We had the good fortune of connecting with Cass Clayton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cass, how do you think about risk?
I’ve always been naturally risk-averse, so I have to push myself all the time to take risks. If it feels wrong or my body gets heavy when I think about it, that’s the wrong kind of risk, because my intuition is saying NO. But if it feels exciting but scary, that’s my GO sign. The feeling of excitement and passion is my compass for whether the risk is right for me in that moment.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Thank you for asking! I’m so excited about the music that’s flowing out of us at this moment in time. Even though we can’t play music in a live setting until venues open, there’s a side-effect of this isolation, which is reflection and creativity. My attention had been outwardly focused for a long time, and now it’s more internally focused again. We produced two back-to-back albums in 2018 and 2019, and our focus was intense. After an album release, you only have a few months to get your new record into as many hands as possible before it’s old news. So you don’t sleep a lot if you’re the one doing the promotion. Once PLAY NICE reached #1 in the U.S. R&B radio charts and held its position for a few weeks, I took a breath of relief. We could have gone right into making another full album in 2020, but I wanted to see what it would be like to sit still and see if the songs would come out in a different way. And that’s exactly what’s happening, which is exciting. We’ll be releasing our first new single in September/October.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Don’t judge me, but I like to get my friends slightly hammered at Pints Pub, which has a huge single malt whiskey selection, and then we walk over to the Denver Art Museum next door. Pints has been around forever, and it’s not a fancy place, but it feels like home. Also, I would definitely take them out for some live music in downtown Denver, and we would hit Dazzle first. Dazzle has really done an amazing job of keeping the music scene going by presenting a mix of intimate live music shows and live streaming. When friends visit I always make sure I take them hiking on the trails above Boulder too. It’s so beautiful, and you can choose the level of challenge according to how late you were out the night before.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Wow, the list of mentors is long for me – where should I start? Do they have to be alive? Because I think about half of my mentors are dead. They rotate in and out of my consciousness as I need to learn something. I’ve been kind of obsessed with Hubert Sumlin’s music lately – he cracks my heart open every time. The presence and vulnerability in the way he plays really gets me. As for living mentors, I should just bow down to the altar of humanity and how good people have been to me. It’s not that I haven’t been burned, because everyone has, but most people are good and want to help each other.