When Cassettes Won’t Listen decided to make CWL, he was exhausted. Both fans and critics alike had responded positively to his production style and song writing on 2011’s Evinspacey. But in order to keep that momentum going, he would have to write songs, which at that moment wasn’t working. “Sitting down to write songs, was almost like I was forcing myself,” says Jason Drake, aka Cassettes Wont Listen. “After Evinspacey, I was exhausted with the song writing process.” It wasn’t that it had become a chore, but between making beats, marketing the album, and all the other things that are part of an independent artist’s hustle, writing songs had become harder to do.
So two years later, when Jason Drake was ready to release another Cassettes Won’t Listen project, he decided he was going to put out the record he’s always wanted to make. A record whose sound harkened back to mid 90s Astralwerks releases like those of The Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk. “I wanted to put out an instrumental record, sort of removing my vocals, and looking for other instruments,” says Jason. “I’m very interested in the process of recording and making an album.” But for Cassettes Won’t Listen to find his way musically, he would have to turn that process upside down, and essentially scrap all his previous methods of music creation. “I wanted to do everything backwards, and see what the result would be,” he continues. “So, coming up with the release date before the record was done. Coming up with track titles before the record was done. Giving myself set deadlines to finish things, where before it would just be like ‘Alright I have a collections of songs, I wanna put it out.’ This time I was like, alright I’m going to completely work backwards, and see what happens.”
What would happen over the ensuing months, would take place in three very different locales, Downtown LA, Venice (CA), and Seattle, WA, with each having a profound influence on Cassettes’ musical output. “My old studio was [in] Downtown Los Angeles, over-looking the city. And I think that’s sort of what brought me back to me making beats again because it brought me back to living in New York, and having that urban vibe. So the record started there.” Getting back to his musical roots was essential. Without the metropolitan landscapes of both Downtown LA and the industrial section of Seattle, CWL’s sonic imprint simply wouldn’t have been the same. The sounds and energy of the city would provide ample inspiration for the music on this album. From start to finish, CWL is a frenetic, hard-hitting musical journey, full of big beats and percussion heavy bangers. While Evinspacey had highs and lows, the pace and intensity on CWL are boundless. On songs like ‘To Explode,’ Jason explains, “I wanted to have a lot of energy. I didn’t want to follow any of the rules I set for myself for previous Cassettes Won’t Listen records. So I was just like, whatever I feel like making, whatever I’m really interested in right now, I just want to have fun doing it, and put some energy into it.”
While the album had both inspiration and musical direction, ultimately the success of the project would depend on the push. Enter Daylight Curfew, an independent audio/visual label co-founded by himself and partner Bisco Smith. The label boasts an eclectic roster of artists, crossing multiple genres of music, and even doubles as a creative hub that’s produced work for not only musicians and filmmakers, but high fashion brands and apparel lines as well. Bisco is the artistic lead who provides most of the creative direction, while Jason “handles all the music stuff.” Since it’s inception over a year ago, Daylight Curfew has grown organically, branching out into various realms of art and counterculture. “We put out music, as well as original art, and prints. The art side is starting to come along now. We’re linking up with some pretty dope visual artists to put out limited edition prints… It’s been busy.”
So with a label to run, an album to push, and a creative agency to manage, it would seem escaping the throws of exhaustion is a project in and of itself. Fortunately for Cassettes Won’t Listen, it has nothing to do with writing songs.