Most of you will be able to trace the producers who first got you into dubstep. I had a fairly slow time getting into the sound back in the day – but the following interviewee was one of two artists responsible for cementing my love for the dubstep sound.
In 2007, Gary ‘Caspa’ McCann partnered with frequent (at the time) collaborator Chris ‘Rusko’ Mercer to arrange an album which, for many of us, became one of the most popular compilations dubstep has ever seen. Yes, I’m obviously talking about Fabriclive.37. That was the album that really caught my attention – the single musical entity that effectively led to all of what I’m doing today.
Things, as they did for many of the early dubstep producers, quickly changed for Caspa and Rusko after their contribution to the Fabriclive series. They both broke America, helping take their “own jump up comical party fresh and somewhat relentless sound” (as Fabric called it) global. I followed Caspa for a while after the album, religiously keeping track of Dub Police and Sub Soldiers releases. But both of our tastes evolved and we both moved on to different things…
So you can imagine both my delight and apprehension when new Caspa material started appearing on the Minimal Monday Rinse FM show. Tracks like Submission seemed to suggest the London producer was returning his roots with a deeper, darker approach to his music. These teases kept appearing until word of Caspa’s latest album surfaced – an album that continued this deeper sound…
“500 is an album I wanted to make that didn’t compromise, and allowed me to be completely selfish. I wanted to be in the studio and have fun. I didn’t want to think about who would like it, or where it would be placed. It wasn’t about making music to fill stadiums; it was about making music to fill basements. It’s dark, cinematic, emotional, and raw. 500 is the soundtrack to that vision and movement.”
Caspa, thanks for your time. How are you, where are you in the world and what are you up to? Hello! Right now I’m at home in West London, just got out the studio – been in there all day finishing up music for the 500 project. And now relaxing rolling a “fatty” .
Apart from a pretty crazy touring schedule, things seem to have been pretty quiet for you release-wise over the last year or so. What have you been up to? I’ve been back in the studio putting together my third artist album 500. It’s been great to get back in there and have fun. I’m really enjoying the writing process at the moment and 500 has been my most enjoyable project to date. To be honest, I don’t think anyone can touch what I’m doing right now.
What’s your production set up like at the moment? Fully digital or are there a few bits of analogue kit you can’t live without? It’s mainly all digital, running a new Mac Pro with Logic X, Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol Keyboard, UAD-2 Satellite and a bunch of plug-ins. As far as hardware goes, I have my vocal chain which is a Neve 1073 and Distressor, I also have an original Roland 808 machine which I’m thinking of getting out soon!
In terms of advice for the new producers out there, have you got any production tips for anyone starting out? Find your own sound, explore it, enjoy it and stick by it! Once you have your own sound and style it really defines you as an artist.
Your latest album, 500, sees your music return to what some might call your roots. What’s inspired the refresh in sound? I’ve been DJing so much over the last five years that I haven’t given myself as much time as I wanted to be in the studio, to explore and fully develop my sound. This year, I made a conscious decision to make some time to get back on the buttons and have some fun and 500 is a product of that.
What can you tell us about the album? How do you describe it – and what sets it apart from the other albums in your back catalogue? I had a strong idea of what I wanted to create with this album and how I wanted it to sound, but within that I still wanted to have a lot of fun and take some risks. I feel 500 is my best work yet and I do feel that’s translating from the feedback that I’ve got from fans so far.
We’ve heard the first ‘episode’ of the release, the four track Episode One. What’s the idea behind these segments? Are they precursors to the 500 release or parts of it? This album is very cinematic in its approach and sound, so it made sense to release it in “Episodes” like you would a TV show or prequel or sequel to a movie. But also so it gives each episode time to sink in for people to really listen to it, today things are here one day and gone the next – especially in the music industry.
You’ve always had a pretty busy calendar with events, but the 500 tour sees you spend the last eight weeks of 2014 travelling across America championing the release. Are you excited to be back on the road? Yeah I’m very excited, I can’t wait to get back on the road with all this new music, especially with the type of event and atmosphere I’m trying to create. This tour is for the fans, I also think it’s an important tour for the music and I think it’s what is needed right now.
In terms of what’s happening Stateside with bass music/ dubstep, how’s the sound and scene evolved since you started getting involved? It’s been up and down like a rollercoaster but that’s what is exciting about it, I love the journey that music takes you on. For me the music is the main focus because that’s what it’s all about and that’s what I’m concentrating on.
Will you be touring Europe or the UK? What’s the rationale for focusing the tour just Stateside? Firstly, I’ve got a big fan base in North America, and secondly the timing was right to do it in the US first. I also feel that a lot of people out there skipped or haven’t experienced that real, underground vibe that dubstep can bring, I’m trying to capture that vibe again but the way I want it to be heard – on a big ass sound system. Plans are being made to tour it around the rest of the world and I would love to do the UK next.
Of the dates currently booked, which locations/ venues are you most excited to play? Really looking forward to going to Denver and LA as I’ve lived in both of those cities before so they’re more personal shows.
Outside of that I’m excited about all of the shows – especially all the cities I’ve never played before.
Dub Police has always seemed to be an imprint that supports upcoming producers. Who’s making the best dubstep/ bass music for you at the moment – new or ‘established’? There’s a lot of great artists doing some great stuff right now – Subscape’s new music for next year is sounding incredible and Variations are doing some good s**t. I’m also really into what J:Kenzo is doing at the moment.
Other than the album, what new music have you been working on – we’ve seen you’ve got a collab in the works with Emalkay? I’ve done a few collabs recently, I’ve got something with J:Kenzo, Flux Pavilion and Mayhem, and the tune with Emalkay (entitled Tomorrow) is getting ready to be released. It’s been fun working with artists that I’m really into; it’s great when you can complement each other’s sound. Tomorrow is out on the 3rd of November on Bring It Down Records.
Release or dub, what’s been your favourite tune this year? It would have to be my collab with MC $pyda called War Drum. It was a lot of fun to make plus the reaction in my sets and the support from other DJs has been solid. It features on Episode Two of 500 – and if you don’t know who $pyda is, he’s the MC who did the tune with Pendulum called Tarantula.
Any final words or shoutouts? Good luck with the 500 release and hope to see you playing the UK soon! Sub Soliders salute! Respect.
We’ve teamed up with Caspa and Dub Police to celebrate the impending release of 500 and its debut episodes. You can stream Your Time Is Now below or grab the free download (10MB, 320mp3).
There’s also a download (63MB) on the Caspa500 promo mix – with track list below…
- Caspa ft. MC $pyda – War Drum (Done Talkin’)
- Caspa – March Of The Marionettes
- Caspa – Stand Your Ground
- Caspa – Submission
- Caspa – Your time is Now
- Oiki – Mighty
- Caspa ft. Riko – Madman
- Magnetic Man – MAD
- Caspa – 80’s Kid
- Variations ft. Travis K – Big Belly
- Mydas – Squared VIP
- Caspa – Derek
- 16Bit – Skullcrack
- Twenty One Pilots – Car Radio – (Caspa remix)