Kaskade weighs in on “politicking” of mash-ups

A few weeks back, Dutch gun Hardwell found himself unwittingly attracting the ire of Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso over the touchy topic of bootlegs. Hardwell promised fans a free bootleg pack, including Swedish House Mafia material, if he reached 300,000 fans on Facebook, which Ingrosso called “the lowest [ploy] I’ve seen”. The young DJ/producer hastily retracted the offending bootlegs, but the conversation has rolled on. In a post on his tumblr entitled ‘Politicking of a Mash-Up’, U.S. superstar and avowed bootleg fan Kaskade has weighed in on the touchy topic of giving away music that isn’t unequivocally your own.

“The politicking of a mash up is nothing new,” he writes. “Hip hop has been having this conversation since its inception. Sampling other people’s work comes with a price. And it makes sense on one hand – why wouldn’t you compensate someone who created something you’re using? A writer can’t just plagiarise another writer and call it inspiration. An artist can’t cut and paste other artwork and claim it as their own. Why would the rules in music be any different? Calling it a mash up, a tribute, a homage or a remix: does it even matter? I can tell you that it does. But the devil is in the details, and comes down to intent.” The full post, which touches on Kaskade’s own approach to mash-ups and how it’s impossible to prevent your work being “abused”, is worth delving into.

Speaking to inthemix after he was announced on the 2013 Boiler Room line-up for Big Day Out, Kaskade touched on why he’s inclined towards mash-ups. “I wish I had time to go back and remix It’s You, It’s Me, What I Say and all these old classics [of mine],” he told us. “Playing the originals ten years later, sonically and stylistically they just don’t stand up. They don’t make a lot of sense in my sets. So the mash-up has been a cool and interesting way of going, ‘This is a cool instrumental track, and it works so well with my vocal.’”

As he writes on his tumblr: “The truth is that very few people actually buy music anymore. So the landscape of being a musician has changed. My mash up is not going to be detrimental to anyone’s financial statement. In fact, it’s me doing my part to help recycle. Organic Eco-Green, Cruelty-Free DJing, you heard it here first.” What’s your take on it all?