From 12 to 12,000 in Provo: "Kaskade" returns to hometown

Ben Sonne, University of California, performer Kaskade and Luke Sonne, contributing writer, before Kaskade's performance at the Downtown Provo Rooftop Concert Series.  Photos by Luke Sonne

Ben Sonne, University of California, performer Kaskade and Luke Sonne, contributing writer, before Kaskade's performance at the Downtown Provo Rooftop Concert Series.  Photos by Luke Sonne

In 1992, after serving a two-year mission in Japan for the Mormon church, Ryan Raddon (who goes by Kaskade), performed in a little known club in Provo, Utah. Only about 12 people showed up.

But Friday, Sept. 4, Kaskade played a show in downtown Provo and 12,000 people attended. The concert was hosted by downtown Provo’s Rooftop Concert Series and was a free show to the public.

Yes, Kaskade is now playing at huge venues like EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival), Las Vegas and Coachella, but this was not always the case for him. He started out as a struggling artist like most great performers.

After finishing his degree in communication at the University of Utah, he started DJing at Club Manhattan in Salt Lake City. Later, he got a job at OM Records, which is a record label for house music in San Francisco.

While working at OM Records as an assistant to the founder of the company, Chris Smith, he would slip his music, under the name Kaskade, into the demos.

Kaskade at his performance in Provo on Sept. 4. 

Kaskade at his performance in Provo on Sept. 4. 

In 2006, Kaskade left OM Records and joined Ultra Records, where his career took off. He started producing world famous songs like “I Remember,” “Angel on My Shoulder,” “Lick It” and more.

He even started to collaborate with big name DJs deadmau5 and Skrillex. Kaskade even received mainstream recognition by being nominated for a Grammy for best dance/electronic album in 2013.

During the Provo Rooftop Concert Series, Kaskade believed the materials provided were not enough for his caliber show.

Kaskade brought much of his own sound system, screen and other necessities to deliver a show worthy of his name. And did he ever.

While starting with some of his classic songs “Eyes” and “Atmosphere,” he energized the crowd of 12,000 plus fans and created an atmosphere worthy of any great EDM show. Even though the show was great, the venue was underprepared for the amount of fans who showed up.

On three separate occasions, the stage manager asked Kaskade to tell the crowd to back up because there were people being pushed up against the front gate, creating a safety and security hazard. Security, unfortunately, had to pull people over the gate and then escort them back to the general public.

But despite this issue, Kaskade continued to rock the crowd with his remix of Galantis’s song “Runaway.”

While many dedicated fans of EDM would not be surprised that a DJ would play another artist’s song, most people would be.

Many EDM DJs play a lot of their own songs throughout their set; they also play other EDM songs, too.

Once Kaskade performed for crowds as small as 12 people. But on Friday, Sept. 4, his show in Provo turned out 12,000 people. 

Once Kaskade performed for crowds as small as 12 people. But on Friday, Sept. 4, his show in Provo turned out 12,000 people. 

However, Kaskade is known for playing a majority of his own songs throughout his set, mainly because of the plethora of great songs he has created.

As Kaskade continued to play his set, interweaving some of his new songs like “We Don’t Stop” and “Disarm You,” a family friend of Kaskade noticed something interesting. He then asked Naomi Raddon, Kaskade’s wife, if he always plays barefoot.

“Yes, he does. Always,” Raddon said.

During the concert, Kaskade then shouted to the crowd, “My music is about love and happiness!”

Clearly, Kaskade finds fulfillment in his art and fans can sense his devotion to his craft. He has always been known as an engaging DJ and enjoys sharing his music with his fans.

He is not only one of the most successful DJs ever, but also one of the most loved. To finish off his great set in Provo, Kaskade remixed his most popular and respected song, “I Remember.”

And for me, being to be able to be backstage and see all of his family, friends and fans that night, I know it was a show everyone will remember.

Kaskade is now set to drop his new album, “Automatic,” on Sept. 25 and commence his tour on Oct. 1.