Mick Kastenholt, also known by his stage name, Kaaze is a Swedish electronic dance music producer, DJ, and songwriter. In his childhood years, he didn’t listen to music like regular people to such divergent influences like Whitesnake and Earth, Wind and Fire, he began playing piano and drums at an early age. Upon moving to Stockholm, he was dropped out of school and retreated into his studio to adopt a hermit’s lifestyle for nearly a year and a half, producing 24/7 and sharing his musical output with no one. What emerged was a demo that caught the attention of Kaaze’s idol Tiësto and changed everything for him in the span of a season. The two met for the first time in Stockholm two weeks later, and Kaaze accompanied the Dutch superstar to his gig at Summerburst Festival. The Swedish producer began sending daily demos to his newfound musical mentor, solidifying a melodic progressive sound that draws upon his 80s disco and glam rock roots. Following a summer full of musical exchange, Kaaze received the formal offer to sign with Tiësto’s Red Light Management group and embarked on an eye-opening tour of New York and Tiësto’s Hakkasan residency in Las Vegas.
How did you go about developing your own progressive house and electro groove sound when you first started out?
I truly believe that the best inspiration and references for a producer are hiding outside the EDM industry. It also comes very natural to me since I grew up in a musical family as my father is the lead singer of his rock band. He had already taught me how to play the Piano, Drums and Guitar by the time I was two years old. In the end, the most important thing is to work really hard and have a strong sense of discipline. I’ve been in the studio every day for fourteen years now and I even dropped out of school to fulfill my goals and dreams. Dropping out normally isn’t the smartest decision, but luckily it worked out for me.
Making a living from music is no easy task in this day and age. How do you strike a balance between doing shows and spending time in the studio to avoid burnout?
That’s the benefit about having a strong wife by your side. I can easily fall into these workaholic periods where I take way far fewer breaks in between shows and the studio. Samantha helps me perfectly balance my health and work, and I love her so much for that! In the end, it’s not easy being married to an artist, but she’s my Wonder Woman!
Watching a few of your highlights, I couldn’t help but notice the extensive tattoos along your arm. What are some of the stories behind them and do you have any plans to get more?
I blame my father for falling in love with tattoos! When I was around five years old, he took me with him when he got his very first tattoo. Ever since that day, I told myself that I would get tattoos like my father one day. Today, both of us have our whole bodies almost entirely covered in ink. I have a little bit skin on my right arm to left to cover, but I’m getting there!
Where do you plan on going next with your sound and KAAZE brand in 2019?
I’m so excited for this year, more than ever actually! I’ve already started the year with my latest single, “Better Than This” featuring Chad Kowal. My main goal with that song was to create the perfect balance between a radio hit and an energetic festival track; we really tried to capture the best of both worlds with the track. Looking forward, we have so much music scheduled with the next one coming right around the corner from now. I will also be releasing some music that has a completely new sound from what people are used to hearing from me, so I’m super excited to share those tracks with everyone. My long awaited “KAAZE Merch” is also in the process right now. It is taking a lot of time because I’m extremely picky and I want my Merch Collection to be unique and top quality. We have worked on it for almost a year now, but we’re getting there finally! I’m also working on a couple of big collaborations for this year but that’s all I can say about that for now.
How do the songs come together to form a cohesive EP? Is there a uniting theme?
I wanted to make an EP that represented me as a producer and what I stand for. There is no theme picture behind it, it’s more of a showcase, therefore I named it ShowKaaze.
On Spotify, the Orchestra Mix of ShowKaaze concludes the EP. Can you talk about including that and showcasing a different side to your productions?
I really enjoy making orchestral sounds and I wanted to show people that side of me as well. I also wanted to give people the option of using it as maybe an intro for their sets or something like that. Revealed & I added that track kind of like a bonus to the EP!
What track on your EP has been your favorite to play live? Have any elicited a particularly strong reaction?
I’m very happy and proud of all of the songs on the EP, but my personal favorite is “Freedom.” The song has a big meaning and a lot of feelings behind it. That’s why I decided to make a music video for that song! “Freedom” is also the most popular song of the EP, and that makes me really happy because that’s the song that represents my personal sound the most!
Lastly, when you look back on what you’ve already accomplished and the tours you’ve completed, what brings you the most happiness when you think about your life so far?
There’s a lot of things that I’m proud of but the things in my career that I’m most proud of is keeping Mick happy and not only focusing on KAAZE. When I’m happy as Mick, it pushes my KAAZE brand further to reach new goals and dreams. I have a very hard time turning off everything that has to do with music and sometimes it stresses me out when it all gets to be too much. So it’s very important to take care of yourself and your family as much as you take care of your brand. 50/50 = Double Power.