Oh, yes, America. The freaks are living (and dancing) among us.
Ever since EDM went massive in 2011, kids with glowsticks have been controlling popular music charts, invading the nation's arenas and stadiums like little ecstatic fireflies, and flooding the Internet with YouTube videos of themselves raving alone at home, moshing to dubstep, and/or humping trees.
Currently, we are sweating through the second summer of this madness. And along with electronic dance music ringleaders like Deadmau5, Skrillex, Swedish House Mafia, and Avicii, a man named Kaskade is laying down the soundtrack for the freak parade.
We recently spoke with the EDM critics and whether too much success and too much money can be toxic for an EDM freak like him.
Crossfade: After two years of electronic dance music's pop dominance. Do you see any signs of its popularity slipping? Or is it just gonna keep cruising?
Kaskade: We've barely even cracked into the radio. So we're really just getting started. This is probably the beginning of a much longer story.
Well, where do you see the EDM story going?
It's hard to say. I never even envisioned it going to this place. I was never one of those guys who was good at reading the crystal ball. Like, I always thought it could get bigger, but I've enjoyed dance music so much as a nightclub thing that seeing it go into these arenas and stadiums is kinda tricky. I think a lot is riding on how these big shows go this summer and how they're perceived.
At the moment, I'm in the middle of my tour. And I have to say ... [Laughs] ... As long as people's tours are going as well as mine, I think EDM's just going to continue to grow on this larger scale. Right now, it's just a few guys who can do these huge tours successfully. But with growth and increasing interest in the music, these concert-type experiences will become more regular.
Do you think too much success and too much money can be toxic for EDM?
Nah, not really. There are guys who are selling out and doing stuff that I never would've done artistically. But they would've gone the more pop route anyway. And that's never interested me. I'm not signed to a major label and I've never had a song on the radio. But I can come play a huge outdoor venue in Miami and sell tickets.
There's just separate paths. Different artists in this community have chose different ways to make dance music. And that's cool. It just shows the maturity of the sound. You know, compare me to somebody like Lady Gaga or even David Guetta and my stuff is way more underground than what they're doing. But the great thing is there's room for everybody. And I don't have to write a pop tune or feature Lil Wayne.
Even though electronic dance music's continued to win fans and kill charts, there has been some backlash against its rise. Say, Dave Grohl's allegedly anti-technology Grammy speech or Deadmau5's frequent rants against the most commercial aspects of the genre. Do you think there's any basis for that kind of griping?
Anytime something's on top, there are going to be people ripping it down. You know, I'm sure guys strumming guitars feel a little frustration, like, "What's all this computerized junk?" So with dance music on the charts and the spotlight shining on us, the backlash is inevitable.
But I don't think it's going to be anything like what happened in the late '70s and early '80s when it was like, "Kill disco!" and there were people at Comiskey Park blowing up 10,000 party records and Chicago was rioting. [Laughs] I just expect some subtle grumblings, like, "Oh, it happened so fast."
Ultimately, pop culture is so fickle. Somebody's gonna come out with a song featuring some girl strumming a guitar and that's gonna become the flavor of the week. And everybody will be like, "Ahh, people want to hear that song. Let's all copy it." But with electronic music, we've been here so long, literally post-disco, that we're going to keep doing it whether or not anyone's paying attention.
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I love house music. It's what I've been doing my entire life. And I'll never stop. The trends will come and go.
Kaskade's Freaks of Nature Tour. With Panic Bomber, FareOh, and Alvin Risk. Saturday, July 14. Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. The party starts at 6:30 p.m. and tickets cost $39.50 plus fees via livenation.com. Call 305-358-7550 or visit bayfrontparkmiami.com.
Kaskade's Freaks of Nature Afterparty. Saturday, July 14. LIV, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The party starts at 11 p.m. and tickets cost $50 to $90 plus fees via wantickets.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-674-4680 or visit livnightclub.com.