Interview: Cassy Judy

Could you share the story behind your latest song and what inspired its creation?

Yeah, we are living in a time when attacks on queer people and different forms of queer expression is becoming more prevalent. At the last Australian federal election, one side of politics was claiming that women’s netball was going to be invaded by “men” which was a very invalidating way of referring to trans people trying to live authentically. These claims were trying to scare people.

When something makes my blood boil, I know a good way to deal with it is to write a song about it. So I wrote just for being who we are. When I put it into a voice memo and listened back to it, I was shaking. The power and truth of the song spoke loudly back to me through my phone. I hope it can reach people and connect with how they are feeling.

How do you approach the process of songwriting, and are there any specific themes or
emotions you tend to explore in your music?

Long before I knew I was a performer, I knew I was a writer. It was a space where I had and still have total control – unlike the world where many things can be beyond our control. It’s not something that I overthink. I just write. If anything I have too many songs. They are all my babies and I want them to be recorded and polished and to have long an interesting lives.

But, if I could really boil it down to one thing or one feeling – particularly with my funny songs – it’s about what amuses me. With my emotional songs, then it’s a good way to move on from a breakup or with the song Odette, I just woke up from a dream and wrote the song, bang! Instant! Immediate! Pure! Not overthought of overly manufactured. Pure musical self-expression.

As an indie musician, how do you navigate the balance between creative freedom and
commercial appeal?

I think the idea for the song rules, it definitely comes first. Then, it’s usually about what inspires me at the moment, that could be a jeep-shaking bass because I’ve been watching Hip Hop Evolution or some crazy sounding strings because I’m addicted to some great pop bangers.

So, I try to strike a balance. One of my most streamed tracks is I Don’t Want Anything From You which was inspired by Fantasy by Black Box. Sometimes the producer really nails it, you know!

For this EP I definitely wanted a chillwave lo-fi sound!

What do you find most challenging about being an independent artist in today’s music

I think it’s getting mainstream traction. I’ve done really well promoting myself, organising my own gigs etc. But the times that I’ve been on National Television, they cut any reference to my music, which is discouraging. If I was willing to throw thousands of dollars for marketing and promotion, my music might be listened to by more ears. For the time being, I’m happy to do the odd regional tour and live my life enjoying my music and doing my thing in my local music scene. Then we see what happens!

Can you talk about your experiences collaborating with other artists or musicians? How
does it influence your creative process?

Yeah, my Seven Ways EP was all about collaboration. Just check out the Calendar Girlz song and Another Piece of Ass. I love collaboration! It’s amazing what another artist can bring to the table!

What role does technology and social media play in promoting your music and
connecting with your audience?

Hey, we live in the age of social media! Unfortunately, my highest streaming video was of a rat that died in an interesting shape in my mum’s backyard (40 streams). Actually, that’s not true. My song Too Much East in the Nor’Easter received about 77k streams! Social media is a part of the landscape and can make or break you.

I love using it to showcase different parts of my personality – be it in-line skating, my love of the ocean, or wearing nothing but a towel and talking in a breathy and seductive voice! I love to just go with whatever is inspiring me at the time!

Are there any particular artists or genres that have had a significant impact on your
musical style?

I love Prince – he was a multi-instrumentalist and innovative multi-genre musician. I want to be like that! I don’t want to be boxed into a particular genre – that would be far too limiting and restrictive. And I’ve enjoyed his music for the length of his career. We appreciate an artist in their full expression – not just the hits.

I also love Australian musicians like Amber Lawrence, Dave Graney and McAlister Kemp. I’m a fan for local stories, I love them, especially Australian ones, just like my song Arse.

Indie musicians often have a close relationship with their fanbase. How do you engage
with your fans and build a dedicated community around your music?

Yeah, I regularly ask my fans for their feedback on cover art and listen to what they tell me. If I get a great reception for a song, then that will definitely influence my decision to record it or put it on a release. I’ll put it out in the world and if people are still talking about it, then my baby gets to live and grow in the world, it’s the best thing!

Could you describe a memorable live performance experience or tour that has had a
lasting impact on you and your music?

Some of my local gigs have been the gas! I did a gig at hospters local brewery and the crowd was so energised and engaged, it was amazing! I would start them on the singalong part of the song and they just kept rolling on, it was like surfing on a wave of fun human energy, the best!

One time a really cute girl jumped on the stage. I really wanted to kiss her but my girlfriend was in the audience! I’m such a good girlfriend (or at least I was)!

In an era of streaming platforms, how do you feel about the changing landscape of
music consumption and its impact on independent musicians?

It’s a time of great opportunity but also music is so accessible to independent artists need to work hard to be themselves, to be authentically unique. I mean 40,000 songs are uploaded to Spotify every day, so you really have to be special to stand out in a sea of new music! The best way to do that is to be your authentic self. As a proud lesbian and trans woman, I definitely do that!