Identity Festival 2011: Kaskade Talks New Single "Eyes" and Next Fall's Double-Disc Album

Beat freaks in the MIA gotta wait another 14 days. But right this minute, 10,000 lucky party people in the Midwest are shaking ass with the ID Fest.

The moveable electronic music extravaganza kicks off tonight in Noblesville, Indiana, before zipping across the country to Charlotte, Atlanta, and eventually Miami. It's an ambitious undertaking that headliner Kaskade (AKA Ryan Raddon) describes as "this crazy idea [to] stack this huge bill with, like, 40 artists and then have it play in all these different cities."

Immediately after rehearsals, Crossfade got Mr. Raddon on the phone for a conversation about partying with Midwesterners, the Skullcandy main stage, the state of dance, his new single "Eyes," and next fall's still untitled double-disc album.

Crossfade: The Identity Festival kicks off tonight. What's in store for the electronic music fans of Noblesville, Indiana?

Kaskade: Yeah, Noblesville's in for a treat. I got back not too many hours ago from the rehearsals. Which is cool. I mean, I've never even rehearsed any kind of stage show. This is the most production I've ever put into any show. I was sitting there with Steve Aoki last night and he was saying the same thing.

So I think a lot of artists are really seeing this as an opportunity to stretch out creatively and take it as far as we can. I mean, I got a peek at DJ Shadow's stage show for the first time and it's amazing too. I feel like everybody who's coming to this festival is in for something special.

You helped curate the lineup and art direction for Identity's Skullcandy main stage, right?

I was just kind of involved with the festival from early on. I think I was one of the first guys they came to and said, "Are you interested in doing something like this?" And when I committed to it, they kept asking for my help, direction, and, "What other artist do you think would be cool to get on board?"

So yeah, I've just been really involved with it since the beginning, just 'cause I felt a certain responsibility. There is nothing that's really been done like this. And I was like, "If I'm getting involved, I want to make sure it's done right." You know, I didn't want to leave it to somebody else. [Laughs]

For Live Nation, it's their first foray into this genre of music too. So I just wanted to make sure that we all understood each other and knew the right direction.

What exactly did you want to bring to the festival? Either in terms of specific artists or general vibe.

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I thought it was really important to have a diverse lineup. I think a lot of electronic music fans get really caught up in these micro-genres. But it just needs to be looked at in a broader sense.

There's a lot of really cool music being made. Some of it's considered dubstep. Some of it's techno. Or whatever. So my thing was, "Let's get a really cool variety of acts and different sounds, so a lot of what's going on in the underground can be represented."

The ID Fest is a unique endeavor at this point. It's pretty much the first cross-country electronic music festival. Is this a special moment for EDM?

I definitely do. That's why I was so into the festival from the beginning. It was like, "This is such a cool opportunity. People are recognizing that our time is now." So, this could go down as one of those moments when the entire culture just flipped over, where things changed, and the music was recognized as bigger than what's done in some warehouse on the west side of town.

Your new single "Eyes" just came out. What was the genesis of that track?

Umm ... I enjoy writing about love. [Laughs] I just had this concept about eyes never lie. No matter what people say, you can always look into somebody's eyes and see the truth. They're the windows to the soul. I mean, it's nothing that hasn't been written about before. [Laughs] But I was trying to say it as only I could say it.

And as far as the production aspect of it, I've just been playing a lot of big rooms and big clubs and big festivals, so I was trying to find this place where I can have a song be musical while still translating to an audience of 10,000 in Noblesville tonight. I think a lot of people say, "Electronic music ... It's just noise. It's just car alarm music." But I disagree with that. I'm always trying to find that line between what can be powerful and energetic, and yet still be artistic, creative, and speak to people.

There's also a new Kaskade album slated for Fall. Is "Eyes" the first single off that record?

Yeah. I'm still tightening the album and getting everything finalized. But "Eyes" made a lot of sense as the first single because it's really true to my sound. Yet it's also a big leap into the future.

When I went to the label and played them the album, I felt really strongly that this should be the single. I'm not sure it was the obvious choice for them. But that's always the arm-wrestling match with the label, finding some common ground. They let me go with "Eyes." And I was really happy about it.

The album's set to be a double-disc release. Sounds pretty epic ... Is it going to be two discs of purely original material?

Yeah, it's a double disc. But it's the same album seen two different ways. Ten songs, each with two mixes. Fire and ice was the concept. Each song has a version that I could play at 2 a.m. in some nightclub and another version that I might be playing in the car on the way home from a club gig.

I've always enjoyed more downtempo chill music. And I've always included it on all my albums. But it was a weird disconnect for fans who were tuning in for uptempo dance tracks. So I was like, "How can I achieve both of these things?" Well, one song can be produced two different ways. And so, I was just trying to set the record straight that way.

Identity Festival. Thursday, August 25. Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. The festival begins at 1 p.m. and tickets cost $63 plus fees via livenation.com. Call 305-358-7550 or visit bayfrontparkmiami.com.

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