A Tropical Trio with a Cult Following, Manchester’s Cassia Have Built Something Big

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Cassia produces the type of music that you switch on at your highest and your lowest alike. Whether it be the band’s debut single, ‘Moana’, or their latest release, ‘Loosen Up’, their riffs will jail you in a rhythmic trance, their melodies will hoist your spirits, and their lyrics should prompt praise for their refreshing, positive passion. Cassia are currently working on ‘something big’, though it should be noted that they have already created ‘something big’.

The band are about to close out their Autumn 2018 UK & Europe tour, billed to the public as the ‘Loosen Up Tour’ in honour of the trio’s efforts to ‘write music for people to loosen up and come together to’. Tonight, Southampton will see frontman Rob Ellis, bassist Lou Cotterill, and drummer Jacob Leff entertain Joiners. This Saturday, Cassia will take their show home to Manchester to play the 1,500 capacity, O2 Ritz.

For your Spindle introduction to the band, Rob Ellis talked to us about Cassia’s origins, from their struggle to locate a drummer to the solidification of their name, thanks to an odd coincidence. Read on about Cassia’s influences, career highlights, and mission.

So you guys are based in Manchester, but can you tell us a bit about where you’re originally from and how you met? How did the band form?

Well we’re all from a small town 30 minutes out from Manchester called Macclesfield. Me and Lou went to the same school and upon finishing we both started working on the band, booking covers gigs around town as well as working up some of our now-released tracks just for a bit of a laugh really. We were looking for a drummer for ages, and would always get drunk and head into town in an often failed attempt to bump into someone that’d be up for jamming with us. When we first met Leff in Weatherspoons I think the first thing Lou actually asked him was if he knew any drummers around Macc to which he replied, in utter disbelief “I am a drummer, you p***k” and the rest is bloody history isn’t it.

Is there a story behind the name ‘Cassia’?

Well it wasn’t really that thought about to be honest.. me and Lou came across the name and it seemed a great fit for the music we play. A weird story which came about later on though, Leff bought himself a djembe, an African drum and brought it to rehearsals one day, it ended up completely changing our sound and we found out it was made out of Cassia wood, so from that point on we knew we we’re sticking with the name Cassia.

Your sound is quite tropical and fun. Did you grow up listening to your style of music?

Well my Dad’s side of the family lived in Zambia for a short while and brought back a couple of traditional African records. When I was a kid they’d always have them playing round the house and I just loved the style, I decided when I hit about 17-18 to learn that style of guitar playing just for a bit of a challenge.

What inspires the music you make, how does Cassia go about writing?

Memories/stories from tour are often used as fuel for writing new tunes. We’ve been lucky enough to visit so many beautiful places this past month as we’ve been all over Europe and the U.K. playing shows. It’s mad how many different people we’ve met/different music we’ve been introduced to over this time. But when we’re at home writing we take inspiration from records we find in our local record store (Basement Trax), conversations with friends to daydreams. It’s just always changing.

Cassia made the shortlist for the 2018 AIM Awards’ Best Live Act. Congratulations! What did the nomination mean to you guys?

A lot! We’d never been nominated for any kind of award before so it felt so good getting suited and booted for it. Felt insane to be up against such big bands as well. Was a big moment for us.


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Had a crazy time at the @aimawards last night! Didn’t win but was incredible to get to the top 5! Thank you everyone who voted, so amazing! ?

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What are your favourite moments of your journey as a band thus far?

We played a packed out show at The Garage in London the other week and the atmosphere in the room was just insane, people on each other’s shoulders singing the words to our tunes at the top of their lungs throughout the whole set. We’ll never forget that.

‘Loosen Up’ is your latest release. What do you want fans to take away from the track?

I want for fans to listen to that track and just feel refreshed, more positive about stuff. Making people feel good is our goal, I want people to feel better after listening to our music.

You’re currently on the road for the Loosen Up Tour. What has been the most surprising or unexpected aspect of touring so far?

You can never predict what’s gonna happen on tour. The first half was quite eventful, our van tyre blew on the motorway, a hospital trip and couple of other things to make up the hiccups.

What are each of your favourite songs to perform and why?

Collectively we’re loving playing ‘Loosen Up’, think it will be our favourite for a long time..

Finally, should we expect new music soon?

Yes. We’re working hard towards something big.