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Up Close & Personal With Steve Aoki & Kaskade

This past week on September 25th, Steve Aoki & Kaskade showed up to the Los Angeles Film school for an up close and personal Q & A session for Grammy U students. The event was streamed online through Google+ Hangout for those who were unable to attend. Students from San Francisco as well as Chicago were logged in to view the event online live as we all did in the theater. Robin Nixon the event moderator then introduced Steve Aoki and Kaskade into the theater and went straight into the Q & A. Click through the break for the full story.

Both of you are very good and successful producers. How would you say your path into producing began?

Steve Aoki: I started as a duo called Weird Science. I really learned a lot from my production parter Blake Miller. I later got into my own production. I started to mature in producing when I worked with other producers and learning their different ways at looking at a song structure and their different mind frames of producing. Going in the studio with Laidback Luke, or Afrojack, or Tiesto are the last collabs I’ve done have expanded the way I produce. It took me like 3 years to finish one album. I would restart a song 6 months later. It really was a struggle to finish everyone but when I started to work with other people it helped me find closure.

The leap from music fan and performer into producing. How did that happen?

Kaskade: I started slowing buying pieces of gear. 909, 808, and then I started wrapping my head around people were making the sounds.For me it made a lot of sense as I was never a team player. I was a skateboarder and I loved sitting alone. I could sit here on the sampler and I could program for hours and have a good time. When pro tools announced Sound Design two it was a big deal for me. I leveraged every card I had to get a 7100 mac from the student book store. It was like 2,000 dollars and was like I’m going to hell and I’m never going to get out of debt but I’m going to make records dammit.

Can you share with us what your studio looks like now?

Kaskade: I just moved into a new studio so this is great. For me in the beginning it was a bunch of boxes. Everything that I could get my hands on. Fast foward. I moved to San Francisco and looked for an apartment and said okay he is an apartment I can afford and here is all my gear. This is the time Reason came out and the stuff in Reason sounded pretty convincing at the time. This is freaking crazy. This is going for 2,000 dollars at the time and I can’t eat. Maybe I should sell my gear. I tried to convince my wife, no its cool we don’t need a front room. We can make it a studio and sleep on a futon. I sold a lot of that stuff and went more into the digital side of things.

Steve Aoki: First thing was a Juno 106 and I was working out the Dim Mak office. We worked out of there and we moved offices to Hollywood. I didn’t go the Pro Tools route. When I moved into my house I turned one room into a studio. That’s when I switched over from Abelton to Logic. My set up is pretty simple. I use a midi keyboard and Logic.

Do you do your own tweets?

Steve Aoki: I’ve done every single tweet except the last one.

Kaskade: I do 99.9% of my own tweets and If you follow me on Twitter it’s very obvious that I do my own tweets.

What advice or inspiration would you give to those listing out there?

Kaskade: If you truly love what you are doing then continue to do it and push yourself. Learn more and go in other session and learn what others are doing and take that home. For me it’s been a slow and steady climb to where I am at but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I knew I was doing what I loved so it wasn’t really a sacrifice. Do it and keep doing it.

Steve Aoki:  I 100% agree it’s all about what defines you as a person and bringing that out. We all come from different places and different life experiences and bringing that out. If you want to do experimental noise then be the best at experimental noise. If you wanna be a progressive house artist then do that. It’s what drives you that will make you become the best.

What do you think of the term “EDM”?

Kaskade: There are a million different genres in the world and I think it’s cool that someone came up with the term EDM. Now when newspapers ask me I can say, “I make EDM man.”

Note: Some answers may be paraphrased.

For more on Steve Aoki & Kaskade check out their websites.

Matt Flaherty
Founder of Drop The Beatz

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