While on tour-Kaskade gave a glimpse of who he is-his Chicago roots and why he's bringing house home to Lollapalooza.
You are currently on Tour is that correct?
That's right. I'm sitting out here on a tour bus outside Red Rock Theater in Denver, Colorado. It's the Freaks of Nature Tour.
What's it been like so far?
Ah, well I did a festival tour last year and when I was doing that I had a idea to go out on my own and try and do something a bit more complicated. And instead on playing locations where dance music has already hit-those obvious places like Miami-I wanted to play obscure locales like Boise, Idaho and Kansas City.
That's how the idea came about. So talking with other music people and myself and we came up with the name Freaks Of Nature-I've been called a freak many times in my life-and just kind of rolled it out from there.
I'm nearing the end of it now on stop 35.
Have there been any stops where you were surprised by their response to your show?
Man, I've just been floating on a high all this summer. I'm coming off this week where I just sold out the Staple Center in LA-with over 15,000 people and then San Francisco at the Bill Graham Auditorium with over 10000 people. So I'm still floating right now-there have been some amazing nights-including Miami with over 10000.
You know the big stadiums have been cool-but so have been some of the smaller venues-like in Cincinnati at the House of Blues with 15-1600 people. They have a passion and love for the music just like anywhere else. There's been really cool shows-breaking in between.
I understand you've been around for awhile…how did it get started for you?
It started in Chicago. I was born in Evanston and was raised in Northbrook and really early got turned on to house music when I was a kid in middle school.
Then I started going into the city and at that time there was a really cool club called Medusa's, then I started going to Smart Bar and Metro was bringing out some really interesting acts as well-a lot of new wave electronic stuff….bands like Art of Noise and it was all blending together the new wave and electronic music.
I got turned into then and started buying records at Gramaphone Records and started writing and producing music. I just kept with it and it started to snowball.
What was you 'ah ha' moment where you knew you could make it as DJ/Producer?
I think it was in 2002. I only had a handful of singles out. And it came out right before Winter Music Conference in Miami. I went to concerts there with my records not really expecting anything and had the chance to play one of the parties with one of the largest crowds I had to play for until then. I played one of my records that had been out for only a week or two weeks and the whole crowd went crazy and I thought oh, man I think I'm on to something!
How have you been able to capture the sound you make being from the Midwest?
Well, I mean, Chicago we started this whole thing. This is our thing-so I have that as a base. But I think when I started touring-travelling all over the world-seeing different people play. It's funny when I'm overseas people always say, man your music is so American and they want to come here and learn. But, I'm like I don't even know what that means.
Outside of using turntables and your computer-what tools do you use that make your sound unique?
I think for me-definitely early on in my career-I got interested in recording a lot of live elements. That's kind of changed-but my first two or three albums you hear a lot of live elements in my music. That was the producer side of me. I wasn't the greatest piano player or guitar player-so I would bring people in and ask for their input on what they heard on top of what I was doing.
You also-work a lot with female vocalist…what keeps you centered on doing this compared to your competition?
When I moved to San Francisco-there were some many dudes with samplers cutting up old disco records-I felt I needed to get more into songwriting-honing those skills and then looking for great people who could get my words on the track giving me great performances.
So I'm always looking high and low for artists who can give me a great performance. It's also really important to be able to work with other songwriters-who can bring new elements to my music making an even better recording.
Even for stuff where I co-wrote or didn't write at all. Like I didn't write the song room for happiness-which was written by Skylar Grey. She was very intriguing and an interesting songwriter. Not only was her vocal style special to what I do-what she's writing about going on in her life right now works with my record. So it's really important to be able to work with other songwriters.
So bringing it full circle as headliner for Perry's stage at Lollapalooza-what can your fans expect this time around?
Yeah man, expect lots of energy and big booms. I'll have that tent bouncing.
And so he did...KasKade made a big splash on Saturday and gives us even more reason to love the house we live in-the Chicago house. There's still time to catch him live and direct-but you'll have to give in to the Freaks of Nature-for the remaining tour dates.