Getting to know local band Cassia at Neighbourhood Festival in Manchester

Macclesfield might not be the first place you think of when you hear the sun-soaked grooves of three-piece Cassia, but that’s exactly where the trio hail from.

Having spent the past several months turnings heads in every city they stepped foot, 2017 has seen Cassia ramp up their live presence. We caught up with Rob and Leff ahead of their set at Neighbourhood Festival in Manchester.

Did you enjoy your set at The Refuge today?

Rob: Yes! We did. It was really good. I’ve broken my wrist so I’ve got a cast on, so a bit of a struggle compared to usual! But good.

Oh no! How did that happen?

Rob: It’s not very rock n roll – I fell over drunk!

Are you excited for the tour? Three sold out shows! How do you feel about that?

Leff: Yep! Three sold out so far. A few are pretty close now so that’s exciting.
Rob: London is coming up fast! It’s gonna be amazing. We can’t wait for it, SO excited.

How many shows are you doing on the tour?

Leff: Six or seven. Not that many this time – we’ve done a lot of shows this year!
Rob: Yeah we’re ready for them though. We’ve just had four weeks off – the other guys went to Berlin but I couldn’t go because of my wrist!

How did you form Cassia? Were you already friends?

Rob: Me and our bassist, Lou, were friends from school. I was doing odd bits on my own after A Levels and Lou approached me wanting to form a band. We actually met Leff in the pub! We used to go out scouting drummers.
Leff: Lou asked me if I knew any drummers – so I said I’d do it! You get all these big ideas when you’re all drinking in the pub but somehow it actually happened and here we are today.

Where did the name come from?

Rob: It was always a very African, summery sound. So we wanted something a bit different. It wasn’t really anything creative, just researched for ages and picked something that fit. You kid yourself on what’s good too, so you’re like yep that’s a great band name’ then the next day you’re like ‘that’s an awful name’.

If you could tour with anybody, who would you pick?

Rob: Vampire Weekend. We love their stuff, they have a great sound. I’d love to meet George Ezra too.
Leff: I’d liked to of toured with the Beach Boys back in the day. That would of been so cool, can you imagine?!

Who’s your favourite pick of the day? Who are you going to watch tonight?

Leff: Declan McKenna is playing tonight, we definitely wanna catch him.
Rob: We know the Marsicans, we’ve played with them a few times. They’re really good. Get Inuit – they’re sick. They have a very ’Weezer’ kinda style.

You’ve had a great reaction to you latest single, Sink, what’s that about?

Rob: I wrote Sink when I was pretty drunk actually. We needed some new material so I tend to fire words and sentences together and see what happens. Our lyrics aren’t really personal – we go for more of a fun vibe and just see what works for us. I like writing the music first, then fitting the lyrics to that sound.

How did you get to where you are today? Did you start with local gigs?

Rob: We’ve done some pretty rogue gigs to be fair – you have to start somewhere.
Leff: You gig a lot and then like anything, it just develops and you meet people and progress. Our manager actually scouted us on YouTube – he contacted us and from there it spiralled.
Rob: We played Y Not Festival after a week of him signing us, which was really cool!

What’s the biggest gig you’ve played to date? Do you get nervous?

Rob: Y Not was really good! Reading & Leeds festival was big for us. If you’re doing it all the time you don’t get as nervous, but when you’ve had a break it takes time to get back into it.
Leff: Truck festival was pretty good in Essex this year. We got there and for a small festival, the stage was massive.

What’s in the pipeline? We need to hear more of you!

Rob: We’ve got a few more singles coming out, another few tours and hopefully more festivals.
Leff: Basically, the year we’ve just had – but better!