FLASH CASSETTE - 'Cassette's Revenge' | An Interview
The only time the radio was ever off in Adam Hunte’s house was if the record player was
on. Growing up he was exposed to hundreds of different types of music, with 80’s Synth-
Pop and 70’s Disco catching his ear more than the others. Being a child of the 1990’s
meant these were the sounds of the past but they somehow felt like they were from the
future. Something about the beats and pulsating synthesizers really resonated with him
and fuelled his imagination.
Adam began to put together his own tracks in a similar vein throughout 2016 and by the
start of 2017 he had completed an albums worth of material. April 2017 saw the full
release of this self produced debut album simply titled Flash Cassette.
In order to help promote the album, Adam felt people needed to see and hear the tracks
performed live with a loose freshness. To get the desired sound he realised another
member, and live instruments would be needed to really boost the power of the music and
add another human element to the proceedings. It was at this point that David Kaer came
onto the team. As a multi-instrumentalist and former music technology and production
student Dave added a new dimension to Flash Cassette and really helped transform the
project from one man making melodic beats in his bedroom, to a captivating live show.
With their second album, aptly titled II, nearing two years of age, the duo are now currently
hard at work on their third album with one mission in mind.
Flash Cassette are here. And they’re bringing Synth-Funk back to the dance floor.
I sat down with the Duo awhile back to talk about their inspirations and aspirations, read on...
Tell us a little about the band, where you’re from and how you got started in Music?
ADAM: We’re Flash Cassette and we’re an electronic funk duo from Bradford, West Yorkshire. We’ve both been involved in the Bradford Music scene for over a decade in one form or another but started working on this project together back in early 2017. Music’s kind of always been in my family. My Dad and my uncle are both jazz musicians and my mum has always had music on in the house for as long as I can remember. One of my first memories is of her pumping Ziggy Stardust to the max when I was like two or three years old. So, I reckon that’s probably where it all started. Though my journey as a musician began when I got an 88 key electronic piano for my 12th birthday. The price of it alone was all the pressure I needed to get practising.
DAVE: I’ve been playing in bands of all genres and sizes for roughly 15 years now. I started off playing drums, mainly because nobody else in my group of friends could. Often times we’d be writing original music but sometimes it’d be a cover band in an attempt to make some actual money. That’s actually where me and Adam first met properly, we were playing in a funk and soul band together. I got listening to his stuff and questioned why
he didn’t play it live.
ADAM: I felt a bit nervous at the idea of being out there by myself. Just me and a keyboard.
DAVE: Yeah. Made sense. So I said I’d help out. We went through so many different live set ups. At one point it involved an iPod, then it changed to a laptop, then the laptop broke so we had to use a different one. We eventually made it to our first gig with a set up of live drums, synths and a laptop. It seemed to go down a storm so we carried on from there, changing how we played live every now and then for good measure.
ADAM: Like turning up to a gig without your drum kit, pulling out a drum machine and a guitar and saying “Oh I’m not drumming anymore I’m gonna play guitar or bass” or whatever it was!
DAVE: I get bored.
DAVE: Anyway it all just kinda spiralled on from there, started working on music together. The first album was all Adam on his own. Now we’re working on the third album and it feels great.
How has your sound developed over the years? Has the current market been of any influence in that?
ADAM: I would say that the sound has gained more focus. Like Dave said initially Flash Cassette was a solo project of mine that kind of encompassed all aspects of electronic music I enjoyed. On the first album you can hear elements of Daft Punk, Kraftwerk. I was also heavily into Lazerhawk and Miami Nights 1984 so I tried to add elements of some of their work to my own productions. However since Dave joined in the song writing I feel like we’ve focused more heavily on a funk sound that was always bubbling under the surface of a lot my early ideas.
DAVE: That’s kind of a mantra we have now. Never lose the funk. We’ve only recently changed up quite a few songs on the new album because they just weren’t grooving enough.
ADAM: Yeah that’s kind of an unwritten contract we have with each other when it comes to making Flash Cassette music these days. I actually listened back to some of my earlier tracks from years ago and the production has definitely gotten a lot tighter since then. Whenever I produce a track I feel like I always learn something new. Like most things it’s just a constant learning process.
How would you describe the music you make?
ADAM: I genuinely feel Flash Cassette is difficult to categorise in terms of genre.
DAVE: Genre talk does my head in sometimes. Synth-Funk?
ADAM: Something like that but when I’m working on our music I try and go for a synth-pop sound blended with disco elements and funk bass-lines. It’s definitely dance music but I like to think that people can sit down and just enjoy the synths and groove without feeling the pressure to strut their stuff on the dance floor. I imagine it as late night driving music.
DAVE: I think what helps is us both coming from somewhat different musical backgrounds. Adam’s musical influences mixed with my more Rock based upbringing gives us a really unique edge, especially when it comes to playing live. Electronic Funk with a Disco twist. That sums us up pretty well if you ask me.
How has your 2020 been? With the Gig situation how have you all managed to stay reasonably sane?
ADAM: This year really has been something hasn’t it? To be fair after the initial shock of lockdown and having to come to terms with most of my initial plans for the year going out the window I feel like things have been pretty good. It’s given us both a lot more time to work on the album and try and really perfect our sound. Obviously not being able to meet up and jam the tracks out together is a massive blow.
DAVE: Yeah lack of meeting up in person is rough. Working on the new album is easy enough but I really wanted to work on our live performance which is pretty much impossible now and that really bums me out.
ADAM: A lot of the second Flash Cassette record was made in the ‘you email me some ideas, I’ll expand on them and email it back.’ kind of way. So this method of production isn’t totally new to us. I’ve also been practicing piano and keyboard a lot more so once we’re allowed to gig again I'll hopefully be a better player than I was before.
DAVE: Same here. I’ve been working on the new live set as much as I can but it’s hard without the two of us in the same room.
ADAM: Aside from music though I’ve got back into retro video games and have been playing a healthy mixture of Streets Of Rage II and Final Fantasy VII in my spare time. Also being restricted to just one form of outdoor exercise has actually made me get into a good fitness routine. I’ve run at least 5k every day since lockdown started. I’ve also started writing my own fantasy novel as that’s something that I’ve talked about for years without ever actually
starting. I’m aiming for a 2030 release date.
Tell us your best and worse gig experience?
ADAM: The one that I think jumps out most to me is one that Flash Cassette played at Al’s Dime Bar in Bradford just over two years ago. We’d played there a couple of times before but as a new band we’d kind of struggled to get much of an audience. However this gig was on a night before a bank holiday so we had a crowd of about a 100+ people squeezed into what was a pretty tiny bar. We were practically performing in the crowd it was so cramped. This was one of those performances though where just everything seemed to be going our way. The audience was just full of people who wanted to have a good time and even though the majority had never heard of us they were all immediately on board with what we were trying to do and the entire night just felt like one big sweaty party fuelled by the perfect mixture of cocktails and our Synth-Funk sounds.
DAVE: That was a great night. I’d argue the 360 Club gig in Leeds could maybe top that. Where we did a cover of Mylo’s ‘Drop The Pressure’ that lasted about 20 minutes.
ADAM: Oh yeah! That was a crazy night too. Everybody in the crowd went nuts when we played that.
DAVE: That’s not an exaggeration either we literally played that song for what seemed like forever. The crowd just wouldn’t let us stop. Easily my favourite gig ever by a mile. Worst gig?
ADAM: One of our earlier gigs when the owner of the bar literally told us to stop playing after only three tracks because our synth noise was upsetting the handful of customers who hadn’t left during our first tune. When you play a lot of gigs you notice that sometimes the vibe just isn’t right. Your music is never going to be everybody’s cup of tea. Looking back it was just a case of being the wrong band at the wrong time but I remember feeling really
frustrated and disappointed at the time.
DAVE: I think I was fine with it as I was actually really sick at the time?
ADAM: That’s right you might’ve had flu or something.
DAVE: So all night I was simultaneously freezing and also sweating buckets. Whilst dressed in some kind of Santa outfit?
ADAM: Yes! I forgot about that.
DAVE: I was perfectly okay with that gig being cut short.
Is there anything new you’re working on currently that you’d like to share a little bit about?
ADAM: Like we’ve mentioned a few times we’re hard at work on the new Flash Cassette album that’s going to be dropping later this year.
DAVE: Originally we planned to release it in summer but given everything that’s happened we’re going to hold on a bit. On the positive side though we’ve now spent an extra couple of months working on the tracks and I reckon it’s going to be an even better album than it might’ve been. We’re both massively excited about the project and have taken a much more relaxed approach to the production this time as things got very intense on the last one.
We both went a bit insane during that process really and after working so hard we kind of didn’t want to listen to the record ever again after making it.
ADAM: To avoid that happening this time we’ve just decided to relax a lot more and have just said ‘If it sounds cool and it’s got the groove then it’s a winner.’. I definitely think this approach has led to much more free flowing ideas and a lot more fun musically. I genuinely can’t wait for you all to hear these new tracks as I feel they’re going to blow everything that’s come before it out of the water.
DAVE: In a way this album goes back to the roots of Adam’s first album when he was just doing this on his lonesome. But at the same time it kind of pushes forward with all these ideas that the second album was introducing. It’s like a funky love-child of the first and second albums.
If you couldn’t make the great music you are making today what would each of you be doing?
ADAM: I’d probably be a writer living alone in the wilderness waiting to be taken hostage by a deranged female fan.
DAVE : Carrying on with my day job which I do along side making music anyway.
Who would you each like to play you in a movie of your life?
ADAM: Richard Ayaode.
DAVE : Oliver Reed if he was still alive.
What sound do each you love the most?
ADAM: Rain against windows.
DAVE: Oliver Reed’s dialogue in Gladiator.
Do you all have a day job? How do you balance this with the passion for creating the great music that you do?
DAVE: Yes I work for a gardening company full-time.
ADAM: I’m currently a full-time student at the moment studying psychology and sociology. I make money by teaching keyboard and putting on music workshops so fortunately I can combine my passion with my work at the moment. But when I had an office job I used to just make sure I didn’t take any of it home with me and made sure I spent as much time making tunes as I did in the office.
DAVE: It has its difficulties. The hours can be long and it’s physical work too. Some times I just can’t muster the energy to work on music by the time I get home. I just try to push myself as hard as I can without reaching that breaking point which usually involves a sufficient lack of sleep.
If you’re having a bad day what do each of you do to make yourself feel better?
ADAM: I make myself a giant mug of hot chocolate with crazy amounts of sugar and watch Clint Eastwood films.
DAVE : Gin
Who are your celebrity crushes?
DAVE: Olivia Wilde.
ADAM : Jenna Coleman for me. She played Doctor Who’s assistant a few years back. Even though the stories weren’t great I realised that I could happily watch anything with her in it. I’ve also always had a thing for Kate Winslett. Kind of fancied being her bit of rough.
What’s next for you as a band?
DAVE: Well everything is up in the air at the moment in terms of gigs but I still feel the plan is to release the new album this year and absolutely promote the hell out of it. We just might not be able to promote it by playing live. We’ll just have to wait and see.
ADAM: Like I said I think this is some of the strongest music I’ve ever had the privilege to work on and I honestly can’t wait to just get it out there to as many ears as we possibly can.
Favourite Movies and why?
ADAM : The first Beverly Hills Cop. It’s just always been a favourite of mine since childhood. My grandma had it on VHS taped straight off the TV with the first five minutes missing and all the adverts still in. Whenever I put it on I just go back to those times. It’s also happens to be the greatest film of all time.
DAVE: I don’t really have favourites when it comes to most things. They change depending on my mood. Today’s pick is John Carpenter’s The Thing. Why not. Everything about that film is perfect.
Who or what got you into the Synth scene initially?
DAVE: Movies probably. I’ve always had a strong love for John Carpenter films and his synth based scores are a big part of that.
ADAM: For me it was my Mum and her old records. I remember being fascinated by her records as a kid. Stuff like Kraftwerk and The Associates really jumped out at me. And as I’ve grown older and my own music taste has developed I’ve always found myself leaning towards things that have a catchy synth hook more than anything else.
DAVE: I’ve always dug electronic music from Daft Punk to Vangelis but in terms of the modern Synth scene it was probably Adam that really got me seriously into it when he put out that first album.
What type of Hardware/Software to you use, do you have a preference?
ADAM: I mainly use Ableton live as my DAW with Massive, U-he and OB-X Vst’s amongst others. Hardware wise I use a Korg R3 and its little brother the classic Microkorg. Nothing too fancy but endless possibilities.
DAVE: That Microkorg is so versatile. It’s been at my house for years now as I use that when we play live. I use Logic Pro X as my main DAW. In terms of hardware I need to give a shout out to the Alesis SR-16 drum machine that we use live as well as the Boss DR-202, also known as the Doctor Groove. We used the laptop when we first starting playing live but the drum machines have replaced that now. It gives the whole performance a much for
lively feel, like we’re actually playing in a band, being able to jam, improvise or loop that final chorus round just one more time.
Feel like supporting Flash Cassette? Of course you do.....links below