In Conversation: CVSS shares her tracks of the week
Hailing originally from Paris – where her mother grew up –, CVSS moved to London almost a decade ago, and has since worked tirelessly to cement herself as a well-loved staple within the UK’s DJ’ing scene. When the talented turntablist isn’t hosting parties across the city, you can catch her in Europe or in the United States, introducing a global audience to the diverse musical soundscape the UK has to offer with her characteristic, authentic flair.
Beginning her career at one of London’s most prolific popular radio stations -CVSS’s steady journey towards creative success proves testament to her adaptable and hard-working character. A powerful, self-sufficient woman with an innate dedication towards personal growth and progression within the the ever-evolving music industry, CVSS has built a platform which allows her to showcase her creativity without limitations. Forging her own path into the industry, she initially worked as an assistant producer under the tutelage of famed British disk-jockey and radio host DJ EZ – who somewhat inspired her aspirations in the field. Since leaving radio to pursue DJ’ing full-time, CVSS has grown from strength to strength, playing all over the world, whilst simultaneously coming up with fresh, innovative ways to elevate her presence within the international music scene. Below, NBGA got the chance to catch up with CVSS to talk her beginnings in music, her love for re-mixing trap-edits and her girl-power-focused initiative to build unity amongst females working within the entertainment industry. Not only this, we hand over the decks, as CVSS takes over our tracks of the week, providing a playlist guaranteed to lift those quarantine blues and have us all boppin’ around our living rooms in no time! A bubbly personality, whose end-goal is to always champion both femininity and good music; CVSS is a DJ who should definitely be on your radar right now.
Hey CVSS! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where you’re love for music started?
I’m Cass a.k.a CVSS (with the A upside-down)! I’m a DJ from London. I’ve lived here for almost a decade now but I grew up in Paris – where my mum is from. I guess you could say I was first massively influenced by the music my parents would play in the house when I was growing up. Especially my dad, he was a pro boxer so every time he would train, he would have old school hip-hop on rotation; The Wu-Tang Clan, Biggie, 2Pac, Nas, DMX – you name it! Also, my mum used to listen to a lot of Soul, R’n’B, Disco, Funk and House music. I was quite attentive to both of their music tastes growing up and I think their influence has shaped a lot of my own musical taste and knowledge to this day.
When did you know that you wanted to make DJ’ing your career? Were there any other DJ’s that inspired you when you first started out?
I actually wanted to learn to DJ way before I started! Quite a few of my dad’s friends we’re DJ’s when I was younger, so I’d always been surrounded with music from an early age. I used to watch my dad’s friends practicing on their turntables and think they were so cool. I was also pretty lucky that my cousins’ step-dad used to work for Smash Hits Radio, so my cousin and I often got a window into the whole DJ’ing world through him when we were younger.When I first got into DJ’ing, I was working on the radio as an assistant producer at Kiss FM here in the London. I used to assist DJ EZ’s show’s which I loved; EZ has the craziest energy and skill when he plays.
Over time, working alongside DJ EZ shifted my perspective when it came to the concept of DJ’ing and also opened up my eyes to how fun it could be as a potential career. Whilst working at Kiss FM, I also had the opportunity to assist DJ’s like Hatcha, Shortee Blitz, MK, Hannah Wants and Pioneer. They all – in one way or another –, helped shape my understanding of the craft, particularly when I was trying to figure out how I could make DJ’ing a career. Outside of work, I’ve always been that friend who is constantly searching for new music and hidden gems to share, so I progressed into DJ’ing quite naturally – using it as a medium to showcase all the new music I was finding at the time.
What kind of music do you play live? Are you passionate about any genre/s in particular?
I would say I’m most known for playing Hip-Hop, Trap edits and remixes of all kinds of music. I try to never limit myself to playing any particular genre; I love mixing everything – Afro, Garage, Funky, House. Right now, I’ve been diving more deeply into remixing House music – it’s super fun.
Are there any artists on your radar right now that you think are super underrated?
Oh, for sure! At the moment i’m into this underground trap rapper called Dirtboimil; if you’re into trap music you should definitely check him out. Also, I’ve really been loving listening to Maajei Vu, whose music has this very distinctive R’n’B/Trapsoul vibe. He works quite closely with the producer CardoGotWings – their stuff is pretty dope too!
You often DJ in Europe – playing venues in Paris & Amsterdam. Can you tell us about one of your favourite shows you’ve played overseas? Also, is there anywhere you haven’t played yet that’s on your bucket-list?
Coachella is always my favourite place to play! I love being in the States and getting the opportunity to shine a light on what we’re listening to over here in Europe. I feel like there’s a great energy out there and I always end up meeting one of my idols which is a plus! Two years ago, I opened up one of the main stages and my trailer-neighbours backstage were French Montana and The Migos – talk about a pinch myself moment!
When i’m in Europe, I have to say Amsterdam and Italy are the best places to DJ. Amsterdam because the crowds are super receptive even if they might not be familiar with the song you’re playing, and Italy because they share my love for Trap music. Where to go next? That’s honestly a hard question. I’d say Atlanta is a big dream for me – I’ve always loved their music and culture. I’d also want to visit Canada. Actually, Atlanta and Canada are the two places where people listen to my online mixes the most – so I’ve got to get out there and show them some love in the future.
You’re quite the fashionista! Do you style yourself, and if so, how do you decide what to wear for a set?
Why thank-you! I do style myself. I actually started getting more interested in fashion when I started DJ’ing. I feel like it gives me the opportunity to be creative and experiment with new looks. I always base my outfit on the theme of the party/gig I’m going to be playing at. I try to go for outfits that are sexy but still comfortable; comfort is super super important when DJ’ing. I also recently started working with CoCo who’s a brilliant stylist – she helps me out from time to time and always has me looking bomb.
Your “Bang This In The Uber” mixes definitely bang – what inspired you to start making them?
As a DJ mixes are the most obvious way to get your music out there, but with “Bang This In The Uber” I wanted to create a mix series with a meaning. It all started with me and my girls when we used to get ready, we’d all equally hate being the designated AUX-lead DJ for the night – every time! I figured it’d be good to switch it up and make mixes for us instead. Once i’d done the first mix, I started wanting to have mixes out there all the time. I love the process of curating a constant stream of my favourite tracks of the moment. So, I started making themes for each mix and promoting them online and the rest is history!
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned through collaborating with other women?
Girl, that we’ve got to respect each other and unite!! I think it’s super important, especially within today’s media and entertainment industry, that we as women focus on respecting and upholding other women. Sometimes, I find that because there’s so few of us working in the creative industries at the moment, that there’s this unspoken and unhealthy competition to be the most popular – or to be seen as ‘the best’. When really, we should all be focused on connecting and working together! Together we create a stronger force, we create more visible change and ultimately make more money in the process. So yeah, unity is key!
Oh, we couldn’t agree more! Do you have any advice for girls who want to get into DJ’ing?
I’d always say to just go for it and don’t let any fear or anxiety you have stop you. If you don’t ever start you’ll never know – right. Also, always remember that practice makes perfect, DJ’ing can be like a sport and if you stop practicing it’s easy get rusty and forget the skills you’ve learned. When you get to a point where you feel comfortable to start doing small gigs and parties, don’t be afraid to contact the events you like going to and ask them if you can play the first hour. Lastly, mixes are a great way to learn because you can always listen back and figure out new ways to improve your sound. Good luck ladies, and don’t give up!
Lastly, can you give us a little background on the tracks you’ve included in this week’s playlist?
Similarly to how I make my mixes, my tracks of the week are made up of the songs I’m loving listening to right now and all the artists I think you guys should really check out. Happy listening!