“We are all about shining a light on the difficult times”: Cassia Find a New Groove in ‘Home Soon…,’ a Summery, Sun-Soaked Reverie

Cassia © Marieke Macklon
Cassia © Marieke Macklon
On the heels of their beautifully sun-kissed EP ‘Home Soon…,’ tropical indie pop trio Cassia explain how traveling and collaboration helped them make some of the brightest and boldest music of their career.
Stream: ‘Home Soon…’ – Cassia

What we’ve been doing from the start is wrapping upbeat positive sounding tunes around these topics in order to get around difficult times.

The sun has always shone through Cassia’s songs, but there’s something especially warm and bright about the trio’s latest EP.

Written and recorded with various friends around the world, the five-track Home Soon… EP sees moments of intimate reflection and human connection channeled through a radiant and eclectic kaleidoscope of sound. The British band’s tropical, Afro-Caribbean-inspired indie pop sound makes for the perfect summer soundtrack, yet it’s the depth and raw emotion housed within each track that makes this record a memorable and lasting force.

Home Soon... - Cassia
Home Soon… – Cassia
Shivering into the night
Keeping up a common kind of life
I’m waiting for well I’m waiting for
Waiting for a warning sign
Cause all these burning hazard lights
Are drawing close are drawing close
A common crisis that you can’t itch
I’ve settled Into the state we’re in
Cause I’m no clearer and if there’s no fix
I’m coming round, I’m coming round, cause
I, I hear what you say about me
I, oh I’m ready to be made and unmade
Words are not tall enough
There seems no right way to describe
– “Find My Way Around,” Cassia

Independently released February 9, 2024, Home Soon… is a cathartic and comforting companion for navigating all of life’s highs and lows, ebbs and flows. A year and a half after their sophomore album Why You Lacking Energy? solidified them as a formidable and noteworthy force in the greater Manchester area, the trio of Rob Ellis (lead vocals, guitar), Lou Cotterill (bass, vocals) and Jake Leff (drums, vocal) bring it all “back home” with a record intentionally made in new places, with some new (and old) faces helping Cassia expand their horizons whilst forever staying true to themselves and their colorful, unique artistic identity.

In other words, it took getting out of their homes, their comfort zones, and out of their own heads, for Cassia to make some of the brightest and boldest music of their 8-year career.

Cassia © Marieke Macklon
Cassia © Marieke Macklon

“This latest batch of songs took us on a bit of a journey out of our usual surroundings; each song was written in a different place on the globe some of them with good friends of ours, and we felt that gave us a new lease of life creatively,” frontman Rob Ellis tells Atwood Magazine. “I think you can really hear the energy captured in the room of tracks like ‘Circular Motion,’ and in songs like ‘Gamma Rays’ I can almost hear the whirring of the plane’s engine in the background when listening to it.”

“We didn’t have an idea going into this EP of any sort of lyrical theme, however as we finished more and more tracks, one started to naturally appear. Summed up, the EP is based around life cycles. I feel that l always struggle to cope with chapters drawing to a natural close because it forces me to change what is comfortable, it is just a natural response of mine and so these songs act as an outlet for me, some tracks reminded me of the positive outcomes that come off the back of change, whilst some songs were jotted down during a painful switch of reality.”

From the golden-hued opener “Find My Way Around” to the hypnotic and groove-heavy “Circular Motion,” the seductive, immersive “Gamma Rays” and beyond, Home Soon… hits hard as a soothing, stirring musical experience. Cassia dwell in a space of achingly intimate inner reckoning on “whatstheuse,” a particularly vivid and vulnerable eruption of mostly answer-less questions about life and the bigger picture (“Been out of touch, wish I could trade places, move me and my soul and my mind…“); meanwhile, the EP’s feel-good finale “High Tones” is a sweltering celebration of a more carefree, relaxed, and laid-back lifestyle; a song about freedom and liberation that sends our spirits soaring sky-high.

Do you wanna take this slow?
Now with all the sun in the sky
I’m hearing high tones
Do ya say ya wanna be up close?
Inhibitions left behind now I’m not alone
Feels like I’m dreaming in colour
Your words, they start to stutter
Tied up in only high tones
My legs are not so stable
These lights are never fading
Only you and I know
Now you’re in my space, girl
Don’t you tear away from me ’cause you and I
Are different and the same, girl
Now you’re in my space,
can we make you and I known?
– “High Tones,” Cassia

Cassia © Marieke Macklon
Cassia © Marieke Macklon

Home Soon… is the cool balm for a hot summer day, and a big hug of empathy and understanding all at once.

Atwood Magazine recently caught up with Cassia to chat through the making of their new EP, the emotions and stories behind the songs themselves, and more; catch up with the Macclesfield trio in our interview below as Rob Ellis, Louis Cotterill, and Jake Leff take us behind the scenes of Home Soon… and deep into the heartbeat of their band.

“Something I’d like for new people just getting into Cassia to know is that we are all about shining a light on the difficult times, most of our music is based around overcoming struggle, and the lyrics to our songs allow us to cope and process all these experiences,” Ellis says. “What we’ve been doing from the start is wrapping upbeat positive sounding tunes around these topics in order to get around difficult times.”

Home Soon… is out now!

— —

:: stream/purchase Home Soon… here ::
:: connect with Cassia here ::


Home Soon... - Cassia

Atwood Magazine: Cassia, thanks for chatting with me today! It’s been nearly two years since the release of your album, Why You Lacking Energy? What’s your relationship with that record like now it’s had some time to live in the world - do those songs continue to resonate with you?

Rob Ellis: I feel like every song we’ve released acts like a time capsule. It really doesn’t matter how long your last listen was, they always take you back to the feelings that you go through when writing them. With Why You Lacking Energy? I feel there’s not a song on there that doesn’t resonate in some way with what I’m up to now, both musically and in my day-to-day.

How, for you, do you feel you’ve grown as artists and individuals over these past two years? What’s new for fans who are reconnecting with you now?

Rob Ellis: Over these last two years I was lucky enough to travel purely for the reason of making music. It was a bit of a dream really, working with amazingly talented people every day and finding new ways to approach writing and producing music was just amazing. There’s so much to be gained from working this way and hopefully that can be heard in our latest batch of tunes!

And for those who are just discovering you today through this new EP, what do you want them to know about Cassia as they dive into this music?

Rob Ellis: Something I’d like for new people just getting into Cassia to know is that we are all about shining a light on the difficult times, most of our music is based around overcoming struggle, and the lyrics to our songs allow us to cope and process all these experiences. What we’ve been doing from the start is wrapping upbeat positive sounding tunes around these topics in order to get around difficult times.

Cassia © Marieke Macklon
Cassia © Marieke Macklon

Cassia © Marieke Macklon
Cassia © Marieke Macklon

Cassia has always stood out for your embrace of Afro-Caribbean rhythms and melodies. It’s unlike most of the music we hear coming out of the greater Manchester area, and I understand it’s in large part got to do with Rob’s childhood influences. Can you share some of those artist inspirations?

Rob Ellis: Yeah sure, the reason behind the influence was because my grandparents spent quite a bit of time in Zambia and brought back a load of highlife and soukous music. As my attention started to shift more towards writing music I dug out a few of these old vinyls from the likes of Fella Kuti, Ebo Taylor, etc. and instantly was obsessed with those bright sounding melodies and the way they crossed over those laid back beats that supported them, it just really set me off on a path.

This is a bit broad, but what is it about this style of music that inspires you, as a creative means of self-expression?

Rob Ellis: I think it’s the way it sounds so free and completely at ease. It felt like there were no structural bounds a lot of the time; it wasn’t just straight up verse, chorus, verse, chorus, mid-8, outro. It almost felt like all that was an afterthought, and they were just concentrating on the feeling behind the notes in a way, and I think that’s what pulled me in and made me want to understand the style further.

How do you feel Home Soon… reintroduces you and captures your artistry today, compared to previous records?

Rob Ellis: So when we first started the band our goal was to take our music overseas, travel, and play gigs, and by some miracle that actually came off and we’ve been lucky enough to play shows in some amazing places. So for this EP we thought, why not flip it – go travel to make the music, which then we’d take home and tour, hence the name home soon. And I think stepping out of the home comforts really pushed me creatively and I ended up making songs I wouldn’t have necessarily made if I stayed in the studio back in Manchester.

You’ve described this EP as having to do with life cycles, coping with change and chapters closing. Can you share, if you mind doing so, some of those changes that influenced these songs?

Rob Ellis: So for me I was feeling a hell of a lot of pressure to perform to the best of my ability at all times. Then something I realised was I’m no longer writing and performing music for just me anymore, there’s more people counting it working out but this feeling wasn’t helping me so I started scribbling it all down in order to just get it out and at a later date used it as fuel to create the lyrics for what’s the use, and these jottings really helped me throw ideas in the room with the Kawala guys when we wrote “Circular Motion.”

The other big change with this EP is its collaborative spirit. Can you talk about the other artists/producers you worked on these songs with, and how do their contributions show up, when you listen back to this record?

Louis Cotterill: Yeah, it was super cool to travel to different places and just jam with some different people. Kawala are guys we’ve known for a little while through the festival circuit and it just felt natural to get in a room as we all just get on so well. I feel like you can hear this energy in the song.

Was it hard to open up and make Cassia songs with new people like that? Did it get any easier over time?

Louis Cotterill: Not at all! I think us and the Kawala boys have probably had a similar journey thus far, so we’re able to share those experiences with one another quite comfortably without any judgement. So it was always pretty relaxed from the start and just good fun!

With that hypnotic beat and those radiant vocals, “Gamma Rays” is an instantly seductive, intoxicating song. What is the significance of this track, for you?

Louis Cotterill: I think it’s just a straight up dance groove. We felt like our current live set was maybe missing something like that where it’s just a four to the floor groove. Maybe also it’s a bit of a nod to some of our earlier, more light-hearted tunes from the Replica album with the guitar riff. It was nice to delve back into that world again.

I have to say, I love the emotional and musical journey you take us on from “Find My Way Around” to “High Tones.” Can you talk about these two bookends, and their significance for you on the EP?

Louis Cotterill: Yeah similar to “Gamma Rays,” “High Tones” has got that foot tapper vibe. This was the first song written for the EP, so it kinda set the tone, excuse the pun, for the rest of the stuff. We wanted to achieve a much larger sound, something that would translate really well at a festival or something. “Find My Way” is probably the most vulnerable sounding track on the record.. Probably tugs a bit more on the heartstrings than the rest of the EP. It’s nice to have that contrast between the beginning and end.

“High Tones” feels so relaxed and free. It’s a beautifully groovy, feel-good send off. What does this song mean to you?

Louis Cotterill: Yeah it’s a song about freedom. The idea stemmed from an evening at a UK festival. I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of liberation at just being able to roam around carefree with your mates, without the responsibilities of everyday life hanging over you. We got back to the tent with ‘high tones’ ringing in our ears and this was where the title came from.

Do you feel like you took creative risks on this record - in that song or on others - and if so, what were some of those risks for you?

Louis Cotterill: Not particularly no. I don’t think there can be such a thing in the creative process. We like to experiment with every new song we do as there’s so much to be had from just playing around with an idea. Also traveling around to new places really draws out untapped creativity so it’s hard not to just run with it and see where it takes the songs.

I know I’ve talked a lot about some of my favorite songs; what song or songs are your favorites, and what do you hope audiences gravitate toward now that the EP is out?

Jake Leff: Well it’s always sick when audiences connect with your new stuff as they’re often the songs that you’re most excited about. I personally have favourites for live shows and then favourites generally. I’m vibing “Gamma Rays” at the moment though!

What do you hope listeners take away from Home Soon…, and what have you taken away from creating it and now putting it out?

Jake Leff: It’s hard to say really! I just hope that people find something true to themselves in the music! I don’t really wanna impose the meanings of the songs, as I think it can be more empowering for people when they find their own connection to music.

Bit of a fun one as we finish up: Can you describe this record in three words?

Jake Leff: Turquoise, head-nod, floral

We’ve dived into the music so much, so to keep it light for a minute, what is one of Cassia’s fun facts that listeners might be surprised to learn about you?

Jake Leff: All of our dads are called Paul.

Cassia © Marieke Macklon
Cassia © Marieke Macklon

It feels like the UK has such a strong, talented music scene nowadays; who are some of your favorite local bands/artists?

Jake Leff: So there are few of our mates from up near Macclesfield that we love who deserve attention! Corella and Queen Cult!!

Taking that one step further, in the spirit of paying it forward, who are you listening to these days that you would recommend to our readers?

Jake Leff: Yeah, loads of amazing people coming up at the moment! Some of our friends – Kawala, SOFY, and Tayo Sound are class!

— —

:: stream/purchase Home Soon… here ::
:: connect with Cassia here ::
Watch: “High Tones” – Cassia

— — — —

Home Soon... - Cassia

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? © Marieke Macklon

Home Soon…

an EP by Cassia

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