Interview: Cascine

Cascine recently turned 2 years old, and to celebrate, they compiled 14 standout tracks from their past releases. Lights and Music had the pleasure of talking with Jeff Braton, the founder of Cascine,through e-mail. He talked about the history of Cascine, the importance of physical products, and the label’s relationship with the current music scene.

Cascine has released shit loads of great pop records since it was born in 2010. Their experimental approach to pop music is always rewarded, because they have a deep love of music rooted in their belief. And it is truly sincere, because it comes from one’s intuition; to create and to appreciate music.

And before we start, let me say that loud once again (as I did a lot already), Happy Birthday Cascine!

Interview: Cascine

Can you explain to us a bit about Cascine?

Jeff Bratton: Cascine is a pop label that pulls from a lot of the reference points that shaped our love of music as kids – 80’s Brit pop, 90’s dance music, golden era hip hop, etc. We started as professional fans of music. The label came after that.

How did the label start?

Jeff Bratton: Through Sandra Croft (Cascine’s publicist), the band Shine 2009 approached another label I work with named Service. We didn’t think they were the best fit for Service, so I started Cascine with the help of Sandra and Jason Romanelli to release the first Shine 2009 EP. After that, we never looked back. The universe has really supported the process.

How do you find artists?

Jeff Bratton: So many ways – we approached a number of them directly, being fans of their music. Others approached us. And then living in New York and London, we meet artists being out at shows and parties and through friends.

It is quite unique that Cascine is based in two different cultural metropolises; New York and London. Why the separate locations, and how does this arrangement work?

Jeff Bratton: For us, it’s a perfect arrangement. Jason Romanelli and I are in New York. We have a little loft-style office in Chelsea. And then Sandra’s in London – in east London, near Bethnal Green. Most of our communication happens via email and Skype, but we physically see each other every six months or so.

Why does Cascine release music mainly in vinyl and digital format sometimes offering free downloads. It seems like Cascine is embracing the age of internet as well as preserving the goodness of vinyls.

Jeff Bratton: We very much believe that labels should still produce a physical product. Vinyl records give us the chance to bring our vision for the material to life in a three dimensional form. But given that most of the music we listen to is digital, we’ll always make the material available via MP3s too.

Can you describe the two years of Cascine? What has been the most impressive thing that happened to Cascine since it started, whether good or bad.

Jeff Bratton: The last two years have been a total rollercoaster ride in the best of ways. We move really fast and that’s the one thing I often come under fire for with the rest of Cascine – pushing ahead too rapidly. But it’s a passion-driven thing and I get extremely excited about the music. The most incredible part of the past two years has been working with the bands that we do. So many cool and creative kids who fill our days.

In your opinion, how do you think the scene has changed for this couple of years?

Jeff Bratton: There are far fewer barriers to entry, which is both a good and a bad thing. Anybody can release music now, and anybody can critique music too. The modern music scene is pretty lawless.

Can you tell us about this compilation? Why did you decide to put on a compilation?

Jeff Bratton: The compilation was actually suggested to me by Sam Valenti over lunch last spring. He encouraged us to create it as way of capturing our aesthetic in one place. So we decided to time it with our second anniversary. We probably won’t celebrate again, in a public way, until year five.

There has been so many newly-born genres that do not really stay too long-“chillwave, witchwave, hyperbass, etc”. And while Cascine’s focus is broadly on Experimental Pop, how do you think Cascine relate to current music scene?

Jeff Bratton: Great question. We exist outside of most popular genres. Our view of pop is more timeless, less tied to trends. While we appreciate many of the recent micro movements in music, our policy is pop that feels intuitively right to us as listeners. If we love the music, we release it, regardless of what’s fashionable.

One can say “experimental” and “pop” are reciprocal. But, how would you explain pop?

Jeff Bratton: For us, pop is pure and traditional – in a modern sense. But we also like to take chances with it. Dance around the edges of it. That’s is where the word “experimental” comes in.

What’s in the pipeline for Cascine for more exciting years to come?

Jeff Bratton: Lots for sure. We’re only just beginning and are committed to releasing music that stays true to our core aesthetic. If you like the sound of Cascine now, you’ll like the sound of Cascine tomorrow. We’re also working to become more of a lifestyle brand outside of music

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