In past interviews, you told us that you found your passion in production during the eighth grade. How have you gone about balancing your schooling and music career for over a decade?
You've just released a stunning EP on Good Quality Records called "Catharsis." Tell us about the story behind these five tracks and what connects them?
Thank you very much! So initially, the EP started as just one track and we linked the rest in to make it a "creative showcase" of who Jon Casey is, in essence. The story of it all came when we started working on the visuals. I believe "Catharsis" is a good introduction to the EP because of the journey it takes you on from start to finish. "Birds" is a banger that we needed to fit in because, come on, the track is dope if I do say so myself. Then "Charge" is the track the takes this EP to its peak, to the top of the mountain. After that, we introduce the smooth essence of The Oshi's vocals on "Grinding" to bring you back to reality. "Rosalind" is a perfect track to finish off the EP in my opinion. I think the movie gives a good link between all the tracks. That's all I'm going to say. Go watch the movie/visual experience if you have not yet to get a sense of what I'm saying!
Speaking of that movie, you and Dexter Verveen worked together to create an incredible visual journey with the five tracks. Can you take us behind the scenes into the writing, shooting, and adding the stunning visual effects to the final movie?
This whole project was A LOT of work. The reason I say this is because it was my first time ever trying to execute a project like that. An old friend from highschool introduced Dexter to me when I needed a videographer to shoot for me at a festival. After that, I thought this guy would be the perfect candidate to help me take this project forward.
Shooting was fun. We did it over a span of about three weeks, going to different locations like the botanical gardens, abandoned buildings etc. To be honest, the funnest shoot of them all was the video for "Birds." The idea for it actually came to me that morning. Dexter had slept over the night before and we said we need to get this done ASAP. So I bought a couple beanies and got some flammable liquid, chucked it onto the beanie and hoped for the best. (Side note: those beanies were SUPER resistant to that fire, I didn't need to buy as many as I did!) I learned Premiere Pro a month prior to the project so that I can create it the way I wanted it. Dexter was familiar with it beforehand, so he showed me some tricks. Then he and I just edited stuff, saw what looked good, different effects and themes we'd like for each track and did it in a trial and error process until we liked the final product.
When researching for these questions, I saw you gave a very good technical interview with Gravitas which explained a lot of your production tricks and methodology. My question is more about the niche you've been carving out with your particular style of music. From your perspective as the producer, how do you view the relationship with your listener?
Who are some of the vocalist or other producers that you'd like to collaborate with in the future?
So vocalist wise, long-term goal would be A$AP Ferg. His energy and ad-libs are INSANE and I'd love to throw them onto a track and make an absolute banger. Another one would be Buddy or Dream McLean. Production wise, I would have to say High Klassified. I've looked up to him for quite some time. Krischvn is a producer I think I will always be inspired by as well because his production is always ahead of the curve.
What are some of your plans moving forward with your music career and what legacy do you want to leave behind?
This is a big one. The next step is getting that work visa and do a North American tour - it's getting more and more realistic as the days go by and I'm very grateful for that. But yes overall, I want to consistently create projects of quality and holism. I want to stay ahead of the curve and challenge others to do the same, be brave and take risks. I want to show that a strong work ethic goes a very long way. Me working my ass off is the goal and the by-product of that would be to inspire others, encourage others, and help where I can. I think another thing I've seen is inspiring people of color to explore this area of music as well and I would like to be one of those faces too.
I've got quite a lot of things upcoming, some releases with Noisia's Division, RL Grime's Sable Valley, Elysian Records and two sample packs coming out to name a few. Keep an eye out for me! Also if you haven't checked out my latest project "Catharsis," it is out now on Quality Goods Records and you can stream it everywhere!
Chris W. Lao
Writer, DJ, and Student.
D'Angello & Francis
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