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Scott, Mackenzie, Thomas, James
Self-described "infectious melodies with booty-shaking rhythm, in the style of big slappin' beats" from a San Francisco-based four-piece. Releases to-date include Gold Youth (2013).
Sometimes band unions begin really early – like at the beginning of one’s life. “Thomas and I have known each other since birth,” reveals Scott. “We didn't have a choice, we are brothers. In the tiny town of Ripon, CA where we grew up you either skateboarded, played football, rode tractors or played music. And we didn't much care for tractor riding so when I met Mackenzie (guitar) in high school it was pretty obvious that we had to make music together. After moving to San Francisco we found James (drums) through the local jazz club scene where he would do gigs.
Such tight bonds and shared lives result in shared influences, although Scott is hesitant to get too specific. “Everyone always pins our influences on the first try,” he jokes, “so I'm starting to think we should be more mysterious. The Strokes, Vampire Weekend, Tom Waits, Born Ruffians, Why?, Generationals to name more than a few.” Easy to pin down or not, they’re a set of influences which has resulted in the trademark French Cassettes sound, described by Scott as “indie rock pop tunes you can dance to. Everyone sings, oohs and ahs, harmonies and group shouts. We went through a stage early on where we really tried sounding like other bands that we liked. I think that's what most teenage bands do I guess, but after a while we just started writing stuff we enjoyed playing above everything else and it worked way better for us.”
So what does each single Cassette bring to the overall collection? “We tend to write really busy songs,” Scott reflects. “An everything at once sorta thing. Our drummer James knows when to cut back a little for the sake of the tune. There's no ego in the band either, so Mackenzie will write a song then I will write a song and sometimes one will write the verse and the other will write the chorus. Thomas grew up playing guitar so his technicality on the bass really puts a nice bow on a lot of the songs.”
Such lack of ego is refreshing, considering their quickfire rise to success. “Co-headlining the Great American Music Hall in SF was nuts,” Scott says, reflecting on one of their proudest moments. Of course, with proud moments there are always weaker ones too, of which is he particularly philosophical. “In my opinion [my biggest weakness is] probably not going out to as many other bands' live shows as I would like to. It's good to focus on the success of your band, but sometimes you get too wrapped up in your own music and writing that you forget to go out and soak in some inspiration from some awesome bands.”