Austin-based DJ and producer, Casual T returns. Showcasing an ear for innovative production and experience spinning catchy, dance-worthy tracks, Casual T’s 2019 record Lovers? garnered praise from listeners and critics alike. With a stack of tracks ready to be released every 6 weeks, the first single “Transcendence,” met EDM with pop sensibilities. Around mid-March, “Requiem for the Real” again saw a maturing balance of production, emotion, and innovative sound.
We caught up with Casual T to discuss his influences, his recent single “Requiem for the Real,” and what we can expect from him in the future.
To begin, how did you find your way to making music?
I have played music since I can remember. Before I can remember, my mom said that I saw a boys choir on TV and said, “I want to do that”! She signed me up for the Fort Bend Boys Choir, and I ended up staying in it until my voice changed. We got to tour around the world, in Australia and Canada, and around the US. These experiences sparked my passion for music and travel.
What were some of your musical influences growing up?
Haha so many! My first ever CD was “Oops, I Did It Again” by Britney Spears, but the first CD I truly loved was “The Beach Boys Greatest Hits vol. 1.” Then I grew up listening to a lot of Eminem and Mac Miller, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, and classic rock. I have always liked so many different types of music. I think Louie Armstrong said something along the lines of, “There are only two types of music, stuff made with soul and stuff that wasn’t.” I just like music made with passion and heart, no matter what genre.
You’re based in Austin, Texas. Has being in a music city shaped how you approach music?
Austin was the perfect place for me to cut my teeth in the music industry. I love this town and I miss performing around town so much! Austin is a good place to start because the people you need to know are out there in the crowd, not behind an inaccessible velvet rope. There are a lot of people who just care about the music, and there are so many different parts of the scene, you are very likely to find something you like.
We’re sadly coming up on a year without live music. What’s the thing you miss most about performing and being around live music?
UGH I MISS IT SO MUCH! It’s making me sad to think about it honestly. Performing / live is the reason I love music in the first place. I mostly miss connecting with the crowd, and I miss a lot of my friends in the scene that I don’t see much anymore since COVID. We used to all hang out at music venues and see each other all the time, but since music venues are closed, I don’t see a lot of these people anymore! I have actually been reaching out to friends on an individual level lately, and it has been fine, but damn, I really want to go to a show and see old friends.
In a dream post-COVID festival line-up, who are you performing alongside?
Mura Masa, Flume, Chuck Sutton, Laxcity, Medasin, Umru, Knapsack, Pluko, SMWN, DROELOE, Underscores, Tennyson, Ark Patrol, Elohim, PREP, Goldlink, Amine, Tobi Lou, Whethan, BENEE, Doja Cat, BAYNK, Melvv, BROCKHAMPTON.
Somebody hire me as a talent buyer, I would put together a really sick lineup.
With your debut Lovers? and the two singles we’ve heard so far, “Transcendence” and “Requiem for the Real,” you seem to be exploring what it means to be connected in different ways. What’s your hope for what people take away from your music?
Yes, I think most of my songs are about people. Connection is such a big part of what makes us human and our emotional wellbeing, I guess I just naturally draw on that. I want my songs to be an escape from reality. I want people to get lost in them and to learn a bit about what living is all about.
“Requiem for the Real” is the name of the most recent single. What were some of the sound influences for the song?
Requiem in particular is something that I think would be great for a festival stage. I am inspired by these big huge soundscapes that can fill a large space. I’d say that the sound influences come from the live performances of bands like Purity Ring, Odesza, Tame Impala, and Flume.
Without giving away too much, what can we expect with your coming releases?
There are going to be a lot more vocals, a bit more pop influence, and *shhh* I am going to start singing on my own songs! I have a lot of music to release before those songs come out but I’m very excited for it!
Stream “Requiem for the Real” here.