INTERVIEW WITH CASSELL THE BEATMAKER (THE STREETS AND PLAN B)
It’s been a pretty wild year for you on the road and doing festivals with both Plan B and The Streets, how has it been managing your time between the two?
Yes I’ve been fortunate to be the drummer for both high profile bands for a few years. This year has been the busiest as both bands were headline acts at the festivals. There have been countless plane flights and taxi rides involved in my every day life. Both bands either headlined at the same festival on the same day but different stages, or on the same stage one after the other or the same festival but days apart. It’s been quite exciting being caddied from stage to stage changing into suits or sporting Adidas/Fly 53 wear ready for my performances. Between both bands I’ve performed at most of the top festival in UK, US, Europe and Australia.
As a producer has the hectic schedule left you much time to get into the studio yourself?
I’ve had less time in the studio than normal, but I’ve managed to squeeze a few hours here and there with my writing team and also produce on the tour bus & in hotels using my portable studio, which consists of a Apple laptop, The Maschine and Akai mini keyboard.
How does it feel now that The Streets are coming to an end? It’s been a big part of your life for a few years now…
It feels quite sad for me, as I have had countless good memories with the band & crew. We have grown musically with each other and form a strong bond as friends. They are like my extended family.
Do you see yourself working with Mr. Skinner again in the future?
All I can say is watch this space. Mike Skinner is a man of many talents. You never know what he is working on or has ready in the pipeline. I’m sure he has another master project up his sleeve.
The festival season is now winding up and you’ve seen your fair share of them, there was a recent report saying the UK festival market is now overcrowded. Would you agree with this statement?
I wouldn’t be surprise if this is true. The festivals haven’t been short of new or old exciting acts. All the shows with Plan B/The Streets were packed out. The crowds went back for miles or you just couldn’t fit enough people in the tents.
What’s the best festival you’ve been to this year? Any highlights?
I’ve enjoyed most of the festivals, but Glastonbury and Benicassim Festival stood out as I perform with both bands. The band members both watched each other’s shows. They were amazed that I could play both sets at an equal high standard without tiring. *Laughs* I must admit it was a nerve racking and a buzzing experience rolled into one, knowing that Mr Skinner and Ben Drew were watching side of stage. Probably both comparing my performance levels. *Laughs again*
Plan B picked up a Brit award this year, how was the experience for you?
It was very emotional to be honest. I’ve been working with Ben close to 10 years and to see him get the recognition he deserves was a heart filling moment. It was much the same vibe when we all won Ivor Novello awards for the ‘Most played song’.
Congratulations’ on the award! So how is the work on Plan B’s new album coming along? There are all sorts of rumors bounding around about what style it might be?
Well we took a month out to work on 2 albums, but because of Ben’s massive workload we decided to concentrate on one. Which is the hip-hop album. However which style the next Plan B album will be I’m not sure off. You won’t know till it’s released. *Laughs*
You’ve called yourself the MD of Plan B’s band in the past. How do you go about picking the musicians for the band? Is there an audition process?
Well it was quite easy as I chose musicians I had worked with on pervious projects. I knew they were of a high standard and would have no problem in fitting in with the rest of the members.
Is it different selecting studio musicians as apposed to people that may play the record Live on tours etc?
Not really as I know a lot of talent musicians and there standard are equally as good in both situations. The difficult part is finding a musician that is not busy with another project or band.
So what’s next now that The Streets is over? Presumably, more time for new collaborations for you?
Well with my writing team we have signed a new artist called Ren Gill. We are busy in the studio finishing tracks and putting together a strong package. Also there is the Plan B album to finish. I also played drums on the sound track for his new film,’ I’ll Manors”. You really have to watch this space as things are coming in all the time…….
By Laura Palmer
by 247 Magazine