Sydney-based ambient music producer No-kë (Cassie) had completed her bachelor of music in composition (Honours) in 2015 at the Sydney Conservatorium of music. Her studies combined with her personal musical influences have given her the passion and expertise to compose across different styles and genres.
She has composed for a variety of ensembles such as Sydney Youth Orchestra’s String Ensembles (2013), Ensemble Offspring (2015), Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (2016 – 2017), Adelaide Wind Orchestra (2018), the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (2017) and Melbourne Youth Orchestra. She has also had works performed internationally in the USA and Europe.
No-kë (Cassie) is a devoted environmentalist and her passion for conservation and telling stories through nature ripples through her work.
Describe your sound for us. What do you want people to feel when they hear your music?
I like to think my sound is organic and cinematic. It’s a mix of classical/acoustic instrumentation with ambient and cinematic synths and drums with a bit of nature in the mix. I want people to feel like they’ve been transported or escaped to somewhere in our natural world and take them out of the everyday hustle and bustle
Which 3 artists have influenced you the most growing up?
The biggest artist when I first started writing music would be Joe Hisaishi. I started playing his piano music and really felt it emotionally connect with myself and my audience. He was the biggest influence for me interns of melody and harmony. I also grew up playing a lot of Rachmaniov, Chopin, Debussy, and Ravel as a kid and would say I definitely fell in love with that Romantic and 20th Century classical era’s.
From that, I think the artist ‘Ta-ku’ was another big influence. I loved listening to his pieces and how he managed to create a really organic, lush sounds whilst using electro-acoustic elements.
How did you discover your particular sound?
I think I came across my particular sound through a mix of studying classical composition at the Conservatorium, as well as being involved in a lot of commercial music for TV. My sound for No-kë is (I like to think) a combination of the skills, techniques, and production I have learned from both and combining them together. Before I started this project I really felt like I was separating those two worlds, and have really enjoyed combining them. The nature side of things comes from my love of the natural world and always wanting to incorporate it into my music
What are the most important pieces of equipment to you?
Probably my laptop and my piano
What outside of music inspires you to create?
Definitely nature. I’ve always been drawn to it, particularly animals. I used to draw a lot and would always draw animals or landscapes. Currently I’m trying to really use my music as a way of spreading awareness on the issues our environment faces and try to incorporate inspiration from nature in every piece I write – whether that be incorporating field recordings, using ‘songs’ from nature as motifs (bird songs, animal calls, etc) or recreating soundscapes on instruments.
Do you have a favourite memory of your career so far that you will take with you forever?
Probably one of my favorite memories was after a performance of one of my compositions in 2015. It was a piece I wrote called ‘Avialae’ performed by Australian contemporary music group Ensemble Offspring for their anniversary concert. The piece was about endangered Australian bird species and I was really proud of it. I had gotten good feedback on the piece and one particular audience member came up to me and said he was so moved he actually ended up in tears. To me, that meant that my music really reach him and emotionally engaged with him and really justified why I wanted to make music.
If you could work with, or perform alongside any artist living or passed, who would it be?
I would love to work with or perform with Olafur Arnalds. I’m a big fan of his music and take a lot of inspiration from him. He also seems like a really cool guy
Most artists say that if they weren’t artists they would be mailmen/women… what would you be?
I’d be working in animal conservation or maybe a vet
What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
I’m planning on releasing a new piece in Feb, as well as my first public performance. Definitely planning on having at least 2 gigs in 2020 in Sydney next year which is really exciting but also a bit terrifying!
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