Some albums are worth the wait. When Kaskade and deadmau5 first partnered on their 2008 smash “I Remember,” the pair were leading names in the rapidly expanding electronic music scene that enraptured a generation of music lovers across America.
14 years, three presidents and one pandemic later, the duo has formalized their occasional collaborations and long-running friendship into an official project, Kx5, with a self-titled album that carries on the genre-defining spirit of their early work with the additional excellence that comes from a decade and a half of studio and onstage experience for each.
“We’re seasoned! That’s a nice way to put it,” says Kaskade (Ryan Raddon). “So I think we both feel comfortable trying on different things.”
Those “different things” are evident in the evolving sound of Kx5 since the project was announced in March 2022 with the release of “Escape.” The debut single carried on the tradition of sleek melodic house music first heard on “I Remember” (and its follow-up “Move For Me”), securing significant Top 40 radio play (the first for either artist) and further delighting fans old and new with remixes from John Summit, Subtronics, LP Giobbi, Spencer Brown and LoKii.
However it was just the starting point for months of sonic exploration that resulted in tougher-sounding songs like “Alive,” with its galloping beat, triumphant synth swells and yearning vocals by The Moth & The Flame (TMTF), “Avalanche” with its dizzying acid line, and “Unobsidian,” with its laser sharp melody and muscular breakdown.
Then there’s “Take Me High,” which also made its debut during Kx5’s monumental EDC Las Vegas set this past turn. As the powerhouse club-leaning followup to the duo’s release, “Escape,” this moment has been reserved for those who worship the dance floor. A stomper that features a soaring house vocal sample perfectly timed for the current revival (nodded to recently by Drake and Beyonce). “Take Me High” is a perfect homage to the history of dance music by two of the music’s lifers.
“I’d say we’re 30% on our way to finding our sound,” says deadmau5 (Joel Zimmerman) in his famously self-deprecating style. “As we spend more time working together, we’ve got closer to nailing it. But then again, I don’t want to lock it down too much, like, ‘Now I’m just 50% of EDM’s coolest boy band, or whatever.’”
Jokes aside, Kx5 has already established their ability to draw crowds as large as the biggest stars on the charts today. The duo’s first performance at Electric Daisy Carnival last May packed out the Circuit Grounds stage beyond capacity, while the pair’s December 2022 headlining gig at the iconic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum smashed records (the show broke records landing it as the largest single-day concert event headlined by an electronic music artist ever in North America per Pollstar with Billboard confirming Kx5 at the Coliseum as the biggest ticketed global headliner dance event of 2022), proving their popularity outside of dance music’s biggest festival.
The show also marks a full circle moment for deadmau5 and Kaskade, who last performed individually at the venue during Electric Daisy Carnival 2010 — the final EDC in Los Angeles before it moved to Vegas. “I Remember” as one of EDC 2010’s biggest tunes, played dozens of times over the weekend. More than a decade later, the two producers now have an entire album of tunes ready to be remembered.
“We did something, it hit a nerve. It was a moment in time,” says Kaskade of their original hit before returning to the present. “Now, you can hear two seasoned producers maturing together and deciding their next step.”