Ryan Raddon aka Kaskade was on of my first friends when I moved to salt lake city back in 1995. I rolled down to a bar called “Club Manhattan” on a wednesday night where Ryan was spinning Drum and Bass and found a new home away from home. Ryan would also spin disco music on monday nights to packed house and once the crowd got drunk enough he slipped in some house tracks. Since that time Ryan has come along away from “slipping house tracks” into a set at the end of the night…he is house. I don’t know anyone that works as hard or is more deserving of the success than my homie Ryan.
Kaskade interview by Alex Lodermeier / Artcotic. (Interview from 2008)
ARTCOTIC: How’s life man? A lot of things have changed since the manhattan days…used to swing by my apartment in your grandma’s ride and we’d roll out to the club…haha.
KASKADE: Oh man….the good old days…lol. Those are some sweet memories, back in the day at the good old Club Manhattan. I think we started off each night with a large Pizza form 5 Buck Pizza. That was about all I could afford back then.
ARTCOTIC: I can remember when you moved from salt lake to San Francisco, that was a pretty big jump in your life. Did you already have the job at Om Records lined up before you left? Or did you just have to go out there and hustle to find a job?
KASKADE: I moved out to San Francisco with absolutely no plan at all. It was a big leap because I knew I still wanted to pursue music but I had no idea where to turn. But it ended up being the right move for me because I had to rely on my studio chops to make people take notice. I was writing and producing music when I was in SLC but once I got to SF I got really serious about it.
ARTCOTIC: Do you feel that having “San Francisco” behind your name as a DJ made people take you more seriously than salt lake? Do think that kids now days that want to get noticed need to move to bigger cities? Or has the perception changed that were you live gave you more value as a musician?
KASKADE: I think it used to be like that especially with electronic music since it is so Urban based but now that is not the case. If some kid in Nebraska is doing something cool I want to know about it, I could care less where he lives. With the internet being the main place where everyone finds their music nowadays location does not matter.
ARTCOTIC: Tell me about the “It’s you it’s me” Lp. You were working at OM as A&R while you were working on this album, how long did it take you to write the music while also working a day job?
KASKADE: It actually came together pretty quick, probably over the course of 3 to 4 months. It just seemed a lot longer since I was grinding it both day and night. There were some really long weekends during that stint. I can remember Monday morning coming and being really pissed that my flow was going to get ruined.
ARTCOTIC: Is it right that OM was releasing the album for you as somewhat a favor because you worked there? Did anyone know that the album would be as big as it became?
KASKADE: Yeah I am sure there was some of that going on. The sound was a little outside of what they normally at the time which is kind of funny to think about now since that is what they are defiantly known for at this point in time. I don’t think anyone really anticipated the warm reception it got. It seems like most guys who are known for house have come up through the ranks over the last 20 years and I was some new jack just popping on the scene. That was a fun time.
ARTCOTIC: The album blew me away personally. As I remember you making tracks out in salt lake in your basement studio and self releasing that “Oxygen lab” 12″ and a few other track collabs and nothing prepared me for what I heard on that album. How much did moving to San Francisco and having new life experiences contribute to the music of the album?
KASKADE: I really think that was it. I got a new perspective on life and what was going on in SF at the time really inspired me. In 2000 the music scene in Sf was just going nuts along with the dot com madness. It just seemed like everything was out of control I was invigorated with the energy. It was a big leap from my basement tracks that I was pumping out in SLC.
ARTCOTIC: I don’t know anyone that works as hard as you do when it comes to creating your music and playing gigs around the world. I know that you’ve put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into getting to where you are now. Was there ever a point in your life that the struggle of “making it” became too much?
KASKADE: That is nice of you to say, I appreciate that and as a friend you can recognize all that I have gone through to get my music out there. There were lots of times that I struggled but I just kind of continued to do what I love. I always felt like it would work itself out. I was doing what I loved so it never seemed like an option to do anything else.
ARTCOTIC: Was the “It’s you it’s me” album the turning point for you and your music?
KASKADE: Yeah, it got my name out there to a broad audience and really showcased what I do. Nothing has really been the same since that album was released.
ARTCOTIC: We talked in the past about the evolution of your sound and how you want to keep pushing to the next level. Where is it going for you now?
KASKADE: On my newest album “Strobelite Seduction” it is pretty apparent that I continue to evolve as a person and along with that my sound changes. I am really molded by the experiences that I have on the road and all the gigs that I have played. I have become more sensitive to the club environment and how I can write music that I find interesting but still is fun on the weekend.
ARTCOTIC: Your new album is dropping now called “Strobelite Seduction”…Tell me more about the theme of the album and how it relates to the title.
KASKADE: When I was putting the record together I started thinking of how I got to this point in my life. I kind of trip out on all the places I have been and the gigs that I have played. I was deconstructing how it had gotten to here. The title is a reference to that. As a kid growing up outside of Chicago I was really taken by the early house music scene. It was everything from the music, the kids, and the clubs that drew me in. So the strobelite is just a metaphor for all that.
ARTCOTIC: Any last thoughts? Next time you’re in town we need to hit up Albertos for some chips and quac.
KASKADE: Chips an guacamole, count me in!
For more information on KASKADE and his music please check out his website: www.kaskademusic.com