‘Boring’ is certainly not a word that applies to solo artist, Casey Desmond. Mixing her love of eclectic fashion with music, the young musician embodies the spirit of a generation past and a sensibility & knowledge of the current scene to create a world of her own. Meghan Player chatted to Casey at SXSW about her influences, fashion and what inspired it all.
Your parents are musicians as well, how much of an influence did they have on what you’re doing now?
I’d say they have a little bit of influence on my sound, but they inspired me more as an artist and a person because they were musicians and also artists. They’re just really quirky people. But, I would say that more of the stuff that they played for me when I was little in the 80s and early 90s, has more of an influence on me – in my current style – which is like electro stuff. David Bowie and Peter Gabriel and stuff like that. But they have been a huge inspiration to me. And a really big support as well.
Fashion seems to be an extension of your music – do you find that is important as well?
Definitely for me as an artist, fashion is important. To some people, just having a good voice is cool or just playing their music or instrument, that’s fine or whatever. But you kind of add a theatrical element to your stage performance, to your aesthetic or whatever. I feel that it just adds.. it gives people something else to grab onto – if you know what I mean? I personally do it just for fun. I studied fashion in college and it’s been part of my life.
Keeping that in mind, who are your inspirations, fashion wise?
I wouldn’t say I aspire to be anybody, I would say that I draw influence from like, again, David Bowie – he’s like a huge inspiration to me. Cindy Lauper is another one. There are some fashion icons that kind of go along with the music scene – like back in the day – like Pam Hogg is a huge inspiration [fashion wise] to me. I love her. She used to dress like Blondie stuff. Vivienne Westwood is another one who was just really wrapped up in the music.
It’s a good time period to draw influence from as well..
How do you, I guess define yourself then? And keep your image unique?
Just be myself, yeah. Stay true to what I like, which is: over the top, psycho, crazy colours, gawdy, flashy, sparkly things, neon paint. I don’t know. [laughs] Things that are kind of unnatural, appeal to me. Like I’m kind of a hippie, and I love nature and stuff, but I like to take those elements and stretch them a little bit. That’s where I get a lot of my inspiration from.
You’ve written and recorded with a few people that are varely big names in the industry – such as Chris Henderson – have you learnt anything from working with these people?
Yeah, I mean it’s all over the place. It’s a lot of experience and stuff. But one of the people that I’m really proud that I’ve worked with is a songwriter called Robert Osbahr and he’s been an awesome friend. We wrote so many songs together – and we just clicked. Working with Chris Henderson – we’ve only been able to work over the internet. We met a couple of times in LA, at the Ascot Convention, but we haven’t been able to work in person. So, it’s been a little bit hard, but it also taught me that you don’t have to be in the same room to write a song together. You can shoot emails back and forth and still make something cool. It’s just been a learning experience and it just makes me better at what I’m doing – faster.
What does SXSW mean to an artist such as yourself? Is it a good platform to launch your music and showcase to everyone that is coming out here?
Yeah. I wanted to come out here for personal reasons and for launching my new album coming out – and my new video and stuff. But this is just an experience that a lot of musicians want to have. It’s a great atmosphere. You meet tons of amazing people. You’re exposed to awesome art and music. Even if I wasn’t performing, I would want to be here – in this environment. But, I’ve been having a lot of fun playing and I can’t wait to play tonight!
Do you have any advice for musicians that might want to come out to SXSW?
Make sure you have all your dux in a row. Don’t do this ill prepared. You know, it’s fun to be whimsical and get on a bus and have fun – but, if you’re actually looking to get work done, make connections and such – you’re going to be stressed out with money, food, transportation – just make sure you have all that shit settled before you come here. That’s probably the hardest part. The meeting people and playing music – is fun and easy.
A huge thank you to Casey for taking the time to chat to us at SXSW.
For more information, including her new album and video, head to: http://caseydesmond.com/