Kassett, born Gavin Vanaelst, is the founder of DRLR Records (pronounced as the French word Dérailleur), an independent electronic music record label that, as its Bandcamp tells it, exclusively releases beat tapes and free downloads on the internet. Based out of Antwerp, the label recently released the excellent (and free)DRLR Vol. 1with tracks from Word favourites Le Motel and Internal Sun as well as others from the label’s roast of artists such as FRIS, Sabanas and Kassett himself. Without a doubt one of the freshest and distinctive new record imprints to surface out of Belgium in recent times, we asked Kassett to take on recording duties for number 21 in our ongoing series of exclusive DJ mixes. The result is over 45 minutes of gentle soundscapes and soulful bass music with one hell of a tendency for experimentation. Genius if you ask us.
So, tell us, who is Kassett?
Kassett is me in my room with a microphone, copy-pasting my recordings and samples on my computer with Ableton live. I’m not a pro. I learn new tricks, but I still have a limited knowledge of music production software. This lack of knowledge forms the basis for my sound. I get surprised every time I get a good sound or melody out of an Ableton project. Then I get extremely excited, going on for hours until I’m too tired to continue. I have a cassette tape out on my own label (DRLR), the so called Kassett Tapes. I draw the insides of every tape myself. Also the tracklist is different with every repress. They are all unique. I sometimes put a full album on bandcamp, but I always take them offline after a day or two.
I learn new tricks, but I still have a limited knowledge of music production software. This lack of knowledge forms the basis for my sound.
How did you first start making music? How does it fit into your everyday?
I studied music for a few years, and I also learned how to play the piano. After a while I got more interested in playing the bass guitar (Merci Raymond), mostly because I wanted to impress the girls. Then a friend gave me his guitar (Merci Willem) and I started writing songs. I still do. I want to introduce this side of me in future Kassett live sets. I want to do more live.
Is music a full-time thing for you at the moment? If not, what are your other occupations?
I’m a Illustration student at Sint-Lucas Ghent. That takes time. I spend more time searching and listening to music then I spend time making it. Doing things for the label takes time too. Getting things done. But these are definitely all pleasures.
Can you describe the mix in a few words?
It’s a mix of tracks I’ve listened to a lot lately on my Windows Media Player, some gems I found on Soundcloud, and a lot of DRLR music, both released and unreleased exclusives.
Can you tell us about the exclusive track on the mix? Why did you chose to include this one? If it isn’t one of your own productions, how did you come across the artist?
‘Iase’ by FRIS is a track that has been lying around for some years on his own computer. When he sent me a .zip file with his beats for his ‘Frisse EP’ this track didn’t make the cut. But it is still a favourite of mine. It took six months for him to choose the perfect four tracks for his cassette tape. I guess he really cares about his music. A second cassette tape by FRIS is coming in the near future.Polygon was the first producer to do a release on DRLR. His track ‘Nachtangst’ shows the same melancholic style as shown on his album ‘Geheim’, but more ambient. Very sad. Not sure what he is into right now. He could do big things. His show in Brussels on the DRLR label night with Junnagaosa was gold. I had a good time. His little keyboard/drum pads suddenly stopped working, but he still managed to do a good set. I wanted the tracks by MES, Urso and Mstk to be exclusives too, but the DRLR Compilation album will be out by the time this mix goes up online, so they’re not that exclusive anymore.
When and where did you record it? Describe the room, the furniture, the walls, the view from the room, the neighbourhood, the weather at the time, etc…
It was made in an apartment in Onderbergen, Gent, on the second floor. On the other side of the street somebody did not close the curtains in his living room while watching porn. It is two in the morning. Nightshop says it is open. There is a recently installed record player in the corner of the room but only one record, the soundtrack to Manhattan, the Woody Allen movie. There are some drawings and test prints on the floor, they are not mine. There is a portrait of an extremely ugly girl on the wall, it’s only 10 centimetres high. The owners of this apartment do not know her. I find that both amusing and strange. I’m drinking tea with lemon and honey, I have a cold.
There is a portrait of an extremely ugly girl on the wall, it’s only 10 centimetres high.
What’s your favourite track on the mix?
The Ray J bootleg definitly, I’m not sure wether this is a guilty pleasure or not. I think not.
What do you have coming up in the next few weeks?
Labelnight near Antwerp in February with Urso, FRIS, Sabanas and me.