Producer, DJ, and songwriter talks Christmas album and upcoming San Diego show to wrap up 2018.
Producer, DJ, and songwriter Kaskade (aka Ryan Raddon) has long been known for his ability to keep the party going. The L.A.-based, seven-time Grammy nominee has headlined Coachella and Lollapalooza, collaborated with fellow DJs such as deadmau5 and Skrillex, and counts Imagine Dragons, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, and Lady Gaga among the long list of artists he’s officially remixed.
However, in the last few years, he’s woven his trademark brand of house music into the holidays as well.
In 2017, Raddon released Kaskade Christmas, a 13-track collection of new takes on time-honored classics like Winter Wonderland, Deck the Halls and Silent Night.
Featuring guest vocalists Skylar Grey, Ilsey, Late Night Alumni, Dia Frampton, and more, Raddon himself took the lead on a pair of the album’s songs.
But what could have made the longtime beat maker decide to officially inject the season of goodwill with a new groove fifteen years into his career?
“It’s impossible to point to the moment when the idea came up,” said Raddon. “I’ve been creating Christmas music for decades and it’s lived on SoundCloud or on my hard drive. All my life I’ve been one of those guys who just loved the feeling of holiday music, what it evokes. It was bound to happen. I just had to find the right time.”
If last year was the right time, then the feeling hasn’t worn off just yet. In November, the superstar DJ released a deluxe edition of his Christmas album, complete with four new tracks.
Among the latest editions is a reworking of Jingle Bells, one of the holy grails of holiday music. Featuring vocals from a finalist on Canada’s version of The Voice, Soran Dussaigne, Raddon enjoyed the idea of tackling such a beloved favorite.
“Nothing is off-limits,” he said. “I don’t think any type of music is too precious to play with. It’s not an art form that can be broken. When David Bowie and Bing Crosby got together for Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy, that was just iconic and could probably never be touched. But I’m happy to see new takes on what we consider holiday or Christmas music. If it’s good, people should be able to listen to it in July and still get those feels. That’s what I go for.”
And there’s no reason why he won’t be going for it again. Raddon has been pleasantly surprised by the reception his newly themed albums have received, and has thoroughly enjoyed seeing the music reach listeners beyond his hard-earned EDM base. “I can’t imagine stopping now,” he said.
But what about those legions of fans who are waiting to go crazy for the next Kaskade banger? Will they be forced to wait until the producer gets all Grinch-y and abandons his newfound niche? Hardly.
Sun Soaked, Raddon’s own beach party event near his Santa Monica home, drew nearly 32,000 attendees in its second iteration last year. And the DJ has big plans for the next one in 2019. He also has some new, non-Christmas collaborations in the hopper, ready for release.
Until then, it’ll be headlining one night at the upcoming three-day OMFG! NYE party in San Diego alongside Porter Robinson and Illenium, as well as the third year of headlining the New Year’s Eve show at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco by himself.
As Raddon prepares for another year of making music and playing to legions of fans all over the globe, there is really only one important question left for him to answer: Do you play your own Christmas album at home during the holidays?
“My house is a place where a multitude of music is played,” he said. “It is constant. During the holidays, there is definitely that theme being weaved in and out of our regular individual programming, and I would love to believe that my album is being played, at least, on my wife’s iPhone. Though it’s probably better for everyone that I don’t verify that.”
OMFG! NYE 2019
When: 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Dec. 29-31 (Kaskade Dec. 29)
Where: Pechanga Arena (formerly Valley View Casino Center), 3500 Sports Arena Blvd., Point Loma