Before we start if you don’t know who Cassell is (be ashamed of yourself!), in short he co-wrote and played drums on the first Plan B album, was the drummer for The Streets, has won an Ivor Novello and somehow also finds time to give a little something back in the form of educating with Bassistry Artists.
We had a quick chat to Cassell as we know he is a keen user of Shure products and recently finished work on the new Plan B Ill Manors album.
(Shure) First of all, how has it been working on the new Plan B ‘Ill Manors’ album?
(Cassell) It’s been great. Most of the time was spent playing and coming up with drum patterns that I either put down or was directed by Ben via beat box methods, which I would recreate or slightly edit to work better and make more sense on a live drum kit.
(Shure) I know you actually co-wrote some of the first album (Stickland Banks) – was this the case again, and if so was the approach any different considering this was also to be a film soundtrack?
(Cassell) Yes, I had the pleasure of co-writting on all of the tracks on the previous album. This time the approach was different as this was a sound track album to the film, ILL Manors’. This involved different producers so most of the time things were pretty much mapped out. It was more a case of replaying patterns with my feel,adding rolls or coming up with drum patterns. I did co write one of the tracks, ‘Fallin Down’. I played drums on some of the other tracks on the album.
(Shure) We know that you have been using Shure mics for some time, and most recently the new Beta 91A & Beta 98AMP/C as part of your set up. Can you tell us how you’ve been using these mics and whether they have made a difference to your sound?
(Cassell) The two new products have made a great difference. I really noticed this while recording the Cassell The BeatMaker vs Faith Sfx library loops at John Delph’s, ‘Edge studio’s’. The 98AMP/C has a totally solid build quality and really sits stable on my toms thanks to that A75M mount. The sound is much more phat and crisp. The Beta 91A has a new capsule making the sound much stronger,more natural and phatter. Really love the punch it gives.
(Shure) If you had to mic up your kit with only one mic, which mic would you use and why!??
(Cassell) It would be the SM58 as the drums. One of Plan B’s first E.P’s was recorded with just SM58’s – they sounded amazing. If you remove the pop shield you could also get a sound similar to the SM57. Sounds great on vocals too, both in studio and live. It’s a very versatile mic. No wonder it’s so popular!
(Shure) If you could’ve drummed on one album what would it be?
(Cassell) It would be Chaka khans album, “What’Cha gonna do for me”. The groove playing by ‘Steve Ferrone”, is totally amazing and solid.
(Shure) What are you working on next?
(Cassell) I have just finished a cover album for an artist named Garou (He was a judge on the French version of ‘The Voice’). He is a great artist. Next I will be going to Jamaica to work with one of the first artists to sign to the Ray Charles label. His name is ‘Ellis Hall’. He is an amazing vocalist & musician. Then I will probably go continue my work with Plan B on the album entitled , ‘The ballard of the Bellmarsh’. We have recorded most of the album already, but nothing has been set in stone so it all could change.
(Shure) What advice would you give to aspiring drummers?
(Cassell) I would say practise as many styles and times as you can at the beginning of your drum career as it will definitely pay off as its not always possible to do so on a big tour. Copy other drummers patterns where possible and this will in turn help you develop you own style. Also learn as much as you can on the music business side and spread yourself into different aspects of music. I.e production,studio sessions, touring/ live shows, teaching etc. Always try and leave a good professional impression with people you work with and always work with artists you believe in. Even if at the start you don’t make much or any money. If it turns out to be successful like Plan B/The Streets/Akala, the rewards are great.
For more information on Cassell simply visit his website or better still grab yourself a copy of this months Drummer Magazine where you’ll see him on the front cover accompanied by an in depth interview inside.
*The photo’s of Cassell come courtesy of Jonathan Pratt