Ryan Raddon, better known as Kaskade, has been a pioneer in the electronic dance music world for over a decade. Not only has he played a pivotal role in the rise of EDM in America he has also mastered his craft as an original recording artist and in-demand DJ. He participated in the inaugural EDMbiz Conference artist panel Wednesday and is playing the main stage at Electric Daisy Carnival tonight from 1:30am to 3:00am. We caught up with him in his hotel room before his set in anticipation to one EDM's most historical evening.
OC Weekly: There were a lot of issues brought up at the conference including the fear that conglomerates interested in acquiring EDM brands could potentially hurt the industry. What's your take on the issue?
Kaskade: Growth and change is hard for people but I think it's bound to happen. The music has gotten so big. It's popularity presents some challenges. But I think it can be done with integrity and in a way that can make people happy or else I wouldn't have embarked on my own tour with stops at the Staples Center in LA, for example.
Tell us more about this tour what inspired you to take on the “Freaks of Nature Tour?”
Obviously I'm one of the guys that believes in this. The idea is to share my music with as many people as possible. Over the years I've partnered with various different promoters and played thousands of shows. Some went off perfectly and others didn't but you live and learn. I think I've partnered with the right people to make it work. Right now seemed like a really good opportunity to do this.
What can your fans expect from the tour vs. your typical gig at a club or festival?
In a club I'm restricted to what's in that space. Visuals are typically what they provide. “Freaks of Nature” is truly a Kaskade concert. This is something I've had my hand in from the moment you walk into the venue to when you walk out the door to your car. That's important to me. A club show is a club show. Even the set is different on the tour. It's my music from the beginning to end. It's more of a concert than it is a club gig with lots of restrictions. Don't get me wrong I love playing clubs, but everything has it's time and place.
We noticed you were at Orange County's Focus a couple Tuesdays ago. What are some of your favorite clubs in OC?
Ya! I went to see the Martinez Brothers. I'm a fan of them and happened to be in town so I had to go. It's the longest running house club in all of Southern California. If it's not there yet it will be there soon. I mean, nine years that's pretty amazing. I think it's cool when you believe in something and you put in that much heart and soul into it. The night I went it was a great group of people having a fun time. That's what house music is about. I will always love clubs. I've lived in them for the past 20 years.
You mentioned this was how you found dance music during the artist panel at EDMbiz. Feeling like an outcast with the popular kids in school house clubs and events made you feel accepted and at home. Can you explain to us how the culture was then and how it's changed over the years?
Twenty years ago, when I first went to a club playing house music I was like 'Man I love this music so much.' We were all kind of hanging out dancing to the music sharing that same passion. We could swap stories on how we found tracks, what records we were buying and what shows we were going to. I think a lot of elements of that still exist, but on a much bigger scale. I mean my music is not on the radio. There's only a handful of artists in this community signed to a major label like David Guetta and Deadmau5. There's only a couple of guys that really get that stuff. Yet we still attract 350,00 people to the dessert. There's a huge community aspect and it's pretty amazing. It's just a lot bigger and a lot easier to find online. You can jump on the computer, search Kaskade and my whole catalog will come up.”
Tell us how your sound has changed live over the years at different events?
I think different venues call for different sets. That's kind of the great thing about the DJ aspect of what I do. When in a band your really constricted to the five to ten guys on stage. It's just me and I have a bunch of tools at my fingertips to mess with. I'm sitting here in my hotel room messing around with what I'm going to play tonight. That's the beauty of DJing. I think that's why electronic music just works. It's instant gratification and very easy for me as an artists to maneuver and change what I'm doing on stage. I'm always changing it up to keep it fresh. At Coachella I played 90% of my music. It was just different mixes, edits and mash-ups. Different versions of songs that people already know. Songs that they love and have the lyrics tattooed on them. But it's cool to hear in a different setting and in different ways with more energy. I'm just constantly trying to find different ways to present my music.
So now that we are here in Las Vegas, how will you be presenting your music during your 1:30am-3:00 am set at the EDC Main Stage?
EDC is huge and the crowd is so massive. My set will have really heavy energetic music spliced with my flavor in there making it unique to what I do. It will definitely have my stamp and my style but will be geared toward an EDC-size crowd.