When house DJ and music producer Kaskade steps out onstage and is greeted by thousands of screaming fans, it sort of feels like a dream.
“It’s a shock,” said Ryan Raddon, 41, aka Kaskade. “I’ve been doing this so long, watching for over 20 years, and some people feel like this electronic explosion happened overnight, but it’s been building to this boiling point. I’m still surprised, though, not by the fact that people love it, but more so that I, and others, have sold out places like the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It’s like, ‘Wow. This is crazy.’”
Raddon has spent most of his adult life involved in the electronic dance music (EDM) scene — first as a record store owner while attending college in Salt Lake City, then as an A&R assistant before he began producing music in 2001.
He has his Chicago roots to thank. “That’s where it all came from.
I got exposed to it really young, and I just kind of got the fever,” he said. “Sometimes, I wonder if I grew up in Nashville, if I’d be doing country music instead.”
The past decade has seen Kaskade rise to prominence on the heels of remixing artists like Britney Spears, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga; collaborations with fellow EDM faves like deadmau5; and nine studio discs the latest of which is 2011’s Fire & Ice, a double album featuring up- and down-tempo versions of each track.
“It was a concept I’d been wanting to do for a long time,” Raddon said. “Having it be a double CD was a massive undertaking, and I knew it, but it was totally worth it.”
The pet project was given life by Raddon’s realization that a sizable chunk of Kaskade’s fan base favored his more ambient work to the club anthems.
“There’s always been die-hard fans who enjoy my more down-tempo, stripped-back music, even if they are the minority,” he said. “I’ve always had that flavor, but to have a whole record for them to sink their teeth into has made everyone really happy.”
And it was refreshing to remix himself instead of pop megastars for once.
“There’s a lot more artistic freedom,” Raddon said. “When I’m doing it to my own work, I don’t have anyone to answer to but myself.”
Kaskade fans shouldn’t have to wait long for new songs. He’ll tackle new material after this massive summer tour … if his body allows it.
“I’d really like to have something out early next year,” he said. “It all just depends on how broken I am after this tour.”