South London's Caswell recently released her new EP The Shadow Aspect. Named after the Jungian concept of the unconscious ‘dark side’ of humans’ personality, Caswell’s themes and lyrics shine a light on this aspect of character that is otherwise hidden.
We caught up with Caswell to chat about the new EP, her musical influences and the state of the South London music scene.
We know you're called Caswell and you're from South London, we don't know much else about you, please tell us about yourself....
Hi! Yes, I grew up in Tulse Hill and am now based in Woodbridge, travelling back and forth a few times a week and being that annoying friend who's always asking to crash on your sofa. London is incredible, but extremely financially suffocating for unsigned and self funded artists, so I'm trying to find a way that works for me.
You recently released "Dance Sober" which is lifted from your forthcoming EP The Shadow Aspect which will be released on October 26th, please would you tell us what the track is about?
Dance Sober is about that need for escapism from ourselves. When I first moved out of London I really noticed this dissatisfaction my generation seemed to have with their everyday lives and that alcohol, which appeared to be the short term 'solution', often worsened the problem. Partying was an unspoken agreement by which we helped each other forget reality.
You've released previous singles "Brother" and "Animal", is The Shadow Aspect your debut EP?
Yes, The Shadow Aspect is my first ever EP with entirely new material, aside from Dance Sober which was released a few weeks back. Initially I did intend for Animal and Brother to be on my debut EP, but my releases couldn't keep up with the rate at which I was writing!
You've received some lovely comments about your music from some industry heavyweights, how does it make you feel when you read them?
It makes me feel like I'm on the right track. I'd been recording for a good year or so without releasing anything, and in that time you often wonder whether you've lost all perception of what's good or not! It's nice to get some perspective.
When you write new material, what comes first, the music or the lyrics?
For me I find, often unintentionally, they're spawned together. I'll sit down at the piano and the melody will come first, but with it my subconscious mind will reveal lyrics without me even thinking about it. Other times lyrically it's a lot more intentional, they pour out like I'm sitting down to write a diary entry.
Your influences include Jeff Buckley, Kate Bush and Erykah Badu, quite a variation in both sound and style, what is it about them that you like?
They are all such individuals, real artists who don't appear to have compromised on who they are. An artist's lyrics make the difference for me, I fall for their minds and way of thinking, so genre doesn't really come into it.
You grew up in Tulse Hill in South London, how would you describe the scene there and were you able to easily get the support you needed in order to get ahead?
South London is a real hub for music, such a diverse mix of influences and creative people. The real difference for me came when I was 14 and enrolled at The BRIT School in Selhurst though, that was the first step in making the elusive 'dream' more of a tangible reality.
Are there many live music venues around the area or do you have to travel in order to see live acts?
Tulse Hill being so close to Brixton was amazing for live music, so many great small independent music venues as well as bigger places like Electric brixton and the O2 just a bus ride away.
Would you say you come from a musical family? What was your earliest musical memory? (mine was listening to Leo Sayer whilst sat on my Nan's lap - different times...)
I was never introduced to music formally as a child in the form of lessons, but my Mum used to sing in a punk band and in more recent years she's gotten into record dealing. I'm unsure of my earliest memory, but there's video evidence of me as a toddler with my beloved plastic microphone, standing a foot from the TV singing along to a Madonna world tour VHS. Those were the days.
I've listened to all of your music on Soundcloud and the production is simply superb, who did you work with on the singles?
Everything currently on Soundcloud has been produced and mixed by Hugh Fothergill who I've been working with for several years now. It's amazing to have had to time to really build a sound and musical identity with someone.
You have your EP launch night at The Angel in Woodbridge on Oct 26th, are you planning any dates after this?
Not as of yet, but I'm currently in the process of bringing some more people on board with the live set-up, so watch this space...
I see that The Angel is a Gin Parlour and Ale House, are you a Gin or an Ale lady?
Gin is life
So, what's next for Caswell, can we expect another EP anytime soon? maybe an album?
I'm in the process of recording the 2nd EP with a few singles scheduled for release next year, bring on 2018!
Lastly, would you prefer to live with a dog that can sing or a koala bear that can play the sitar?
The koala 100%, couldn't have the dog upstaging me could I? aha
We'd like to thank Caswell for sparing her time to chat to us and we wish her every success with her EP launch show at The Angel in Woodbridge on Oct 26th. To keep up to date with her whereabouts, follow/like/stalk her on social media, all her links are below, simply point and click....