Kaskade, a rising-star DJ/producer from Chicago, takes over the decks at LIV nightclub for the first time on Thursday, Aug. 19. Kaskade, aka Ryan Raddon, blends angelic female vocals with sweeping, euphoric house beats for a sound that recalls both BT and Paul van Dyk, but with a touch of indie-rock attitude thrown in. Kaskade is touring in support of "Dynasty," his sixth artist album (meaning he wrote the tracks rather than compiling or remixing others' works).
What were you going for with "Dynasty"?
I think it's a natural progression - it's more dance music that I've ever done on an album. It's more straight-ahead and epic-sounding than in the past. I think a lot of people have always found my albums a bit more intimate than this - this is more for the clubs.
What do you look for in a female singer?
Something that's not very typical, especially in dance music and house - I'm really kind of rooted in house, and that's where a lot of my inspiration comes from. I think somewhere along the line, that whole diva, "put your hands in the air," gospel-esque sound became the one and only sound for the underground. And I like that sound, and it's great, and I have many records that are wonderful, but it just became too cliche. I'm always looking for something that sounds interesting - I think Mindy Gledhill is a perfect example, or Becky [Jean Williams] or Haley. Any of these girls aren't your typical singer - you wouldn't hear them on these other records.
Do you play mostly original tracks in your live sets, or do you expand beyond that?
I play a lot of my music - a lot, a lot. But someplace like Miami, I really enjoy playing long sets, because the crowd's up for it - the club culture there is in synch and they have a great history. So they understand a longer set. In Miami I might play as long as four or five hours, so it's hard for me to play all my own music. Typically, if I play a two-hour set I might play 90 minutes of my own music, and then squeeze another 30 or 45 minutes of what inspires me or that works with what I'm doing with my own music.
Speaking of Miami, how was your experience at Winter Music Conference this year?
It was wonderful. I mean, this is really my first year I'd thrown my own party and gone to a bigger venue and kind of done my own night. In the past, they've always been smaller things, two- or three-hundred-person gigs where I knew with just my friends I was gonna fill it up. But this was my first night of really stepping out, with the people at Cameo. That's big stuff for me to have it sell out even before I got on a plane to go to Miami. It was a big deal for me.
This summer, you're starting a poolside residency in Las Vegas. Why not Miami?
Why not Miami? [laughs] That's a good question. I don't know - nobody in Miami gave me a call. It seems like the pool party thing has really been heating up in Vegas over the last few years, and things have been more and more out of control. Last year was just nuts, having four or five thousand people show up. Very Las Vegas, but in the vein of Miami, kind of like Winter Music Conference. Miami would be the place apart from Vegas where they could sustain a pool party throughout the summer season, for sure.
You've collaborated with both Deadmau5 and Tiesto. What a triple threat that would be if you decided to make an album together. Is that even remotely possible?
Oh, man, anything's possible. I don't know if the three of us would ever be able to get in a room together. I mean, me and Deadmau5 and me and Tiesto were never in the room together - it was just files back and forth on the internet. With the travel schedules we lead, it's difficult to get two people together in the same place at the same time. But man, you're the first person to ever say that - now that you say that, it'd be a really cool idea [laughs]. It's like three different worlds - Tiesto can represent the trance world, I'll represent the house world and Deadmau5 can be the nu-school, electro-slash-prog guy. Yeah, that would be a crazy collaboration. I like it, I like it.