Hot off the presses comes Cassetta, a band ready to whip your ass with their heavy and dark hardcore. A new project based out of Los Angeles, the group just released their debut single, “Swallow the Sun,” which features a special guest appearance from Cameron Miller of Duhkha. The song is meant to shine a light on mental health and its associated struggles, often kept private by those suffering.
Interestingly enough, “Swallow the Sun” is not just the first-ever Cassetta single, but it is also the first song the five band members ever wrote together. It will soon be followed up by “Thin Blue Crime,” their second single, which will soon be included on a two-song cassette release.
To get to know this emerging new act, we spoke with Cassetta frontman Conor Eaton about the band’s beginnings, the hardcore scene, current favourite acts, and what comes next for them.
Congrats on the release of “Swallow the Sun.” Tell us about the track and the song’s meaning.
Conor Eaton: “Thank you. ‘Swallow The Sun’ was the first song we wrote together. There are certain aspects in the song that hold some deep personal meaning to me, but there is an underlying message in the lyrics to basically surrender yourself to the pain and hardships of life instead of trying to outrun them. It explores a personal battle with depression and the anguish we go through when we lose people close to us either through death or betrayal. It serves as a reminder that although these things seem unbearable in the moment, we ultimately decide whether they mold us into better people or break us down.”
How did Cassetta come together? This is a new project, but all of you guys have been in other projects over the years.
“Yes, we all kind of grew up in the same scene and had a lot of mutual friends throughout the OC/IE/LA area. Kevin (Fifield) and Bob (Bradley) played in Scars of Tomorrow back in the day, and the rest of us just met through local shows and touring over the years.
“When Kevin first approached me to do vocals, we pretty much had the lineup set other than a drummer, so the first demoes were done with programmed drums. After we recruited Alex (Lopez), we got into the studio right away and recorded ‘Swallow The Sun’ and another track called ‘Thin Blue Crime’ that will be released as a two-song cassette tape next month.”
You’ve been in the hardcore scene for quite some time; what makes the early 2000s vibe/scene one of your favourite eras of hardcore?
“I’ll never forget the feeling of walking into my very first hardcore show. That feeling is irreplaceable. The energy and anticipation in the room was like a drug for me. Although I still get those feelings today when a show is really going off, it is hard to replicate when you are young and naïve, and all of this is so new to you.
“I think everyone will always hold their first memories near and dear to their hearts. It’s awesome to see kids still experiencing that same feeling and seeing the hardcore scene grow into what it is nowadays. It seemed like every show in the early 2000s was absolutely packed with kids going nuts, and I see shows getting back to that again.”
What are some of your favourite releases from the era and why?
“Things were so much more unattainable when I was first getting into hardcore. The development of the internet has made it so much easier to get music in front of people. I grew up in an extremely strict conservative household. We had one computer with dial-up internet, and because of that, it was really hard to get exposed to bands.
“When I was in eighth grade, my friend’s older brother burned me a CD with all of his favourite hardcore bands, and it changed my life. It was my first time hearing bands like Bleeding Through, 18 Visions, Gone Without Trace, Poison The Well, 7 Angels 7 Plagues, etc. Because of that CD, I was eventually able to get copies of Poison The Well Opposite of December, 18 Visions Until The Ink Runs Out, and Bleeding Through Portrait of The Goddess. Those three albums continue to inspire me to this day.”
The late 90s/early 2000s sound is back as of late; what are some of your favourite bands of today that do the sound justice?
“It does seem like trends can be cyclical, and we are seeing some of that style pop back up. Off the top of my head, my favourite bands going on right now that remind me of what I grew up on would be Simulakra, Foreign Hands, Upon Stone, Torena, Vamachara, Jesus Piece, Incendiary, End It… There are so many great bands out there right now; those are just a few that I can think of without going crazy.”
You have mentioned Remember Never and Until the End as being key influences in your life. As a tribute to Mean Pete and his untimely passing, tell us about your favourite songs/albums from the band.
“When I learned about Pete’s passing, it really shook me. He’s had such a huge impact on my life. The first time I ever went to a show at Chain Reaction was to go see Scars of Tomorrow and Until The End, oddly enough. Fast forward a couple years later, and Pete was back at Chain Reaction with Remembering Never, who by that time were probably my favourite band.
“I remember my friend, and I did an interview for a project he was working on for school, and Pete was extremely gracious and humble towards us. That night stuck with me for the rest of my life. Until The End is such a great band, and the Blood in the Ink album cannot be fucked with, but I ultimately fell in love with Remembering Never, and I would say those first two full-lengths had a bigger impact on me than anything UTE put out. Women and Children Die First still has some of my favorite lyrics ever written. RIP, Mean Pete.”
What is coming up next for the band in 2023?
“We will have our two-song cassette tape, which will include ‘Swallow The Sun’ and ‘Thin Blue Crime’ coming out next month (August). We are already working on new songs and have a few in the chamber, so we will be in and out of the studio in the upcoming months. We will also be looking to play our first show towards the end of this year when Alex is back from tour. A lot to look forward to, so stay tuned!”