Sasha Carassi: be original and don't follow stereotypes

Radio Intense is very pleased to present to you our next guest - Sasha Carassi!

This October, the longstanding UK label Renaissance Records welcomes Italian heavyweight Sasha Carassi for his Renaissance debut, the "Invain EP". The Naples-born artist is known for his standout releases on the likes of Diynamic, Drumcode, Bedrock, Atlant and IAMHER.

With the Invain EP approaching, we spoke with Sasha to find out more about the release, his influences and more, enjoy!
— Hello Sasha! We are super pleased to have you with us today! How are things with you and where are you speaking to us from right now?
— Hello everybody, it's a big pleasure for me to speak with you. I'm really well and I'm in my studio right now. I hope to be thorough in my answers and be good company during the interview.
We're talking with you ahead of your upcoming debut on the iconic UK label, Renaissance Records, with your Invain EP. A brilliant EP and one that is perfectly suited to the label. What can you tell us about the EP and what was the inspiration behind it?
— Thank you, I'm very happy you enjoyed it.

So, as always, my inspiration during the creative process comes in every moment of my day, the music is around me. "Invain" was born during the first lockdown, when I started looking to collaborate with singers to try different things in my productions. This track, sung by Davide Celiento aka Kendah, is a great example of inspiration in spite of the uncertain period; a kind of escape but also one of connection and mutual support.

I was spending a lot of time in the studio which helped the days go fast and in turn I had a lot of ideas to piece together. I started to produce with no particular schemes or a proper genre but always keeping an eye toward the dance floor, as you can note especially in "Desert Drop". And last but not least "Pathos" is a more introspective journey, the most natural of the EP. I was driven only by my emotions trying to mix and balance all my influences.
— The title track, Invain, features the vocal talents of fellow Neopolitan Kendah with impressive results. What was it like to work together on this track and how did the collaboration arise?
— Kendah is a very talented guy, it was very easy to work together because we had a great feeling between us from the beginning. He immediately understood me and my direction, so he knew how the lyrics could fit with my music. The collaboration was born through a mutual friend and after a conversation, I realized a great collaboration could arise and it was worth a shot.
— With releases stretching across two decades, you have had an exceptional career to date, leaving your mark on many of the scene's great labels; from Diynamic, Drumcode, Bedrock, Atlant and IAMHER to now Renaissance and more. We would love to hear about where it all began for you, how did you first start out down this career path?
— As a child I became immediately interested in art in general but mainly about music. This passion wasn't inherited, in fact my father wasn't much into music at all, but I had two cousins, fortunately my neighbors, who were vinyl collectors. At their home I first started to put the records on the deck and I was fascinated by the music world. During adolescence I attended art school and during that period I became a proper clubber, who every weekend travelled to different cities of Italy and Europe. When I was 16, I started as a resident DJ at Dinamik Area, the most famous club in my area. I started to produce music in my bedroom in the second half of the 90's and released on various labels, but the big step was my release on Drumcode.
— Do you remember what equipment you used to create your first track? How did the method's differ from your current approach to making music today?
— When I started I had few resources, in addition the room acoustics (my bedroom) were completely wrong, but with a right dose of creativity and the samples from my vinyl collection I was able to achieve something that I wanted. My first setup was an Atari ST with Cubase 1.0, a Yamaha mixer 03D, an Akai S950 sampler, for speakers Alesis Monitor One, a Tascam DAT recorder and much coffee! Today, after many years, I have a professional studio with great acoustics and a comfortable design; the ingredients I need for spending many hours inside! During the years I have collected a lot of gear but my favorite synths are the Moog Sub 37, the Arturia Matrixbrut and the Korg Minilogue. I don't use a mixer or analog compressors but a lot of VSTs such as Arturia V Collection, Waves and Roland Clouds. Regarding the monitors I'm a big Adam fan, my references are Adam A7x and A8x.
— Who have been your greatest musical influences?
— I can be influenced by everything that I listen to, but to be more accurate; I'm a fan of bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, to name the classics, and of more current electronic bands too, like Muse, Arctic Monkeys, Massive Attack and Daft Punk. These are the firsts that come to mind, but I can tell you my listening is really varied. I believe, in every kind of music there are some gems, but one of the trends that influenced me, has been all the 90's US classic house music.In the following years I have approached the other musical genres, mostly funk, rock and electronica.
— What would your most valuable tip be for an aspiring producer?
— For an artist, to be able to create their own music is the most important thing for me. It's a way to show who you are, to convey feelings, to free your ideas and inspirations. I love spending a lot of time in the studio and I love producing, with no plans, no rules. So, a suggestion I can give to the young producers is only one: be original and don't follow stereotypes. The production is an ongoing process and we have to be driven by our own emotions.
— Outside of the world of music, what are your favourite interests / things to do?
— I love cooking, good food and good wine. During the lockdown I spent more time in the kitchen perfecting my technique. Obviously I like traveling and my passion for this is fulfilled through my job. It's very funny to combine the two passions because each stop becomes a gastronomic tour as well.

Moreover, having attended art school and being an esthete I really like dabbling in graphic design, it's something I would like to learn more of.
— With the restrictions of the pandemic in mind, have you been able to return to gigging yet? If so, what was the feeling like to return to DJing?
— Unfortunately, I haven't been able to gig in a big event yet but I'm super positive and full of energy that I'm looking forward to unleashing for the crowd.
— Thank you very much for chatting with us today Sasha and congrats to you on the upcoming Renaissance release. To finish things off, is there anything else upcoming from yourself that you'd like to share with us?
— I can't wait to show you everything I'm working on. I'm having other releases in the next month on labels such as Bedrock, Knee Deep In Sound and Eleatics and the launch of my new label. I hope you enjoy my upcoming work as well as my answers today!

Thanks for having me!
A big hug.