The second annual Sun Soaked music festival crashed upon the shores of Alamitos Beach in the LBC last weekend. Kaskade, the Grammy nominated DJ, hand picked a lineup of diverse EDM acts as the city saw a huge turnout, doubling ticket sales from the year prior. The blistering sun did little to stop the sell out crowd from raging into the night.
Beyond headlining duties, an all-vinyl midday set by Kaskade (born Ryan Raddon) was one of the pleasant subtleties that mixed up your traditional EDM vibe. Supporting acts on the beach included Mr. Tape, Lokii, Late Night Alumni, Cazzette, J. Worra, Felix Cartal, and Loud Luxury.
After a happy hour set, The Weekly sat down with Cazzette and got the low down on the European act’s unique arrangement.
Alexander Björklund and Sebastian Furrer, better known as Swedish DJ duo Cazzette have been electronic music staples for over a decade. They first garnered attention with their hit track “Beam Me Up,” and iconic helmets during live shows. Now splitting duties between production and touring, we spoke with Björklund on the group’s new direction.
OC Weekly (Michael Silver): You had a great set today with a huge crowd here on the beach. How long do you typically prepare for festival gigs like these?
Alexander Björklund: Thank you! It was kind of a last minute addition to the schedule. I’m so happy to be a part of Sun Soaked. Even though my set was kind of short. I feel like it’s a challenge when you only get thirty minutes, so you really have to make an impression. I’m playing new songs from our upcoming EP, Stereo Mono. It’s a little bit slower, a little bit house-ier, stuff that I really enjoy at the moment.
Speaking of the new EP, it’s been awhile since your last project. What has it been like working on this new chapter?
We’ve been thinking about a lot of internal stuff. Sebastian and I are still working together but I’m doing the touring and steering Cazzette. He’s embracing the role of producer fully. It’s taken quite some time for us to figure out where we want to go with our music. We’ve found a really good sweet spot with club music and live performances, but also stuff you can put on in your car or listen to at home.
That was always tough for me with electronic music, to find stuff that worked well outside of a venue. We want to find that energetic sweet spot and we’ve finally done that. It feels weird to say, being an active artist for so many years but when we started out we were very young and we still love to experiment with different genres and sounds. We’ve narrowed down this project to house music and its given us such creative freedom within that.
Many years ago you guys performed in Anaheim at Heat Ultra Lounge with full headgear. Looking back on that, do you embrace that time?
Personally I think the headgear is great, unfortunately while touring with them they would always break. We had those super expensive helmets and play shows around the world, plug them in, and basically smoke would shoot out of them! It became too stressful and negative emotion associated with them and it was hard to perform.
You mentioned your partner Sebastian. When did the idea come about, where you would tour and he focus on the production? Was there any pushback on it initially?
We were always on the same page. Something that Sebastian and I share in common is our compassion and understanding. Not just towards our selves but for the world. If someone doesn’t feel right doing something that person shouldn’t be doing it. He loves to produce and will call me in the middle of the night with new synth pre-sets he’s been working on.
He’s embracing his role and I’ve always loved traveling and the touring part. It takes a big stress on your body, sleeping in different cities and always needing to have high energy. That lifestyle fits me better so I went after that. Naturally it’s led to a lot of good music now, we have a balanced energy.
Do you enjoy the festival scene like today with a massive crowd or prefer the club circuit?
I love both, for me I connect with crowds on so many different levels. When we have sets here it’s more of a showcase. You go there with your music to show people, it’s such a good opportunity to spread new music and ideas, and test out unfinished projects. Where as a college party with 100 people in a basement you get completely carried away with that. It’s a different energy and forces you to improvise no matter where you are. I can’t make up mind weather I like this (festival) or a small room.
Stereo Mono is set to release on August 17th. Will you be touring more to promote it?
Absolutely, I’m touring all summer pretty much all over the U.S. and some dates in Canada coming up. We’re working on dates in Europe as well. It’s really exciting for me now to play with so much new music, and feeling the response of the people. For a long time we weren’t able to put out as much music as we wanted to, but this is a new phase for Cazzette and pushing out new stuff.
Are there any DJ’s or producers you want to collaborate with in the future?
I’m always opened minded, but the thing with DJ’s is that we usually come from the same electronic music background and it can be a little one-dimensional. I’d rather collaborate with people who are completely different like a random saxophonist! Some favorite collaboration’s would be The xx, Kanye West, and Justice would be fantastic.
The festival included a huge water slide, sandcastles, food & drinks, and fireworks as a finale, but not nearly enough shade for the hot summer conditions. Kaskade has said this is his personal project and looks to continue the tradition each summer in Long Beach.
Michael Silver is a journalist and photographer based in Southern California. He covers music, sports, technology, and streetwear. Tips & pitches: michaelsilve[email protected]