Cazzette talk to Wonderland about their new EP Desserts and their amazing journey so far, together with the release of the video for “Genius”.
Sebastian wears jacket by TOPMAN and Alexander wears t-shirt by TOPMAN and jumper by MCQ
Championing black and white t-shirts and jeans, Alexander Björklund and Sebastian Furrer came into the studio looking like brothers who bonded on the dance-floor. Their tastes synchronised and so did their outlook on music. After asking about where they bought certain amazing pieces (Givenchy and Y-3) and talking about their favourite places in England, I realised that these guys were literal geniuses. There was a certain creative aura that spewed out of them as they took a break and tucked into some authentic Thai food – which was later taken away for the shoot to which Sebastian gave an inner sigh.
Could it be a coincidence that a few days after I met these guys and observed their genius that Cazzette unveiled a stunning new video for “Genius”? Probably not. Having just performed in front of thousands of fans at Creamfields this weekend the duo took their synchronisation and creative manipulation to Ibiza to film the video for one of the tracks on their new EP, “Desserts”. Cazzette have a new take on the modern dance sound – they pioneer freedom and little limitations to creating something new, something unbounded by constraints. The EP features many collabs, one being Buster Moe, the vocalist for “Genius”, and others such as LP and Sterling Fox.
Cazzette have so far had more than 100 million streams in the past year. 2015 has been an extremely successful year for these guys and Wonderland doesn’t doubt that such an experimental and highly involved Swedish duo will go even further in the coming future. By playing around with mad rhythms, tempos, and even sounds found outside their culture, Cazzette will amaze anyone who comes across their music and their intellect. It’s nice to see what they’re like behind those masks.
So can you just tell us a little bit about how you became Cazzette and the journey you took to start producing your music?
Sebastian: We started making music five, six, years ago maybe. And, we’ve been signed with our manager for about four years now, so we’ve been professionally in a group for four years. We met on MySpace and found each other there and that’s how we started making music together.
So when you met each other on the internet, as you said, how did you know you were going to good partners in your music career?
Alexander: No I just think we started sending demos back and forth to each other. I think you had like a remixed job or something and we tried working on it together and then everything just kind of came together naturally. We had a great work-flow.
You are not the first electronic duo to wear masks, what or who inspired you to use them and why do you do it? Is it comfortable?
Sebastian: I think the masks are a little bit inspired by Daft Punk. We are really big fans of theirs. But we also wanted something fun for production so it’s not necessarily that we are supposed to be like Daft Punk. We like something else for the shooting, so it was the perfect thing to do. It’s quite comfortable nowadays, to be honest, it’s just kind of a mess when you fly around, go around the world, and you have to ship them in all the time. It kind of tends to break.
Sebastian: And there’s not that much you can do about it. We have the best people on it trying to figure out how to build them so they don’t break, but it’s impossible. We’ve been trying for many years. So that’s the hard part, making it work.
Alexander: They are quite complicated. Making the lighting turn on and when they actually work they look amazing. So that’s the problem. That tends to break. So we get really disappointed and I guess the fans get disappointed to when we can’t use them because they are broken.
And you can’t have a back up?
Alexander: They are rather expensive to build so there’s no back up at the moment.
You used to do a lot of remixes and bootlegs and indeed they defined your early career and success, are you moving away from them more these days or do you still enjoy remixing from time to time?
Alexander: Making remixes is always fun if you’re working with the right tracks but yeah we’ve come a long way now. The sounds now are a lot more mature, I think, and now it’s function based. Before we had the seven-minute club arrangements – it was a bit more aggressive – but now it’s more laid back in a way.
Sebastian: It’s more songs than tracks, which is the difference I think.
So when did this transition happen and why?
Sebastian: I think it’s always been like that. We signed with a major label like two and a half years ago maybe and we just noticed that when we did that that there’s not that much freedom in labels anymore. Even though people are super nice and we love them all, but they want songs for radio, but we don’t want to make good songs for radio. We want to make good music. And they don’t really care about good music, they just care about radio music. For us it was not fitting at all. There was no creative freedom. So we left the label and decided to go with our managers label for a while and be independent and that’s been so much better. We’ve always been making the kind of music that we want to make but when we show it to people they are just like “You can’t do this, you can’t put this on radio”. And it was the same thing with “Sleepers”. That was the first transition song that we felt that this was right and some people from the label came up to us and said ‘You can’t do this, it will destroy your career’ and stuff like that.
Alexander: I don’t think it did at all.
Sebastian: No. It resulted in 70 million streams. Platinum is Sweden and gold in Denmark. It did well on radio even though it was not a radio song. That’s the thing for us, that’s what we wanted from the beginning. We don’t measure success with radio, we measure it with good music that people like and can just have fun.
So you like the freedom of making the kind of music that you want?
Alexander: Yes, that’s really important. That’s how we did it before being stuck with the label. We were making exclusive club music and there were certain formulas you had to follow and that kills the creativity.
In your latest EP Desserts the music sounds different to your early work, what influenced this direction?
Sebastian: I would say that all the songs have their own thing on the EP, they all have different feels and vibes to it, while our old music was kind of formulated and just the same thing. Its still us, you can hear it, but it has geniuses that inspired by French house music that made us so happy back in the day, it was just feel good and kind of disco. ‘Together” is more RnB.
Alexander: “Solo Para Ti” is very old school inspired. Actually when you think about it a lot of tracks on the EP have inspiration from classic electronic music.
And you’ve worked with some great artists in this EP, Sterling Fox, LP, Buster Moe. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Alexander: Super-rewarding. They are all really cool, talented people and we were talking about this a lot lately. Like Sterling in “Dancing With Your Ghost”, he’s the guy who wrote it, and it’s amazing how magical his lyrics are and he just has such an interesting way of writing which is amazing, amazing to be a part of that. For me that opens up a lot of creativity, a lot of creative doors. And LP too.
Sebastian: LP was great. We had a really fun session in L.A. together. We made a song in a day. And we had such a good time. Then “Genius” was also written in the same room, actually. It’s just been a fun process. All the people we’ve worked with are so talented and so nice and we all think alike and it was just a good time. That’s how we want it in the future. To work with people who just think alike and just have fun, and not feeling stressed about stuff. Whatever feels good, just do it.
So you guys like changing it up and reinventing yourself?
Alexander: I think the goal for us is just to go with the feeling of the song that we are making., It doesn’t have to be a different record every time but it has to be a different vibe. It should be as individual as possible. It might be hip-hop, it might be Rock – whatever feels better for the song. Our goal is to not thing “Oh it has to be this kind of song”. Just go with the vibe that the song contains.
Sebastian: I agree. We don’t feel that restriction when it comes to making songs. Like “Oh you can’t make this song like this because it’s not you”. Well it is me because I made it. If we made something then I think it’s CAZZETTE. Even if it’s hip-hop influenced, rock influenced, whatever, if it feels good we don’t care. That’s what the realization is.
You don’t seem to be very commercially driven with regards to your music, an example being releasing your latest EP on Spotify. Why is this important to you and what made Spotify so appealing to you as artists?
Sebastian: Well the EP in this case has just been exclusive to spotify for two weeks whereas the first album we did was exclusive to it for a long long time. We have a great relationship with spotify. We’ve been working with them for many years. We love working with them. They are very creative and forward thinking and it just makes sense for us. We are open minded about everything but they are super creative and forward thinking so that’s why we’re working with them. And they’re also Swedish too!
Alexander: Ha-ha. But it’s also the way I consume music. We use it everyday so it kind of feels natural to have our music out on a service that we use it every day. But the EP is also out on iTunes now as well.
Exciting. Is on-demand streaming the future? Do you think accessibility and availability will be worth more than album sales?
Alexander: I don’t know. It’s great that it’s all so accessible but I actually get great pleasure out of listening to something off of a vinyl. It’s a great way to consume music. You have the warmth of the sound and it’s an actual thing. You hold the record and you put it on your vinyl player and it’s much more active than just clicking and changing a song.
Is that something you did when you were younger?
Alexander: Yeah my dad had it and I listened to it through that. Then the cassettes with the freestyles, and then the Walkman.
Sebastian: But then it’s also the general matter of a new generation. When we were kids we listened to cassette tapes. We were in the CD era and USB kind of thing. We’ve been through a bit of it. But I am thinking about the kids that are born today – how are they going to think? Like “they were crazy to have CDs and cassette tapes and all that”, in the future I think. And they will also think that it’s crazy that you’re paying for music because I don’t think they will have that kind of respect for music as we do. It’s not their fault but they will just grow up with that. I wouldn’t be surprised if music was for free – it wouldn’t surprise me if they just shut down all the services and it would all be free. Maybe something would be paid for but I have a hard time seeing that.
Do you see Sweden as the home of EDM?
Alexander: No. I see Sweden as a very creative country. When I hear the term EDM I don’t think creativity. Its not a positive world for me – there isn’t a lot of creative freedom in EDM and therefore I cannot associate it with Sweden. But there is a lot of great dance music coming out of Sweden – like Erik Pritz, and Swedish House Mafia of course. They’ve meant a lot for us. There are lots of cool Underground producers I would say, but no it’s not the home of EDM. I’d say go to Holland, maybe?
Sebastian: No. The home of electronic house music, or at least house music, is Chicago. But then electronic maybe Germany? Somewhere in Europe, but not Sweden.
Alexander: But EDM?
Sebastian: What is EDM?
Yeah so what is EDM? You were saying there’s not enough freedom?
Alexander: I feel like when you use the term EDM you describe hands up high-energy dance music where there’s a one minute breakdown and then a drop. That’s what EDM is to me and I don’t feel like that’s Sweden at all.
I’ve heard you’ve coined ‘Dub House’. Can you tell Wonderland what this form of music is and how you came about it?
Alexander: I think that comes from us always combining loads of different influences. We just made some house music and influenced dub-step into that and therefore created dub-house. But now we aren’t saying we are making RnB-House but at the time it was a good way to stand out from the rest of the producers by coining that we were making this kind of music.
You have shown us that you are completely in control of your music and your artistic angle when it comes to creating it, and this is what makes Cazzette stand out right now in the dance music scene. What do you think the benefits of this unique hold are for you and what have you learnt?
Alexander: Probably happiness.
Alexander: Honestly like, if you wake up in the morning and you go to the studio and you’re in the mood to make songs that are sad or happy and you can do that, that makes you happy. I think it’s all about that. Otherwise, if you’re just making music that other people want you to make you might as well do something else. Because then it’s just a regular job, not a creative job, if you’re doing what you’re told. To me music is all about creativity.
Sebastian: And good music comes from people feeling good in the moment. Not maybe in all cases in history, but I think it comes from that moment where no one is telling you ‘change that kick’ or ‘change that guitar sound’. You have to have that control over what you are doing. Imagine someone being in the room today and creating a new big song like ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon and someone comes in and says “why you doing a ballad?” and imagine destroying that mission in that guys mind and they wont continue with the song because you said he wasn’t allowed to do a ballad. That could become the best song in the history of music. That’s basically what it is. That’s why we talk about that so much, it’s really important. If people come and interrupt you all the time then you might as well stop if you’re going to listen to everybody – nothing good is going to happen.
And you know you were talking about Picasso when he said “Good artists copy, great artists steal”, do you think that’s quite relevant to this then?
Alexander: Yes, because when you look at a piano there are certain notes, and I think by now there has been every single compilation of those notes.
Sebastian: Pretty much. If you look at Indian and Arabic music, they use small notes in between that the modern piano doesn’t really have. So they go 10 notes in between the next note, so it’s so nerdy but it’s so nice and if you listen to Indian music they have so many nice notes that we don’t have in the Western world. We aren’t used to it, that’s why it sounds so cool. That’s pretty much auto-tune, and that’s what Indian music is like. That is a way to use stuff that hasn’t been used. Here its not common so there are still many things to do.
Do you think that’s something that you might incorporate into your music?
Sebastian: We’ve already used many Indian samples in our songs!
Ok great! And last question. What does the next era of Cazzette look like? Do you have any ideas right now?
Alexander: We started talking about creating an album.
Sebastian: We talked about it yesterday.
Alexander: We were discussing options and how we want to do it. We want a specific idea that we want to create. But it’s very early.
Sebastian: We were just talking about getting some people together in the studio for two weeks.
And let your creativity flow?
Sebastian: Yeah and everything else is like dead.
Alexander: Yeah, turn off our cell-phones and completely focus on our music.
Sebastian: We were just talking about what team of people we should have with us and we figured out some of them but we don’t know yet!
Sebastian wears coat by COS, jumper by FOLK, and jeans by TOPMAN and Alexander wears sweater by COS.
All clothes models’ own.
Their EP ‘Desserts’ is now available on Spotify and iTunes.
Words: Marianna Mukhametzyanova
Photographer: Dan Wilton
Grooming: Gigi Hammond
Stylist: Sue Kim