Melodic bass & rocktronic duo, Caslow just released their highly-anticipated EP Not A Phase, an ode to both pop-punk and electronic dance music.
Not A Phase is a remarkable presentation of how pop-punk and EDM can fuse together in a unique way, showcasing the duo’s proficiency in adapting and merging two significantly different genres of music. The EP is rooted in nostalgic elements from the 2000s, paying homage to the past while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of the present. By illustrating how a blend of modern and nostalgic elements can produce something distinctive and unforgettable, Caslow highlights the value of nostalgia in Not A Phase.
Behind The Production Of Not A Phase
Natale Castelli was introduced to punk rock, electronic, and emo music by Brody Low, who had a passion for these genres. This exposure eventually influenced his own musical creations. Caslow had discussed the idea of producing more punk rock music but did not make a firm decision until last year. They began experimenting with remixing songs in the punk rock style for their own enjoyment, which ultimately led them to produce an original song in this genre in 2021.
“We were dipping our toes into the rock EDM space and hadn’t really committed to doing a whole album until last year, around November, when we said ‘Let’s just do it’,” Natale says. “I thought what we were doing in the melodic bass genre was getting stale. I grew bored of listening to the same sound that everyone was trying to replicate. We needed to do something different, and I didn’t want to keep doing the same thing we had been doing. I wanted to hear something fresh, something that I could actually enjoy listening to again.”
Brody faced a challenge during the making of Not A Phase with the recording process. He states that playing punk rock and emo music required a different writing style and demanded intense articulation, unlike anything he had done before. As a result, he found it difficult and challenging to record the guitar parts for the EP.
“I had never mixed punk rock guitars before, so I had to figure that out, Natale says. “The first remix we did, “Parachute”, was my attempt at it. We were on the right page before, but we hadn’t quite dialed it in yet. It took us a couple of years to tweak our style to fit with rock. Putting it all together was another challenge because we had to structure the songs like pop songs, while also incorporating an EDM structure and a mix of punk rock and pop punk. We didn’t have a plan since there wasn’t much to reference, unlike other artists who have experimented in that space. So we came up with ideas and just saw if they worked. Our stuff sounds different than other EDM tracks, and I’m excited to see what people think about it.”
Brody reveals that he had stopped listening to electronic music and turned back to his old music as an inspiration for his work. He admits that trying to draw inspiration from electronic music has proved to be unfruitful, urging him to take a step back. Once he began writing naturally and drawing inspiration from that old niche, he found the creative process to be much easier.
“I drew inspiration from new-age pop punk bands and other newer bands that are emerging on apps like TikTok,” Brody says. “These bands are taking the old sound of the 2000s and adding new production tricks and sound to create something fresh. I was inspired by the genre-blending and the New Age rock sound. I wanted to incorporate synths and other cool elements into rock music, just like these bands are doing.”
In the early stages of creating Not A Phase, Caslow had a lucky break when they were sent a collection of demos. Among them was a short 10-second verse that caught their attention. Recognizing its potential, they decided to work on it, despite the challenges of blending the two sounds.
“At the time, MGK’s album had just come out, and I felt like it had a similar vibe,” Natale says. “So I tried messing around with it and thought, ‘Why don’t we just make a track out of it?’ Fortunately, Brody came to the US for a show we were playing, and we got to link up and work on it together in person. At first, it was a challenge. Most of the songs on the EP are punk rock or emo songs until the drop. So we started by getting the guitar tones right and then figuring out how to fit a build-up in. We began by making a rock beat and then experimented with different transitions until we found what worked. It was a lot of trial and error, but we eventually got there!”
Exploring Caslow’s Sound Of Not A Phase
Brody is inspired by fellow artists such as Said the Sky, Crystal Skies, and Illenium, who have been experimenting with rock elements in their electronic music. He mentions being particularly impressed by Said the Sky’s use of rock in his album Sentiment. He also notes that Caslow’s own music sounds primarily melodic, but they draw inspiration from the way their favorites have incorporated rock into their electronic sounds. Caslow also emphasizes that incorporating electronic sounds into rock music has been a growing trend, with bands like Bring Me The Horizon and All Time Low serving as examples of artists who are pushing the boundaries of the genre.
Not A Phase features a collection of expertly crafted songs that seamlessly blend rock and electronic elements. One of the EP’s standout tracks, “Parachute”, holds particular significance for Natale and Brody as they were able to collaborate on the song in person despite living in different countries. The close distance allowed for a deeper level of creativity and resulted in a track that is more unique than anything they could have produced over a phone call. The writing, instrumentation, and production were approached with a more critical eye than their previous releases, and the addition of Manno’s outstanding vocals further elevated the track.
“Working with Chris was really fun – he’s a talented vocalist, and I enjoy collaborating with artists!” Natale says. “We were doing something new and it was exciting to go back and forth and mess around with different ideas. The intro that he sent me for “Parachute” was great, and we just built on that. That track was probably my favorite because it was more hands-on. Sometimes when you hire a singer or a vocalist, they’ll come up with their own ideas and lyrics and give them back to you, but with Chris, we were able to collaborate more. I think those are the kind of tracks we enjoy doing more.”
Analyzing The Impact Of Not A Phase
Caslow aims to encourage electronic artists to explore the fusion of pop-punk and electronic genres. There are many successful crossover albums that combine the two genres, and they hope to inspire more experimentation with rock music in sets or even the creation of rock songs themselves. For example, the duo often plays rock songs such as “Misery Business” by Paramore, live without any drops to demonstrate that it is possible to rock out without relying on a drop. They say that musicians can produce music without any drums with a rock feel as the genre develops, making it easy to experiment with sounds that stray from the conventional framework of electronic dance music tracks.
“I think our songs stand out because, unlike other artists who have incorporated EDM throughout their punk rock songs, most of our songs except for “In Love” are purely punk rock without any EDM elements,” Brody says. “Other artists’ songs tend to be around 70% EDM and 30% rock, but with “Parachute” and “Boyfriend’s Car”, we have about 70% rock with a little bit of EDM mixed in. So I believe that’s where our music will stand out more than the others.”
Brody and Natale are hopeful that Not A Phase will encourage fans to embrace the importance of the artistic revolution. The EP serves as a tribute to how exploring new styles and sounds can keep an artist excited and thriving in the long run. By breaking free from creative constraints and embracing change, Not A Phase represents a bold step for Caslow, and they hope that fans will follow their lead!
“We’re planning to rebrand ourselves completely because we’ve had the most fun with this new direction,” Natale says. “Brody and I both enjoy it, and we’ve decided to stick with it. We’re going to mix casual pop and EDM with rock guitars to give it more of a rock and punk feel. Moving forward, we’ll probably incorporate more genres like house, but rock and punk will always be there. This is going to be our signature style now, and we’re excited to keep going with it!”
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