Kaskade Talks Identity Festival, Favorite Summer Concert, Hobbies, Movies, and More
Fri, 15 Jul 2011 12:03:47
Kaskade may very well be electronic music's greatest unifier.
A preeminent presence in the genre, he's put his stamp on enigmatic and entrancing remixes for everyone from Lady Gaga to Madonna. At the same time, he continues to create one classic solo album after another, spawning anthems such as "Angel On My Shoulder", "Steppin' Out", and "Raining" in the process.
Then there are those incendiary bangers he's done with Deadmau5—"Move for Me" and "I Remember"—and his ethereal quartet Late Night Alumni. Given that catalog and his extreme adaptability to any scene, Kaskade stands out as a legend firmly entrenched in the genre's pantheon alongside the likes of Daft Punk and DJ Tiësto. However, he hasn't stopped breaking ground either…
In line with that revolutionary spirit, Kaskade will headline the inaugural Identity Festival this summer. The festival brings electronic music on the road on its first-ever traveling sonic carnival, and it'll reach audiences all over the United States. Once again, he's unifying people.
Kaskade spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino in this exclusive interview about the Identity Festival, his favorite summer concert as a kid, hobbies, movies, and so much more.
How do you build a live set?
At the core of it, I like to have an idea of where I'm going and build that around either original music that I've written or produced or some kind of remix work. I think a lot of people typically come to my shows wanting to hear some of the stuff that they've bought or downloaded. They want the sound that they know me for. Oddly enough, it actually took me a while to figure that out [Laughs]. Coming from a very "DJ" background, it took me a bit of time to realize that I needed to incorporate more of my own songs into the set because people were getting mad that I wasn't playing enough of my own music. Over the last five years, presenting my own music in a refreshing and new way has been the backbone of my show. I do a lot of special edits, mash-ups, and new mixes that I haven't played out before. That lies at the core, and I have a bunch of material ready to roll with the punches and see what the crowd wants to hear.
How much does the crowd influence the ebb and flow of your show?
They influence it quite a bit especially if I see they're reacting more to one style or sound that I do. In many cases, I'll have four, five, or even ten different remixes of one particular tune. "Steppin' Out" is one of my songs that's been remixed the most. I think there are probably about 20 mash-ups or remixes of that song. Depending on what's going on that night, I'll choose something that will fit with the crowd. More and more these days, I feel like people are showing up to here what I do so I don't have to it as much as I did when I was starting off in my career, which is good!
You've got quite an expansive catalog to choose from.
It's true. There's so much music out there. I'm about to complete my seventh album so there's a lot of stuff. I don't know how many remixes I've done over the last ten or fifteen years. There are a lot of different moods and emotions in my record bag. I always carry my own productions around. I've got a lot of leeway.
Which songs will always get an audience moving?
Right now, it's a lot of stuff from Dynasty and music from my most recent mix compilation, dance.love. At the moment, "Raining" is probably my biggest song, and I'm getting a huge reaction from that. Always in the underground and independent world, it takes a few months for the news to get out and people to purchase a song, put it in their car, and listen to it. If people are familiar with a song, they get that much more excited when they hear it live. That's especially true when it's a different rendition more hyped up for the night club experience. "Raining" is really big as well as "Dynasty". "Fire In Your New Shoes" has been big for the last year. "Angel On My Shoulder" is a staple. If I ever feel like I might be losing the crowd, I can always drop that in, and it'll turn into a raucous party. "Move For Me" is another staple. I've probably got ten staples that I always rely on. I think I closed my set with "I Remember" for at least a year. "4 A.M." is another one I go to a lot. I just did a new version of that I play a lot, and it's received an awesome response.
What attracted you to the Identity Festival?
It's an opportunity to build something unique and take it on the road. I get to do my first proper live show outside of a club experience. That was a huge thing. Being on the bus was something that actually attracted me to it. A lot of people laugh at that but I've never done anything like this. I'm always flying from place to place. It's something different. I'm interested in trying new things. The biggest thing that attracted me was the scale of this event and the fact it's traveling. I thought, "This could be really historic". This goes to show you things really are different. Nobody would've thought of anything like this five years ago. There was no way. People would've said, "The market's not there yet. Nobody's ready. This music isn't commercial enough." Out of everyone playing, I don't think there's one person on the lineup signed to a major label. Everyone is used to Coldplay and U2 and entities that have been built and had millions of marketing dollars put into them. You have to take note of this genre of music when you throw a party in downtown L.A. and 250,000 people show up.
Did you attend any summer concerts as a kid that you look back on fondly?
That's an awesome question! I love that [Laughs]. I have to go back a little bit. I have a few big ones. There was an outdoor venue in Chicago where I saw Depeche Mode, and it was just a stellar show! It was when Music for the Masses came out and Depeche Mode were finally getting the recognition they deserved. I'd seen them many times before but always in 8,000- or 10,000- capacity rooms. This was at a 40,000 person amphitheater, and it was a huge moment for me. I also vividly remember driving up to Milwaukee Fest in Wisconsin and seeing The Cure, Echo And The Bunnymen, and New Order all on the same bill. The Sugarcubes actually opened up. They were four massive bands that I'd been following, and I knew every word to every song on all their albums. They played one show in Milwaukee, and I was like, "Okay, it's time to get in the car". Those were good summer memories!
Who's on your playlist right now?
I just got the new Adele record, and it's awesome. I love it. I was a fan before but I'm digging this record too. I just got the Death Cab for Cutie record, and I'm really blown away. It's phenomenal. Those are the two CDs in my car right now.
Which films do you come back to?
I love a lot of movies. I like old stuff from A Clockwork Orange and Raging Bull to newer movies like The Matrix. That blew my mind. When I walked out of the theater, I was like, "What just happened?" I just watched The Lincoln Lawyer last night, and I thought the way they did the graininess in the film was really cool. They made L.A. look like the most amazing city ever. I love movies. Maybe that plays out in some of my songwriting.
Outside of music, where do you cull inspiration?
I grew up skateboarding, and I love skating and snowboarding. I've been getting into surfing since I moved down to L.A. I've always loved being outside and active. Those are the ways I've done it. That stuff has definitely played a role in developing me as a person. That's why I enjoy writing and producing by myself more than anything [Laughs]. That's probably why I'm a DJ. I wasn't on the football team. I don't think I ever learned the teamwork thing [Laughs]. Maybe that's why I am where I am.
For more on the Identity Festival click here!
What's your favorite Kaskade track?