Far from your average ‘girl band’, The Cassettez, more Reservoir Dogs than polished princesses, are four like-minded musicians who have a mission to bring back the sounds of Blink 182, Green Day, The Ramones, Busted and Blondie.
Pop punk rock with a retro feel, Bex, Nia, Sian and Liss are poised for their debut single, Zombie Disco, to be released to a following that is growing by the day.
During an interview exclusive to RUSHONROCK, Viki Ridley met with the Cassettez in Dark Matters Gaming Café in Durham, the perfect environment for this geek chic-suited and Converse-booted foursome.
RUSHONROCK: Tell me about your plans for a three chord hostile takeover?
Bex: (vocal and guitar) We all love the pop punk sound and we wanted to create songs that were stripped back, simple, accessible, tracks that kids could pick up easily and play themselves.
Liss: (guitar) We love Blink 182, Busted, that sound that power pop punk sound. Yeah simple, it did take me years of frustration to learn to play guitar, but bands like Blink made me really want to do it!
RUSHONROCK: Your first release was X-Ray Eyes as a free download, it is a fun, high energy punk pop track.
Bex: We wanted simple, fun, X Ray Eyes and Zombie Disco are aren’t really against any genre, we like everything, ska, punk, pop, rock, its all in there on the album, which we have a huge chunk of already recorded. Our sound? It’s just us being ourselves, doing our thing.
Nia (drums): And we didn’t want to do it in ‘pretty dresses’ we wanted to reinforce that we aren’t the airbrushed, clear skinned perfection that the media often portrays young women as. We are normal, not size zero, but happy in ourselves.
Liss: It’s the media that portrays people like that – that’s not real. I really think that’s why kids like us, they are more open minded regarding image.
Sian: (bass) I don’t even recognise myself in photo shopped images. I think ‘hey I look great, but that’s not me!’.
RUSHONROCK: I guess working with the likes of John McLaughlin is like your dream team?
Liss: We all kind of knew each other, we had mutual friends, we all love the same music. John is the one that had the lightbulb moment. He said we should meet, so we did and something just clicked.
Bex: He’s amazing to work with, we have a great time with him, we all really like Busted and his body of work with pop artists is huge. Mariah Carey and Gary Barlow aren’t our sound, but you can’t argue with their success and, as I said, genre doesn’t interest us. We are who we are.
RUSHONROCK: Your sound has a retro feel but is current – who do you see as your peers?
Sian: Peers? I like rock n roll, the older bands, AC/DC, simple sound but just awesome. That’s the stuff I grew up on. Music, maybe it’s genetic, passed down through the genes! We play punk rock with a pop feel we love what we do, that’s our sound.
Nia: I don’t see myself as having female peers. I’m a girl and I’m a drummer, that’s rare. I love Travis Barker’s style but I guess we’ll get more comparisons to The Runaways and Paramore. And that’s great. I just saw 5 Days Of Summer and I really loved their live set, they have so much energy on stage. But Blink 182 definitely.
Bex: You know how much I love Blondie, Debbie Harry is a huge influence on me, but then so is Jared Leto and 30 Seconds To Mars.
RUSHONROCK: The image is certainly a strong one, what influenced you wearing suits?
Nia: There is always doubt about what you look like, we all have insecurities, that thought that maybe you wont have as much draw because of image, but people are already getting it, we want to inspire kids to believe in themselves.
Liss: We were told how to be, to look. We decided on this.
Sian: You find yourself, it happens, we just want to encourage it.
Bex: We really understand the power of music and what it can do for you, our music is the important factor.
Liss: There is a huge connection now between image and sound. So much of the industry is about a visual and we wanted to send a strong message along with our sound.
Bex: We are four independent women, we won’t be put into gender roles, our musical genre is really dominated by boys! We are already inspiring kids, letting them know its ok to be yourself, whatever that may be.
Sian: Just be healthy in body and mind.
Nia: We are the antithesis of people like Meghan Trainor. At first listen, it’s ok to not be skinny, but then the message is a negative one, it’s not ok to be skinny. I really think it is about equality.
RUSHONROCK: What about feminist comments?
Bex: It’s a compliment, but it’s not about women and men, its equality for all, like Nia said. We play hard live, it’s powerful and no less strong because we are girls.
RUSHONROCK: So what does the future hold for The Cassettez?
Bex: The release of Zombie Disco, with a video that was so much fun to make! And, we are expecting to announce the tour later on this year. We are playing all of the time though and things are gathering speed.
Liss: Hiring professional Zombies for the video was awesome. Yeah, the energy between us is great, we feed off each other, off stage and on, there’s diffusion and fusion.
Bex: Im used to being a solo performer but I love being part of a band now. At least it means that one in four people will laugh at my jokes! I still get nervous and I hope to never lose that.
RUSHONROCK: What is your closing message to the Rushonrockers?
Bex: We are going to be doing a headline tour soon so come see us do our thing!
Sian: Bring the kids! We want everyone to believe that it’s ok to be themselves. Stick to being you!
Nia: I hate Meghan Trainor!
Liss: People keep asking us who we want to be but we want to be The Cassettez. We Are The Cassettez!!