“I feel as a musician I’m a lot of things at the same time and I believe I can be a lot of different things.” – PW-Magazine interviewed the Belgium-based producer Kassett.
Gavin Vanaelst is one of those relentless working contemporary artists, multi-active in different fields and always shaping the state of art. As Kassett, the Belgium producer just released his fourth album “Ocean Memory” on the emerging Viennese label AMEN. Apart from that, he is working in fine arts, runs his own label Midlife, participates in various collaborations such as Coco Haram and is well linked to the international contemporary art and music scene. With his current release we took the chance to take a closer look at Kassett and asked him for an interview:
Who is Kassett?
To be honest, sometimes I’m not entirely sure. I guess it depends on who I am as a person. With releasing an album my identity can look very defined, since it comes with a visual style. I feel as a musician I’m a lot of things at the same time and I believe I can be a lot of different things. In the end it all comes down to doing what you love – that will define your preferences and choices.
What are your influences?
There’re a lot of people I look up to and they all influence me. At the same time I think also the artists I don’t like influence me. That’s why it would be pointless to make a list of people. I’m listening to dubstep a lot again lately. It reminds me of my high school days, without some of the bad feelings connected to it. The first real parties I went to were dubstep and grime, so I have a lot of imagery in my head when I’m listening to that type of music.
You recently released your second LP “Ocean Memory” on Vienna-based label AMEN. How did this collaboration take place?
I like the aesthetics of AMEN and its musical vision so I just asked Aleksandar, who runs the label, if I could release my latest project through them. He was excited about it and that’s how it happened really. Normally he does all the artwork for the album covers himself but I was already in the process of working together with Andreu Serra for mine. Aleksandar is currently working on projection images for my new live show. We are having our collab moment after all.
How important is it to you to release on a label? Couldn’t you easily publish it on your own?
I could, yes. I have some things coming with different labels as well. I thought I would reach some new ears this way and I did. I think releasing through another label can make you reach new audiences every time. The main reason was that I wanted someone else to upload my tracks on SoundCloud so my page wouldn’t get overly messy and I could just reblog the album as a whole. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to these small online things and also someone who is very serious about his SoundCloud page.
Can you tell us something about your other projects?
I released an album with my friend Jonas De Houwer as Coco Haram two months ago. Fun project. We love working together so there are new tracks coming for that project soon. I’m working with a local rapper as a producer for his album, but I can’t share too much about that for now. I’m training my upper body to ride bare-breast with him on a horse named Pegasus in a future video clip of his. Meanwhile Samuelspaniel, Doro and me are running the Midlife label. 2017 will be a big year for Midlife so keep an eye on what we’re doing. Also, a 12-inch vinyl with my music will be released in mid-march by Slam City Jams, a label from Munich.
Are there any artists, of any medium, who are on your radar?
Here it goes, and this list is very incomplete probably: Piet Van Haut, Leon Sadler, Tom Volkaert, Bram Van Meervelde, Saeio, Tomek, Y1640, Kinlaw, Miragal, Doro, Nevrlnd, Shygirl, Imre Kiss, Lauren Auder, Zwangere G., Torus, Kristallo Ronaldo, Cuer, Pules, Blade, Kubes, Maren Karlson, LittleAmberD, TheViper, Samuelspaniel.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on remixes for friends. After finishing an album I always feel like doing something different for a while. Right now, I’m working on my visual art and watching a lot of TV-series. I’m now working towards an exhibition in 2017. In the music sphere, we’re organizing some parties and concerts in Brussels and scheduling new releases with Midlife for the future.
Text by Christian Glatz
Photos by Thor Salden