How Cassyette went from viral megastar to supporting My Chemical Romance
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Cassyette started 2022 as the rock star queen of TikTok. Her heavy reworkings of pop megahits from Billie Eilish, Ashnikko and Olivia Rodrigo had racked up millions of views, while her takes on Paramore and YUNGBLUD showed off her impressive vocal range.
A handful of original songs hinted there was more to the 29-year-old than flattering imitations, but this year has seen Cassyette go from viral megastar to real-world phenomenon. She’s smashed festival appearances, stadium support slots and her own headline shows as well as curated a dedicated fanbase on her Devil Land Discord server.
It's all been backed by a string of anthemic, impassioned and oh-so-emo singles. The rumbling “Mayhem” is an alt-rock banger straight from the ‘00s, and the glitching swagger of “Sad Girl Summer” is chock-full of ambition, while the hammering “Dead Roses” is dripping in pain and revenge. Then there's the latest single “September Rain” that twists melancholy around stadium-sized confidence.
“Honestly, I was just doing TikTok for me,” Cassyette admits backstage at Reading Festival. “I’ve always loved rock music. I’ve always loved making music, and it was just a cool way of sharing my passion with people.” Before lockdown she was making a living as a DJ, but with COVID-19 shutting down clubs, she needed something to pass the time. “I wasn’t trying to launch a career,” she continues. “I was taking the piss with a lot of stuff as well as covering songs I loved, but it just seemed to resonate with people.”
With no plans to start slowing down, later this year Cassyette releases her debut full-length project, the Sad Girl mixtape. She spoke to AltPress about supporting My Chemical Romance, using music to process loss and why she’ll always refuse to appease rock purists.
What can you tell us about your new mixtape?
It's literally like my child. My best friend has two babies, and she’s always teasing me, saying how I talk about this mixtape is how she talks about her kids. I’ve put so much work into it because it’s my first big body of work, and I'm just really excited. I’ve played some of the songs live recently, and they’ve gone off, so that’s a good sign.
What was the vision going in?
I started writing this mixtape after my dad passed away, so a lot of it is very cathartic. I know everyone talks about their music that way, but it’s the only way I can describe it. I used it to get a lot of shit out of my head. It’s also about growing into who I am today. To get to where I am today, backstage at Reading Festival, which is the place where I was inspired by so many bands, you have to go through a lot. Some people don’t understand what you’re trying to do, and you lose people along the way. I’ll be honest, it’s been a hard couple of years. I’ve been grieving. I’ve had breakups with friends and romantic partners. With the mixtape done, I feel like I’ve turned over a new leaf.
You’ve always been a hard artist to pin down in terms of genre. What was inspiring you across Sad Girl?
It's always so varied, but that's the thing with new gen music. I really try and push it into different sounds so it’s not just stuck in one lane. Sure, purists might not like the crossover thing, but I’ve gone even further into that world with this mixtape because I love it so much. I’ve taken influence from dance music. There’s a lot of ‘90s references, but my favorite band is Slipknot, so there’s a lot of that as well. I just take inspiration from how far people go with certain sounds.
So, you’ve got no plans on settling down musically?
Has there been much backlash to your genre-bending?
A lot of people love it, but some people do hate it. You get a lot of purists saying I should stick to one lane and that the music I make isn’t metal, but I never fucking said it was. The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins was talking about me and new-gen music on his YouTube show Rides Again recently. He said some fucking awesome stuff about me, but then people in the comments were saying, “Cassyette is about as metal as Imagine Dragons,” but really, that isn’t a diss. I'll be whatever I want. Every song of mine draws inspiration from different things. It’s 2022. Why can’t I do that?”
What do you want the mixtape to mean to others?
I just hope they can relate to it. We all go through the same experiences, so by putting my stories into songs, I hope people can feel heard and understood. I want people to feel like they can fucking scream along to these tracks in the car if they’re feeling shitty. I just want it to be something therapeutic for everyone.
How important was it for you to develop a kick ass live show?
So important. I think live music is way more important than social media. Obviously, they’re two very different things, but at the end of the day, performing live and having great songs is your bread and butter as an artist. That needs to come before everything else. If you’re doing TikToks to promote shit, what’s the point?
Did blowing up online over lockdown add to the pressure of going out and performing live?
TikTok helped the project blow up, which is incredible, but it definitely meant I put a lot more pressure on myself. Those first few shows were incredibly nerve-wracking, but it quickly became a lot of fun, which is what I follow. You need to have fun with what you’re doing, whether that’s on socials, in music or onstage. Otherwise, it’s just boring. I’ve fallen into that trap before, of trying to push something that just wasn’t working, even though I knew it was dead. There’s no point doing something if you don’t love it and can’t put your heart into it.
What was it like supporting My Chemical Romance earlier this year?
Oh, my God, just fucking insane. I hope I get to support them again one day because it was amazing. I feel like that show really turned a corner for me in every way imaginable. Just experiencing that many people, and being on a stage that big, everyone was so gassed. It felt like a moment in history. I smiled the whole way through.
So much has happened to you over the past few months. What are your ambitions going forward?
To be honest, I don't know. I'm just enjoying it. You never know how long these things are going to last, so I’m just enjoying every second and trying not to fucking shit myself every time I go onstage. I have got a load of music to release. We’re just planning on when it’s all going to come out because there really is so much. The trick is not to spunk your load at once, though.