Breakout bass house producer Kage today revealed his highly-anticipated five-track EP, The Grave, on Monstercat. Introducing never-before-heard songs like “Sanpaku,” “Trust,” and lead single, “The Grave,” Kage further establishes himself as an emerging tastemaker in the bass space.
Since debuting in 2018, the Dutch artist has drawn support from major names like Porter Robinson, Tchami, Malaa, Habstrakt, and Oliver Heldens. His diverse repertoire combines minimalistic yet raw bass flavors with classic buoyant house, a style he carved all his own at the Herman Brood Academie. As “Kage” translates to “Shadow” in Japanese, he has long been inspired by the culture and incorporates Japanese folklore & mythical thematic elements into his sound & visuals, as evidenced in the artwork for The Grave, which is loosely based around the story of 47 Ronin.
Tell us about the first track that put you on the map in the electronic scene and the journey since. How did you get started?
My first track that put Kage on the map was a track called “Mind,” which was released on the French label, Noir Sur Blanc. On release, it received an incredible amount of support and it later ended up being played by Malaa as the opening song of almost all his 2018 sets. I used to release trance under a different name, but I wanted to find my own sound. After a few years at the Herman Brood Academy, in artist & production study, I ended up starting what would become the Kage project. Thanks to releases like “Mind” it got blown up in 2018, growing the Kage project ever since.
Tell us about your latest project, The Grave
Releasing on Monstercat has always been a huge goal of mine and with The Grave EP I’ve finally realised that goal. It consists of 5 tracks, combining heavy bass with groovy house rhythms. I think each track has some influences from different genres of music, like “The Raid” having some cinematic influences and “The Grave” having some hip hop influences, etc. The artwork around it was inspired by a popular Japanese story about the 47 Ronin, which also matches the Japanese theme I’ve got going on for Kage.
Listen to ‘The Grave’ on Spotify!
Tell us something we wouldn’t normally find out about you?
I actually was about to ditch music production in 2014 and follow graphic design. I’ve wanted to do game design, create characters and worlds for a long time. Luckily I stuck with music and it’s working out so far. It’s all coming full circle since I’ve picked up doing art again, this time for Kage. Creating visuals and working on my socials, maybe in the future I’ll start doing my own artwork for releases.
What single night out has been most memorable for you as a DJ and producer?
Playing at E-Wax Festival last year is really hard to top. I played at a stage 3000m up in the snowy French Alps, which had the most beautiful view ever. Later that night me and the guys from Sans Merci and Noir Sur Blanc ended up going b2b at the clubs, meeting many great artists such as Tony Romera, Habstrakt and more. This was also my first international gig, making it extra special on its own
Give us the name of one track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you listen to it?
Just about anything by Pendulum. As for a Kage track, probably ‘Breakout’ with Lowdown which was released on Tchami’s label Confession last year. It’s definitely one of my favourites.
Dream collaboration and why?
Malaa, as he was a huge part of my early career playing my songs on the big stage. I love how minimal, yet powerful his tracks are and I also think it would make for a good combination with my sound.
If you could play any festival, which would it be?
EDC, I’ve seen artists play tracks of mine on there each year now and I definitely want to experience it myself haha. Any other big themed festival like Tomorrowland or something would also be a goal of mine.
How do you get a track started? tell us about your production process
It changes every time to be honest. Sometimes I start with a catchy vocal, building the drums around it. Sometimes I start with sound design, creating some crazy bass or leads that give me ideas for tracks. The most important thing for me is finding the wave and riding it, if you know what I mean. I see so many artists who try to push themselves to make tracks and struggle to finish anything, whilst I’m doing something else entirely and when an idea pops in my head I’ll go with it, usually finishing the track the same or next day. It sounds a bit strange, but in a way by not producing all the time I make myself better at producing and more focused on finishing tracks.
What are you working on next?
Next up is a VIP remix of a collab I did and a release on Insomniac’s IN/Rotation. There are so many tracks I’m still sitting on and so many more that are in the works. I’ve got a bunch of amazing collabs in the making which I unfortunately can’t say anything about yet. As for playing gigs, that will have to wait due to the whole COVID situation, but I can’t wait to continue playing shows as I’ve only just started at the end of last year.
The relationship between a DJ and the audience is crucial, and yet it seems to be a fragile one – how do you see the balance between giving the crowd what they want and treating them to something new?
I try to combine my own songs, songs in my genre I love in a set for the audience that come to see me play. Then I look at where I play or who I’m playing for, add some things they know and try to twist it into something that fits in my genre. For example, on a Monstercat mix I’d look for Monstercat releases to flip into bass house or use in a mashup.
Listen to ‘The Grave’ on YouTube!
Connect with Kage