Kaskade swung by to chat about New Year’s Eve at Zouk, the growth of nightlife in Las Vegas, and the evolution of Redux.
With a career spanning 20 years and more than a decade of dominance, Kaskade is an artist who needs no introduction and has been instrumental in shaping the mainstream dance music scene as we know it. One where DJs and producers are global phenomenons, bridging genres, and appealing to mass audiences. But with that, very few have reached the level of success Kaskade has, and even fewer maintain it. With 12 albums, seven GRAMMY nods, and appearances at most major festivals, he holds his place at the top.
This year has been another impressive one for Kaskade with the release of Kx5, the widely acclaimed debut album for his project with deadmau5, along with the return of his REDUX series and a second Christmas album. Having been the first DJ to secure a Las Vegas residency years ago, 2023 also saw Kaskade join the roster of residents at Ayu Dayclub and Zouk Nightclub. The latter of those two is where you’ll find the Arkade boss ringing in the new year, so make sure to grab your tickets.
Ahead of his intimate Christmas performance in LA and whirlwind of New Year’s weekend events, including Zouk, Forever Midnight, and Fresh Start, Kaskade took the time to chat with us. We discussed what makes Las Vegas and Zouk stand out, how Redux is evolving, and look back on ten years of Atmosphere. Join us as we catch up with Kaskade.
First of all, thank you so much for your time. It’s an honor to get to chat with you. You’ve played countless New Year’s Eve shows, including a run in your former hometown San Francisco. How does the energy in Vegas compare during these celebrations?
Vegas is on a different plane than any other place on Earth. Every city has its flavor, and the spice of Vegas is for those who love being stimulated on every level. There’s energy, there’s visual spectacle, and then unbelievable sound. The interesting thing about Las Vegas is that it’s usually a wide mix of people from every corner of the world. So, the combination will be unique to that night. A little Idaho, a little Monaco. What could be better?
After nearly two decades playing Vegas – and arguably being part of the first class of DJs to bring dance music into the mainstream nightlife and create the blueprint for residencies – what is the most significant way the landscape of commercialized dance music has changed from your perspective? How has the audience changed?
The main change is that music was an added bonus in the beginning. It added value to people who were traveling to Las Vegas. Now, music has become the destination, and Vegas is the added value. It’s a beautiful alchemy of things being turned inside out, and the result is that everyone is happy. Come to see me play, stay and win a few grand (I’m an optimist), and have the best meal of your life? Not a bad night.
Zouk is newer to the scene in Vegas. What sets their nightclub apart? What about in terms of sound and production?
Zouk created a club that reaches people on a few different levels. The scope of it is staggering. Walking into it at full tilt will blow your mind with the mothership on the ceiling and the music engineered with surgical precision to deliver the crispest beats and thickest bass. Depending on the night, there are also ways to get into more spacious areas, outdoors or towards the different areas of the club to recharge. I think they’ve designed a brilliant way to keep it hype without it overwhelming the people there.
You’ll also be gracing the stage at Forever Midnight in LA with a Redux set. “Redux” signifies rebirth and revival, and your Redux project allows for a more intimate exploration of deeper, more melodic tracks. Currently, how does Redux differ from your more house-leaning recent releases?
Redux is like a child to me. It was born from my desire to get everything smaller at a time when everyone was reaching to get bigger. Now, ten years later, Redux has stepped into its adolescence and is rebelling a bit. It’s more sophisticated, very complex, and moody as hell. Sometimes, I’ll throw something in a Redux set that might fit in my other sets, but it’s just a bridge, getting us from Redux A to Redux B. Essentially, the way it differs is that I never feel like it has to box me into any genre.
We’d love for you to set the record straight once and for all. How do you pronounce “redux?”
With a whisper of reverence.
Editor’s Note: It’s pronounced “ree-doo.”
REDUX 006 was released earlier this year after a two-year hiatus. How does this differ from previous editions?
Every iteration of Redux is a pretty good timestamp of what’s happening to and around me. From the really downtempo minimal stuff to the higher beach vibes, there are seasons to each EP. REDUX 006 is me coming out of the pandemic, out of isolation, wondering if when we get together if the cohesive atmosphere will still exist. It celebrates that anxiety with some very celebratory musical backdrops.
We’re also celebrating a decade of Atmosphere – which is still one of our favorite albums – what is the feeling you’re left with when you reflect on the album and the past ten years? What about when you reflect on the evolution/growth of your sound since?
I just think time is so elastic and also so sticky. It seems like a million years ago when I think back on that tour. Then, when I listen to it, there’s a feeling that I just walked away from creating it 30 seconds ago. My sound always changes, even day to day, so I don’t reflect on that too much, but I appreciate the sonic time machine that each album creates.
Do you have plans to revamp Atmosphere like you did with Fire & Ice?
Well, I didn’t, but now that you asked, maybe I should?
What’s next for you as we look into 2024?
I’m trying to move my surfing game up a few notches.