if you were making a melody with your phone turned on and someone calls you. You aren’t going to be able to focus on the melody while you’re talking on the phone. Phones off, and no other people in the studio if we are not writing lyrics.  
What’s the proudest moment of your careers thus far?
I think what we are most proud of is that we decided to create music that we really enjoyed listening to rather than trying to make club bangers. For us, when we finally realized we were going to go with a kind of future house vibe, future house wasn’t really a thing yet. When we put out "Sleepless," that was the big game changer of our career I’d say. We are so much more happy now, it’s incredible.
How would you describe the set that you’re going to play at Soundcheck tonight?
I have a few tracks selected that I always have to play - our own stuff, of course, as much as possible - and then as usual, it’s all about reading the crowd. It’s different in every state and in every country, too. I usually start out pretty housey and then go progressively harder and harder. Towards the end, it’s usually trap because I love hip hop and trap. I usually end up there and if I don’t, I’ll end up extending the set and going deep - like, techno deep.
Usually, like I said, I like to start out housey. For me, over the years, being here in the states, I’ve seen everything. We were touring with Avicii and then all of a sudden you see these new guys coming in and the scene just grew and grew and grew. At the same time, opening acts started playing harder and harder and harder. So, we kind of developed the idea of resetting the vibe. When we go on stage, it’s going to be powerful, and it’s going to be a good entrance, but we kind of have to start over because most of the time the energy is already so high. The opening act - and I’m not blaming him because he’s just a DJ trying to make a career - he wants to be the one who gets remembered playing the show, but what he is really supposed to be there for is keeping a vibe which is, I wouldn’t say mellow, but not super high energy. That’s how it was before, but I don’t think it’s really like that anymore. I mean, I’m cool with that, you just have to figure out a way to play around it. If you’re going to whine about stuff like that all your life, you’re just going to be tired.
Is there any preparation that you do before a set?
Not really. I get really nervous 30 minutes before I play. The closer it gets to my set, the less nervous I become. I just try and deal with me being nervous. By two tracks in, I’m like fully there.
So is there a pre-set ritual you need to do to relax?
No, I just tell myself that I got this. I think it’s good to be a little bit nervous. It keeps you on your toes and I care a lot about what music I play, so I want to really focus and always perform better than the last time. That’s part of why I get nervous. I think, “this has to be super tight.”
How do you discover new music?
That’s a tough one because I don’t necessarily like Beatport even though that’s the main source where I get music that I play. Two weeks before I go on tour, I start looking for new music and then I buy - I don’t know - 500 tracks. Out of those 500, I end up playing maybe 50.  
You just feel like you need to have a big selection to choose from?
Yeah - I feel like there are so many tracks that are incomplete when it comes to electronic music. There are bits and pieces of great tech house songs that I want to get into my set, but it’s only like 30 seconds of a song or whatever and it sounds weird if you are going to switch songs every 30 seconds. What I end up doing is making tons of bootlegs and taking small parts of songs that I like that and going with that.
Do you use 1001tracklists at all?
Sometimes, if I’m curious and I want to see what other people are playing because when we create sets, I want to make sure to not put too much music in that everyone else is playing. What’s the fun in that? If we are playing at a festival and the crowd has already heard a track like 6,000 times, then what’s the point in me going up and doing the exact same thing? So then, I have to turn to iTunes to find some more interesting music - some hip hop or some indie pop and rock and try and make mashups with that.    
Was there a moment that made you realize you wanted to do this for a living? A show that you attended as a fan?
There is one show that changed my life. I saw Justice as part of their Cross Tour in Sweden. I think it was a smaller venue - maybe the room could hold like 1,500 or something, but it seemed like there were 2,500 in there. It was insane. How they are an electronic band and incorporate so much rock into their set was really interesting to me and made really want to become a DJ.
You can check out the "Blue Sky" remixes below and be sure to also check out their recent mini mix

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