Exploring The Dynamic Elements of Music with Andrea Cassino

Priya Sen

Dive into the world of Argentina’s avid producer and DJ Andrea Cassino

Part of the Argentina new breed, making his way around club land with essential dance cuts, finding its way through releases on subliminal labels such as Sudbeat, Balkan Connection, Proton, Soundteller to name some with striking regularity, is now a given. Yet, all the music from Andrea Cassino feels decidedly different from some of the others, with woody Progressive House laden textures cavorting with old school melodic sensibilities, sounds that are current but still retains powerful atmospherics of the super clubbing days gone by.

All of this creates an artist whose outstanding productions drive you inexorably to the floor, and so it was time we met Andrea Cassino for a chat to tell us about his musical story, his favorite pieces of gear down to discussing his alias Nocturna and even sharing his thoughts on how he weaves together his radio show – “6Th Auditorium”, every third Wed of the month, exclusively on Frisky Radio, that is poised to celebrate its tenth year residency.

Hi Andrea, thank you for taking time to talk to us at Frisky. Tell us your story, how did you get in to DJing and producing music, if you could share with us the early days of your career?

Thank you for having me, I am honored.

My passion for music was born long time ago, as far back as when I was 8 years old. I was able to play Piano and Flute without taking any lessons. I was fascinated by the music and the melodies, I listened all genres ranging from Rock to Pop, but of course the electronic music of the 80s / 90s have influenced me a lot more and it’s the reason why I am doing what I’m doing today. My musical career started with the Cassino & Laben’s project in 2001 when I was working with Alex Laben in a club of our city. We were fans of the London sounds of that time, we found the Bedrock parties with Sasha & Digweed to be very refined and who can forget the famous compilations of Global Underground, all this affected us a lot in the sound that we proposed from thereon.

Is it safe to say you were a producer first and how long do you take with a track?

It’s true I started producing music much before doing my Live performances. I have always been fascinated by musical instruments and technology and the only way to combine these two things was to definitely sit in front of a computer and start playing.

There is no set time to finish a track, it can take one day, one week, a month, and each has its own history and depends on many factors, especially by what might inspire you at that point in time. There are days that I have many ideas in my head and sometimes nothing but the hardest thing is to be able to transform these ideas into sounds. I can start producing with an idea but I never know where I will be going with the track, just an element and it can change everything and the track can take a different turn very quickly.

With labels such as Armada, Proton, Particles etc to name some in your release kitty, are you fashioning your music to suit these imprints, or is it the other way round?

I never made music to suit the labels; I always make music following my instincts because I think the only way to ensure that the people can know your true musical personality is “be yourself”.

Do you prefer playing or producing?

I could not choose because both have unique emotions, no doubt the impact to play in front of an amazing crowd the contact with the public is much more direct, production on the other hand is more intimate, each emotion you live when you are alone or with who you make music when you are in the studio is translated on to the tune you are making. The most exciting thing is to be able to play your tracks and watch the reaction of people dancing to your music.

What’s exciting you in machines?

I am very fascinated by machines, by technology and the evolution of everything, today, thanks to the development of technology, we were able to create almost faithfully the sound of the machines with the soft wares, even if the machines are very expensive, for sure they make the difference in level auditory perception, but today with virtual instruments and plug-ins, having more accessible prices, you can therein reach a very high level of musical quality. What fascinates me is that the electronic sound from these toys can be modeled refined distorted and completely customize it to what you want and also create your own library of custom sounds.

I read that you are a hands down teacher for Ableton live and Logic Pro x that takes all of the production material, from the arrangements the mixture, the mastering and how to use digital tools available, virtual instruments, compressors, equalizers, effects CCP, this kind of thing giving you joy?

It has been about a year that I’m teaching music production and I must admit that it is very exciting. Here in Argentina there is a great musical culture, I cannot believe how many people are interested in learning how to produce electronic music. I feel comfortable to teach musical production, being almost 20 years that I produce and that I can do it is a great feeling. It certainly gives me a lot of joy to use everything that produces or modifies sound, and showing how they work to the students, at the same time I can learn and test new things.

The only way to ensure that the people
can know your true musical personality is “be yourself”.

Argentina is probably one of the richest and most fulfilling crowds and clubs to play to, any place that’s just your favorite?

It’s almost three years that I am living in Buenos Aires and I played everywhere around Argentina, each club has its own charm, but definitely the one that struck me the most since the first time I had the pleasure to play there, is Bahrein which is located in a basement and where the atmosphere of the lights and the people are unique.

Your earlier project Cassino & Laden remains defunct as we know it, could you give us a low down on your cutting edge collaboration with Danny Lloyd called Nocturna, how did you come about releasing on Sudbeat etc?

I will never forget my time with Alex Laben, I spent amazing and exciting moments with him, we did 2 tours in Argentina and released music on many major labels and it helped to shape my career and my style that of course now it wouldn’t have been the same.

Nocturna is a new project; we started in 2014 in collaboration with my friend Danny Lloyd. Before this time we produced a lot of original tracks and remixes and we wanted to continue to do that so we decided to create an alias. The first EP we did under the Nocturna name is called Big Bang and we realized that the sound was very suitable for Sudbeat Music. We sent the EP to Graziano Raffa, Sudbeat’s manager, besides being Italian like us; he also is a great friend. Hernan Cattaneo and Graziano loved it and they decided to release the same. It was a great achievement to work with a prestigious label such as this and mostly with the consent of Hernan Cattaneo who still is one of my favorite artists.

What are the elements of sounds you try to bring out through your monthly radio show on Frisky, called 6th Auditorium, any music aesthetics at work in the show?

In July we celebrate the 10th anniversary of my show 6Th Auditorium, I have invited so many artists and I went through different styles but what it will never miss in my music is the deep, dark and melodic sound, this is what I love, not just a genre of music but a lot of different key components and elements help to create a hybrid and innovative sound through the show.

Your recent works such as – “De Los Alpes” and then your “Pigmental EP” “The Inverted Pyramid” all have an excruciatingly good vibe deep, dark and Progressive. Is this the real you, moody yet open in melodies that always take center-stage?

I’m a keyboard player and my music sensibilities echo the 90s sound, where the scene was extremely melodic, it made a huge impression on me and the melodic element is an absolute essential for me to express through the music I make. With time I implemented my chosen style with dark sounds to create a harder atmosphere on the dance floor.

I’m constantly producing music, in that moment I’m working on different projects, originals and remixes.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Fgy-JssXes]

Could you share with us any of your upcoming work and or remixes, anything coming up you are excited about?

My upcoming works are with Ale Russo – Hold (Andrea Cassino Remix) already supported by Hernan Cattaneo on Resident, that will be released on the Argentinian label VaronA, Michael A – Seven (Andrea Cassino Remix) on Proton Music and Volkan Erman & Hypnotic Progressions – Endless Wind (Andrea Cassino Remix) on Balkan Connection.

I’m also working on a new EP commissioned directly by Nick Warren for his label Hope.

Is Nocturna going in the direction you want it to, and how different is it from when you go as Andrea Cassino?

I’m working with Danny Lloyd ever since 2009 we have so many releases together but Nocturna is younger, we started to produce music under this concept about 2014 and we are still looking for a good combination of sounds between Nocturna and our solo projects. It has a lot to do with Progressive laden with dark atmospheres. To generate a rare melody with rich sounds on the breakdown, this is what we are trying to distinguish with our project Nocturna.

I know that you are big with mastering, how did that come about?

I’m a curious person, I try to understand how things work on any ambience, I think for that reason I developed a great capacity to self-teach, on the mastering bit as well, I’m quite obsessed by the sound quality that one can generate, so I wanted to know how to get that going.

I have since mastered tracks for many artists such as Pole Folder, Danny Lloyd, Oliver Lieb, Marcelo Vasami, Mike Griego, Subandrio, GMJ and Matter to name some. Things change when I have to master for my own tracks, it’s quite difficult to improve what sounds great for you before the mastering work, maybe I will look for a mastering engineer just for my tracks.

Listen now to the latest episode of 6th Auditorium:

Tune in: 6th Auditorium