Getting To Know Me is the new album from Dutch artist Cas du Pree. I originally wrote about my long-term collaboration with Cas after the release of his latest single ‘You Beside Me’. I’m now proud to say that the full album has been released as well. I co-wrote, mixed and produced eight of the eleven songs so click below to listen on Spotify and enjoy these producer insights into each of our collaborations.
Getting To Know Me
You Beside Me
Getting To Know Me kicks off with the featured song in my last blog so I won’t go into too much detail here. This was the first song I produced for Cas and it was an extremely positive experience which naturally lead to us deciding to write more together. You can read that blog post by clicking HERE.
I didn’t actually ‘write’ Untouchable. Cas had collaborated with L.A. based producer Will Everett to create the melody and lyrics which he brought to me to arrange and produce. I really enjoy this kind of job because the initial idea is already in place and it’s then up to me to construct the track by adding riffs, counter melodies and texture. Play time! To do this I ended up enlisting the help of talented London-based producer Jack Hardman to create a brooding, modern track which moves through several changes of pace, intensity and texture. The end is a particular highlight passing from a cool rock guitar solo (watch the recording below via my YouTube channel) into a huge ending with multi-layered vocal harmonies!
No One Man Army
No One Many Army was an interesting song to work on, which went on quite a journey before arriving at the final version as heard on Getting To Know Me. The song started as a set of Cas’ lyrics which he asked me to use, but to edit and change as I saw fit. Cas speaks excellent English but was fully aware of the effect writing in your natural language has on the overall authenticity of the song. He was therefore happy to create the overall vibe and story he wanted to tell, but let me express this in my own way as an English lyricist.
Instrumentally this song was originally a piano-driven rock song – hard to believe when you listen to it now! I felt however, that it lacked something, identity wise, which was preventing a very beautiful lyric and melody from reaching its full potential. I therefore decided to hand it over to Jack Hardman (again!) who stripped out most of the piano and drums and replaced them with some much mellower bass and percussion. This soft, folky-pop sound was far more appropriate to the lyrical content and is now easily one of my very favourite songs on the album. Watch me recording the guitar solo at Studio du Cerisier here:
Getting To Know Cas
Slow Down Boy
One unexpected benefit of writing so many personal songs with someone who started off as a stranger, was the trust and friendship we built as Cas shared stories from his past. This grew as we turned them into the songs that make up the album. He really bared his soul at times and one of the strengths of the album was how ‘real’ each song was, lyrically. There are no generic love songs or rock clichés. Every track tells a story from Cas’ life, be that in the distant past or right up to the present day. ‘Slow Down Boy’ falls into the latter category, starting off with delicate piano arpeggios. Different elements gradually enter the mix until we reach a huge ending, featuring another rock guitar solo, strings, big ambient drums and backing vocals.
Nowhere did Cas share more of himself, than in the conversation we had before starting Kelly. I’m sure he won’t mind me enclosing that this song was written about the tragic death of his baby sister when both she and Cas were very young. It was an incredibly moving story and I fully admit that it left me feeling quite nervous when I realised I was going to have to convey the emotion behind these events with just the melody and lyrics of a song. Again, this starts out raw and minimalist with just piano and voice. And unusually, there isn’t really a chorus. Rather three verses, which all finish with a short refrain – “with you my sister” – before melting into some quite lovely, atmospheric electric guitar. I’m incredibly proud of this song and would go as far as saying that it’s possibly the best song I’ve ever written. Certainly my favourite from Getting To Know Me.
I originally wrote just two verses and Cas asked for a third. I was initially a little reticent because I was SO relieved that he liked the first two verses, that I didn’t want to contemplate writing a third and him not being satisfied! I did it though and it was definitely the right call from Cas. It gave the song more balance and most importantly there was more of the story to tell. Thanks to Cas for giving me the opportunity to create such a beautiful and honest song with him about something so deeply personal.
Getting To Know The Band!
Oceans of Memories
Oceans is a another song from Getting To Know Me where we started with a set of Cas’ lyrics, which I then adapted and embellished as I built the song. Cas also gave me a recording of his friend Danielle Rinsma-Struik playing some melancholic chords on the piano and asked me if I could incorporate some of these into the structure. Which I gladly did! Oceans is very reflective and the slowest of the songs on the album. We even discussed speeding it up at one point. But there are some lovely vocal harmonies and it ends with a sweet, melodic guitar solo which you can watch me recording at Studio du Cerisier HERE.
The week before the album became available for streaming, I was fortunate enough to travel to the Netherlands to see the album performed live and in full by Cas and his band, including Danielle on backing vocals. Of particular note on the night were performances by Cas’ pianist/musical director Sandra de Bruin and bassist Leo Duzey, both of whom impressed with the level of detail they went to when learning and playing the songs. It was also great to finally meet Frans Risma who produced the three songs I didn’t contribute to on the album, all of which are very much worthy of your attention.
Will There Be A Stage
The final song we wrote together and one which stood apart because it was written in a musical style quite unlike the others. Cas imagined being stood onstage, singing this song to his friends, family and supporters. This made me imagine something quite dramatic in the vein of musical theatre. I’d never written in this genre before, but as always when a new challenge like this presents itself, I immersed myself in the style for a couple of hours. I then composed piano and strings, before adding the ‘rock’ elements of bass, drums and guitars once I had a more definite structure in place. ‘Stage’ was another which started life as a draft of Cas’ lyrics to guide me towards what he wanted to say, which proved very useful when writing the final lyric.
Studio du Cerisier
Cas came to Toulouse to record the final vocals with my friend and Studio du Cerisier colleague Séb Haby. This was a great few days for all of us and it was nice to meet in person after nearly a year of working together online. Here are a couple of photos from the visit, lifted directly from my Instagram account.
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This is an album which takes pride of place in my discography so if you enjoyed it, you can buy a CD copy (mastered by the brilliant Russ Hepworth-Sawyer at Motto Sound) from Cas’ website at casdupree.com.
Thanks for reading this post about Getting To Know Me. Please feel free to share or comment below and if you’re looking for a co-writer (a composer, lyricist or producer) for your project then please drop me a line via the CONTACT page of this website. In the mean time you can stay up-to-date with my Instagram page or subscribe to my YOUTUBE channel.
Take it easy…