On Tuesday night, the Grammy Museum hosted a Grammy nominee spotlight on Kaskade, (government name: Ryan Raddon). The program at The Grammy Museum marked the first time a DJ has answered questions inside their Clive Davis Theater, a monumental evening for dance music. Kaskade is among the EDM elite up for "Best Dance/Electronic Album" for his seventh studio release Fire & Ice. This is Raddon's first Grammy nomination after more than a decade in the scene and numerous billboard hits. The former San Clemente dweller is up against the likes of OC's Steve Aoki, The Chemical Brothers, Deadmau5 and Skrillex at this years 55th Annual Grammy Awards which airs February 10th.
The 200-capacity theater was sold out as fans, other artists including electro queen Audrey Napoleon and industry folks were ready for Kaskade's hour long Q&A with Grammy Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli. Other artists who have visited the museum to discuss their careers include names like Tom Morello, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Stevie Nicks and Ringo Starr. Raddon answered Santelli's insightful questions with ease and humor. He spoke about making tracks that are quality over quantity in response to how other DJ's put out a new track every week. Though that strategy can be big for Beatport chart-toppers, most true artists prefer a full album compilation that tells a story from start to finish like Kaskade's latest Fire & Ice in which he emphasizes how before deejaying he is first and foremost a songwriter. Something we hope the academy is now realizing.
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Raddon has come a long way from when he first discovered dance music in his hometown of Chicago. "I was fascinated," he says. Now a decade later, he is being named "America's Best DJ" by DJ Times & Pioneer DJ in 2011 and being the first EDM artist to play and sell out the Staple's Center in LA. As he answered an audience question, Kaskade specified how his sudden rise in notoriety has been a steady increase. He went from playing at Avalon Nightclub, then the iconic Hollywood Palladium to his own Freaks of Nature Tour across America which made way to the Staple's Center. His stardom didn't happen overnight like some of the young producers today, but he is one of the most respected and still relevant DJs/producers today with no plans of slowing down.
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Though he had to cancel his plans to play at Brazil's Carnival (he has gone the past four years), Raddon says he will use that Grammy weekend to work on his new album and make music with all of the artists in town. Those in attendance at the program were in for a treat as he even played a small snippet of one of the latest tracks he has been working on. "This is super super rough, but you can hear the song and the production." he told Santelli. The song tentatively titled "Atmosphere," had a sense of melancholic rich vocals and screamed in essence of the same grooves which made America fall in love with him through his album Dynasty. The song was received well with the audience to great applause.
"I really think we are just scratching the surface when it comes to dance music," says Kaskade. "It's just the beginning." He uses the term dance music as most artists in the scene, especially the European one's hate the term EDM. Something else that was brought up during the Q&A. "It doesn't really matter what they call it. I'm just cool they are calling it something," he adds. Though he uses the term dance music several times like the rest of the world it seems that EDM has become a term American journalist's made up because they didn't know what else to call it besides techno. Yet dance music, EDM or whatever you want to call it is definitely here to stay with the surge of residencies at the worlds biggest nightclubs, something else Kaskade pioneered in the US and now the acceptance and respect in the academy. We can only hope more DJ's and producers have the same passion and visions as Kaskade in the future.