In the early days, Kaskade familiarized himself with the rapidly changing electronic music scene wherever he went, eventually finding that house music was the subgenre he loved best. He started out as a DJ in New York and Salt Lake City clubs. During the tail-end of his stay in Salt Lake City, his first attempts to produce tracks were released on his own tiny label, Mechanized Records. He also sold a few tracks to Chris Smith, A&R director for an up-and-coming house label in San Francisco. Though no one could have predicted it, this ended up being the precursor to Raddon’s most important career move. When family matters initiated a move to San Francisco, Smith hired Raddon to assist him at the label — which was, of course, OM.
His own full-length recordings as Kaskade began with 2003’s house-inflected It’s You, It’s Me. A soulful, more organic direction provided focus for the following year’s In the Moment, and Raddon kept his name in the record racks by piloting editions in the San Francisco Sessions DJ series (as well as the label mix House of OM). He proved surprisingly dedicated to his production craft, releasing Love Mysterious in 2006, which placed on Billboard’s electronic albums chart. Strobelight Seduction became his biggest commercial success, following in 2008, and 2010’s Dynasty celebrated his new reputation with a parade of vocal features and a co-production with Tiësto. Later in 2010, Raddon put together Electric Daisy Carnival, a mix showcasing artists on the bill for the inaugural dance-music festival of the same name. The double album Fire & Ice followed in 2011 with a guest appearance from Skrillex. Atmosphere arrived two years later and featured softer, more relaxed music along with vocals from Kaskade himself. It was a year of achievement on all fronts for US house veteran Kaskade. A new album, several huge tours, and a few years into America’s grand embrace of dance music, he’s commanding the respect of an elder statesman. That’s not to imply he’s slowing any on the creative side, though.
“At this point in my career I am interested in making music that will last and make an impression onpeople,” he says of his new album that saw release in September. “In the world of electronic music I think it is becoming less about the tricks and more about the actual song. In this album I experimented with a variety of styles that have inspired me over the years, and while listening to it you can really get an understanding of who I am.”
While the tour for Atmosphere’ saw Kaskade playing to audiences in their tens of thousands, he also got to play a swathe of smaller “hot, sweaty shows” earlier in the year to mark the 10th anniversary of his classic ‘It’s You, It’s Me’ Otherwise, as one of America’s most outspoken veterans, people are definitely listening to what he’s saying.
“With so much growth over the last few years I think it is important to remember what is important in this scene. The music. I am very fortunate to be in a position where I remember what it has taken to get it to this place, talk about it and have a dialogue with people.”