The Miami-born Artist and Singer/Songwriter Casely offers listeners a conceptual project to be played in any order they choose with 'The Mutt - A Palindromic Album.'
Casely mentioned that the project is titled 'The Mutt - A Palindromic Album' due to his cultural diversity from Trinidad, Panama, China, and Jamaica and his eclectic taste in music from R&B, Broadway, Pop, and Singer/Songwriter. Creating a Palindromic project is rather challenging, yet Casely allows listeners to play the album from top to bottom or bottom to top, and we're just as equally engaged.
Through the album's first track, "Rude Boy Summer (feat. Braveboy)," the song opens with an infectious percussion beat that lets listeners get down with the Afrobeat tone and feel. We honestly couldn't have asked for a better track to start (or finish) the album, as Braveboy and Casely offer a heated atmosphere with the deftly-produced beat and their exhilarating performance that brings us back to the heat of the clubs. The contrast between Casely's higher-pitched vocals and Braveboy's low and deep tone offers the song a dynamic flair that's highly engaging.
Moving on to the album's next piece, "Never Be Alone (Acoustic)," the song blissfully opens with peaceful and mellow acoustic guitar picking. As Casely makes his vocal appearance and delivers a different approach than the track prior, he stops us dead in our tracks as we bask in the warmth and tenderness he provides through this song. While singing of someone he holds close to his heart, Casely reminds them that they'll never be alone as long as he's in the picture. This piece offers a sweet switch up that adds emotional and lyrical depth to the project.
With the next Afrobeat inspired song, "Airflow," the song opens with a prominent and textured beat that takes us to the warmth of the islands. With help from organic instrumentals through airy keys and bright acoustic guitar, the song's atmosphere truly offers all the heat we need to stay warm nowadays. Through Casely's upbeat and energetic performance accompanied by the blistering production/instrumentals, we can't help but get down with this fiery banger and dance away with it. We can truly feel the life and exuberance that Casely offers in this upbeat and lively hit.
Through the album's fourth track, "Annabella," we hear more of a mid-tempo R&B banger that steams through our speakers. As the song opens with textured percussion patterns and warm background sonics, Casely comes in to sweep us off our feet with his melodic and delicate vocals. While singing lyricism surround "Annabella" and her mysterious yet intriguing ways, we can feel the passion that Casely holds for this character as he delivers his conceptual lyricism with the utmost heart and desire for her. The soft production and delicacy of the track genuinely make it a heartfelt and passionate experience.
With the next track, "Dreams," the song opens with droning and haunting synths, background pads that keep the track afloat, and incredibly soft instrumentation. Listening to Casely's lyricism once over, he begins singing an introspective and reflective tale of losing sleep, not wanting to eat, and endlessly waiting for his phone to ring. We must note the delicate lyrical content that Casely has written crashes into our days like a wave on the shore, pulling us in deeper to his immense emotions that linger in his mind and body. The melodies and poise that Casely offers truly allow the listener to take in each heavy lyric he delivers.
Moving on to the next track, "Risk," we hear another soulful and emotional acoustic by none other than Casely. We're head over heels for Casely's in-depth and emotional lyrical content that pulls us in closer to the album, primarily through his poetic and wise words in this piece. While playing sole acoustic guitar and serenading us with heart, he sings a story of watching someone have this unhealthy hold over him and realizing that the only risk is to stay put. With profoundly compelling tracks like this, Casely is evidently well aware of how to create a project with incredible and vast texture.
Spicing it up with the next track, "You Know," the song opens with a fiery Hip-Hop/Trap beat that sounds like it came straight out of Tay Keith's studio. With a vibrant organ that haunts up the song's background and offers incredible melodies, Casely quickly jumps in and stands in the spotlight with a desirous message. As Casely delivers more of a melodic type of delivery while still slapping his bars across the track, we're highly engaged in this sweltering banger that gives the album a whopping low-end through the meticulous and heated production.
Reaching the album's last track (or first, if you listen to the project backward), "Kerosene," we hear one of the most eclectic and broad sounding pieces of the puzzle. We hear Casely go into a relatable lyrical space while he sings of the pain his past lover caused him while also wishing for them to return and ignite his fire with their natural kerosene. The song moves gradually with warm piano melodies complimented by the surrounding airy and celestial production, bringing us all the love and passion we desire. Ending (or starting) the album on a reflective and deep note, we love each twist and turn that Casely has presented.
We can't help but feel naturally moved after listening to Casely's entire album, 'The Mutt - A Palindromic Album,' as he fuels the project with sounds like R&B, Hip-Hop/Trap, Pop, and Afrobeat while coming through with lyricism that strikes a chord in any listener.
We're head over heels for your entire album, 'The Mutt - A Palindromic Album.' What inspired you to take on this palindromic approach with the project?
Thank you so much! There’s so much life inspiration woven throughout this album. From the songs, to “The Mutt” title representing both my mixed-breed multicultural heritage and the sonic influences you hear throughout. Music is life for me and I aim to create art that not only resonates with people but also brings an experience to their life. With my new palindromic approach, the listener gets a multi-layered experience with The Mutt where, when listening from end to beginning, a different mood and gut response is felt. We’ve listened to albums one way since they came into existence so it’s time for something new.
How did you arrange your tracks on 'The Mutt - A Palindromic Album' to tell a story from bottom to top and top to bottom? Was this a difficult process?
As a kid, my dad and I would create mixtapes and, with his DJ background, he would explain the importance of laying out music a certain way for a crowd (in this case the father/son mixtape) and what a good flow in terms of different tempos feels like. I suppose that from that point on I looked at sequencing albums as part of the art. It dictates feeling and vibe. The Mutt is untraditional in that when listening from beginning to end it opens with high party energy with BraveBoy almost acting as the Master of Ceremonies bringing me on stage “So what you feel like Casely?”, and then suddenly shifts to an intimate setting (Never Be Alone) before picking back up again. In my opinion, it’s almost jarring and so sudden that you’re forced to lean into the intimacy of the acoustic guitars of “Never Be Alone” that much more and then continue the ride into “Airflow” to let you know party boy is still here. I love emotion - I love to dance - I love expressing the full spectrum of energy through music. Now when starting from the end of the album with “Kerosene”, you get, in my opinion, a darker and more cinematic opening before transitioning to the more aggressive and swagged-out “You Know” which brings along different mental images. It’s as if when going out the night started with a different mood altogether and develops differently. I’d love to know what stories come to mind for you and everyone so please paint me your picture on my socials!
Seeing as your album 'The Mutt - A Palindromic Album' covers rather heavy lyrical themes within a variety of tracks, what inspired the overall concept behind the project?
I was having a conversation with my team about how my cultural background is so all over the place (Trini, Panamanian, Chinese, Jamaican, St Lucian) that in school it was hard for me to know what group I was supposed to claim or belong to. Being mixed, I was called, I like to think endearingly, a mutt in school. Mutts don’t have a singular identifying quality. This project is about owning who you are and it goes for everyone. We’re all mutts in some form, if not culturally, then with our tastes; our fashion even. With so many choices at our disposal our tastes, generally speaking, have become so varied and eclectic. I bet your Spotify or Apple Music playlists look pretty mixed. We’re all Mutts!
Within your project, 'The Mutt - A Palindromic Album,' you capture sounds like R&B, Pop, Hip-Hop/Trap, and Afrobeat. Did you have any help when creating the production for your album? Why did you want to offer many different sounds and approaches?
It was important for my team and I to establish myself as not just an artist but as an engineer and producer. I record myself at home as well as produce and mix the music. I have my trusted collaborators that I work with that you can especially hear on Airflow and Annabella. Bill Meyers, a friend who arranged horns for Earth, Wind and Fire and strings for Madonna, Ariana Grande, and others worked on the strings for Annabella and brought out a Henry Mancini-Esque nostalgia that I wanted to capture. In July, I brought all my studio equipment to a hotel and set up shop for a few hours where I filmed the creation of “Airflow”, “You Know”, and “Kerosene” from scratch. This project was about me stepping out of my comfort zone!
Is there a piece off of your album 'The Mutt - A Palindromic Album' that's your favorite? What makes you so drawn to the song?
It changes from time to time but “Dreams” is one that I go back to often. I wrote it out of a place of anxiety because time seems to be gunning a hundred miles per hour and thoughts of all that I feel I still need to accomplish would keep me up at night. I’m still in pursuit of those goals so it still hits home. “Got to light the stage ‘fore I say hello to the grave. I’m a man on a mission. All through the night my brain keeps tickin’”. Back to work I go! Thank you so much for having me.