The Panorama Bar resident speaks to Kristan Caryl about her nomadic lifestyle, her recent dearth of releases and why she needs to make lots of money.
Cassy Britton is one of Panorama Bar’s more curious associates. As well as being able to light up Berlin’s coolest club for hours on end, she can also kick out the jams to tens of thousands of people in a soggy English field alongside overground titans like Carl Cox. Importantly, she does so without eliciting snide forum chatter from either side, and there can be but one reason for that: she has the ability to read crowds and lay down sets as relevant and rewarding for geeks and freaks as they are for part-time party people. Sometimes, as is her ideal, she even does it for both at the same time. This skill has not gone unnoticed, and in 2013 she is resident at no less than four clubs around the world – Panorama Bar, Trouw, Rex Club and, most recently, New York’s Output, as well as having mixed fine compilations in the past for Cocoon (twice) and of course Panorama Bar.
It’s no real surprise, then, that the British-born, now Ibiza-based DJ has been tapped up by Fabric. Her entrance into the series is just as likely to appeal to drunken festival goers as it is Berlin boffins. There are big room bangers next to scuffed-up back room delights, all mixed with her inimitable sense of energy and a democratic track selection policy that takes in sounds and scenes from across the globe. Some will rue the lack of any Cassy originals, but those are coming, most likely on her own self-titled label. Just so long, she says, as “the creative gods are with me.”
On the eve of the release of Fabric 71, and the launch party this weekend, we called up the ever-articulate artist to find out just how conscious she is of her opposing sides.
Attack: So why have you settled in Ibiza for the summer?
Cassy: That’s the place I play the most. I’m playing here at least nine or ten times so it makes sense to be here. Doesn’t make sense to be anywhere else ’cause I’m not gonna be there. Apart from it being Ibiza and it being really good for my mind, body and soul, it’s just the most practical solution.
Given how much you move about and seem to live in various cities around the world for six months to a year, do you ever really feel comfortable there for the short periods you stay?
I’ve got used to it now. I know what a temporary house has to have to make me feel comfortable. I’ve also got lots of really good and close friends around the world, and their homes I can call my home. I feel really comfortable with them.
Do you ever get to a point where you think you might like to put down roots and stay somewhere more permanently?
Not at all, no [laughs]. It gets worse! I was hoping it was gonna come, but now I think I will just have to finally accept that’s not what’s going to happen. It’s going to get worse.
Why is that?
I now finally realise there’s no one place I entirely want to be in for a long time. I love Ibiza in summer but it doesn’t make any sense to be here in winter because of all the flight connections. Even though it would be great because it’s peaceful and quiet – with a hectic lifestyle that’s good – but if you have to wait five hours at Ibiza airport to go somewhere, it doesn’t make sense.
Do you get bored easily? Is that why you move round so much?
I used to answer this question. Now I don’t understand what it means anymore. What does it mean to get bored quickly?
“There's no one place I entirely want to be in for a long time. I love Ibiza in summer but it doesn't make any sense to be here in winter.”
For me the thought of moving house every six months, all my stuff, music, life comforts, cats… it seems a pain in the ass. I guess you are wired differently and enjoy that it pushes you outside your comfort zone?
It’s a very good point about comfort zone because… I tried to settle in Vienna and while I was settling and arranging my apartment and trying to make it my new home I could already feel that this settling wasn’t going to work. In a sense, I’m probably scared of getting too comfortable, which is not a good thing. It’s all a process to figure out our lives and how we should live it and how we will be happy living it.
Settling in and getting really comfortable, especially in Vienna, it’s quite morbid. I started worrying about what kind of antique furniture I would like if I had a bigger apartment and what paintings I’d have on the wall. I thought ‘no!’ I’m not doing my job like other people do their jobs in order to buy items to make their homes look beautiful and fulfil their dreams in a hobby, passion kind of way. I’ve got to live my life every moment. I’m doing it or having it, my life is now; life is not something I want to be saving money up for. Vienna’s very much a place where you can live the past in the present and that’s something I can’t do, so I guess every place has its ups and downs, and that’s what I’ve realised. I try to energise myself as much as possible so I can do my job as good as possible.
“I'm not doing my job like other people do their jobs in order to buy items to make their homes look beautiful and fulfil their dreams.”
I guess moving about like this means you don’t have to worry about mortgages, kids and some of the life issues other DJs do. Which can only be good, because these realities often coincide with a dip in the relevance and creativity of formerly ‘underground’ DJs.
Well, I spend a lot of money and I like spending money so I have to make a lot of money! I travel a lot and really invest my money in fashion, culture, trips to classical music festivals or whatever. I really enjoy the world as such, so I guess if I want to keep it up I must make money. There are gigs where you think ‘this is good to do ’cause it’s the coolest and the best’. There might not be a lot of money, but you know it’ll be good for your soul as a DJ to be doing it, and that’s as good as gigs that are high profile and well paid.