The good, the great & the unexpected w/ Cassegrain
Internationally known for their intricate, hardware-based live sets, this thrilling duo shouldn’t need too much of an introduction amongst the hardened techno-heads. An impressive list of appearances includes among others the illustrious Berghain, Barcelona’s impressive Sonar Festival, Asia and the United States. For those who are less familiar with Cassegrain’s origin, here’s a short introduction.
After enjoying the unique chance of running into each other at Barcelona’s Red Bull Music Academy, Alex Tsiridis and Hüseyin Evirgen made the project ‘Cassegrain’ see its first sunbeams. In the years following, they temporarily collaborated remotely through email, sending stems back and forth before making a move to Berlin where they currently share a studio. Now well established in the electronic music scene, they even run an own label called ‘Arcing Seas’.
As we are all known to Cassegrain as an artist now, we would love to learn more about the person behind the persona. What better way to do so than through their second language, music? In this double-interview, a rather unknown part of Alex and Hüseyin is being discovered.
Do you remember the first and the last track/record you ever bought?
Alex: My first record was by Seal called Kiss from a rose. Last one comes from Sedvs, Ego Is ID on the Barehands008 label.
Hüseyin: My first was Lambada by Kaoma. Last one is named Gnosis by Hüma Utku, released on Karl Records.
What’s a track you always listen to at home?
Alex: The past couple of years, one I’ve kept playing often is Nikes by Frank Ocean (as well as the whole album, Blond), absolutely brilliant. Right now as we speak I’m on a Tyler The Creator binge, specifically Garden Shed is on repeat.
Hüseyin: A lot of things, most played album is probably Bach - French Suites, played by Glenn Gould.
Now, can you name 3 iconic tracks that have a special worth to you? What’s important is that we wouldn’t normally link these tracks with what you’re known to play and/or produce.
Alex: There are many but I’m just going to go in the most important.
The Prodigy - Poison.
I saw the video on MTV when i was 8/9 years old and was crazy about it. My cousin Cerys from Wales who was visiting (we were living in Greece at the time), saw how in to it I was and sent me the album (Music for a Jilted Generation) on cassette when she was back home. This was perhaps the main reason for me getting further into electronic music. I became beyond obsessed with The Prodigy and also got into a lot of special stuff at a very early age. Never played Poison in a set, but I have played a few off that album many times the past few years. Now, since Keith’s sudden passing, this brought on a whole new wave of Prodigy tracks being played in clubs everywhere and it almost always seemed to be stuff from Jilted Generation, from what I’ve seen/heard. This album has aged very well.
Hüseyin: There are hundreds of tracks. But I would like to point out four electronic tracks which I heard at a younger stage of my life and actually made me want to make electronic music eventually:
Technotronic - Pump up the jam.
Actually the whole album. I was crazy about the drum sounds and 303 bass without knowing how it was done. I was 8 or 9 too I guess. I used to play the piano back then, understood how the electric guitar worked and so on. But drum machines and synths? They were totally new and fascinating for me. The punching feeling of the drums that Depeche Mode didn’t have in their music. This led me to Acid House right away, I guess that was 1988 or 1989.
The Prodigy - No Good.
I was around 14 or 15. I saw the video for the first time. And the whole mood and ambience of it made me think this is exactly how my life is supposed to be one day (which somehow really happened).
Photek - Ni Ten Ichi Ryu
Here it was clear to me that I needed to make this kind of music myself. The dark mood, coldness and the complexity of the drum patterns.
Autechre - Glitch
I think almost in every Cassegrain track, there´s a small influence of this track. I will definitely include that one to the dj sets.
What do you do to take your mind off things? To relax or reaching that higher state of mind of yourself?
Alex: I would love to get into meditation at some point, haven’t managed to get that far after a couple of failed attempts. Now, I make sure I exercise regularly, going to the gym, some HIIT workouts and I’m in a basketball team called… Neukolln Minotaurs. Reading wherever/whenever I can also helps a lot, which is getting more and more difficult with the fragmented schedule/routine we now have and especially with smart phones, etc.
Hüseyin: I meditate a lot. Every time I can find in a day. Trying to stay aware of my breathing. Otherwise I have a lot of hobbies. I read a lot. I am very passionate about history, languages and cooking. Recently I really got into third wave coffee brewing. Every now and then I get into sports but mostly something happens and which makes me quit again. I don’t really need to relax or reach a higher state of mind. I’ve been making music constantly since I was 7. This makes my mind work in a weird way anyway, like constantly high and relaxed at the same time. I am just trying to progress, nothing else.
Any advice for millennials concerning this?
Alex: Well, I’ve just googled it and I’m technically a millennial myself, so…
Hüseyin: Please have mercy on me, please!
What’s your favourite city / country / holiday destination or just a place in general? Why?
Alex: Although I have spent very little time there, I’m gonna go with Melbourne. I had such a good feeling just being there when we played last year. I grew up in both England and Greece and Melbourne seemed to combine the two somehow. Good weather, great food, a relaxed atmosphere all in a kind of British-compatible seting (also reminding me of L.A.), if that makes any sense? Like I said, it was a brief stay, but that was my interpretation.
It is hard to pick just one place though, so I have to add Seoul and Tokyo! Extraordinary cities, amazing food, everyone needs to visit these at least once.
Holiday destination, easy: Greek islands, by far.
Hüseyin: Definitely my home town, Istanbul. But I have to add Seoul and Tokyo too. Jerusalem is very special for me too. I don’t really go on holidays but if I do, definitely Turkish South West Coast and Greek islands. Some dream destinations for me are Kashgar (hometown of my moms’ side), Kyrgyzstan, Tuva, Mongolia, Altai mountains, Egypt, South East Turkey (Göbeklitepe etc.).
As we are looking for some unusual tracks in regards to you as an artist, we would like to finish this interview off with some unusual questions.
What movie / series / animation character looks just like you? (on the outside, inside or both).
Alex: I’ve had people say Frodo, literally over a hundred times.
Hüseyin: When I was just three years old, they already used to call me Lord Yoshi Toranaga. I think it’s still legit.
If you would be a meal, a fast food portion or even a side dish? what would you be and why?
Hüseyin: It is out of the question for me to be any fast food. Side dish, not really either. I think I could be a meze or tapas, small dishes which you eat while you consume alcohol. I could be one of those.
Maybe that one soft sheep cheese from that one shop in Kadiköy (Istanbul), or a slice of really good pata negra or maybe some amazing banchan you wash down with some cheap soju in Seoul. If I am supposed to be any meal, it must be something which melts in the mouth.
Massive thanks Alex and Hüseyin! As the days close in, we all can’t wait until you guys come to rip apart our Turbine Stage with a live set on Sunday the 11th of August. Appointment at the electricity plant!
- Article by Victor Seys
- Interview by Michiel Demeulemeester