Hakkasan Group announced today its first new resident artist for 2017: Grammy-nominated producer and DJ Kaskade. Known for selling out arenas, nightclub and concert venues and headlining the world’s biggest dance music festivals, Kaskade spoke first with Industry Weekly about his new Vegas residency, a multi-year deal which will see him perform at Omnia, Jewel, Hakkasan and Wet Republic, beginning December 30 at Omnia at Caesars Palace.
There are few DJs who can shake up the scene depending on where they play. What played into your decision to partner with Hakkasan Group for this new residency? We’re living in this time right now where there is no such thing as a bad club in Vegas. It just keeps getting better. I’ve been watching Hakkasan, and their take on Vegas is unique. They’ve established themselves as creative titans in a city full of creative giants. The Hakkasan Group invited me to join them and offered me a lot of freedom in the types of gigs I will play. It was impossible to say no. I will have the best of all worlds, and more importantly, will be able to offer the best of all worlds to my audience.
How do you feel about that first show, New Year’s Eve Weekend at Omnia? I’m like a kid on the eve of his birthday with this show. New Year’s Eve Weekend is always epic, no matter where you play. Add to that the fact that I’m going to be playing my first show at Omnia, and it’s elevated by about a thousand fold. I don’t really feel any pressure; it’s more like I’m waiting to open a big present that I’ve had to look at for the past year.
You’re headed to Europe this month. How different is your experience and approach performing in so many different cities around the world? I love playing in Europe, because it’s a completely different vibe than the U.S. It’s like cleansing your palate. The crowd in Europe is generally a little more reserved in the beginning, not that they don’t trust they’re going to have a good time, but they don’t mind making me work for their reaction a little bit. I don’t mind. Once I get their teeth cut on what I’m about, it’s a beautiful thing. Those shows take me back to those first days in my career, and those are days I like to visit.
You blogged recently in response to an LA Times story that focused on drug use at raves and festivals. At this point in your career do you feel the need to be a sort of spokesperson for the culture of your scene? I don’t really feel the need to speak up; I just genuinely care that my audience stays alive. It matters to me more than the music, more than the fame, more than anything. And in general in the entire world, substance abuse is a problem. We are not an exception; however it is not any more of a problem here than anywhere else. It’s unfair that it be framed that way and sometimes I just cannot read one more poorly researched article without wanting to shout, “Shut up!” Look, I’m 100 percent down to help end substance abuse. But it needs to be truthfully portrayed, and finding a truthful portrayal of drug use in electronic music is like finding a unicorn.
What’s next for you musically? I have a new studio, and it feels like my arm is cut off when I have to be away from it. That is to say, yes, new music is on the way, new collaborations, new directions. Kaskade at Omnia at Caesars Palace, December 30, tickets at kaskadevegas.com.