Mark Owens
Kaskade

Ryan Raddon is better known by his professional name, Kaskade.

A night-club DJ who has toured the world and made No. 1-charting dance-versions of songs by Justin Timberlake, Seal, Nelly Furtado, LeAnn Rimes and Britney Spears, he's proud of his ties to Utah.

Kaskade attended BYU and served an LDS Church mission in Japan before returning to Utah and finishing his college career at the University of Utah.

During his college years in the '90s, Kaskade made a name DJ-ing locally. He moved to San Francisco in 2000 to continue his music career.

"I graduated the U. with a degree in communications," he said by phone from Miami, where he was attending the Winter Music Conference.

"But I was already making some good money with my DJ-ing gigs. And I made the decision to continue my career in music, rather than get a quote-unquote real job."

Kaskade grew up in Chicago and had older brothers who attended BYU.

"When they would come back from college on breaks during the '80s, they would bring back stuff like the Cure, Morrissey — all that British new wave stuff," said Kaskade. "And I got into that music."

Around that time, the Chicago underground beats were tapping into the mainstream. "And I would listen to the Hit Mix 5 that was on the radio in Chicago.

"I've always had a passion for music," said Kaskade. "But I never saw me as a musician for a living. I never thought that I could make a living. It never dawned on me."

As a student at the U., Kaskade began his DJ career in earnest.

"I also had a radio show at KUTE," he said. "And I used a lot of my own music."

In 2002, Kaskade released his first remix CD, "Sounds of Om 3," and a year later he unleashed his first original CD, "It's You, It's Me." Last week, Kaskade released his fifth remix album.

"I decided on the title 'The Grand' because throughout my career, my music has become bigger in sound with each release."

Unlike other remix releases, the DJ decided to revisit his own works.

"I wanted people who have not seen or heard of me to get a taste of what I do at my live shows," he said. "These are the types of things I do in a night club."

Deciding to do a mix album wasn't hard, said Kaskade. The hard part was deciding on the music.

"I actually had a wish list that was nearing 100 songs that I wanted to mix," he said. "And with artists who are well-known, such as Seal, Justin Timberlake, there is a lot of politics that have to be waded through in order for me to get permission to remix. So I found that using mostly my own songs helped decide the track listing."

Kaskade cut and whittled the list to 18 and began working from there.

"It's interesting going back to previous songs because there are different things I can do with them — namely give them a new perspective."

He also wanted to give the songs new life that would last through the years.

"Dance music will always be around," he said. "People around the world love to dance. And since dancing is not going away soon, I wanted to make a mix album that had timeless tunes on it."

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