Night life

Kaskade returns to the Las Vegas Strip, forging ahead with fresh sounds

When Las Vegas last saw Kaskade, he was punctuating the summer’s comeback with a surprising Electric Daisy Carnival set, spinning classic techno and house. He’s back to pump up CES week with a gig at Omnia, having returned to Hakkasan Group venues last year following his 2019 residency at KAOS at the Palms. Now, after a year that saw him return to the road for some epic events like the first concert at LA’s new SoFi Stadium, the influential DJ and producer says he’s focused on the future and putting out a lot of new music.

What was it like to come back for EDC and how did you decide to do what you did with that set? I think EDC is so massive with so many people, it can already be overwhelming, but to be back for that event and to see all these old friends and hang out in the artists’ lounge … I haven’t seen Eric Prydz in two years. All the COVID protocols went out the door, and it was bear hugs all around.

What I discovered when I was back on the road playing all those shows leading up to EDC is that during the lockdown, I was in the studio, still working and writing music, so for the first shows I was sort of pummeling everyone with all this new music. I felt like I was overshooting, because I was just so excited to be back. Once we got into a rhythm, it was like everyone wants to hear the jams, familiar stuff, and when I start playing that, the energy is through the roof. So it was a ton of nostalgia and classic tracks, and by the time I got to EDC, I felt the need to turn the page … and go into some new space. The majority of people enjoyed it, but I think I caught a lot of people by surprise.

Do you feel like you’re still in that forward-looking mindset now, musically speaking? I was thinking about how we roll all of it together as, for lack of a better term, the sound of EDM, and I think we’ve turned the corner. There’s a lot of different things out there. The sound has been maturing in the underground for a while now since it first rose to a more prominent space in popularity and had that moment where it crossed over with the likes of David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia and other acts. There’s just something about electronic music that makes it so forward-leaning, so this is just bound to happen, it can’t stay in one space for too long. The nature of the genre is to plow forward, and right when you think you have a handle on it and it’s in a comfortable spot, it’s already moved on.

I suppose you played around with that progressive approach by revisiting your Fire & Ice album on its 10th anniversary. I started out [redoing the album] as a mashup and then realized, this is stupid, because I’m having a show to celebrate the originality of this record and I should be playing it in its original form. Then I thought, what if I re-recorded this thing? It didn’t start out as a big thing; I just phoned a few friends and asked, “Could you come over and sing this?” Everyone we reached out to was into it, and it turned into a fun way to reapproach the old catalog.

What kind of output can we expect this year? I’m just starting to work on a new album, and when I say that, that’s literally me speaking it into existence. It’s been a while since I’ve had a new album come out, so that’s my biggest priority, and there will probably be an EP in the first or second quarter. I have other big stuff on the horizon, a whole new project I’m in that I’m actually not prepared to talk about, but coming out of [the pandemic] I’m more devoted and focused on doing the stuff I really, truly love. It sounds a little ridiculous coming from my mouth, someone who makes a living doing what I love, but sometimes I love it so much it’s easy to say yes to everything and then I get caught up spinning my wheels.

KASKADE January 7, 10:30 p.m., $30-$50. Omnia, 702-212-8804, hakkasangroup.com.

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