Wedding Ritual #16: Cassandra Solon-Parry
is a writer and musician whose work exudes magic and mystery. I met Cassie a few years back at an arts salon (yeah, get me), when she seemed astonished that I already knew of her music project, Moth Rah (see her 'Something Old', immediately below, for early Moth-Rah...) Her poetry was once commended by Jackie Kay and Andrew Motion; her former band Bear Driver were the Guardian's 801st new band of the week. But what's new now? And while we're at it, what's old, borrowed and blue? Let's find out.
Here is Cassandra Solon-Parry's Wedding Ritual, in her own words:
"The first track I wrote for my Moth Rah music project. I'd been musically paralysed for years beforehand, convinced that anything I might have to contribute to the world of music was somehow... impossible, not wanted and already broken. The song itself was a kind of spell, conjuring 'ash to gold, ash to gold', transmuting old feelings into new potential. I wore headphones everywhere I went, listened to the Cocteau Twins non-stop, trying to catch every beat, and then went home and painstakingly created drum tracks in Pro Tools - one beat at a time. I collected sounds that spoke to me from different sample libraries like a synth-obsessed magpie. I was supported on this journey by a musician I'd met at a gig called Victoria Wijeratne, who became my mentor and, in doing so, secured my eternal gratitude. When my dad gave me a DVD of Segundo de Chomón footage I was enchanted and immediately struck with how it would be a perfect fit for my track."
"Dream Giant is the music project I work on with my lover of 15 years, Harry 'Dream' Dean. While I generally lean towards gothic themes in my solo work, he has an aptitude for creating bliss-infused psychedelia that celebrates the power of love: sun to my moon. It's a special thing to be able to work together collaboratively, an elusive magic in itself, which was the case with this track.
"This song is due to make an appearance in a big feature release, Supernova, starring Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci. You can catch it in cinemas (dramatic quirks of 2020 allowing) from November 27th, or at the London Film Festival this week."
"I kind of think producing is the ultimate borrowing experience. You take another artist's work and then you just live in it for a while, trying to bring out the essence of what you think the original artist had in mind. I approached The Butterfly Wheel because I connected with their work on a personal level and offered to record and produce tracks for their first EP. The band has a long association with an alternative church in East London: Shoreditch Church. We were able to record in the huge interior of the church at night when it was not in public use. This song holds an emotional power for me and even after days of mixing instrument and vocal levels it could bring me to tears. I love the wild abandon of it – it's length, unwieldiness, lack of adherence to conventional form. It strikes me as brave, which is something I think The Butterfly Wheel are, unfettered by commercial concerns, eyes turned towards the ineffable and sublime. I worked on mixing and mastering the track from my flat in Edmonton with police sirens going 'round the clock in the background. While the process of production was challenging, the work gave me a kind of sanctuary."
Little Boy Blue - A Fairytale
What does she grow in her garden? Bleeding Heart with its perfect, pretty heart-shaped droplets clinging to the stem in pink and red; Nightshade with its black berries in which it stores its poison; Firethorn that blazes with its golden berries and pierces with its needles. Everyone knows not to go in the garden.
But Little Boy Blue doesn’t know...
read 'Little Boy Blue' in full at fabledcollective.com
"Sometimes something emerges from your imagination unbidden. This was one of those unplanned stories, rearing its head in the middle of the night and refusing to let go of me until I got up and documented it. It came out all in one go, complete, and it was very evident to me on a personal level that it was a deep release; it spoke to fears that had long been germinating in my unconscious. It wasn't until after I read it back that I knew what the story was and, for that reason, it surprises me that in one sense it is a very traditional tale of an encounter with the fae."
Supernova, featuring Dream Giant's 'New Love', has its London Film Festival Premiere today. For more from Cassie (both Moth Rah and writing-wise) see her website, for more from Dream Giant follow their Bandcamp.
Wedding Ritual is an ongoing series of artist profiles curated and edited by Wes Viola. For updates, follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. The blog is open to submissions from visual artists, sculptors, musicians, writers, dancers, sculptors, filmmakers and all kinds of creative practitioner. For more details of what's going on here, and especially if you'd like to feature yourself, check the always-popular 'what on earth is going on here?' page. For a list of every artist featured to date, see Every Ritual.