It's easy to blurt out vague declarations about a DJ's talents, but Englishman Cass puts his music where his mouth is. He's quickly making strides to the short list of world class DJs, booked solid around the globe from Australia to Buenos Aires and throughout Europe. He's developing something of a special relationship with the USA, which started with DJ spots at Twilo in New York and now regularly taking in most major metropolitan cities, whether it's Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Washington DC, Boston, Atlanta, Austin, or Denver.
Last year, when he hit LA to play Spundae for the first time, he had the crowd rapt. Kids came up to the DJ booth to peer at the man from London creating this energizing sine wave of sound. Moments later Cass handed one lucky fan his portfolio-sized case of exclusive CD-Rs—normally guarded with Fort Knox-like security—allowing him to flick through it like he was shopping in Tower Records. Why? Because Cass knows his fans take his music as seriously as he does.
Cass often releases music with another musician who goes by the moniker, Slide. The duo first met when Slide, aka Pete Martin, was recording for British trance label, Flying Rhino. Within days they had decided to leave and form their own label, Fire, in order to release their own music and the music they collectively loved. The first fruits of their collaboration, "Perception" and later "Opera," were underground hits with DJs from both sides of the Atlantic; big tunes in the record boxes of Danny Tenaglia, Jimmy Van M, Jerry Bonham and John Digweed. "Perception" also made its way onto Sasha's Global Underground mix CD, an affirmation of quality if ever there was one. The success saga has rolled on ever since with "Fever Rising" (made with Tenaglia, NYC's global DJ star) and now with Burning The Candle At Both Ends, Cass & Slide's debut album on Fire (U.K. import) on March 25th, 2002.
Best of all, says Cass, is Spundae Interpretations: Cass, his first mix CD proper. "This mix is full of records that I love," says Cass. "All have been played to death by me. Personally, I think it's the best thing I've done as a DJ and I'm quite a harsh critic. CD one," reckons Cass, "is one that you could make love to or have babies to. The second occupies darker, harder territories, one that's good to listen to before you go clubbing to get yourself up."
Cass was born in England and spent his childhood in a leafy northern suburb of London. But it was in Sydney, Australia, where his mom lives, that Cass discovered his passion for music. As a teenager, Cassworked various jobs at a local club and became entranced with DJing. When he started college, back in the UK, he bagged himself a Friday night slot at the university club night, gradually building up a committed following.
Seven years later, and after a defining spell as label manager at Flying Rhino—where he met Slide and helped turn his new employers onto progressive house - Cass is being garlanded with praise from all-comers. When Spundae Recordings came looking for a DJ from the new breed to mix their new CD, reports from Europe and across the United States came back saying Casswas their man. And when Cassplayed magical sets on consecutive weeks at Spundae to widespread acclaim, the die was cast for Cass’ mix and the duo's residency.
"That surprised me," admits Cass. "I played at Spundae but it was still kind of like a word of mouth thing. There were messages on the Spundae website from punters saying they liked me and that was great."
If Cass was being honest - and he usually is—he'd probably tell you he only makes and plays records. And of course, that's what he does. But it's the way he makes them and how he plays them that is exciting clubbers whether it's at Spundae or Pacha in Buenos Aires, Argentina.