Dance

20 Questions With Kaskade: The Producer on Releasing Music in Quarantine and Why EDM Still Has Yet to Peak

Kaskade
Tyler Gourley 

Kaskade

You can hear the influence of Chicago in Kaskade's latest release, Redux 004. Out this past Saturday (April 4), the four-track EP bumps along on groovy four-on-the-floor beats that oscillate between deep house afterhours vibes ("Feel It") and peak time party starters ("Sexy," Feat. L.A. hip-hop artist Kosha Dillz).

While Redux 004 is the latest in Kaskade's Redux series -- releases intended to serve as the intimate, club-oriented counterparts to his more bigger, more mainstage anthems -- 004 is different in that the artist born Ryan Raddon isn't currently allowed to play any of the clubs where he would usually drop the music.

Instead, amidst the quarantine, Raddon is splitting his time between his home and his studio, absorbing as many livestreams as possible and connecting with fans online as the world continues social distancing. Here, he talks about his big moments of the EDM era, where the dance scene is going in this new decade and how he once saw the future at Electric Daisy Carnival.

1. To start, where are you in the world right now, and what's the setting like?

I’m bouncing back and forth between my studio and my home, that’s it. Okay I’m going to be honest and let you know I’m stopping for tacos sometimes but otherwise I am 100 percent "stay home" poster boy. Crap. "Stay home or the studio" poster boy. I’m doing my best.

2. What is the first album or piece of music you bought for yourselves, and what was the medium?

It might have been something on 8-Track but that would have been heavily influenced by my parents or siblings, so I’m going to skip ahead and say the first time I bought music on my own it was a copy of something by Led Zeppelin on vinyl.

3. What did your parents do for a living when you were a kid?

My Dad was in finance and my Mom helped him run that business, along with raising five kids.

4. What was the first song you ever made?

I started by editing records and rearranging them, adding new drums and cutting them up digitally. I’d put the intro on the outdo and double up the mic; that was my first foray into all of this.

5. If you had to recommend one album for someone looking to get into dance music, what would you give them?

Wow. That’s a huge question. If we’re talking about a full length album not a single, I’d say let’s go back to Daft Punk’s Homework. It’s the gold standard for me.

6. What’s the first thing you bought for yourself when you started making money as a DJ?

A house.

7. What’s the last song you listened to?

Troye Sivan's “Take Yourself Home.”

8. What’s one song you wish you had produced?

“Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie. Can you imagine?

9. What's the last text message you sent, and to whom?

To my wife, Naomi. Telling her I’m on my way home from the studio, and picking up tacos.

10. What’s distinctive about the place you grew up, and how did it shape you?

I talk a lot about growing up in Chicago, I feel like I’ve said it all. The place runs through my veins like blood. It’s my DNA. It shaped everything.

11. What's the first dance music show that really blew your mind?

Solid Gold, obviously. But I don’t think that’s what you’re asking. The first show where I knew something special was happening was probably EDC 2012, when I was playing. It was a flashpoint for me, a moment I saw what was about to happen.

12. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever seen happening in the crowd during one of your sets?

Wow, I see a lot of things I’d like to un-see. There’s a lot of sexual shenanigans happening where I’m thinking, “Should I just flip the script to switch the mood a little just to mess with these guys…” but I let it be. Live and let love.

13. How have you been spending your time during quarantine?

I’m dedicated to watching every single livestream that happens, even the ones going simultaneously. I have like a dozen monitors set up for exactly this purpose. I’m also watching a lot of YouTube tutorials on flying. (Note: This is not how you learn to fly.)

14. Your latest release, Redux 004, is just out. What's it like to release an EP during a time when you can't tour behind the album? How are you getting the music out there and connecting with fans?

It’s the wild west of live streaming right now. All digital promo, this is the hand we’ve been dealt. It’s a trip, because Redux is designed to be intimate and live, and here I am broadcasting to tens of thousands from far away. But the upside is that at some point we’ll all get back together and my audience will have had enough time to really know these tracks, and that will enhance the experience.

15. How does the 004 incarnation compare to the other Redux releases?

It’s just an evolution. Not meaning it’s better or worse, but it’s accumulated more time under its belt so it's growing and expanding.

16. You had some milestone moments during the last decade -- drawing record crowds at Coachella, a stampede breaking out on Hollywood Boulevard during one of your sets. When you look back at the peak of the EDM era, what memories stand out most strongly to you?

I would argue that we haven’t even seen the peak. What’s happened in the world is going to result in a surge of new interest in what we’re doing. Nothing translates to opposition of isolation more than dancing with friends. I think we’re going to experience some next level moments coming up soon.

17. As the new decade dawns, what trends do you think will be big in the dance scene during the next ten years?

Completely impossible to say. There’s always a circular pattern happening. So right now we’re looking back on the '90s to inform some of what we’re doing as artists. Coming up, we’ll probably get closer to those mid 2000 references and so on. Tech will change, and so will the world. We will go high tech then low tech then who knows? As long as we’re moving and adding to the experience, it’s all good.

18. Pyro or confetti. What's your preference?

Come on, you wouldn't ask a mother to choose a child, would you?

19. You recently tweeted that you're going to play a sunrise art car set from our closet. Any chance you might also do a super secret Redux set from the kitchen?

A very good chance that already happened by the time this is published.

20. One piece of advice you'd give to your younger self?

Stop it. You’re doing fine.