Kaskade and Sekou Andrews: The Musician and the Poet (#141)

Photo credit: Jason DeFillippo
Photo credit: Jason DeFillippo

This episode is a special double header. It features one interview and one performance.

First up is Kaskade (@Kaskade), widely considered one of the Founding Fathers of Progressive House Music. He’s been voted “America’s Best DJ” twice by DJ Times, headlined Coachella 4 times, and been nominated for a Grammy 5 times.

If you want to hear a cool behind-the-scenes story about how he created the hit song 4 am, check out this 2-minute clip.

Next, you’ll hear Sekou Andrews (@SekouAndrews), the most impressive poetic voice I’ve ever heard. I first saw him perform at TED, where he blew my mind. Sekou is a schoolteacher turned 2x National Poetry Slam champion. He has presented privately for Barack Obama, Bono, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, as well as for many Fortune 500 companies.  If you ever have the chance to hear him live or hire him, take it.

Or, just spend a minute and learn about the “soul selfie.”

Photo credit: Jason DeFillippo
Photo credit: Jason DeFillippo

Each one of these takes a few minutes to get warmed up, so be patient. There are gems in both. Among other things…

  • Kaskade covers his first breaks, making his own luck, formative musical influences, and we dig into his notetaking process, and the origins of one of his biggest hits.
  • Sekou will inspire you to be inspired by your story. Do you want to change your narrative, your internal dialogue, to be more successful? Do you need to get back on the horse, or have an effective pep talk in your back pocket?

This might be the recording you listen to over and over again. There is a lot of practical philosophy embedded in and between the lines, so listen to it all.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#141: Kaskade and Sekou Andrews: The Musician and the Poet

Want to hear another podcast with a mega-successful performer? — Listen to my conversation with Jamie Foxx. In this episode, we discuss his workout routines, untold Hollywood stories, and he shares many of his best impressions. (Stream below or right-click here to download):

#124: Jamie Foxx on Workout Routines, Success Habits, and Untold Hollywood Stories

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What are your thoughts on my first live episode of the podcast? Would you like me to do more of these? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Website | Twitter | Instagram

  • Connect with Sekou Andrews:

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Show Notes

  • Kaskade on his first big break [05:52]
  • When Kaskade realized he could make a living from music [06:55]
  • Kaskade describes what it was like to move from a thriving music scene in Chicago to Utah. [08:26]
  • How Kaskade started making his own music [09:47]
  • Recommendations for someone getting started in dance music today [12:09]
  • Kaskade’s songwriting influences [16:40]
  • What rituals or self-care Kaskade uses to keep from getting run down on long tours [18:12]
  • Kaskade’s parenting style. [19:52]
  • Kaskade’s on taking notes. (And how they got him in trouble on tour.) [21:32]
  • Kaskade tells a behind-the-scenes story of his song 4 AM. [23:51]
  • Kaskade’s recommendations for a new listener to dance music. [26:17]
  • Kaskade talks about how most music — even rock n’ roll — is electronic these days. [27:42]
  • Most gifted books [28:43]
  • What Kaskade believes is the most underappreciated festival. [29:22]
  • The first person who comes to mind when Kaskade thinks of the word “successful.” [30:11]
  • What Kaskade’s billboard would say (and where it would be). [30:42]
  • Sekou Andrews shows how to take a “soul selfie.” [32:22]
  • Do you live what you love and love incorrigibly? Do you sleep well, but go to bed horribly? [36:05]
  • Sekou talks about the science of miracles and the mathematics of purpose. [37:35]
  • “I am not perfect. I’m perfect like I am.” [38:01]
  • Sekou on celebration. [38:41]
  • Sekou’s perfect day. [39:36]
  • How Sekou stays positive in the face of adversity. [41:00]
  • Sekou’s most powerful lessons. [41:29]
  • Sekou on paper-cutting despair “one positive affirmation at a time.” [44:12]
  • Where Sekou finds his inspiration. [46:18]

People Mentioned

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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17 Replies to “Kaskade and Sekou Andrews: The Musician and the Poet (#141)”

  1. Another great episode to go into the record books, thanks TimTim! Maybe if we’re on this DJ train we could see what Gramatik has to bring to the table. The man released 5 albums at one time a few years ago, each with their own flavor, (Street Bangerz vol. 1-5) and is a whirlwind of talent. Lorin Ashton, also known as Bassnectar, is also a pretty skilled fella as well.

    Thanks again boss,


  2. Kaskade! What a pleasant surprise! But you know what else is a (HUGE) surprise? That we haven’t had “Roy Choy” (or any other worth while chef

    (Gordon Ramsay) on the show. Especially since Favreau was on the show.

  3. How are you networking your way to get to these people ? Other than a blog with massive readership. What else gives you an advantage in getting their attention?

    Do you use Ramit Sethi’s “closing the loop” technique? 🙂

  4. hi Tim, Please don’t support exploitive workplaces like 99Designs where designers have to compete for work. It’s a really hellish business model that means that a lot of designers are not getting paid for the work that they are doing. All of the major graphic design agencies frown upon this type of exploitive spec work. Designers don’t really want to work like rats in a cage right? Nobody does.

  5. hey there, t tim. loving the fresh perspective. I noticed that their was some background extraneous noise picked up by the microphones. it wasn’t enough to prevent comprehension, but it does intrude a bit. hope that helps. thanks, and please, keep on surpassing expectations!!!

  6. Good episode though it felt a bit rushed.

    I read the other comment which suggested a chef be on the show. Made me think about Anthony Bourdain and how he could be a great guest for the podcast. I’m pretty sure him and Tim are connected via the production crew that did both of their shows. Just putting out the suggestion if you’re reading this, Tim!

  7. Hey Tim, I love your podcasts, but I have to correct you on something: Kaskade has very little to do with “progressive house”, and is certainly not a founding father/pioneer of that sub-genre. Really the style “progressive house” goes hand-in-hand with, arguably, only 2 other DJs: Sasha and John Digweed, first as a duo (with the release of Sasha & Digweed: The Renaissance Collection, followed by Northern Exposure), and then as separate acts.

    If you’re talking about which DJs pioneered it, it would be those two in the mid 90’s. It would be awesome if you actually managed to interview either of those two, or even someone like Pete Tong, Danny Tenaglia, Carl Cox, David Morales, etc. The list goes on.

    Anyways, keep up the good work. I find a lot of your episodes very insightful and they’ve opened my mind to many topics in life that I would have otherwise never have found. So thank you for that.

  8. What a f*ing AWESOME podcast episode!!! I loved Sekou Andrews’ poem!!! Absolutely loved it!!! Thank you Tim! Love you for this one!!! More please!!!

  9. Hi Tim, great informational and inspiring content. Thank you for inspiring us for many years.

    Also, I saw your post on LinkedIn that you will be visiting Montreal in May and you were looking for what’s to do here. Well, I’m ready to plan you an amazing itinerary for your stay so that it would maximize your experience. To do so, I would require the following info:

    1- Is this your first time in Montreal?

    2- How long will you be saying?

    3- How action packed would you like your itinerary to be?

    3- What type of activities are you most interested? (i.g. Sightseeing, good food, outdoor activities, tourist traps, non-tourist traps, adventure away from the city…)

    4- Do you want to go at it alone or would you like a local like me (born and raised in Montreal) to guide you?

    Email me for a great Montreal experience!


    TF MTL Travel Expert 😉

  10. Tim I was able to come to the live event and stay after to hang out. The whole experience was great and I would suggest you do it again. Pick some different cities and keep the anonymity of the guests as a part of the show… that made it pretty cool.