All Photos By Molly McElwain
We caught up with Cassie Latshaw to chat ahead of her show at Mercury on Saturday, October 24th. Cassie discussed with us her upcoming album, “Memoirs of a Monkey Girl,” a crowd-funded album that’s sure to be just as eclectic and honest as the refreshingly authentic chord stick-wielding singer herself.
You’ve described your sound as a folksy, bluesy, country-ish, Americana-like cornucopia of passionate feminine sound. It got me wondering if you have any strong influences contributing to this eclectic mix.
Oh man...I think it would be a longer list to tell you who I haven’t drawn from. But to name the big few off the top of my head, obviously Janis Joplin. I’m also a huge fan of Susan Tedeschi, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Joan Jett, Suzi Quatro, just...anyone that’s badass and a woman, you know?
Your upcoming album is called Memoirs of a Monkey Girl. That name is based on your childhood, correct?
Right, so my grandparents raised me and the exotic animals all together. Honestly, Monkey Girl was kind of a derogatory term used toward me in school. Kids are mean. They’ll find any way to make fun of someone if they can. I felt like I could take back that word and make it my own, you know? Kind of like how some cultures do with derogatory terms about them. They take it and make it their own and that’s what I wanted to do.
The album itself is kind of just a collection of stories of my life and different experiences and feelings. Not all of it is necessarily about my life. Sometimes I draw inspiration from other people’s experiences and think, “I know you’re really bummed out and life sucks right now, but I’m gonna write a song about it”.
So, when you write from someone else’s perspective, what exactly goes into that?
It’s actually a lot easier for me to write from someone else’s perspective. When I write about my own it makes me feel very vulnerable...I feel exposed. Writing about other people’s experiences is a little easier for me to find the words to explain the story.
But don’t get me wrong, there are a couple songs that are directly about my life and like I said, make me feel vulnerable, but that’s kind of what music is all about.
Are there any in particular that are especially important to you?
I have one I wrote about my late grandmother...it was a hard song to write. She was kind of a harsh lady, and it was very difficult to find the words to describe her without thinking “this woman is awful!” She was just one of those people where you had to get to know her. The song about her is called “Bobby Jean” and it’s really near and dear to my heart.
“Stoned All Alone” is another vulnerable song where I describe my upbringing and my current situation and just my relationship.
How has the overall writing/recording process been? How do you feel about the album?
It’s like, the proudest I’ve ever been of anything I’ve ever made aside from my children! It’s like my life’s masterpiece...I know that sounds ridiculous, but with the players I have on it, and with Kendall Osbourne who’s been producing the record at Closet Studios...he hears things that no one else can. All of these songs that I’ve written have transformed into this beautiful butterfly and I just can’t wait to release it.
The transformation that producers have a part in in the recording process is huge.
Oh yeah. I was a little apprehensive about working with a producer at first, because the album is like your baby. You don’t want it to change too much at first. You don’t want it to get plastic surgery, but it did get plastic surgery and it’s hot now!
My past album was all folksy and bluegrass with upright bass and acoustic guitar and it was bare roots. But with this CD, it’s Blues, it’s Rock, it’s Country, it’s Folk...it really is a cornucopia of passionate feminine sound!
Be sure to experience this cornucopia of passionate feminine sound at Mercury Lounge on Saturday, October 24th. You can support Cassie’s album, “Memoirs of a Monkey Girl” on her Kickstarter page!