Kaskade promotes Utah artists

Debra Fotheringham performs at the Provo Rooftop Concert Series. Fotheringham is one of many local artists to catch Kaskade's attention. She provided the vocals for the last track of Kaskade's latest album, "Atmosphere." (Justin Hackworth)
Debra Fotheringham performs at the Provo Rooftop Concert Series. Fotheringham is one of many local artists to catch Kaskade’s attention. She provided the vocals for the last track of Kaskade’s latest album, “Atmosphere.” (Justin Hackworth)

Ryan Raddon started DJing at BYU in 1989, long before he reached a net worth of $20 million under his stage name, Kaskade. He is now based in Los Angeles, but keeps in touch with the Provo music scene by featuring Utah artists in his songs.

Raddon most recently collaborated with The Brocks, a Provo-based alternative-indie band. He presented their final product at the 2014 Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) in front of more than 100,000 people. The Brocks’ band members didn’t attend the carnival in person but did get to watch it via a live stream.

“It was a really surreal and humbling experience seeing so many people lose their minds to something we’ve been working on so long,” said band member Morgan Ence. “It was such an honor to do this collaboration, and we feel really humbled about the energy, expertise and resources everyone put behind it.”

Grant Brock, one of The Brocks’ founders, created a demo called “Summer Nights” that caught Raddon’s attention for the score he was composing for a  documentary called “Under the Electric Sky.” The documentary tells about the EDC, a music festival that brings in more than 300,000 people over a three-day period.

Kaskade is more than Raddon’s stage name. It is a team made up of Raddon and his producers. Finn Bjarnson and Nate Pyfer both live in Pleasant Grove, so the team flies back and forth and also uses the Internet to communicate. Raddon, Bjarnson and Pyfer met with members of The Brocks to rewrite and reproduce the demo to turn it into the main track for the film.

“The song was written and recorded in a way that traverses genres and lets the best of Kaskade and The Brocks shine through,” Ence said. “The sheer magnitude of the people we were getting to work with was unlike anything we’d experienced as a band up to that point.”

Other local artists Kaskade has featured include Adam Klopp, Debra Fotheringham, Mindy Gledhill, Marcus Bentley and even Neon Trees.

Kaskade collaborated with Adam Klopp in his 2014 Redux EP, “Please Say You Will.” Klopp, a former BYU student, is the lead singer for Bat Manors, a folk-core band based in Provo. Pyfer contacted Klopp online and asked him to come in to work with them.

“It was just unique … it’s a different experience to meet people for the first time and be writing a song with them,” Klopp said. “It was cool.”

Raddon, Pyfer and Bjarnson already had a beat in mind, and Klopp had bits of lyrics and a melody prepared. They riffed together until they came up with the final product. This was Klopp’s first time working with a professional artist.

Fotheringham, an indie singer and songwriter from American Fork, has worked with Raddon on two different occasions. She provided the vocals for Kaskade’s 2006 hit song, “Samba Love,” and again in 2013 for “How It Is.” They spent three to four hours working on each song together.

“They’re very particular about vocal influctions and the way I sing things,” Fotheringham said. “They know what they want out of the song, and as many takes as it takes to get it, they know what they’re looking for.”

Raddon’s and his team’s choice of vocalists and the time they spend lead to their image as perfectionists. Raddon may be a perfectionist when it comes to recording music, but he personally exhibits a relaxed nature.

“He’s just a really chill guy, but you can tell he has a big vision for his projects and what he wants to accomplish with each project,” Fotheringham said. “It’s fun to be a part of it.”

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