Hardwell took a good bit of heat on Twitter from some members of the Swedish House Mafia a few weeks ago for releasing another one of his signature ‘bootleg packs‘ with unauthorized use of one of their tracks. Despite his swift apology and promise to take down the track in question, it has definitely started an interesting conversation in the dance community. Now, Kaskade has penned an eloquent response to the situation on his Tumblr page, reminding people that “the politicking of a mash up is nothing new.”
Similar to Hardwell, Kaskade is another DJ known for his impressive ‘mashup’ or ‘bootleg’ creations in his DJ sets, and he points out that “as producers become DJ’s and DJ’s become producers, much of the work of live shows is now taking place before the show.” To Kaskade, when you completely re-work a track, add in a vocal, and switch things around, “it’s a new thing, made up of the DNA of songs that already exist, directed by one, but manufactured by many.”
While he loves dropping these innovative selections in livesets and tweaking things here and there, he notes that even though not everyone can make it to all of his shows, he does want everyone to hear all of his music. But this is where things start to get questionable. “I don’t need to keep these things tucked under my pillow,” he says.
“I speak only for myself when I say the mash ups I put up are strictly for pleasure.”
The part where Kaskade really hits the nail on the head is when he says that “the devil is in the details, and comes down to intent.” Is a DJ trying to get something in return for a free download — Facebook Likes, Twitter followers, or even straight up cash? For Kaskade, the answer is no, and he even reminds people that most tracks he releases as free mashups are “a combination of songs that have been washed, rinsed, and repeated enough that they’d be in the DNR pile for most DJs.” He also says that he gives credit to all artists involved, and says that in an age where “very few people actually buy music any more… my mash up is not going to be detrimental to anyone’s financial statement.”
“The truth is that very few people actually buy music anymore. So the landscape of being a musician has changed.”
Of course, Kaskade is quick to mention that “hip hop has been having this conversation since its inception,” and that “not everyone is on board with this approach.” Still, at the end of the day, Kaskade’s number one priority is to entertain the audience, and he notes that you take a risk any time you release anything online nowadays. “Some buster could come along and hack a song to bits,” he reminds us, before adding that “this is the risk we take when we release a song.” He urges the community to “put our faith in the DJs” and to focus our attention on other matters instead.
Kaskade Mashup Mondays — the hashtag we’ve so affectionately come to know as ‘#KMM’ — may be no more, and that’s unfortunate for music lovers. But as far as Kaskade is concerned: “we keep going forward. Work on the next, and trust the audience. If the track has slap, just move.”