This past Saturday, May 7th 2016, Kaskade played what he described as the “best show of (his) life” at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The sold-out night was the biggest EDM event in the Convention Center’s history, and reportedly the artist’s biggest solo show of his career with roughly 20,000 fans turning up at the Downtown Los Angeles venue.
It now appears, however, that the entire set may have been completely pre-planned. A sheet of paper began to make the rounds on Facebook early Monday morning, allegedly containing the show’s entire set list with each track timed to the exact second and video/lighting instructions to match each of the songs on it.
Admittedly, there is no concrete proof that the sheet formed an actual map used on the night of his show. However, a review of a video posted on YouTube by user “God Hands” seems to confirm the possibility that the set was at best completely pre-planned. The 2 hour and 17 minute video shows the entirety of Kaskade’s performance for the night (minus a couple of short blackouts where the user changed battery and memory card), and after a thorough review it seems to match the set list on the sheet circulated on Facebook. It seems safe to conclude that either someone photographed the sheet backstage or they went through the trouble of creating it to give the impression that Kaskade’s set was completely pre-planned.
If the sheet is what it appears to be, a mapped out sequence of tracks that Kaskade played that night detailed to the exact second, it is entirely possible that the set was not only pre-planned but also pre-recorded. It would otherwise make little sense for the meticulous details of the exact second each track was set to start and finish.
The subject has been debated almost ad nauseam in the past. While the consensus is that pre-recorded sets are not acceptable under any circumstance, is it ok to pre-plan an entire set in order to provide an exact and mapped out sequence of visual production? Artists such as Armin van Buuren and Eric Prydz have in the past explained that despite running massive stage productions, it is not necessary to pre-plan a set. They have specified that the need for extensive visual production shouldn’t take the human element away from the art of DJing. Below is a video of Armin explaining his live DJ set-up and how he is able to maintain his DJ integrity without needing to pre-plan a set.
Is it correct for a DJ to sacrifice actual deejaying, live mixing and track selection based on the reading of his crowd in order to deliver complicate visuals? I will leave it up to you to compare the track list and video posted above, and to come to your own conclusion. People’s opinions on the matter differ and there is obviously no question that those who attended the show had a a blast and went in it knowing that they were getting a full package of an elaborate audio/visual show of Kaskade’s own work.
It is obvious that an element of set-up and pre-planning is needed with regards to video content syncing and elaborate large stage set-ups. This article simply attempts to raise the question of whether a completely pre-planned set, if that is what it was, is ok or not. Or whether it is only acceptable under certain circumstances. Is it possible that we have also become so used to seeing this in today’s main stage electronic music world that our mind is completely desensitized to it?
Let us know what you think.