Given the month producer/DJ Kaskade is having, Christmas can only be a letdown.
After the successful release of his Atmosphere album, selling out Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn, nabbing his second exclusive Vegas engagement of 2013 at XS and now nabbing DJ Times magazine’s America’s Best DJ award—which he received October 13 at Marquee Nightclub—what else could the man born Ryan Raddon ask for? A gold-plated mixer?
Done! That’s his Best DJ prize, actually—and his second, as Kaskade won the apparently fully functional gong in 2011, too. “I’ve used it for a show before!” he said inside Marquee’s Library room, after taking pics and FaceTiming (!) with fans. “It 100 percent works.”
The win means a lot to Kaskade, not just because regular music fans voted him numero uno, but because it shines a light on American DJs. Even as the U.S. has its electronic dance music moment, it’s largely the European beatmeisters—David Guetta, Afrojack, Tiesto, Calvin Harris, et al—that get most of the attention.
“I have been one of these guys who has been very vocal about cultivating homegrown artists,” he said. “People, especially nowadays, think of electronic music and they think Stockholm, Amsterdam, whatever, and I’m like, man, we’ve been doing this for a long time, and there’s a lot of great talent right here in America.”
Even the location of the award ceremony is symbolic, as Las Vegas has been ground zero for the so-called EDM movement. Kaskade famously focused his schedule here over the summer with his Marquee residency—which he said he’ll repeat in 2014—and has breathlessly proclaimed the Strip as a superior DJ playground.
The poll differs from DJ Mag’s Top 100 poll in that voters can choose five DJs, but only vote twice. Jim Tremayne, editor of DJ Times, said the pub logs the IP addresses of the online Facebook ballots—hard copies are only distributed and collected during their America’s Best DJ summer tour—so there’s no funny business.
“Especially in the last three years, [the poll has] gotten exponentially more popular, and I think people look forward to this,” Tremayne said. “We get a lot more social media interaction, people take it more seriously, the DJs promote it more now, and, yeah, it has a lot to do the popularity of the [America’s Best DJ] festivals and Las Vegas.”