Cassandra Farrar - Strings Attached

James Carrick

I met Cassandra at a Fashion Show I was hosting a couple of months ago.  I assumed the usual.  Pretty girl hanging around fashion shows = aspiring model.  I asked what she did almost as a formality.  When she said she was a musician, I was surprised but didn't expect much.  When I later checked out some of her work online, that all changed.  In a music scene that is crowded and unoriginal, she has a sound that is fresh, real, alive and spunky.  Oh, and she is damn talented.  I asked her to perform at our SOLZtice event - and she stole the show.  She calls herself the "creative" side while her band picks up the logical half.  But this is a girl who when she is not making you want to sing along to songs you've never heard is ... tutoring chemistry and biology.  Add that to the fact that is pretty enough to turn heads in a room full of models and you realize, Cassandra Farrar is the whole package.  After the show I was able to get her to take a break from picking guitar strings so I could pick her brain a bit.  

Special thanks to Noemi Enriquez for the gorgeous photos!

SOLZ: When did you start making music? Did you have formal training?

Cassandra Farrar: I started playing guitar when I was 12 years old; we had to learn how to play in a music class I had in the 7th grade. We were in a class of about 40 students and only 1 teacher so we barely learned a couple chords throughout the duration of the class! So when the classes were over I started to teach myself how to play chords and Michelle Branch songs! I've been hooked ever since!

SOLZ: Did you always know you wanted to perform?

CF: Before I played the guitar I was involved with musical theater and a dance company so I was used to being on stage. It wasn't foreign to me and I enjoyed it. However, when I was younger my aspirations changed so often...anything from wanting to be a teacher to recording voice overs for cartoons. When I was younger I used to sing in my garage to my walkman, or my mom would record me on cassette tapes!

SOLZ: How do your background and life experiences influence your music?

CF:  I find it very difficult to come up with songs that I cannot relate to, those are usually the songs that challenge me the most. That being said, my life influences me completely because everything I write about is usually the truth, or an exaggerated form of it. And if it's not about me directly, it's usually about a friend of mine just written from another perspective. I like to think that my academic background tends to creep up in my songs quite a bit, notably songs about psychology and the brain. I've always been fascinated by brains, and I think that the ability to think and control your mind is such an alluring concept- how can I not write about it?! :)

SOLZ: Tell us about your band The Left Brains. Where did the name come from?

CF: The Left Brains are so awesome! They are seriously my family! The Left Brains consists of Chris Mayrena (drums), David DeMuth (electric guitar) and Sean Chapman (upright electric bass). I first met Chris back when I was about 17 and we worked together on tracks for a while until he asked me to work under his label Hyper Raje Records. During our sessions he brought in David to listen in and help out. We kept that going for a bit until we decided that maybe we should get more serious about it and become a band! When I was thinking of how my music would sound as a band I immediately knew I wanted an upright bass player, I did not want just any other bassist! Luckily, David and Chris happened to work another job and they knew Sean and knew that he played upright bass. They invited him to the studio one day and that's we all started! We didn't audition any one for the band, we kind of just came together.

Our musical chemistry is awesome! These guys come from all different musical influences and backgrounds. Unlike me, they are professionally trained and are much more skilled with their ears. The way our name came about is based on the hemispheres of the brain that are active when playing music. The left side of the brain is engaged when trained musicians play music, because they are much more logical and technical when they play- hence they are the Left Brains. Because I am not that technical, I depict myself as the creative songwriter who uses the right side of my brain more. So when we all play together we make a fully functional brain! :)

SOLZ: How would you describe your style and who are your influences? 

CF: The best way I could describe our music is "folk funk."   Because we all come from such different backgrounds I feel like we bring a lot of musicality to the table. Before I started playing the guitar, and even more so since, I have been influenced by Jewel. I think she is such a musical genius! I also really admire G. Love and Special Sauce and Michelle Branch.

SOLZ: What one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to be a musician?

CF: I think the number one thing I can say, as cliche as it is, is to be yourself. I feel that the music industry already has pre-existing molds of what they want in any upcoming prospect. So if you are not truly yourself you won't stand out. Being yourself when it comes to writing music just brings your own unique flavor that no one else has ever tried before. And remember to have fun!

SOLZ: You bring more to a stage than music. You just exude personality, charm and style. How much do you feel that your style contributes to you overall as an artist?

Why thank you! I think style says a lot about a person, and it's most important when you're on stage and everyone is watching! I know that I personally always get excited for a show because it's my night to dress up, do my hair and make-up! I believe that style is definitely a way to represent yourself and make a statement without words. I generally always play a show in a dress and some cowboy boots... it's usually very rare to see me in pants on stage! For whatever reason I just feel more confident to take on the stage in a nice dress.

SOLZ: You played at the Winter SOLZtice launch party and were rocking (literally) your SOLZ shoes. What do you have to say about our shoes and how they fit your lifestyle?

CF: I think my SOLZ are a great pair of comfortable and casual shoes! I don't have too many pairs of casual shoes so this has been a great addition to my shoe collection! They are nice and lightweight so they are perfect for the gym, and for me personally, for wearing in the lab! I usually face a dilemma on lab days at school because we have to wear casual closed toe shoes and I pretty much only own cowboy boots... so my SOLZ are definitely coming in handy this semester!

SOLZ: SOLZ also featured you in a recent promotional video (linked below). If we asked you to write a song called "Let Your SOLZ shine" would you do it? :)

CF: Yes, that would definitely be a fun challenge to take on! I'll put my thinking cap on...

SOLZ: What is next for Cassandra Farrar?

CF: Right now CF+LB are eagerly waiting the release of our upcoming debut music for our single "Moving Out!" We shot it at various locations about a year ago and have been working with Guerilla Wanderer Film productions. We can't wait for it! Check YouTube for the release!

SOLZ:  We can't wait either!  Thanks and much love.

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