We’ve had a love affair with Cascine ever since they introduced us to the sublime Selebrities last year. And who can blame us? They’re probably the sexiest label out there, with the lush, tropical haze of Chad Valley, the smooth, R&B funk of Jensen Sportag and the stylish swagger of Pandr Eyez tucked away in their catalogue. Today we’re devoting a whole day to the label, highlighting the artists on their roster and revealing an exclusive track from Jensen Sportag‘s upcoming album! Say What?! Tune in to Paul Lester’s show at 1pm to hear it first.
We caught up with one of the label’s founders, Sandra Croft, to chat about what inspired the label, their roster and their plans for 2012.
What inspired you to start releasing records?
A lifetime of admiration for Scandinavian pop, the seasons of the year, and the sounds we’ve always been in love with. Our experiences and relationship with records differ greatly, yet we ultimately reached the same conclusion: we should take part in making music.
Your roster is diverse but has a very distinctive aesthetic. Is this something that you think strongly about before approaching artists?
Cascine has been cultivated along a philosophy of ‘experimental pop guided by intuition’. If something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t. The music is the main aspect of what we do, but we also imagine what every release should look like, and what that means for the overall aesthetic of the label.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be something tangible, it could be just a philosophy that shows up in different forms on each release. We definitely think about this when approaching artists, but not too deeply – chances are if we’re drawn to a certain artist, the thing we’re looking for is already there. Any success we have seen this year is undeniably connected to our belief and confidence in the people we work with.
What else do you look for in artists?
That’s a really difficult question to answer, probably because the qualities are more abstract and hinge more on our intuitive and emotional responses to the music we hear. I guess we look deep into our own musical histories and memories to find elements in their music that echo the eras we love and sounds we’ve always been drawn too – Scandanavian pop, shoegaze, early 00s R n’ B, smooth Chicago house, the entire catalog of Naked Music, 90s Balearic, the amazing minimal techno bubbling up in the last decade… Everything we hold dear from our musical lifetimes eventually becomes crystallised into our catalog.
Although we’d existed as strangers for a large part of our lives, when we came together as Cascine, we realised how much we shared the same musical bloodlines. That’s what draws us together as a family, both with each other and our artists.
How do you discover the artists you work with?
We grew up at a time when music was a much scarcer resource than it is today, and you actually had to hunt down the things you love. It’s not the case anymore, and it’s created a global community around music. Thanks to the technological possibilities of our era, this year we were able to release records by artists from Helsinki, Brooklyn, London, Melbourne, Nashville, Stockholm, and Halifax.
Cascine’s own international settings, based between New York and London, makes the world seem fluid and open to possibilities, and through access to that global music community, more ways to find the music we love. I guess the simple answer is that we read and listen to a lot of music. We look at the blogs, read Pitchfork and all those sites, listen to all the demos that are sent to us… But ultimately it always comes back to our intuition and what we feel, and how we’re inspired by the world around us.
What is the set up of Cascine? How many run the label and where are you based?
Cascine is actually five people – myself, doing press and management, our label boss Jeff Bratton, our art director Jason Romanelli, our A&R Jason Kapiskosky, and our visual director, Lucy Bridger. Jeff and Jason Romanelli are based in New York, Jason Kapiskosky is based in Washington DC, and myself and Lucy are in London. All of us run the label together, sharing the A&R, management, press, art direction and production duties.
Any future releases we should be getting excited about?
Yes! 2012 is shaping up to be the kind of year we’ve always dreamed of as music fans. We’re starting the year with a gorgeous EP by World Tour in January, before moving on to an sublime release by RxGibbs and then, albums by Jensen Sportag, Southern Shores, and Chad Valley in the spring and summer.
What other labels do you you admire?
Tri-Angle has been one of our favourite new labels this year. Their output seems cemented in the understanding that all beauty inherently has an element of decay, and this year the Balam Acab album has joined OoOOo’s EP as one of the most beautifully haunted records made ever.
Editions Mego is a reincarnation of the now-defunct Mego label (that released Fennesz’s Endless Summer) and they continue with Mego’s legacy of putting out difficult records that unravel themselves into extremely comforting blankets of electronic noise. The Emeralds and Oneohtrix Point Never will always have treasured places in our record collections.
Hippos In Tanks is one of the most progressive labels out there, holding on to our favourite releases in the last couple of years from Laurel Halo and Games. They’ve set the standards that we aspire to.
The kind of year Night Slugs is having is the stuff of legend, but what’s most impressive is how Bok Bok, L-Vis and co. seem to be making it up as they go along. Favourite releases this year have been Kingdom, Jam City, Pearson Sound and Bok Bok’s EP. Their entire catalogue sounds intriguingly alien but instantly, insatiably desirable the second you hear it.
We’ll be back later with an in depth look at two of Cascine’s artists and AN EXCLUSIVE JENSEN SPORTAG SONG aired on Paul Lester’s 1pm show. Tune in.