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Progressive's Ashley Casselle - 'I Want to Work With Adam Ant'

Author: Skruff
Tuesday, December 19, 2000
As John Digweed's long-term DJ protege and as the man behind one of the 90's greatest progressive trance acts, 10th Chapter, Ashley Caselle has long been a man on an upward, gradually building journey. 9 years after becoming Bedrock's resident backroom jock, he finds himself regularly booked at the likes of Cream and Gatecrasher and appears set for premier league DJ stardom in 2001. Mezzmusic's Benedetta Ferraro chatted to him last week, in London.

Mezzmusic: You started producing 9 years ago, way before you ended up becoming a DJ, isn't it normally the other way around-

Ashley Casselle: "That's right. After releasing my third record, my fellow homeboy John Digweed threw a Bedrock party in Hastings, and asked me to

play in his backroom, which at the time was the bar on Hastings pier. My passion for DJing had begun pretty much at that point, although I had been collecting records and playing around for a bit, beforehand. So my first DJ set was at the end of '92 beginning of '93 at Bedrock, thanks to John. Then I got a taste for it, and things moved on from there. When you start DJing it has an impact on the production and how you craft your records. One of the greatest joys is to put a record out, play it to a crowd then see an instant, hopefully good, reaction."

Mezz: How competitive is your world and how do you ensure longevity-

Ashley Casselle: "Personally I've fixed my blueprint since the early days, I've always played the music I believed in, without ever choosing the lowest common denominator. I've believed in what I'm doing, progressed and evolved within the style of music that I make. However, I also like to balance the amount of experimentation and creativity with a certain amount of, dare I say it, accessibility. John (Digweed) has a favourite expression "Educate while you entertain", which I think makes sense. I mean, it's not about going to school, it's rather about increasing people's exposure to good music. The competitive side of the job is healthy; there's room for everyone and everything."

Mezz: You're often quoted as saying that you want to trash musical genres, whereas the majority of us stick to what we know works, such as Sasha and Paul Van Dyk....

Ashley Casselle: "It's interesting that you mention these two names, because I

think both Sasha and Paul, in their own ways, play everything from deep house

to breakbeat, to whatever else. I think Sasha, in particular, has become a pioneer for the genre-busting attitude, whenever he's got the chance to do it. I come from the backroom mentality and I've been used to playing a wide variety of styles, obviously mixing them well but also taking the crowd through a journey so that one minute they're dancing to some funky house, and the next to some groovy breakbeats. Hopefully they won't quite remember how they've got there, whilst the whole experience becomes hugely enjoyable. I believe in dynamics in music, up, down, light, shade and all the different opposites you can get, in between."

Mezz: Do you consider yourself to be a risk taker-

Ashley Casselle: "I'm not a gambling man. Maybe in terms of music there have been certain times where I could have done something and then held back, because I believed that at some other time there would have been something else, which I'd have rather be doing. But I also play at clubs like Gatecrasher and Cream, playing what I want to play. I actually do what I want to do there and people have really come around to it. That's really enjoyable."

Mezz: Is it true that you'd really like to work with Morrissey and even Adam Ant-

Ashley Casselle: "Well yes. These guys have affected me musically when I was younger. I started playing the drums because I liked Adam and the Ants. Morrissey and especially Johnny Marr have been my heroes because I was an absolutely obsessive Smith's fan. I'd love to hav