World renowned DJ and producer Kaskade will be making history tonight when he becomes the first EDM artist to headline the Staples Center. What's coincidental is the fact that Friday's show is the official one year anniversary of the Hollywood riot that broke out after the DJ tweeted an open invite to the masses to attend his pre-Electric Daisy Carnival film premiere set.
That simple tweet resulted in police firing rubber bullets into a crowd of thousands but, according to Kaskade, also proved the power of electronic music. In an interview with L.A. Weekly, Kaskade discusses the coincidence of the Staples Center show occurring on the anniversary of the riots, how his current Freaks of Nature Tour is his boldest move yet and why he considers electronic dance music to be “the new rock and roll.”
Congrats on headlining the Staples Center by yourself. Has it always been a dream for you to play there?
No. That's very anti-climatic [laughs]. I always just assumed this was going to be underground club music — that we'd be relegated to the back rooms and just kind of do our thing there and make noise and exist in this space that got cool credibility and some recognition. I never really imagined it going to this height and awareness. The last time I was in Los Angeles was almost two years ago and I did two nights at the Palladium and they both sold out pretty quickly so I was like, “Where do we go after this?” I like to do one show and put everything into it. I'm really excited and honored to be the first electronic guy to go in there and headline my own show.
What's the best thing about the Los Angeles EDM crowd?
There are a lot of people who really love the music and I truly believe that the enthusiasm about the music is higher than anywhere else in the world. I think that's why so many European DJs live over here now. I also think that since this has been in the underground for so long that a lot of different tastes have been able to develop — anything from drum and bass to dubstep to modern house music and electro. I feel like the scene is so big that it can support a lot of styles and flavors.
Did you plan your L.A. show to occur on the anniversary of the riots?
Actually, when we announced the date for the Staples Center, somebody tweeted back to me and announced that it is literally is the one year anniversary to the date of the riot. He said, “That is so amazing that you are able to plan it that way and get that date.” I was like, “Dude that is not planned. That is so nuts!” So then I started tweeting, “I did plan that!” Messing around with everybody. It was definitely not planned.
Last year, your performance at the premiere of the Electric Daisy Film Festival started a riot. Are you still feeling any of the repercussions from that?
Not really. It was kind of a bummer just because it put a little bit of a bad taste in everybody's mouth and I think that things could have been handled differently overall but to me it's one of those cool moments in electronic music when you look back over the history. Years ago, nobody would even pay attention to what we were doing. I'm just happy that EDM is getting the recognition that it has deserved for so long.
What impact do you think that the riot has had on your career and the EDM industry as a whole?
It made people stand up and pay attention. Who would have thought 5,000 or 6,000 people would have showed up? Tweeting out that you're doing a free show is not going to shut Hollywood Boulevard down. I think it's just a testament to how popular the music has become in the last two years. There is cool stuff happening in the underground and people need to pay attention. The bad stuff is that people always want to put new stuff in a box.
What can fans expect on your Freaks of Nature tour?
This is the biggest and boldest move I've ever made — just the distance I'm traveling and the amount of shows I'm doing. I'm doing over 50 cities in 10 weeks. I've put a lot of time and effort into what my show is — it's a full production. The difference is a lot of people see me at nightclubs because that is where I am typically performing. This is the closest thing to a concert. I worked to develop the stage and the content and the way it looks and feels. It's me really working to control all the elements. What you're seeing, hearing, feeling and making a total experience.
You've said electronic music is the new rock 'n' roll. Why is that exactly?
Rock 'n' roll or hip hop doesn't sound as fresh anymore. There is so much great talent in the underground and electronic music is finally getting the props that it's deserved for so long. I feel like now that everyone is discovering it and it's so fresh sounding to so many people. It doesn't get any more rock 'n' roll than playing EDC or the Staples Center. It's really madness. I'm still pleasantly surprised by it and I'm still taking it all in as it's been happening these last two to three years.
Kaskade plays the Staples Center tonight.