CASMALIA is one of the many amazing artists to come out of Georgia. Since 2010 this feline-loving DJ has been churning out songs left and right. Since she came to California she has been gaining notoriety within the nightlife in San Diego earning multiple residencies at clubs and even teaching Ableton professionally. Now after years of hard work and dedication along with Hood Politics Records, she will be releasing her first EP Wake Up on December 1st. I had the pleasure of going with her to Moondrop Campout and interviewing her recently, and this is what she had to say.
Who is CASMALIA?
“My name is Shannon Camp, but I’ve always thought Shannon Camp and CASMALIA are two different people. I project all my strengths and things I’m proud of and talents onto this fictional character, and nothing phases her. In my life, I have been affected by a lot of trauma. In a way, I created CASMALIA to have something to escape to. When someone hurts me, or I’m feeling weak, or angry, nervous, or upset, I go to her. I’ll ask myself, what would CASMALIA do? Would she let these things phase her? No, she doesn’t care, she’s above all of this. In that way, she’s an escape mechanism, but CASMALIA is also an extra dimension of myself and I think that comes out in my music.”
Why the name CASMALIA?
“So when I just moved to California from Georgia, my neighbor Jake and I had the crazy idea to skip town in search of good vibes. At that time, my roommates were fighting and I didn’t want to be home, so we got in my car and we drove and we drove, we didn’t have a map and we didn’t look at our phones, we just drove north to find something new weird and different. We stumbled across this town called CASMALIA. The second I saw the sign for the exit I was like ‘that’s it!’ That’s my name.”
Why did House and Techno appeal to you?
“You have to be really on point with your groove in order for techno to sound good, and that’s very hard to do. When I first start a track and create the first loop, I listen to it and over and over again, and to not get sick of it is hard. But I feel like that’s what makes techno and house so solid. They’re beautiful, emotional, connected and concise, and if the track is good you can listen to it on repeat for a long time. House is more repetitive but that’s why I like it. The rhythm is therapeutic, it’s healing energy.”
How would you describe your style?
“I’m very bass heavy. I also have a love for dramatic chord progressions, and I’m still figuring out how to balance those two things. I’m a chameleon when it comes to style, however, give me a theme and I’ll make it fit. That’s why I enjoy ghost producing.”
What are your influences?
“Deadmau5 is a big one, I’ve spent a lot of time studying his work. Other influences would include early 2000s alternative rock, Blink-182, and Radiohead. I really love classic rock as well, I connect pretty deeply with Pink Floyd. I love Red Hot Chili Peppers and I’m a huge fan of Pretty Lights as well. The way he uses samples to create completely different things was one of my earliest inspirations actually. Some of the earliest electronic music I ever heard was Pretty Lights.”
Are you actually with a label right now?
“I’ve been working with a new San Diego based label called Hood Politics Records. The guys reached out to me a couple months ago, I sent over a couple tracks and we locked in a release date. I do have plans of working with bigger labels in the future, but I love the feel of small local labels. It’s almost like a family.”
Why Is Soul Work so important to you?
“As far as affiliations, Soul Work was the very first thing I could put next to my name on event flyers. John Reynolds (owner of Soul Work) took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. He’s been in the scene so much longer than me and I have a lot of respect for him. I’m also affiliated with Flatline, they’ve been extremely instrumental in curating my career. I wouldn’t have played events with Dirtybird artists this year if it wasn’t for them, but I also wouldn’t have even met them if it wasn’t for Soul Work. These people have really given a lot to me just based on my art, and I have nothing but endless respect and appreciation for those companies.”
So what are your current projects?
“I have an EP coming out through Hood Politics Records on December 1st, and all the tracks slap. The title track, ‘Wake Up,’ is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever made and has been getting support from some bigger names and labels. The second track, ‘Barely,’ has my own original vocals on it. I think I wrote the lyrics and recorded it in a day, it just flowed out of me and sometimes I think the best tracks are like that. Also, there’s an amazing remix by DJ Susan on the EP too. I’ve also recently created a bootleg of a track I’ve always loved called ‘Dial Up’ by Lenny Kiser. I played an event with him earlier this year and he’s a really cool dude.
Where does CASMALIA see herself going? What’s after this? Where to and what’s the plan?
“At the end of the day, I want to put something out into the world that will outlive me. I currently have my sights set on Dirtybird Records, This Ain’t Bristol, and Bunny Tiger. Those are my dream labels, and I’m working very hard right now to make that happen. I also want to continue singing on tracks, and I want to keep collaborating with experienced artists. There is always more to learn, and the best way to improve your craft is to learn from someone who knows more than you.”
finally and most importantly, what’s your ideal pizza like, and keep in mind there is a very very wrong answer to this…
“I know you’re going to tell me my choice of pizza is wrong, but I like pineapple on my pizza and I’m not afraid to share this with the world. But only if they’re accompanied with jalapenos, crushed pepper, and tons of ranch, like ungodly amounts of ranch.”