Going In Deep With Kaiser Waldon from Escape

Ahead of their big New Years Eve event at Red Ruby we managed to pin down the main man and one of the busiest DJ's on the island, Kaiser Waldon. Kaiser is one of the new generation of DJ's on the island who is equally at home in the studio as he is behind the decks which is a refreshing change. Kaiser kindly took time out from his busy schedule to fill us in on the background of Bali's favorite Sunday night session Escape, how it started, what inspires him and what the future holds. You can catch the full crew on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve at Red Ruby! 

Can you tell us a bit about the background of Escape…

Escape was founded in the Summer of 2012 (wow I didn't realise its that old!) in Sydney at beach front venue the  Shore Club. It was founded because my partner Mark Olsen in my duo Fear of Dawn and I had built up a reputation and some success with events at other venues on the Northern Beaches. We identified there was an opportunity in the market to dominate a Sunday party.. and we came up with the name Escape based on the idea that it was peoples last chance to escape before they had to go back to work on the Monday.

Anyone who rocked up with a good vibe was family to us and was treated like family... because music to us speaks to us at emotional level and transcends so many cultural, racial, social and religious barriers that cause division amongst us, at the end of the day we are all human beings.

There are 3 original founders, Mark Olsen, Emanuel Freer and Myself. This is where I met Scotty Callaghan, Scotty lived next door to the club above a phone shop... Scotty's outlook and attitude fit the Escape ethos perfectly and like everyone else in the team and family he contributed greatly to success of the event.

Like any friendships we all had our positives and negatives and strengths and weaknesses... ups and downs, unforgettable funny moments and playful shenanigans. I think because we were all so open and had such a common purpose with Escape we where able to be super candid and it didn't leave much room for ego or bullshit. 


What motivated the move to bali?

Mark and I had been playing in bali for sometime I think the first time was around 2011. When we played in Bali we would take extra time to write as many songs as possible... from a musical sense with make shift set ups in villas it was more productive than our office in Manly.

The island itself, the energy and vibe this place has and the almost over night collapse of Sydney's nightlife scene due to the controversial lock out laws all played a part.

However timing was important, I've been wanted to live in Bali ever since I moved here, our vision was to run escape in both places Manly and Bali at the same time... It wasn't until my good friend Adam Bennetts aka Mister Bennetts a pro surfer and prolific dj on the island offered me a weekly Residency at Mrs Sippy Bali and Single Fin thats what turned the dream into a reality. So I have Bali, Adam, Single Fin and most significantly Mrs Sippy Bali to thank to make my dreams become a reality.


How has relocating to the island influenced the brand?

Relocating has been really easy and smooth, since I've been coming to the island regularly for many years before hand I had made many friends, who have all helped me in different ways.

Funnily enough I moved here to focus on my production and releasing more music.. I vowed to not do events for well... ever because anyone who knows they are so time consuming and running a team / brand is like herding cats... after being here a few months and writing music my dear friend Mamsa who is the owner of Jenja asked if I would like to do a Sunday at Jenja. Jenja has always been a special place to me and Mamsa and I had been friends for a long time even before Jenja back when he was at Mint... The only reason I decided to propose escape at Jenja on the Sunday was because Scotty had decided to take the plunge and move over quit his full time job pack up his things and move over to DJ and work with me.. If I didn't have Scott I probably wouldn't have dared to embark on launching escape in Bali.

If Escape was a person how would they be described?

No one person in the team as an individual could personify escape. Escape values are enthusiasm, open mindedness, feeling comfortable to be vulnerable, to speak up, to come tobe motivated by passion rather than ego.

We value the escape team like family and its important to see the people who come to support us and who work at the venue as family to let those relationships organically grow over time so the foundations are strong. There is no rush for us and we feel moving slow is the fastest way for us to manifest our vision.


What are you most proud of about Escape?

Personally, I'm most proud about the trust people have put into me and I think more importantly into escape, the dedication and belief of everyone’s contribution is what makes it possible... Scotty will tell you that I had the idea of taking Escape to bali years ago.. but to see it actually happen and to see new faces every week, and their feedback and the support from the expats who are in the hospitality industry who have their own commitments often involving working Monday coming out to support us is a real source of motivation for me to constantly do the best I can and work out how to constantly improve the experience for them.


If you could give advice to your past selves when you first came up with Escape, what would it be?

Its a tough one, because knowing the outcome often causes bias.. you act on what you know at the time. Its called 'future bias' I ran a few events in Sydney that where not 100% aligned with my core values and passions and they took energy and focus but also provided income to allow me to have passion projects like escape. My advice to myself would have been to not do this at all and focused all my energy on Escape and to evolve the other areas of the brand... I'm a big believer of opportunity is when timing meets preparation... so that tells me to always focus on what u can do so that when the timing is right you can really make the most of the opportunity... I think there were times I didn't capitalise on these opportunities or had myself and the team equipped and prepared enough to make the most of them.

Kaiser has given us a great music selection to listen to that represents the sound of Escape and it's some great stuff including one of his own tracks:

Butch - Dope

Kaiser Waldon - Night at Jenja

Mark Henning - You're Digging Into Me 

Sono - Keep Control (Chopstick & Johnjon Remix)