DJ-Producer Kaskade: Electronic Dance Music Is Not Over

Grammy-nominated DJ and producer Kaskade has seen the headlines proclaiming the beginning of the end of the electronic dance music craze – but he’s not buying it.

“I don’t think that at all, obviously. I’m busier than I ever have been and I think, really, we just kind of scratched the surface,” he said in a recent interview. “As far as the impact that it’s had on the music culture, we’re kind of just beginning still.”

Photo: Andrew Jorgensen
Snowglobe Music Festival, Lake Tahoe Community College, South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

As proof, Kaskade – whose real name is Ryan Raddon – pointed to his groundbreaking show at the Los Angeles Convention Center in May. He became the first dance music headliner to perform in the massive venue, which drew more than 20,000 fans.

“There’s a lot of naysayers out there who are like, ‘It’s done. It’s happened.’ Whatever. I’m like, ‘25,000 tickets later, I think we’re OK,’“ he said while brushing imaginary dust from his shoulder.

In the last seven years, electronic dance acts like David Guetta, Calvin Harris and Skrillex have dominated pop radio, collaborated with A-list singers and sold out stadiums and arenas like modern rock stars. Kaskade plans to take EDM to more heights with a new multivenue partnership with Hakkasan Group in Las Vegas. The Chicago native, who pioneered the EDM residency in Las Vegas in 2010, will kick off his new residency on Dec. 30 at Omnia in Caesars Palace. He will also perform at the company’s other Vegas venues, including Jewel, Wet Republic and Hakkasan Nightclub.

He said he’s continuing to raise the production value of his already bright, high-volume performances.

“Just technically where things have gone, I mean from a disco ball hanging in the middle of the room to what Omnia has this multimillion dollar chandelier that moves around and like, I don’t know, will shine your shoes at the same time. Like it just does everything. ‘I want chicken wings’ – chicken wings fall from the ceiling,” he joked. “It’s just really unbelievable how far the experience has gone from just like a disco ball and like a laser to this massive, all-encompassing experience at these world-class venues.”

And the 44-year-old father of three isn’t stopping there: “I’m always looking to try and top myself … I go to Dodger Stadium and I’m like, ‘Hmm, I mean we could put a stage over here.’“

Kaskade has teamed with artists across genres, including Estelle and Neon Trees, and has remixed hits from Justin Bieber to Fleetwood Mac. But one chart-topping group remains on his collaborator wish-list: Twenty One Pilots.

Of the duo’s album Blurryface, which includes the big hits “Stressed Out” and “Ride,” Kaskade said: “It sounded fresh. It was music that was produced in today’s fashion, but then had their own style to it, which I like because not a lot of pop music sounds current to me.”

“So if you guys are out there and listening to this interview, I’ll send you something!”