This DJ's selfless act is helping other musicians in a big way
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Kaskade is one of the biggest names in the house music industry. With over two decades of experience, hundreds of shows under his belt, and countless chart-topping singles, Kaskade is one of the most sought-after DJs of our generation. But don't think that fame is getting to his head. Kaskade is as real as it gets, making sure he carves out time to speak with his fans daily (we're talking a few hours at minimum) and making it his mission to help other emerging artists get their big break.
It's a pretty self-less act from a man who could be solely focusing on his own career. But after meeting Kaskade in person at this year's Ultra Music Festival in Miami, we wouldn't expect anything less. He really is one of the most down to Earth celebrities you will ever meet.
While speaking to Kaskade at Ultra, we picked his brain on his close-knit relationship with his fans, the biggest change he's seen in the dance music industry, and more!
How do you prepare for headlining such a big gig like Ultra?
Doing press -- hanging out with you! Nothing in particular, just do a couple push ups in the group, have some soda, eat some chips, just get excited.
You've played Ultra now like a million times. What makes Miami and this festival unique to you?
The energy is through the roof. I think what's really special about this place is that it is the first huge live-scale festival of the season. We're barely into March and I'll play 20 festivals this summer around the world and this is the first one. So it's a place for DJs to experiment and for artists to gather new material to test things out and see how it works. But the mood and the tone of the year is really set here.
Then you're off to Lollapalooza in Argentina after this?
Yeah headed to Argentina tomorrow and Chile the next day.
How do you manage that always on the go feeling?
I don't think there is a way to manage it. It's just pure madness. I have not slept since the night before -- not even last night. But I love what I do so it never really feels like a problem and I love the energy and standing in front of 60,000 people helps.
What has the reception for your new single "Us" been like?
Huge! It was a fan-favorite early on. That one kept coming up in my sets and it just kept getting talked about. I'm really excited to come out as a single and finally have its moment. There's so many people who don't listen to albums and think "This is insane!" And I'm just like, "Well, I've been playing it for the past eight months now, so I'm glad you're hearing it for the first time." So it's awesome.
So let's talk about your fans.
I have crazy fans, I seriously have the best fans in the world.
You definitely do! So how often do you interact with them in person versus online? How important is that interaction for you?
I interact with my fans daily, multiple times a day. I probably spend an hour or two talking to them every day. To me it's been extremely important for almost the entirety of my career that spans two decades, especially when my music was't recognized as music. It was very important to have that relationship to fans because it wasn't like pop music which really had radio success. And arenas didn't fill themselves, it was built on touring and getting out there, and working in music. So I'm very much aware that I am here because of them. I'm extremely grateful, gracious, and any time I can, I try and reach out and speak to them on any level.
How do you use social media to connect with them?
I'm a bit of a social media whore. Twitter is my go-to since it works so well on the phone and I'm a person of words and I like that. Next would be Instagram since I can post words with an image so you get two things happening there. I like to show people what's happening and put up beautiful imagery. And it all funnels to Facebook and putting music on Soundcloud, and constantly having dialogue with my fans. I Snapchat too but I don't like that as much because I feel like it's all one-way and I prefer having that dialogue there.
Where do you see the landscape of dance music right now? Who are people you see as coming up with new and exciting things?
The mainstream guys have already had their moment, so there's nobody in that world that's exciting me. But CID is the guy that I keep mentioning. He's a good friend, I toured with him on Automatic. He's someone that he's on that cusp. A few tunes that have come out in the past six months that have been real game changers for me and I feel like he's got a couple more that are going to be too. He's been at it for a while and I feel like this is his time. He's really found his groove and there are people latching on.
How important is it to you to collaboration with musicians?
People are always surprised that I collaborate, but I'm all about making good music with whoever is going to help me push the boundaries and move forward. It doesn't matter if they're know or unknown or whatever their status is. I don't care. I like to collaborate with like-minded people who will help me make something beautiful.
You've been in this industry for the past two decades. What do you think is the biggest change you've noticed?
I think the biggest thing is the size and the amount of impact that we have. When I first started in 1997 it looked very different. There was like a 1,000 people. I walked up to Josh Wink and he was the biggest dance music star in the world at that time. I just walked up to him and was like, 'Hey I just made my first record, can you give it a listen." It was very easy. Now, the impact of what we're doing and the music that's being made is sending ripples throughout pop culture. It's hard to imagine since there are so many of us who have been doing this for so long. But it's a very fascinating and rewarding time for us to see it go this far.
Does headlining shows ever get old to you?
No, not at all. I'm still jittery and nervous and excited. This is it. This is what I live to do. I write these songs in a dark room in my studio and I get to play them to people. It's as amazing as you'd imagine it to be, times 1000.
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