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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

One of the biggest names based out of San Francisco to date, Kaskadeís ingenuity in his musical craft and songwriting skills has led to renowned mixes of Britney Spearís songs along with the international successes of his own hits like "4 A.M." and "Be Still". Taking time out of his superstar DJ schedule, the humble Kaskade gives SF Station a rare insight into his thoughts about his new mix CD, collaborations, and production.

SF Station (SFS): A lot of people are very curious about your name Kaskade, any story behind that?

Kaskade (K): Yeah I donít really have a good story for that. I just came up with it one day. I needed something more memorable than Ryan Raddon; Ryan Raddon is so forgettable.

SFS: Actually itís still alliteration!

K: Ha ha, right on. But hey - it works, people always remember it. The way I came up with it is I kind of just wanted something more organic sounding, thatís a good fit for what I do.

SFS: What were the new sounds or artistic skills you were trying to achieve on The Grand?

K: I was not really trying to achieve anything in particular; mix CDs are interesting because theyíre very different than artistsí albums. What I tried to make unique in this record is that I tried to showcase a lot of my remixes, a lot of my own production, a lot of my songwriting which is fairly unique.

I think the main goal of doing a mix CD for me is kinda showing people that 'hey, if you come out and see me live at the club, this is the kind of performance youíre going to hear, this is what Iím into right now, these are the tracks that Iím liking.' I like to capture the sound of the moment. Because at my shows they say, "You play so much of your own music!" Well, yeah it is a Kaskade show! I realized over the years itís important to me to play lots of my own music.

SFS: So how did you decide which tracks to remix? Thereís so much good music out there, do you just listen to tons of music or what?

K: A lot of it is timing, I always choose stuff that Iím interested in artistically or if I really love the song. It has to meet a few pieces of criteria; one of them is that I have to have time to do it. I also have to have some sort of connection with the song. Thereís no way to remix it if Iím not liking it.

SFS: So who are some of your favorite artists to remix? You have a pretty eclectic palate - who do you think is a good now?

K: Iím hoping The Killers call me up. Brandon has a really good voice, and Iím really liking Kanye Westís stuff. Really, Iím all over the place, sort of what Iím feeling at the moment. Those are two people off the top of my head Iíd love to take a crack at.

SFS: You often work with DeadMau5, and put out two very successful tracks. What would you attribute the great dynamics in your relationship with him to?

K: You know, heíd never done a track with a vocal artist up until a year and a half, two years ago. When I first heard his music it was all instrumental but the music itself really spoke to me. I was like, 'man I could write on top of this, I could write a song, I should call this guy up we should collaborate.' Musically I think it really fits with me as a songwriter. I just reached out to him, I showed him some stuff and I wrote some stuff on top of one of his old songs. I played it for him and he said it was amazing. Musically we really connected; I love the tracks we did together, "Move for Me" and "I Remember".

Thatís sorta how it came about but itís crazy to see the reaction. Itís interesting cause both of us have fixed fan bases but theyíre different groups of people. His stuff is more techy, itís a younger audience, where my stuff is more musically sophisticated; my audience is very musical. To be able to have both those audiences connect in a certain way lead to the huge popularity of these tracks.

SFS: Very good stuff. What are some of your favorite places to travel to since youíve been and basically played everywhere?

K: My favorite places are S„o Paulo in South America, and in Asia, Tokyo and Hong Kong. And I really like Jakarta too. Sydney is amazing, and obviously London is amazing. Vancouver is one of my favorite places too. I could go on forever.

SFS: You became successful fairly quickly and developed a fan base so fast! Were you ever surprised at how internationally famous you got?

K: I mean even today Iím still surprised I can do this as a job. This whole thing is a shock, I feel so blessed. I never dreamed it would go like this; Iíve been very lucky that people have connected with my music and supported me!

Kaskadeís album release party is going down this Wednesday at Slide! Check out some brilliant tunes at: http://www.myspace.com/kaskademusic