Cry and Dance to Kasbo’s Electronic Music
Experiencing a mixed medley of emotions? Let Swedish electronic producer KASBO guide you through your muddled journey.
If there’s one thing Kasbo excels in, it’s creating music that will have you question whether you should be crying in the corner or dancing your unpleasant feelings away. Picking up the guitar at the age of 11 and learning the skill of producing at 16, he incorporates ambient, guitar-driven influences with his style of future bass. Although his interest in music-making was piqued by a live instrument, he made the choice to pursue producing, saying, “It was nice not having to rely on other people for pursuing or writing music. With producing, I can sit 18 hours a day until 6 in the morning if I want to. It’s very liberating.”
Officially entering the electronic music scene two years after his introduction to producing, Kasbo released numerous singles before dropping his debut studio album Places We Know in March 2018. “[The album] is upbeat, emotional, organic, electronic. For me it just feels a lot more mature than what I used to do. It’s an extension of my roots,” he explains. With the album peaking at number 11 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart, he’s been having a blast on the road in support of the record. “[The tour] has been incredible. To hear people sing along to songs you’ve made in your bedroom is a feeling like no other I think every show is memorable in its own way; the energy is always so genuine, I’m taken back every time.”
As Kasbo continues to spread his own fusion of electronic music, he takes a minute off the decks to talk to us about the maturity of his sound, the rise or fall of EDM, and dance music that makes you want to cry.
How would you say your sound has changed since you first started making music as Kasbo?
More mature, less reliant on loud, in-your-face synth drops, and more on songwriting.
“I like it when music has an emotional impact on someone. I love the idea of contrasting that with dance music. It’s two completely different worlds, but somehow, it works.”
You’ve described your music as ‘dance music that makes you want to cry’. Could you expand a bit on that description?
I just feel like I always gravitate towards making music that’s pretty emotionally driven, whether that be happy, sad, anxious feelings, etc. I like it when music has an emotional impact on someone. I love the idea of contrasting that with dance music. It’s two completely different worlds, but somehow, it works.
Before Places We Don’t Know, you were mainly releasing singles and EPs. What made you decide to release a full-length album at that point in time?
I just kind of got tired of the message you could deliver with singles. With an album, you can give a nuanced world with several different feelings and avenues. And there’s so much room for you to be creative and explore sides you maybe haven’t before. That’s harder to do with singles because every single song has to represent you fully without deviations, whereas on an album, it’s rather the album as a whole that needs to fully represent you, but with the individual songs within the album, you are able to explore some new ground.
You’ve performed at both more intimate club shows as well as larger festivals like Coachella and Electric Forest. How would you compare the two show experiences, and do you prefer one over the other?
It’s fun playing at festivals cause there’s a lot of people at your shows that aren’t necessarily huge fans, so you kind of get a chance to win them over and make an impact on them that they maybe weren’t expecting. That’s really cool to me. But there’s also no feeling like playing a sold out show where everyone in the crowd is screaming the lyrics to your songs back at you in a smaller dark venue. There’s such a feeling of affinity, like everyone is a big huge family. I love that feeling.
“[EDM] is definitely coming back, most likely bigger than ever…It has a foundation of an underground scene in the States now which it didn’t before, so I feel it’s set up to make a big impact on the mainstream again in the next few years.”
You once said that you believe EDM is declining in popularity. What are your thoughts on the genre now?
Did I? [laughs] I can’t recall that. I think in Sweden, maybe electronic music isn’t where it was once at, but that’s cyclical. It’s definitely coming back, most likely bigger than ever. I’ve had a lot of talks about this with friends and I feel like house music is on its way up in a big way. It has a foundation of an underground scene in the States now which it didn’t before, so I feel it’s set up to make a big impact on the mainstream again in the next few years.
Written by Sophie Caraan
Interviewed by Sophia Bonoan
Photographed by Jack McKain