CHAUVET® DJ Mix and Tell featuring Kaskade
CHAUVET® DJ Mix and Tell takes you behind-the-scenes for one-on-one interviews with some of the biggest DJs in the world and transports you into their magnificent life and career. This interview takes you on the ultimate joyride with one of the most famous DJs in the world — Kaskade. For the complete video interview, please visit the CHAUVET® DJ YouTube channel http://youtu.be/sVckLeV6BqY
Kaskade, otherwise known as Ryan Raddon, has been in the trenches of the electronic dance music scene as an original recording artist and an in-demand DJ for more than a decade. He has released seven studio albums, scored numerous Top 10 hits on Billboard’s Hot Dance Airplay Chart and created chart-topping remixes for everyone from Lady Gaga to Beyoncé. In addition to appearing at all the major summer festivals, Kaskade has performed between 150 and 200 headlining shows a year for the last 10 years. In doing so, he has helped lay the groundwork for a titanic musical and cultural shift: a post-rock revolution that has captured the imagination of a new generation of music lovers across North America. For more information about Kaskade, please visit http://www.kaskademusic.com/
CHAUVET® DJ: New York Times referred to you as ‘the new face of electronic dance music,’ but you’ve been on the electronic dance music scene for 10 years now. Can you tell us a little bit about the evolution of your career?
KASKADE: I, like a lot of other guys, started out kind of just collecting records because I love music and am very passionate about it —that turned into a really passionate hobby. I eventually had so many records that they started filling up my room. I started playing for my friends and then house parties branched out of that. I started getting booked at the local club, and pretty soon after that I got into writing and producing my own music. It’s kind of just been this natural progression and it’s something I’ve done pretty much my entire life. I really love music and I kind of just found my way here.
CHAUVET® DJ: You’ve recorded seven studio albums — tell us a little bit about that.
KASKADE: Seven studio albums — that’s a lot of material. My newest album is called “Fire and Ice.” The concept is to have a double-disc with one side being ‘fire’ and the other being ‘ice.’ It has 10 tracks remixed two different ways. The ‘fire’ mixes are more appropriate for my club performances and the ‘ice’ mixes are what people might play going home from the club or when they wake up the next day. ‘Ice’ is a bit more stripped and musically laid back.
CHAUVET® DJ: There are nine Top 10 hits from “Fire and Ice” on Billboard’s Hot Dance Airplay chart. Do you have any plans for a future album or are you just enjoying the ride of this one?
KASKADE: Right now, I’m gearing up for a huge tour. I’ve always toured regularly, but this summer I’m setting out for the largest and most comprehensive tour I’ve ever done. It’s going to hit nearly 50 cities, so it’s a big tour. This will be the first time I’ve really gotten into the production side — meaning I’ve actually developed a stage show and a lot of elements to go along with the music. It’s different than just me in a night club, the tour is geared towards larger rooms and arenas.
CHAUVET® DJ: What was your vision and vibe behind the tour?
KASKADE: The tour is called “Freaks of Nature.” I have a couple of friends who always say, ‘Man, you’re such a freak of nature because you’re out all night and then you’re up in the morning.’ People are always hitting me with that and I thought it would make for an interesting name. I always liked electronic dance music — it’s a very inclusive type of music and community — so I thought to play along with it and just call the tour, “Freaks of Nature.” Everybody can come out, do their own thing and celebrate life their own way.
CHAUVET® DJ: Can you tell us when the tour started and in what city?
KASKADE: It started Memorial Day weekend in Las Vegas. Kicking off in Las Vegas is very appropriate because I have a monthly residency at the Marquee. We start there and quickly go over to the East Coast. The tour goes all the way through the end of August, so it’s pretty comprehensive.
CHAUVET® DJ: We obviously know that audio is very important to your tour and performances, but how does lighting affect the journey you take your audience on?
KASKADE: With electronic music, lighting has always been super important. At the end of the day, I’m up there doing things with my hands, manipulating and doing a lot of sound design and mixing. However, it’s not a band, so there has always been this gap for electronic musicians. How do we display our music in a way that’s appropriate and close the performance gap? I don’t know who figured this out first, but many years ago, somebody thought sound and lights were really important and paramount in the presentation of this music. I learned early on that if the lighting isn’t right it affects the vibe of the club, coliseum or wherever I’m playing. When I stepped back and looked at the role of lighting and visual content for the “Freaks of Nature” tour, it is music first and lights second because these things go hand in hand. If the lights aren’t there to set the vibe, then there’s going to be a problem because it’s not going to be a good execution of the show.
CHAUVET® DJ: Is there such a thing as a typical day in your world?
Kaskade: No, because I travel so much. You know, I get asked that quite a bit and I always get asked, ‘Where do you reside?’ Yes, my mail goes somewhere in Los Angeles, but I’m on the road 250 days out of the year. There’s no typical day and it changes all the time.
CHAUVET® DJ: What tips would you give to a young DJ that’s aspiring to be like you?
Kaskade: Find something you love. Find your little niche, your corner of music, or whatever it is that you love about this, and exploit it. Figure out what it is that you love. When I discovered this music growing up in Chicago, it had a very Chicago-centric sound and I loved that and still do. I made a lot of those types of records growing up. In time, I grew up as a person and developed as an artist so that sound slowly changed. I think my love and passion for the music really shined through and people learned to appreciate it.
CHAUVET® DJ: How has electronic dance music changed over the years during your career?
Kaskade: Oh man — that’s just crazy. Being at the 2012 Winter Music Conference in Miami is amazing to see. I came here for the first time in 1997. To even try and compare what it was then to what it is now — it’s two totally different things. It is crazy to see the mainstream accept this music. Even two or three years ago, it was always something that resided in the underground and we had our corner of the world and that was fine — I think a lot of us were satisfied with that. Then, I think a couple key players came along, like Lady Gaga, who really highlighted this new musical movement that kids were interested in. It was kind of like our time to shine. There have been people before her, like Madonna and bands like Dee-Lite, who have dabbled with this, but I feel like people are really ready to hear it.
CHAUVET® DJ: We’re going to ask you a really technical question, so get ready. Sushi, steak, or pizza?
Kaskade: I would choose all three of those if I could. I would probably take a steak pizza with sushi on top. If I had to choose one, if you twisted my arm, I’d go with sushi. Personally, I’m more of a sashimi guy.
CHAUVET® DJ: Where can people find you?
Kaskade: I’m on Twitter @Kaskade and on Facebook.com/kaskade. My website is KaskadeMusic.com. If you can’t remember those, just Google me.
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