In our latest Behind the Headphones feature we spoke to Sasha Carassi about his early career, longevity, and how to approach labels.
A veteran DJ since the 90’s, Naples based artist Sasha Carassi has been controlling dance floors for decades with his hard hitting techno sound. A dedicated and determined man in his own right, Sasha’s efforts have resulted in a career which has seen him play all over the world and release on some of the biggest record labels in electronic music such as Diynamic, Renaissance Records, and ATLANT, as well as his own label Phobiq.
His latest release Invain, is a 4 track techno EP which features fellow Napels instrumentalist Kendah who provides hypnotic vocals to the intense, deep and melodic production of the records title track. In this interview Sascha gave us an insight into his career so far.
Interview: Matthew Richardson
At the beginning of your musical career you were a resident at Dinamik in Naples. What did your time there teach you? Also how much do you believe that residency has impacted your career going forward?
Since the beginning, I have never been an “easy guy”, also if I was a resident DJ I’ve always been stubborn and ambitious. I just wanted to be appreciated for my DJ skills and not for the ability to bring some friends to the party. So, the time at Dinamik taught me to have a comparison with the industry people and especially with the international DJs who I left the decks too. Having done my first professional experiences there, I think that residency gave me a lot for my future career. I have learned to handle myself during a proper party.
Your career has spanned over 20 years, what do you believe has been the key components to the longevity of your career? How important is it for you to be able to alter your style with current trends?
The key to longevity in every kind of career is “never give up” , but I realise for an artist it isn’t so easy. There are a lot of ups and downs, moments of great inspiration but also a bit of luck. I can say, by my side, I’ve always been original and I’ve tried to be recognisable in my productions with trademark touches, so I don’t follow the current trends but only my emotions and what I like during my creative process.
What artists have had the biggest influence on your career? How did they impact the music you produce and play?
When I was an adolescent, I was amazed by Claudio Coccoluto as Dj, he was the “Maestro” on the decks but my roots are very various, they include funk, soul, rock, house, techno and breakbeat, trying to mix and balance the different influences. Obviously everything I like and I listen to influence myself during the sets and the productions .
You are the founder of the label “Phobiq”. What was it that pushed you to create the label and what is it that you look for when signing records?
Phobiq was born from the need to express myself and the sound I liked playing during my dj sets, leaving the previous label Globox, whose style was more minimal. But with phobiq I wanted to give the possibility of signing a record to all the young talented guys around the world. A principal ingredient is surely originality. Unfortunately my musical taste has taken another direction and I broke away from phobiq for my new label ILINX that i will launch in November
Throughout your career you have released on many prestigious labels such as Drumcode and Bedrock to name a few. For aspiring artists, what is your mindset towards producing tracks for labels and what advice do you have when it comes to getting tracks signed?
The productions are 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, an advice I can give to the aspiring artists is only one: be original and don’t follow stereotypes. The production is an ongoing process. We have just to be driven by our emotions and not think for which label your track could fit, in this way the productions would become “artificial” and not natural.
We hear you are an avid vinyl collector. What pushed your love for vinyl? What sort of records would we find in your collection?
When I was little more than a child, I was fascinated by my cousins’ vinyl collection, I loved digging the electronic music records especially and during my adolescence I started to collect vinyl, spending all the money I had. Now in my collection you can find classical music records to the most weird electronic music.
If you could produce a track with any artist past or present who would it be and why?
What a question! There are hundreds of artists who I would like to collaborate with for my deep respect for them but the first I have in mind would probably be Daft Punk because they have globalised electronic music, that until then, it was more underground.
You can purchase the Invain EP here.