Paul and Elena make up the synth-pop/electro duo called Hot Casandra. Hailing from Bucharest, Romania, Paul started drumming in bands like Go To Berlin and The Amsterdams until he turned his ear towards producing his own sounds. Once he had his first release in 2011 under Hot Casandra, Bucarest gave him praise, offering him radio and TV appearances for his new and unique sound. Elena met up with him in 2012 to add some beautiful vocals and style to the group, and the two haven’t looked back since. Now these cats are living it up in London and spreading their wings and sounds to a new part of the globe. Check out their mesmerizing synth sounds and read the artist interview from Hot Casandra to see what’s the next big thing in London.
For those who haven’t heard of Hot Casandra yet, how would you describe your sounds?
Well, it’s funny cos’ we didn’t know what to expect from people when we first put out a Hot Casandra record. Then everyone said it’s very ’80 revival kind of stuff so the best description so far would be: Synths gargle and burble away under rhythm boxing and associated percussion with anthemic vocals that are pretty 80s, New York dance 80s, like Talk Talk for instance. It also has commercially poppy stuff like The Beloved, and a bit of Ultramarine or Orbital, with its Italian House piano parts, wobbly dubstep passages, and some operatic female singing. We’re having a crack at something refreshingly different for sure.
Where did you guys live before having your home-base in London?
How long have each of you been making music for?
Elena: Well, it’s been a long way! I started when i was 14 years old in a Romanian pop band, touring all over the country and having a few number 1 hits. Then i was leaving the band for acting, as i graduated University of Theatre from Bucharest where i kind of improved my staging skills. And also i started to perform in a jazzy band. And then i met Paul, and i loved his music!
Paul: I started when i was 8 or so. I was in a choir called Minisong. This choir was conducted by my mother, Bianca Ionescu who is a huge soprano singer in Romania. Of course, I learned my first steps from her. I had to take a break for a while and focus on the studies and all that. I wasn’t really sure if I was really into music at the time. But it was meant to be because last year when I was putting the Early Nightmares EP out, i collaborated with my mother, and Hold Me Tight turned out to be a nice melancholic tune.
How did you pick your song selection for your recent Vibecast Sessions?
David Guetta told us what to play.
Who came up with the concept of your music video Hold Me Tight?
Tudor Petremarin. Very nice guy. Work with him while he’s still cheap!
Who did you listen to growing up? Any artists that you look up to?
Elena: When i was little i started with some cheesy 90′s music, and then my father used to bring home a lot of audio tapes with good music. Years later i discovered some classic stuff, then rock, electronic and jazz. I think one day David Lynch will invite me to sing one of his songs!
Paul: Mike and The Mechanics, Genesis, Atomic Rooster, Marvin Gaye, Culture Club, Tasmin Archer, Depeche Mode. Loads of stuff. And of course, I love David Lynch as a musician too.
What’s next for Hot Casandra?
First, we’re performing some festivals in Europe over the summer so we’re really happy about that. We just signed with a label from Sweden called Substream so we have to put out our first LP with them this fall. After that, who knows? We hope to tour the U.S.
3.30AM at Roadtrip & Workshop, London [18.05.2013]
LIVE@Mother, London [05.04.2013]
LIVE@Roadtrip & Workshop, London [18.05.2013]
LIVE@Mother, London [05.04.2013]
Live @ARCH635, London [Thu7March]
We’re on the big screen, baby!
LIVE@Baia Turceasca, Iasi [20April2012]
Welcome to our official website!
Introducing the Romanian duo, Paul Ballo and Elena Vasilache who are HOT CASANDRA.
Now London based, Hot Casandra have been producing synth driven music that has an underground electro sound, as well as 80’s synth pop since 2010.
The Bucharest born singer, songwriter and producer, Paul Ballo was a former drummer for bands Go To Berlin, The Amsterdams and Kumm. Following tours with these bands, Paul turned his skills to producing his own sound and created Hot Casandra.
Following their debut single release of ‘Larissa’ in 2011 and their ‘Early Nightmares’ EP, Hot Casandra were catapulted into instant success in Romania with TV and Radio appearances, magazine articles such as FHM and various live performances at festivals and clubs in the Eastern Block.
Elena graduated from Bucharest University of Acting in 2011 and has appeared in various TV shows, commercials, Television series and movies in Romania.
She was soon approached by Paul who instantly recognized the amazing voice that Elena now brings to Hot Casandra. The first single produced together was ‘Julia’ and was released July 2012.
Influences include Simian Mobile Disco, Ladytron, Boy Eats Drum Machine, Air, Turboweekend, Francis Harris, Veto, Misstress Barbara, to name but a few.