Musician Cassandra Violet stops by on Close-Up Culture to chat about her debut album, Maybe It’s Not Too Late, and her experience voicing Lori in the 2021 film, Pig.
First off, congratulations on your debut album. What was your inspiration for it, and how was the journey to make it?
Thank you so much! I think artists have themes they come back to over and over again. One of my themes is the pressures placed on women, and my own internal clash between the desire to fulfill or reject these expectations. On the cover of the album I’m depicted as a domestic goddess holding a pie, which is meant to be ironic, but I actually do really enjoy baking pies. The album is titled “Maybe It’s Not Too Late,” after one of the songs on the record, and the idea that happiness always seems to be just around the corner, and we keep reaching for it, only for it to elude us.
I love the music video for your song, Tick Tick. How much fun did you have putting it together?
Thank you! The idea for the video came to me all at once: a demented cooking show starring a chef who is trying desperately to not lose her mind. I have always loved cooking shows and grew up watching them constantly: Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, the Frugal Gourmet. The protagonist of my show looks like she has it together, and as the music proceeds her anxiety keeps interfering with her life and ruining the pie she is baking. The anxiety is represented as disembodied arms that are torturing her, and they finally reveal that inside of the pie is a giant clock, representing my own anxiety about my biological clock! It was a really fun video to make and I love how it came out.
How would you describe your style and your approach to music?
I write songs to cope with my own sadness and anxiety. Music is an outlet for me to transform my feelings into art, and when I don’t make music I feel terrible. Music is like therapy, something that is very pure for me. I feel lucky in that way. I went to college for English and creative writing, and I always felt that writing (and waiting for people to read it) was very lonely and isolating. I love playing music for and with people, and collaborating with the brilliant musicians I get to work with. Music makes the world feel smaller.
As far as my style is concerned, I think of myself as a folk writer with pop sensibilities, so heartfelt with a little quirk. I love to wear a beautiful suit and a cowboy hat when I perform!
You sing a beautiful cover of Bruce Springsteen’s song, I’m On Fire, in Nicholas Cage’s film, Pig. The cover is incredible and puts a worthy punctuation point on this moving film. How does it feel to have your work immortalised in this way?
Thank you so much. I was so honored to give a voice to such an important character in the film. I sang “I’m On Fire” in my closet during the height of the pandemic, and it was surreal to sing it totally alone, much like the character of Lori in the movie, and then see the response from people after watching the movie. It was one of the best experiences of my life, truly. So many people have such emotional memories attached to that song, and reached out to me and told me how it moved them very deeply. I sang it like I was singing it to someone I loved, and sent over the first take I did, and that was the one that was used. It’s very cool to sing something that plays a narrative role in the movie.
I also loved the film itself! Nicolas Cage is amazing in it, and it’s a story about grief and love and food. What more could you ask for?
Your work has also been featured on Ozark, Undercover, The Fosters, and elsewhere. What TV show or film would you love to lend your work to next?
I love that my music has landed in dark, meaningful shows that have a little edge to them. I would love for one of my songs to be in the opening credits of a show. I would also love to collaborate with a composer and write an original song for a feature film. I’m manifesting it all!
What are your plans and ambitions for the future?
I’m currently writing my second album. This past year has been really hard for me on a personal level, which is unfortunate, but also great for writing songs! I have lots of new material percolating. Follow me to hear my new music when it comes out, and to see what inspires me on a daily basis (lots of music and food!).
Follow Cassandra on Instagram: @cassandra_violet
Visit Cassandra’s website: cassandraviolet.com
Listen to more of Cassandra on Spotify
Photos by Emma Cole