Scorching the back end off 2015 with his and Rusko’s reunion, 2016 was always going to be a fat one for Caspa.
Musically it’s been broader than Broadway as the two delved deep into the bass psyche across two EPs and one-track rave piano-tickling rave anthem Cheese. From deep bubbly dub to aggy grime, the pair’s well-publicised boundary-free remit was expressed in full throughout their releases… And their select DJ appearances at key festivals and clubs this year.
Fittingly he’s now scorching the back end off 2016 with the long-awaited Umbongo. A smouldering stripped back supported by the likes of Youngsta, J Kenzo, The Others and Doctor P, it marks the start of his new Vibrations series: A regular dispatch of one club heavy tune per month.
Currently packing more productions than ever before, it’s likely Vibrations will run the whole of 2017. Possibly beyond, too. Here’s why…
2016 According To… Caspa
“It’s the end of the year and I can safely say I’ve never had so much new music ready to release. My manager asked me yesterday if I had any new tunes ready? I counted them and told him: 29. There are unlimited Caspa & Rusko tunes in the pipeline too.
It’s a mad position to be in. Usually you’ve got tonnes of shows and not enough music but now I’ve got tonnes of music and fewer shows. I much prefer it this way around. It makes you relax and enjoy the process of what you want to do. That’s when you make anthems. When you’re on the road and trying to squeeze a tune out you’re just reacting to what’s happening.
The balance has been perfect because the shows me and Rusko did during the year were mad. We wanted to keep it special; just key and important shows to make it a destination and real moment for people. We picked places we hadn’t done before and made it much more of an event for us, too. It all worked out – it gave us time off to enjoy, have fun, come home. A lot less stressful for both of us than previous tours we’d done. And what made it even more interesting was the previous year I’d gone right back to the roots with the 500 shows in underground clubs. Next minute I’m doing peaktime slots at shows like EDC to crowds of 50,000. In the space of 12 months.
What do I prefer? That’s the question. For the DJ bullshit ego thing, taking selfies of huge crowds and saying look at me, it’s the mainstage every time. But for the realness, for the soul and reason of this all – the dirty underground. Never forget the foundation! I’d always give up a festival show for an underground club show. What’s great about the festival shows is playing that we were playing in between big EDM names, all playing the usual samey stuff. We’re dropping this UK shit and you can see the younger guys stoping and thinking ‘what the fuck is this?’ That’s a good feeling – to represent the underground sound on the largest stage.
And the underground sound is killing it this year. That stripped back, less-is-more vibe is definitely the way forward and a key indication of where dubstep is going next year. It’s happened in other genres – like in techno things have gone more minimal again, in hip-hop people are looking that deep Toronto sound. It affects all genres. In drum & bass you’ve got the halftime stuff like Dub Phizix who’s made stripped back stuff sound so fat you can play it against a Hazard tune. Any genre but we’re all saying the same thing: it doesn’t have to be so full on to have a soul.
On a broader level people are into deeper stuff full stop. De La Soul are number one. It’s about consciousness. The whole world is looking at things differently. People are trying to understand things and get their heads around the weird shit. Everything is thrown in our face to distract us from the truth. We’re more powerful than we think we are. We affect people’s lives all the time, every time we interact. This might be a bit deep but I know I’m not alone. It’s about getting back to making what you want to make.
I think about why people do things and it all boils down to everything being energy. You put something in, you get something back. I put a tune out, then I get energy back. So I wondered if I put out energy that’s pure and uncompromised then what energy would I get back?
That’s what I’ve been working on. We made our biggest tunes in my mum’s bedroom, just madly figuring out what we were doing. It’s when we don’t think about things and we’re just having a go that the energy is purest. It’s that type of attitude that I made Umbongo with and it’s had support from everyone – Cass Is Dead, grime guys, hip-hop guys. It’s translated across the board.
This is the circle. Life is peaks and troughs; you have the highs but you need to calm down a bit, consider what you’ve done and how you’ve done it. What can you do to make it better? When you’re in the fast lane and it’s all go go go go go and you have to hope you’re making the right decisions. It’s a hard balance trying to get right but this year the balance has been perfect. And I didn’t even get to release half the amount of music I wanted to. 2017 will be most prolific year with a tune every month as part of my new Vibrations series. I don’t want to flood things- just one tune a month, easy peasy. Not overkill, just one tune to digest. Don’t like it? Tune in the next month and see what’s coming up next…”
Photo: Sarah Ginn