Update: September 1, 2023 — The first day of Electric Zoo 2023 during which Kaskade and deadmau5 were set to perform has now been canceled.
As the sun dips below the horizon and the lights of the city begin glittering tonight, electronic dance music superstar Kaskade will provide the soundtrack with a sunset set at Electric Zoo. Later tonight, Kaskade (Ryan Raddon) will join deadmau5 (Joel Zimmerman) for a headlining set with their duo called Kx5.
As the EDM megastars kick off the annual music festival held on Randalls Island from September 1-3, they're continuing the tour for their self-titled album, Kx5. A truly dynamic duo, the two have become one of the most in-demand acts in electronic music right now.
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After first partnering back in 2008 on their smash hit "I Remember," they recently formalized their collaboration with the official Kx5 project, which has garnered significant airplay and acclaim. Tonight, they'll take the stage for the first time together in NYC.
Kaskade answered Time Out New York's questions about the Kx5 collaboration (that's pronounced Kay-Five, not Kay-Ex-Five, by the way), why playing in NYC is so special and where he's going for a classic NYC dish.
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When you two collaborate, you create music magic (like "I Remember," "Move for Me" and "Beneath With Me"). How do your individual skills come together to complement one another?
Kaskade: Joel and I have a partnership that is the equivalent of sonic attack and decay. We each bring very different perspectives and strengths to music, and when you line them up it results in a beautiful arch—or a disastrous cadence that gets thrown around until it becomes something we both agree on. It’s the places where we aren’t the same where the magic lies.
Sending files back and forth isn't as antiseptic as people think. You’re receiving the way they think in the form of melody and sound engineering. It’s a very specific way of knowing a person.
What does the process of collaboration look like for you two? Are you meeting in person? Sending voice notes back and forth?
We can work in person and that’s fun but ultimately when we are both in our respective spaces, that’s the most productive. Sending files back and forth isn't as antiseptic as people think. You’re receiving the way they think in the form of melody and sound engineering. It’s a very specific way of knowing a person.
How did your collaboration begin?
I heard the song "Faxing Berlin" and thought, 'man…I've got to call this kid up and see if he wants to work together.' It was a very unique sound and I knew he had something to add to the musical conversation in the world.
You've been collaborating for several years now. Why did you decide to make the collaboration official with the creation of Kx5?
It was one of those COVID/quarantine babies. I had so much time and my family was wishing for an end to my experiments in the kitchen, so I returned to my studio and turns out Joel was turning to the same thing to get through the day. We both thought, well…we’ve talked about more collaborations, why not now? And so it began.
Is Electric Zoo the last show planned for Kx5? What's next for the duo?
It’s not the very last show, we have one more on the books in China and that will wrap up the Kx5 experiment for 2023. I've stopped trying to predict what’s next for myself and definitely for anything having to do with the schedule of another person so I can’t help you there. I'd say it's safe to say there will be more but what that looks like…you'd probably be better off consulting a Magic 8 ball.
Love us or hate us, we both are similar in our integrity of staying true to creating and playing music we like.
The Kx5 album includes a variety of different genres (from techno to melodic house to electro-pop). What inspired you to create a genre-defying album?
There's no way for either of us to stay in "our lane." If you ask 100 different people what I play or what deadmau5 plays, you’ll probably get 100 different descriptions. Love us or hate us, we both are similar in our integrity of staying true to creating and playing music we like. If someone needs to understand the genre so they know how to describe us, I understand that. But I'll never claim it. The album had to be genre-defying because we both defy any allegiance to any genre.
What do you like about playing in NYC?
The NYC audience is so savvy. They are typically a little less ride or die, they don’t mind making an artist work for their allegiance each time we show up. I always appreciate the opportunity to ask the NYC people to join me in a night that will lift us up and see what happens next.
What are you most looking forward to about performing at Electric Zoo?
Electric Zoo takes place when NYC is showing off her beautiful skyline in summer-to-fall weather. There's really no other magic like seeing the lights of New York after it gets dark and knowing you are there to be under the stars in that beautiful setting.
There's really no other magic like seeing the lights of New York after it gets dark and knowing you are there to be under the stars in that beautiful setting.
Let's say you have one day in NYC. Where are you going?
It doesn't even matter. The most gorgeous thing about NYC is that if you don't like where you are, walk five minutes in any direction and you’ve passed seven neighborhoods with 25 different cultural influences and if you can’t find something you like, the problem isn't the city, my friend.
Let's say you have time for one meal in NYC. What are you eating?
I'll keep it classy at Katz's Delicatessen or if they're busy, any bodega for a bacon, egg and cheese.