Concert Reviews

Swedish Electronic Music Is Dying. DJ Kasbo Doesn't Mind.

Miles Chrisinger
DJ Carl Gasbo, who plays under the name Kasbo, says he doesn't listen to much electronic music. If you were at his opening set at this year's Decadence New Year's Eve electronic music festival, you are more than aware of the talent this young man from Gothenburg possesses.

"I feel distanced from that 'EDM' term," he says. He prefers hip-hop and indie bands like MGMT, that inspire him to create a modern and approachable sound.

"It sounds tacky, but I try not to think in genres," adds Kasbo, who is driven to produce only what he enjoys. "I believe the music is a product of what you listen to."

That showed at Decadence, where he stitched together trance, hip-hop, indie, dance and house music. As an emerging artist in the global electronic music scene, Kasbo finds solace in his fans' eclectic taste. He does recognize Flume and Odesza for carving out a path that allows DJs like himself to steer clear of tired electro-pop hits and embrace diverse influences.

click to enlarge Kasbo - MILES CHRISINGER
Miles Chrisinger
It's no surprise that he appreciates Odesza. The duo took him along on a sold-out 2015 U.S. nightclub tour.

In his native Sweden, Kasbo believes electronic music is on the way out and pop music is rising. "We definitely have Swedish House Mafia and Avicii... but I feel like it's kind of dying down." Indeed, Tim Bergling, aka Avicii, announced in March that his 2016 tour would be his last.

Despite electronic music's decline, Kasbo remains optimistic: "For me, I'm not forced to have a trendy sound and can focus on doing my own thing."

click to enlarge Kasbo - 4TH LEVEL GROUP
4th Level Group
Kasbo, like many young people, is ambivalent about his future: "I don't know where I'm going," he says, but notes that that is his strength. Putting a goal on a creative project, as he tells it, come off as disingenuous.

Kasbo's EP, Umbrella Club, is available for download and streaming. He promises to return to Colorado, not just because his management is stationed here, but because he digs the "really cool friendly vibe — like Sweden, but more friendly."

Correction, January 5, 2017: This story originally stated DJ Kasbo is 19, based on information from his website. He is 21.