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5 September 2023



"So I did write this little ukulele song called Let's Go. And ironically, that did get placed on a US McDonald's commercial." - Cass Eager

About the 

guest

Cass Eager is an R&B soul singer with a sound that embodies old-school cool with bold, sexy optimism. Her sound takes its cue from a vintage sonic swagger a-la Amy Winehouse and Sharon Jones, and when you press play you’ll want to be sipping cocktails at your favourite lounge bar in LA with best friends and lovers alike.

The Production Talk Podcast - The modern way of producing music

In this episode:

  • How Cass started her music career in Sydney

  • Cass' studio and live projects

  • How Cass overcame writers-block

  • Going international - how Cass made contacts in the US, and got her music into a McDonalds ad

  • Finding her production groove: producing with Billy Lefler in LA

  • Upcoming releases and plans for the future

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Contact the podcast host Jan 'Yarn' Muths at mixartist.com.au

Disclaimer: The Production Talk Podcast is independent of (and not related to) my teaching responsibilities at SAE.

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Jan 'Yarn' Muths or mixartist.com.au, in the studio

Transcript:

(auto-generated by a robot - please forgive the occasional error)

Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Before we begin, I would like to acknowledge the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung Nation as the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we record and produce this podcast. I pay my deepest respects to elders past, present, and emerging, and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded. Production Talk Podcast: This episode of the Production Talk podcast is brought to you by mixartist.com.au. Production Talk Podcast: Whether you are looking for a top-notch recording studio on Australia's east coast, or if you're looking for online music mixing from wherever you are in the world, mixartist.com.au has the experience and expertise to take your audio to the next level. With our high-end recording studio and online mix-down capabilities, you can achieve the sound you've been dreaming of. So head over to mixartist.com.au and let's make some music magic. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Welcome to the Production Talk podcast. Production Talk Podcast: Join us as we explore the creative and technical aspects of music production with expert guests, practical tips, and exclusive insights. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, you'll find something valuable in every episode of the Production Talk podcast. If you love what you're hearing, don't forget to hit that subscribe button, so you'd never miss an episode. Production Talk Podcast: And while you're at it, why not follow mixartist on social media? So grab your headphones, turn up the volume, and let's get started with another episode of the Production Talk podcast with your host Jan Muths. Cass Eager: Roll the tape! Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Welcome to the studio, Cass Eager. It's amazing to see you here. It's been a while since we met last, which was at a graduation party, if I remember correctly. Was that the last time we met? Cass Eager: It was, yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: We loosely discussed that at some stage it'll be amazing to talk and have an interview together. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: So, I'm really thankful that you made it today. So welcome to the studio. How are you? Cass Eager: I'm great. Thanks yarn. Thanks for having me. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. It's amazing to have you. First up let's talk about you and your band. Would you mind to introduce yourself and your musical background and of course the musicians who you regularly perform with. Cass Eager: My name's Cass Eger, and I've had various band incarnations over the years. I've been doing this for a while. I actually started out in a band called mofo, which was like a funk, blues rock band. And as some bands do, it kind of fell apart at the end. And I went solo and then Played open mics for about a year, and then I, one day I just went, Hmm, yeah, I don't wanna do that anymore. Cass Eager: I wanna actually start getting paid for this. And ironically, an hour later the phone rang and it was a paid offer of a paid gig. So that was cool. I started going out and seeing musicians that I loved. And when I saw someone that blew me away, I'd asked them if they wanted to come and play with me. Cass Eager: So we just started playing. This was in Sydney when I lived in Sydney. And , that's sort of how I formed the band that I had for a while, which was just called Cass Eager in Sydney. Yeah. And then different incarnations. I've had Cager and the Velvet Rope, which I released an EP under the name of. One album with my original band Cass Eager. Cass Eager: And then I did a Soul Christmas album, which was Cass Eager and the Mo Debleys. And now I'm just back to Cass Eager again. Moved to the Northern Rivers like about four years ago and found some amazing musicians here. Who I'm lucky to play with, which is Alex McLeod on guitar and Mike Mills on the bass, Dan Brown on Keys. My husband who came with me from Sydney John Howler Howell on the drums. And the last couple of gigs we did, I actually had three amazing female backing singers singing with me, who are all amazing singers in their own right, which is Shelly Brown, Emily Turner, and Soni Shine. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Wow. Okay. I know all of them, and every single one of them is ridiculously amazing. Yeah. So that would've been a, a, yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: A treat for the ears. I, I'm sure. Yeah. Cass Eager: Very much a treat for my ears. Yeah. I can't wait to do some more shows with them all. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Excellent. Wow. What a band. What a band. You already mentioned some of your releases. Can you just go through them one more time in, in slow motion maybe, and just talk to us about the releases what's unique about them, at what stage of your creative career that was, and you know, also what you think is special about each release. Cass Eager: Okay. Cass Eager: The first album was called Beautiful Day, and the thing I love about that was that, so after I'd collected this group of musicians that I'd could have sort of handpicked from just being blown away from them, by them at gigs, . I said let's make a demo so we can get some gigs, 'cause you know, my career's primarily up until a few years ago, has been really based in live performance. And then I've sort of made some albums to sell at gigs. So this was like, let's make a demo so we can get some gigs. We all went into the studio and recorded it live at a place called Stagedoor in Sydney. Cass Eager: And, and then I took it home and I started listening to it and I'm like, this has got the magic in it, you know, Things as you know, they've either got the magic or they don't. They get captured or they don't, or, you know, sometimes it's all the magic. Sometimes it's a little bit, but this was like, this is special. Cass Eager: This is more than just a demo. So yeah, I k I kind of kept working on it and then I started, like I got the guitarist in for some overdubs and I redid my vocal. And got a few extra little bits in like strings and, and harp and stuff. And yeah, so it turned into my first album, which is called Beautiful Day, which I absolutely love. Cass Eager: It's kind of like a singer songwriter, bluesy. I mean, everything I do kind of has a, my voice just has this kind of natural blues thing to it. So even when I'm trying not to be blues, I'm still bluesy. But it's, it's kind of blues, blues, singer songwriter yeah, everything from ballads to kind of slide guitar rocking song. Cass Eager: So that was the first one. That was years ago, I think like 2007 maybe. And then, yeah, the next one So I started playing with this guitarist called Jan. Funnily enough, Jan Rynsaardt and he was amazing. Still is. And we started playing together a lot. And then he said, Cass, I'm gonna I've got, I'm starting my own band, so I can't play with you as much. Cass Eager: And so I was bummed, but um, funnily enough, so that band was called Chase the Sun and they were like a blues rock band amazing three piece. I started opening up for them and I would do solo Jan would jump up and play something with me, and then I'd jump up with them and sing a few songs. Cass Eager: And and it sort of became like a big family, you know, vibe. And that's how I met my husband, 'cause he was the drummer in that band, John Hal. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah. Right. Cass Eager: Yeah. So we were friends for many years and then both of us happened to be single at the same time. And, and so, so it began so that was that band. Cass Eager: So I got the drummer and the bass player. and another guitarist, and that was the Velvet Rope. The guitarist was called John o' Dally Moore, who's an amazing guitarist who still lives sort of just south of Sydney. So that was Cass Eager and the velvet rope. Cass Eager: We made an ep. And that one was good because it was a bit grittier and dirtier and , I was playing electric then instead of acoustic. So it was kind of yeah, just a lot grittier and the songs hopefully, I think they were getting better, as one would hope when you're developing your craft. Cass Eager: A bit more story-based songwriting. And yeah, we had a lot of fun making that. And then same guys, but very much expanded for the Christmas album, which I normally wouldn't have made. I wasn't like, Hey, let's make a Christmas album. It was sort of a friend of mine or a business associate of mine offered to fund it and put it together. So 'cause I've been trying to find funky, cool soul music to listen to at Christmas. Now of course I, I know a lot of it and there is actually a lot of amazing stuff out there, but at the time I couldn't find anything, so I was like, let's just make one, you Jan 'Yarn' Muths: know? Mm-hmm. Cass Eager: So it was those guys and I got a second guitarist in Doug Weaver, Lockie Dolly on the Keys. And then we got, a horn section with three players. So it was a massive big horn, soul funk, jazz, like extravaganza, like super fun. Yeah. Musically, that was kind of probably my favorite. Even though they, I mean, they weren't carols or anything. Cass Eager: They was, they were just really cool old funk soul songs that happened to be about Santa, you know like, there's one called Backdoor Santa, which is written by Clarence Carter. And, you know, just had took on a whole new meaning when I sang it, you know. Oh, they call him back. Do Santa, he makes his runs about the break a day. Cass Eager: I said they call him back do Santa, he makes his runs about the break a day. He makes all the little girls happy. Well, all the boys are out to play. yeah, it was stuff like Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Nice. Cass Eager: Nice. We, we wrote a, we wrote an original too called 365 days, which was kind of about my husband who sort of looks like a young version of Santa. So it Jan 'Yarn' Muths: So I was like, sure, we maybe edit this out. I don't want you Cass Eager: Oh no. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: trouble when you get home. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: That's Cass Eager: song's about. So it goes, you know my man looks just like Santa. It's Christmas every day of the year. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: ah, I love it. He's got Cass Eager: a big sack, full 11. I don't even, no reindeer. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, that's great. Cass Eager: Yeah, so there were silly, fun, crazy songs. And we actually recorded that one in Jimmy Barnes's studio in Sydney. Which was very cool experience. The engineer co-producer was his engineer at the time. So he asked if we could do it in there, and we did it. It was great fun. Yeah. Cass Eager: So, and then since then, I mean, I've, oh God. I mean, I've, I've done, I've released a few singles I had a break for a while from recording. Cass Eager: I was still gigging a lot, but I had two kids. And my husband is all, they also him and his and the bass player in my bands previously run their own company called Rhythm Section, which is like a band booking agency management, and they kind of bring out artists from overseas and tour of them in Australia. Cass Eager: So he, because he's a booking agent, it was great 'cause, you know, he, he just kept booking me gigs. But I did take a break from. I guess, I mean I still kept writing but I didn't really do any records during that time until 2017. So there was a break there of like, maybe, I don't know, five or six years. Cass Eager: But I actually came back with a it's a funny story 'cause I sort of had writer's block after my second. Child and I was just sort of walking around in my pajamas, you know, breastfeeding all day and thinking maybe I'm done. 'cause I just couldn't write. And I remember lying in bed, like Googling, you know, how to get over writer's block. Cass Eager: And it was a very strange time for me. Now I kind of know how to do it or I don't even allow the concept in, but at the time, It was, yeah, I felt very stuck for some reason. And my husband, my husband toured a, an artist out from Canada called Irish mi then, who was staying with us at the time. Cass Eager: And yeah, I don't know why. I think just like having her in the house kind of injected that energy back into me and I thought, I'm gonna write a song. I'm gonna sit down and write a song for my kids that will be like a song they can listen to after I'm gone. No pressure for my first song back in like however many years after Writer's Block. Cass Eager: But I sat down and wrote this song and I play, I remember at the time I played it to my husband that he said, that's the best song you've ever written. And so I'm like, yes, I'm back baby. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Nice. You became writer's block. Cass Eager: Yeah. what I needed to do, Was make music fun again. I think I'd just fallen into this, the dip, you know? Cass Eager: And I didn't realize it at the time, but I just, I was, I think I was pushing the pram around the park one day and I was listened to this podcast of this woman. Her name was Kathy Heller, and she. She talked about her, she, her career sounded a lot like mine. She was based she'd moved to LA but she would basically do gigs and, you know, most of the time she, she wasn't really making that much money. Cass Eager: She had to pay for the band. She had to pay for rehearsals. They have to pay for sometimes for venue hire there and promoting the gig. And then she said 70% of the people in the audience would be the same people as were there last time. So she's kind of like, what, you know, what am I doing? Cass Eager: And then someone suggested that she start pitching her songs for sync, which was like syncing them with film and TV and ads. And at the time she was playing music that was really, you know, trending in sync music, which was like kind of happy ukulele singer songwriter stuff. So she started doing that and made I guess for her, made music fun again as well. Cass Eager: And, so I reached out to her and I said Hey, can I send you some stuff? 'cause she'd got so successful that she had started her own licensing agency and started pitching other people's music. So I'm like, great, this is what I can do. I can send them my staff. And I wasn't touring as much 'cause I had, you know, young kids at home. Cass Eager: So I was like, this is what I can do from home. Anyway, She said I'm just doing a course, which is teaching people how to write for sync. And then from that I'll pick the ones that I love and add them to my agency. So I, I mean, at first I was like, all right, she just wants to sell a course, you know, but she was true to her word. Cass Eager: The course was incredible. And the first song I wrote from that course she signed to her agency, and it's the song of mine that's actually been synced the most Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah, Cass Eager: since so, which is my single In 2017, which was called Ain't No Stopping Me. I did write a song before that, which was a, a singer songwriter ukulele one, 'cause at first I thought, oh right. Songs I want to place, need to be kind of that vibe that I wanna place in film and tv, and then I can keep my own stuff, which is kind of bit like more soul, separate. So I did write this little ukulele song called Let's Go. And ironically, that did get placed on a US McDonald's commercial. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, what? No way. Yeah. Holy moly. Which Cass Eager: was pretty funny, but, but I was like, I don't really. I mean, it's cute, but I don't really want to be doing, you know, I don't want to, I was like, surely I can marry the two. The music I love to make and stuff that's sync-able and now I, yeah, so that was Ain't No Stopping Me, which is a soul song, female empowerment, you know, just kind of a lot of swagger. Cass Eager: And I, and they signed it and it got placed and started getting more placements. And so then I realized, you know, anything is sync-able as long as you love it Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm. Cass Eager: and it's authentic and it's, you know, it comes from your heart. It doesn't have to be, there's, there's kind of different songs for sync. Cass Eager: Like one, one of the swaggery kind of empowered songs like, ain't no stopping me, but then if you have a dark song, it can get placed as well. It'll just get placed in a film or tv. You know, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm-hmm. Cass Eager: there's star, there's room for everything. So I'm just like, it sort of just made music fun again for me. Then I started through that. Cass Eager: I. Went to LA and she would put on these kind of sync conferences with other songwriters and lots of, lots of music supervisors and licensing agents and producers and stuff in the panels. And yeah, I just got a lot more courageous while I was over there. 'cause I, you know, my philosophy was effort, 'cause I'm like, you know, while I was, I, you know, I just had this kind of like, well, I came all the way over here, like, opportunities would come. And perhaps if I was at home I would be like a bit too shy to follow up on them, but because I was over there, I just had this kind of bravado of like, let's do this. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: You went for Cass Eager: So like, yeah. So a producer that was in the panel that I admired, I went out afterwards and I, went up to him and said, hi. And we chatted and basically within the hour I was back in his studio, recording a song because he, I'd played a song in the panel that he had heard, so he'd heard my voice. Cass Eager: So, and I said, oh, like I'm looking for a studio to record something in, in LA. Could you recommend any? And he's like, well, let's go back to mine. And so my co-writer and I went back there and yeah, spent the next few hours recording a couple of songs and he's now my producer. I've made wow, like 15 songs with him. Cass Eager: Just through various trips going over to LA and recording three or four at a time and, okay. So I've got a whole new album coming out soon, later this year. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Wow. Wow, wow. There was so much to unpack in what you just shared. That was fantastic. So let me just quickly stop for just a moment. I love how you shared the story of, of starting live. But then you went and told us a lot about how successful you were with your sync music. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I know that some of the listeners may not know exactly what sync licensing is. Mm-hmm. So if that's you, please rewind and go back to the. To the episode with Adam Gardner, who's also a local drummer. And Adam and I, we discussed sync licensing in a lot of depth in that episode. So there's a bit of theory to catch up on, and it's definitely a great opportunity. So if you're not yet doing sync licensing, there's a good chance you're missing out. And now Cass, I guess you are a prime example here of somebody who uses all of the income streams, this, or many of the income streams, successfully. So that's really, really fantastic. I would also like to talk a bit more about you working in, in the United States in Los Angeles. If I'm not mistaken, you actually just came back from LA. So is it fair to say that you were actually jumping forward back between Australia and Los Angeles, and is your production happening only in the United States or partially here, partially there? What's your workflow there? Cass Eager: Yes, good question. I was sort of getting into this flow for a couple of years right before the pandemic hit where I was going over there two or three times a year. I would spend a week in the studio and we'd probably do. Mm. Sometime one time we tried to do four songs and then we decided three is actually better. Cass Eager: So we'd get three done in a five day period. And yeah, then the pandemic. So I probably had about six or seven, maybe recorded eight. And then, yeah, during the pandemic we did a couple remotely. One of which I've just released called Back to Gold, that was with the last single I released. Cass Eager: So my producer, his name's Billy Lefler, he he just had some beats and I, he sent them to me and I kind of top lined them. And. There were like three or four. And you know, this one, I, this one I sent them all back to him and this one, he was like, damn, let's do this one. So and, and funnily enough, 'cause I've got a little studio in my backyard nothing like your amazing studio, but it's enough to record vocals in and I had given him the demo vocals and then he's like, he sort of fleshed the track out after we decided to move forward with it. And I went to redo the vocals and I sent them back to him and he was like, you know what? I'm not digging on these as much as the demo ones. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm. Cass Eager: And so we ended up using the demo ones, which was literally probably me just sitting down like I am now. With not much effort. I was trying to be kind of, It's, it was sort of a very sexy song and so yeah, I just feel like that's happened a couple of times in my life where you put the, put the record button on and you're like, huh. And you know how, you know, the pressure's on to be like, this is the one that's gonna be my legacy that's gonna be recorded forever. Cass Eager: And I just think, that was another reminder that sometimes it's actually that the magic was in that demo take, not in Jan 'Yarn' Muths: the Yes. Cass Eager: so-called perfect one. So, yeah. So we did try and do that. And then, but then I, I mean, as soon as international travel opened up again, which was what? Was it last Feb? Cass Eager: What month are we in? Yeah, last February I jumped on a plane and was over there and, and just back in the studio again. So, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Production Talk fans. We know you're loving the show, but are you following us on social media, yet? Our channels are your backstage pass to all things music production. We've got exclusive content, sneak peeks, and occasionally some insider tips from Yarn's Studio. So, hit that subscribe button and follow us on social to join the conversation and stay in the loop. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Head over to speakpipe.com/productiontalk. It's your chance to get your own voice onto the Production Talk podcast. It could be a question, it could be a comment, it could be some feedback or something exciting that you want the podcast community to hear. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Head over to speakpipe.com/productiontalk, I would love to hear from you. You rock. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: and do you fly the entire band over or is it just you? Cass Eager: Just me. So Billy's modus operandi is he, he, he's a drummer, which really helps, I Jan 'Yarn' Muths: the way. Howdy Billy. Great to hear from you, Billy Lefler. Yeah. Hello across the big pond. Cass Eager: Yeah. He, so he's, he's a great drummer. I think he used to play drums with Avril Levine. And so, I literally would give him either a beat with my vocal on it or just literally, song that had like three chords, me playing on the guitar or the piano and, and singing over the top. Cass Eager: I'd usually come with like, I don't know, anywhere between 10 to 20 ideas and then we would sift through them and he'd pick the ones or we'd pick together. Like at the beginning, I let him pick 'cause I you know, I wanted him as a producer to hear which songs he wanted to do. But now we kind of, now I'm more like, I really wanna do this song, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm-hmm. Okay. Cass Eager: and there's, and I don't give him so many ideas, 'cause I, I now have the confidence to narrow them down before I present them. And I have, like, now I have a folder on my hard drive called, these are the songs I wanna record. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Right. So you are basically taking on the producer's hat to some degree. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. You're taking more charge. That's great. You're Cass Eager: And I, and while in the studio also, I mean, I jokingly would say , can I get co-producer credit? Cause I wouldn't sit back on the sofa and not do anything. We kind of did it to, I mean obviously he was the main driving force, but there was a lot of creative collaboration as you know. And the beautiful thing about him, And same with co-writers. If you're riding with people, I just think like when you find those people that you're just like on the same wavelength and like, so he'd pull up splice and he'd be looking for a sample to kind of give it a bit of, you know, some spice the track. And as he went through every sample he'd be going, no, no, no. And in my mind I'm sitting there going, no, no, no. And then one would come up and he'd go, And I would think, Ooh. And then he'd go, Ooh, and he'd Jan 'Yarn' Muths: put Cass Eager: the track. So, you know, when you find that, that's such a rare thing, I think to find. Cass Eager: So that's how I knew that he was my man. And so just kept going back for more. Yeah, so I've released maybe three of those two or three, three of those songs. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: So in other words, when you fly over to LA, you basically produce with studio musicians. And then you take the entire songs back, and then your band, your local band, learns, the songs here, and then you perform live with your band. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm. Cass Eager: Actually, sorry, I didn't Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Is that right? Question? Cass Eager: No, Billy plays everything. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, really? Yes. Cass Eager: Sorry. So sorry I got sidetracked, but I'll give him the song. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: drums, keys, guitars, Cass Eager: Every single thing. He's Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Respect, Billy. Wow. Cass Eager: So I, so I would go in at like, I don't know, maybe 10 or 11. And by two I'm singing on like a badass track that he's just literally created from, from my Jan 'Yarn' Muths: mm-hmm. Cass Eager: Yeah, he's a, he's amazing. And then I'll, I'll do, I'll do a vocal take mid-afternoon and then we'll come in and comp it, do backing vocals. Then sort of start doing a general board mix and then we'll close it for the day. So we'll do that usually one on Monday, one on Tuesday, one on Wednesday, three different songs. Cass Eager: And then when we need a break, during those days, he might pull up something, he might pull up one of the songs from a previous day and just have a tweak of something. But generally we'll go back Thursday, Friday and add in any bits. Sometimes I don't have a bridge for one of those songs, so we'll make one and then I'll go home and write it like that week. Cass Eager: And we'll come back and we'll just spend Thursday, Friday tweaking and, and getting the mixes. I mean, his board mixes are so good that they don't usually vary that much, when the mix engineer, we send them off to a mix engineer and he gets his hands on them, but they, they just sound like better versions of what Billy's done. Cass Eager: Yeah. And. Sometimes like a couple of times when I gave him the folders, like there was one song, it was a single I released during the pandemic actually called The Way I Feel About You All. I had in my ideas folder. I mean I had like lots of fully fleshed out songs, but this one was just a little chord progression on the guitar and me singing. Cass Eager: It's just the way I feel about you, the way I feel about you. That was it. And he was like, that one, I wanna do that one. So I had nothing of the whole song. And he goes, right, we're gonna do that one on Friday. Do you think you can write the song this week? And I, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Wow. Cass Eager: I said, sure. You know, again, my bravado kicks in and I'm like, effort. Cass Eager: And so I always say yes. I never say no to any opportunity that feels right. And funnily enough, every day I'd be sitting in there typing like lyrics and trying to get it, and I'd read him stuff and he'd be like, no. And then, I do work well under pressure, even though, I wish I could get things done earlier, but Thursday night I sat down at nine o'clock and I was like, right, come on, I'm gonna do this, 'cause he, every day he's like, you better have a hit. You better have a hit. I wanna hear that hit on Friday. And, and so like, so I started at nine o'clock, I finished at three in the morning and I was like, this is good. Like, I was really proud of it. I actually, I actually wanted it to be a duet. Cass Eager: So I called two guys, amazing singers that live in LA and I was like, Hey, what are you doing tomorrow at three o'clock in the morning? I left them a voice message, can you come into the studio? Unfortunately, neither of them could. So I just went in, I walked in and Billy's like, right, where's my hit? Cass Eager: Because he is lovely and cocky like that. And uh, anyway, I am like, oh my God, I was really scared, you know, because if it wasn't good enough, he wouldn't have done it. And so I press play anyway, and he listened to it and he turned around and he goes, this is a hit. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Nice Cass Eager: So I was like, whew. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: well done. Cass Eager: Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Great, great. Excellent. what production advice would you have for, for listeners? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: You know, if you look at all the experiences you've gained over the years, what are the key elements that really are important to you when, when you produce your music? Is there anything you could pass on as the key points? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: used to think Cass Eager: My first three albums were, I mean, I guess I was producing them without even being aware that I was like co-producing with the engineer James Freeman. That was that was, you know, actually pushing all the knobs and knockers. But yeah, back then I didn't realize Cass Eager: what an art form production is. I mean, I, I was kind of the producer in the sense that I would work out the songs, work out the arrangements, get all the musicians in guide the recording session, and then also decide on what overdubs were going on. But they were very much live bands and I loved that. That was amazing. But it's, and, and again, this was making music fun for me because it changed that process, the production working with Billy and, I mean, I was so excited the night before I went into the studio with him for the first time because I said to him, well, what band are we gonna get? Cass Eager: And he's like, no, no, we don't need a band. I do it. And I was like, wow. Like, just the concept of just always stretching yourself and getting out of your comfort zone and forcing yourself to have new experiences, like, and that was it for me. And I realized through that process that the writing of the song is 50% of the art of the delivered song. Cass Eager: And then the production is the other 50%. I mean, it's like a, an art form in itself. And so even though I did do the Diploma of Electronic Music production at SAE, Cass Eager: which I loved and learned a lot through I still want to go and work with Billy because he's been doing it for, you know, 20 plus years and that's his bag, you know? Cass Eager: Yeah. My bag is singing and writing. That's where my juices get flowing. It's just the best feeling in the world when I come up with a good line that's so good in a song, you know, or a great melody or singing, like, just singing in the studio, singing on stage. Just those two things I love. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. Cass Eager: and so I think it's, it's beautiful to collaborate with other people and not try and do it all yourself. Yes, I'd probably save a crap ton of money, but I love working with someone who, who, for them the production is the craft is the art. And we, and it's a marriage of those two things. And Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Got it. So it, it's, working with a specialist is, is the, Cass Eager: mm-hmm. Cass Eager: Is Jan 'Yarn' Muths: key element of, of what you just said, basically, you know, rather than doing everything yourself. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. We all know what it's like, you know, to wear that many hats. So. Working, teaming up with a specialist who's really good and who you resonate with. That's the key point that I'm getting from it. Cass Eager: Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: really valuable, Cass Eager: obviously, you know, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: forming Forming teams. Yeah, Cass Eager: Yeah. Forming teams. It's so much more fun. And you, like, I'm in this songwriting master class, which is funnily enough through the songwriting school of LA as well, but, and I had one yesterday and so we present each other songs and we give each other feedback on those songs. Cass Eager: And so I played one yesterday and I had no idea whether it was any good. I would not have been surprised if there's a teacher in the group and also a bunch of peers, but I wouldn't have been surprised if they had said, nah, this one's not really working for me. Or, or they were like, wow, this one's really cool. Cass Eager: You know, I, I don't know that until I play it to people I trust Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm-hmm. Cass Eager: you know, he calls them your gatekeepers, or like your trusted advisory board and you play them, play it to those people. And then they came back and they were like, wow, this song's amazing. And so, and it was a song for Sync, actually, not a Cass Eager song. I have a couple of other artist pseudonyms that I write under. And it was one of those songs and now I'm like fully confident in moving forward and pitching that, 'cause I was like, wow. Like I, I did not know that that actually is a song that really connects. So that's great. Cass Eager: And same with production. I mean, I. How do you know whether, if you're doing it all yourself, how do you know whether it's any good? You don't Jan 'Yarn' Muths: have? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yes. Cass Eager: an, you know, unless you have those gatekeepers or advisory boards, or you're working with someone who's like damn good at what they do and that's their specialty and you bring together the forces and the gifts that you're really good at. Cass Eager: And so, when you have a good singer or a good songwriter and a good producer and they come together, that's like magic. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. I see. And because you have Billy on your side, you don't need to worry about any of this, and you can be the songwriter and the singer a hundred percent. You don't need to deal with driver issues on the computer and gain staging preamps and finding why the compressor isn't working. You don't need to do any of Cass Eager: Total left and right brain. Like mismatch. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Cass Eager: I do voiceovers as well. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: You do, and I Cass Eager: I record myself. Now I've got the, production side of that down. But it is, it's, I've gotta marry the two. You know, I've gotta be like, all right, okay, so all the levels are right, you know? Okay. Press record and then be like dinging, and then turn into the talent, doing the voiceover. Cass Eager: So, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: That's switching hats, switching Pretty much on the fly. Yeah. And that's hard, Cass Eager: I guess the more you do that, if you've spent your whole life doing all of those things, then it's more comfortable for you and you probably get great at all of those things together. But I, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: it's, it's a harder process, I reckon. Cass Eager: Yeah, I think they are definitely even writing a song, you've gotta keep your creative and your editor brain. Yeah. There too. That's the left and right side brains. You just let yourself create and then you come back and edit later. You know, because that's the technical side of it Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I would like to switch the subject a little bit and move away from the creative side for a moment and talk about gear. In your personal experience. If you had to decide for one piece of gear for the deserted island, which piece of gear could you not live without? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: If you think about everything that you've worked with or owned over the years, what is the one piece you would take with you? Cass Eager: Damn, that's a hard question. Well, it would have to be the laptop 'cause nothing else works without that. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah, of course. Okay, good. Cass Eager: Assuming I've got my laptop, I, well, my little rig that I actually take everywhere I go, including I always stick it in my suitcase to LA I've just got a Shure, SM7, which, you know, I mean, when I go to Billy's studio, I'm working on all these vintage R C A mics, which sound incredible Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm-hmm. Cass Eager: But when I send him vocals, he's like, damn, these sound good. What are these on? And he's just always surprised when I say It's just my SM7. You know, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: that's the microphone you're speaking through right now. I put one in front of you. Cass Eager: you go. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: we go. Cass Eager: For some reason I had a friend years ago that worked in a music store and he let me take home some mics and we A/B'd them. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm. Cass Eager: And it was a great test, 'cause actually in that run I ended up picking like, I think it was a Chinese brand. It was called M X L, , and it was like a fifth of the price of like one of the other ones we were testing. And so it's not always about the most expensive, I think it's about what works the most with you. Cass Eager: And I run that Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Bingo. Yeah. Yes. I've Cass Eager: run it through an Apollo Quad the little box. Mm-hmm. I do use a cloud lifter 'cause it helps the level of the SM7. That's it into logic. That's my, that's my go-to. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Fantastic. So SM7B, an Apollo twin quad processor and a laptop with the logic, Cass Eager: With the cloud lifter. Otherwise you don't get enough level. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah, I, I can see that. Yeah. So that pretty much would allow you to produce an album in the middle mm-hmm. of a] rainforest or a deserted island. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Yep. That's the setup. Fantastic. Thank you. Thank you for sharing. Cass Eager: That's all right. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Can you comment on the plans for, for the future? Are you working on any exciting projects at the moment? Are you planning tours, new releases? Is there anything that you, can you, can you spill the beans? Cass Eager: Spill the beans. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: a little bit? Cass Eager: Yeah. Well, as I said, I've been working on this album it's called Modern History, and I've released three singles of it already which are on all streaming platforms. And then yeah, I'll be dropping some more singles through the year and, and releasing the album later in the year. Cass Eager: So that's all this stuff that I've been recording with Billy in LA and it's a great album. I'm so proud of it. I've picked and chosen the songs that get to be on it, 'cause I have more than like, so I've, I'm saving some for the next album or singles after the album. Cass Eager: And it's kind of created this arc of this journey of the whole album, which is beautiful. And I'll just keep going back to LA. So I just got back from there last week and did two, I did it, went to a sync summit, which is like about for musicians placing their songs in film and tv. Cass Eager: And then another one was the Durango Songwriters Expo. So it was a lot of pitching and meeting and networking people. So I'm gonna be following up on all of those contacts. But I'll never stop recording. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm-hmm. Cass Eager: I've met a fabulous woman there through the school of songwriting actually in the Pandemic who lives there. Cass Eager: And she's like my soul sister. And, we've written four songs together, all of which are coming out on this album as well. So I'll keep writing with her. We've got a whole lot of stuff in the bag, ready to go. And live wise around here, I've got a couple of festivals coming up, but I haven't been announced yet, so I'm not allowed to talk about them. But yeah, we'll be doing some more, some more local shows as well. Anything we can get our hands on really, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I guess or, or the festivals that are currently in the making will probably be announced somehow. Yes. What's the best place to, to find you online? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Where can people stay up to date with what's happening, when you announce festivals or new releases? Cass Eager: Yeah, well the best place is my website, I guess it's casseager.com, which is c a s s e a g e r.com. And you can sign up for my mailing list and I keep you abreast of everything. Or social media. I'm @ CassEager everywhere except for Facebook, which is @CassEagerMusic. Cass Eager: so you can follow me any of those places. And I'm on Spotify and Apple Music and all the usual streaming platforms. Fantastic. Cass Eger. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And what about merchandising? Do you sell any merch? Cass Eager: I don't have any merch, actually. I've gotta get onto that. Um. Yes, I have lots of ideas. I just have to implement them. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh yeah. Story of my life. The story of my life, Cass Eager: yeah, yeah. But hopefully in the next couple of months I'll start having some merch. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Excellent. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And of course that would be on your website then, and Yes. Okay. So if we follow you on your website and on social channels, we'll hear about that. Absolutely. Cass, thank you so much for sharing all these stories and the amazing insight into, into your production of your music. Cass Eager: yeah. Thanks for having me in this beautiful studio, Yarn. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, thank you very much. It's great to have you and thank you for sharing. Appreciate that. Cass Eager: welcome. Have a great Jan 'Yarn' Muths: great day. Thanks guys. Cheers. Production Talk Podcast: That's a wrap for today. I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Production Talk podcast. Thanks to our expert host, Jan Muths and our sponsor, mixartist.com.au for making this show possible. Don't forget to hit that subscribe button and follow mixartist on social media to stay up to date on all things music production. Production Talk Podcast: And, if you have any questions or comments, we'd love to hear from you, just drop us a line at mixartist.com.au/contact. Until next time, keep creating and producing great music.
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