Kaskade was the first official music act of the weekend at this year’s X Games in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He played a truly unforgettable set at The Armory, which was just down the street from the X Games. I had the opportunity to chat with Kaskade shortly before his set that evening. We talked about X Games, Sun Soaked, and his record store days. He was even generous enough to share with me some exclusive upcoming music news!
Welcome back to Minneapolis! We’re here for X Games, have you been to an event like this before?
I have. I was living in San Francisco when they hosted the X Games. Then they (X Games) got in a big fight with the city, which is kind of San Franciso’s way. Like, ‘This is too much fun! We’re kicking you guys out!’
Do you have a favorite event?
I’m more of a skateboard guy. I grew up skating. I’ll still jump on a skateboard now and again. In fact, look at that (Kaskade then pulled up his pant leg to show a scar on the right side of his foot around the ankle). I had two surgeries right there. That’s a little kicker right there. I broke that right in half.
Thank you for taking a day off of Sun Soaked to come join us! How has the event been going this year?
We did a pop-up shop on Tuesday, which is awesome. Down in Venice. I had a show on Wednesday and I had a show last night (Thursday). So two kind of ‘Re-doo’ or ‘Re-ducks’ depending on where in the world you live in the world.
Here in the Midwest we’re more of a ‘Re-ducks’ area!
Haha alright, alright. If you want to fight me about that, I don’t care what you call it. Whatever works! I did two of those and four shows tomorrow (Saturday).
I saw you have a vinyl set this week!
Yeah, tomorrow afternoon. A good opportunity to break records out.
Speaking of records, you used to manage a record store?
I owned and operated. I mean, we say ‘managed’ because that just means I hung out there a lot haha.
Before I owned it, I just would hang out there and pseudo kind of work there. I was going to university and I spent a lot of time in the record store. Then, one of the owners was moving so I bought her portion of the record store and I owned it for a few years.
I saw the story involving you, Skrillex and the record store.
Did that turn out to be you?
I don’t think it was. We tried to get the timeline. I moved away from Salt Lake in 2000. When we tracked the timeline back, we weren’t totally sure. People went back and found the dates. He was a touring act so I’m like ‘It could’ve been that tour; it could’ve been that tour.” Reading that story was freaking crazy, because I’m like ‘That’s my store!’
Isn’t it a feeling is it to just sit there and flip through albums?
Yeah! I’m a junkie.
Do you have a favorite album? Like album art, songs, the total package?
I’d say the EDM thing to say would be Daft Punk’s “Homework”. Most people wouldn’t say “Homework”, but I think that’s my favorite album of theirs. I don’t know man; I’d have to go back farther like Art Of Noise. I forget what their second album was called (“In Visible Silence”), or Kraftwerk “Autobahn”. I could go back even farther because that stuff was so important for electronic music to have acts doing that you know? It was kind of like the foundation.
It was very out-of-the box back then.
Yeah, very different. Ha, like banging on pots and pans and sampling it. The workflow was very different back then.
Any memorable moments from the record store?
Oh man from the thousands of hours hanging out in the record store?! It was cool. I remember guys like Donald Glaude coming through, and Doc Martin. Kind of like that first-wave of The Wicked Crew from San Francisco. This is all pre-EDM. These guys back then were like the Tiestos and Diplos of that time, of that era. It was cool to be the location in Salt Lake when everybody rolled through. Any touring act, you know guys like Skrillex. Even past my time. It was cool to be a part of that and those memories.
Heidi Klum stopped by your set a couple weeks back, how random was that?!
She’s very energetic. She likes to dance. That’s cool. I like people who dance at shows. She joined me in the booth; I showed her what a cryogun was. That was fun!
Haha she said two things that were extremely memorable that didn’t make any sense.
When I first walked into the booth, it was insanely loud! It was a brand new club and they hadn’t totally tweaked it or dialed the sound in yet. I mean brand new. I might’ve been the first act to play on that sound system. Anyway, I’m talking like blood is coming out of my eyes the corner of my eyes loud. She looks at me and is like (in his best Heidi impression) “Turn up the music!” I couldn’t tell if she was messing with me. Like ‘Are you messing with me because it’s so loud you want me to turn it up? Or do you actually want me to turn it up?” All I did was be like ‘I’m actually not the guy. I make the selections and blend them. It’s as loud as it can go on my apparatus that I use to perform here.'
The level is all the way up!
Ha! Yeah ‘There’s another guy around here!’
The other thing she said that’s kind of funny, (continuing his impression) “I want to jump out into the crowd.” I’m like ‘Okay’. “Will they catch me?!” ‘You're Heid Klum, they will catch you. And there will probably be some wandering hands. If I was a 21 year old boy and Heidi Klum jumped on me I will catch you!’ She was trying to convince me to jump and I was like ‘Well I actually have something to do here. If you want to jump out there I’m sure I can assist somehow?’ But yes, she was very fun.
How many people on the streets have called you DJ Gary since the DJ Hanzel interview?
It’s not on the streets so much as it is like when I’ve rolled up to a couple festivals. Off the long edit, that’s like the “Director’s Cut” or something that he released. The shorter version he released was like a year or eight months ago. It had the DJ Gary bit in there as well. I’ve played a handful of festivals where there’s a big sign that says ‘DJ Gary’. I’m like (points his finger) ‘Dillon Francis’! I don’t even know why he messes with music he should go full time into that.
What's big for you and Arkade this year?
I’ll give you an exclusive! We have our first compilation coming up really soon. It’s called “Arkade Destination’s: Tulum”. I should know the release date because I am ‘the guy’, but it is soon. It’s electronic music inspired by the city of Tulum. The idea is to have this be a series of Arkade destinations. You know,Chicago, Minneapolis, whatever. Tulum is very kind of like cool sounding. I’ve got a few original tracks on there and I just called up all the producers and people that I’m really feeling.
Fellow Arkade dudes?
Arkade dudes, outside of Arkade, some new artists, some guys that I just have been kind of bubbling up. You’ll just have to wait and see for that!
Finally, red or green on your tacos?
Totally depends on the place! I typically choose whatever is hotter.
Oh ok so you’re a red guy?!
No, no! At my local spot the green is hotter! I go for the spicier of the two, depending on where you are.
Huge thanks to Kaskade for taking the time to talk with me! I'd also like to thank the X Games, ESPN, SIM Shows, The Armory and Strykerfoto for the helping make this all possible.