From small acorns grow mighty oaks — or, from chill smoke sessions come big bangers.
“It’s kicked off a new excitement in me, and I think Caspa as well,” Rusko tells Billboard. “It’s rejuvenated my love for what we do.
They weren’t a proper duo in 2009, but they were always working together. They were the dudes at the forefront of a brave new sound, two goofy pals yukking it up, making wild noises no one had quite heard before. It was all a game, and then one day, it was big business.
“It went from 0 to 100 very quickly,” Caspa says. “We were just doing our thing hanging out and suddenly – bang!”
The two were off like lightning “riding that huge dubstep wave,” as Rusko says. He moved to Los Angeles almost immediately. Caspa stayed in England touring Europe and the world. They had loads of fun, maybe too much at times, but it was a lot to manage. It’s work to constantly fly and churn out singles. They hardly had time to chat, maybe an intermittent text, a beer every couple of years.
“That’s why the initial studio session was a long overdue catch-up really,” Rusko says. “After making music together seven years ago, to be making music now and learning from each other and seeing how much everything’s changed, it’s nice. We’ve been getting to know each other again.”
About seven years ago, both mates took a year off to tour at the same time. Rusko moved back to England. They figured why not?
“See if we can still put beats on the screen and make it sound good, and if not, let’s just catch up and have a smoke,” Rusko remembers. “One thing led to another until we had a bunch of tracks, and then we thought, ‘Sh–, we want to play these.’”
“For me, it all starts and finishes with the music,” Caspa continues. “We had music, and I was like, ‘How can we just keep this rolling and keep enjoying it?’”
It’s been almost a year since Caspa & Rusko became headline official. They put out an EP. They played some shows and festivals, but only the ones they really wanted to play.
“We wanna keep it special and bring it together for the right opportunities,” Caspa says. “When we’ve got something great that we’ve worked on in the studio, we’ll put it out. We just want to keep it super fun.”
Case in point: “Cheese,” the duo’s latest single. The title seems inherently tongue-in-cheek, given the song’s Korg M1 ’90s rave piano and escapist soul vocal, but the playfulness goes deeper.
“There was this spate of studio sessions where we were naming the tracks after what type of weed we were smoking,” Rusko says. “Most of the tracks have since been renamed to something a bit more sensible and appropriate, but that one is actually still called ‘Cheese,’ after the famous U.K. marijuana strain.”
“We just wanted a bit of fun,” Caspa concurs, although they admit, the link to the cheesy factor of the song was what pushed them over. It’s the tune they’ve used to close out all their sets, including EDC Las Vegas during the big fireworks show, “which couldn’t be any more ’90s.”
It’s one of their faves, a last-minute tune that came together in about two hours. It’s the guys’ homage to U.K. sound through the years. They’re setting off on a new foot with dubstep, and with that comes grime, jungle, hardcore, drum’n’bass, reggae, garage, all of it. They took it back to the beginning as they move into the future.
“It’s like a time machine when I step in the studio with Caspa,” Rusko says. “It puts me in that frame of mind and puts me in the same place we were in back in the day, and we end up just making dirty bangers. I just feel 23 again, or whatever the f— it was, but with less hair and a bigger belly.”