Kaskade Talks EDM Arena Tours: "It's Awesome, It's Just Another Step Forward in My Career"
Photo by George Martinez
Miami and Kaskade have kind of a special thing going.
On last year's Freaks of Nature tour, Miami's sold-out event at Bayfront Amphitheater was the game-changer. We set the tone for the rest of the experience, and in the artist's mind, it was a new peak for his musical career.
Now, he's got to come back to top it all, kicking off his new tour right here in the 305. He's been slaving away on stage design and production concepts to ensure his return, set in no less than the massive American Airlines Arena, is nothing short of triumphant. He's counting on you, Miami, to make Atmosphere one of the most memorable moments in Kaskade history.
Crossfade: Congrats on the release of your new album.
Kaskade: Thank you.
Could you tell me a little about the direction you were trying to take?
It wasn't anything intentional at the beginning. It was only about when I was half-way into it that I was like, "Oh okay, it's going this direction." I wrote a bunch of it right when I returned home late last year off the Freaks of Nature tour, which was an extremely intense tour where I did over 50 shows.
Actually, the show I did in Miami was a very memorable one for me. But when I returned from that tour, I came home and I was kind of burned out on this huge whomping sound that I'd been serving up to everyone. I sat down in my studio for the first time being alone after touring, it was a touring party of about 35 people, and quieter music initially came out. That's what I was inspired to do. That's what I was feeling at the moment, kind of the opposite direction of where I just was.
It's funny to me, with some artists, when they're on this constant struggle to go harder and harder.
Yeah, I don't know how these people have a constant diet of just like bwompbwompbwomp. I'm like, "Oh man, they need a break. I need to switch the tempo up."
When you do this softer side of Kaskade -- even when you do a harder side -- your sound is so lush and vibrant, but it's not overtly cheesy in any way, which I assume is because it comes from an honest place. You touched on it a bit, but where do you pull your inspiration from when you're in the studio?
Really, for me, it's just all about personal experiences. I write about stuff that has happened with me in my life. Usually it's things that are happening around me at that time while I'm creating the album, but sometimes I'm thinking back to stuff all the way to like high school or whatever, whatever kind of moment I'm taking in. It's more a portrait of my life, just an audio portrait of what's happening in my life.
You say that it's a portrait, but do you think it's that examination of your emotions and experiences that makes your music relatable to your fans?
Most definitely, yeah. I don't pretend to be anybody incredibly unique or that special. I think I'm a fairly common guy, and I think when people listen to the lyrics they're simple and they're easy to understand. I'm writing about everyday stuff, like lost love and what you do with your heart after somebody's broken it. Everybody has experienced these kinds of things. Simple ideas that people can relate to, and I think definitely that's what's endeared me to these people and the people who follow me and who will show up to the show on Saturday.
You said that your last show at Bayfront meant a lot to you, that it was big for you. Why?
I had been going up and down the East Coast that whole trip. I kicked the tour off in New York, which was the perfect way to start it, but then I hit all these smaller places. Then to show up to Miami, I was unsure of how it was going to work. I'd never done a hard-ticket event in Miami, ever. I'd only played nightclubs, and it's a big leap to go from a nightclub to a full on concert. It was the beginning of the tour, and I think it was like, "Man, is this really going to work?" Everyone who was in this huge touring party is like, "Wow, these shows are fun. But man, is this really going to work?"
It sold out four or five days before I got there, and it was just like a sight to see. It was just something completely unexpected, and it was an incredible night. We got amazing weather, Bayfront's an awesome venue, and it was just kind of like, "Oh my gosh, this tour is going to be incredible." Miami was freaking insane. It really just set the rest of the tour and set the pace for the rest of the summer, for me.
It sounds like it was a very validating experience for you as an artist, to see that your music is reaching these people and it is making a difference.
Every time I have a good show, it's always that realization: "Wow, we're really connecting. This is amazing." It's awesome, and to have more and more of those nights has been incredible.
Now you're coming back to play the American Airlines Arena, the largest venue in Miami. What is that feeling like?
It's exciting, you know? I only went there for the first time when the Heat were in the NBA Finals. It's awesome. It's just another step forward in my career. All these new and exciting things around every corner. After last year's show, I was very confident to start this tour in Miami and I'm like, "Nah, those guys got me. I'm ready. Miami's ready."
How do you approach such a large-scale performance?
It's a lot of planning. When I finished the album early in the year -- I finished in January -- as early as February, I was meeting with stage designers, set designers, and lighting professionals, like, "Hey, this is what the album sounds like, this is what I need to have it look like. Let's collaborate and make a stage and have a look and feel for this concert that is going to help articulate the record more and have people experience this in person, instead of laying at home with headphones on." I need people to see what Atmosphere is and feel it along with me. It's a long process. I've been planning this show for the better part of six months.
This is one of those things where electronic music, we're still kind of new to this form. We're getting it right, just now. I worked with six different animators and a director to come up with an overall look and feel for each song that is going to be played during the tour. It's a cool process, but it's all still very new to me, and I'm learning as I go along. But yeah, it's a huge, it takes a lot of time and effort to make something that's cool. I can go do a show at LIV, but to take it from LIV and bring it into the American Airlines Arena is a huge leap.
With this set, a lot of people have been asking me what's different with this show as far as Freaks of Nature. This is much more dynamic. One, it reflects the album a lot more and I'm playing a lot of the new album tracks, obviously. The Atmopshere tour, I'm including a lot of the material from Atmosphere. But it's a much more dynamic show which is exciting and I can't wait to share it with everybody.
Kaskade's Atmosphere Tour. Saturday, September 14, at American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets cost $25 to $85 plus fees via ticketmaster.com. All ages. Call 786-777-1000 or visit aaarena.com.
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.
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