[INTERVIEW] Kice Talks Chicago Music Scene, Beatboxing + More
Hailing from Chicago, Kice is a multi-talented DJ and producer who has performed at some of the most renowned festivals and nightclubs across the globe. He brings an unprecedented energy to his sets and has a reputation for his ability to read any crowd at any venue. Kice broke out into the EDM industry when playing his first major set at Bon V Nightclub Chicago in 2007. Since then, he has launched Treblemonsters, a well-respected artists management and music consulting agency for top-tier global talent and venues across the United States. With memorable sets at Burning Man, Hard Rock, and other big-name venues, Kice continues to impress the EDM community.
Read iEDM's exclusive interview with Kice below.
iEDM: Growing up in Jordan, how did your childhood impact your music career and establish your passion for music?
Kice: It expanded my ear to further than just a couple of genres. Being able to witness and hear middle-eastern songs along with my “American” hip-hop/rap genres at a young age, expanded my ear to more elements and styles.
iEDM: What guided you when coming up with the name “Kice”?
Kice: It's my real name. I wanted to keep it authentic.
iEDM: What has been your toughest challenge during the process of starting up your artist management and music consulting agency Treblemonsters?
Kice: Finding clients and artists where trust and loyalty are before money. Both are primarily passionate about music and experience first. It took a while but we are here now.
iEDM: Based on your social media, you appear to be extremely adventurous. How do you balance your music career with this lifestyle and how do they compliment each other?
Kice: It's sad to say, I don't do it well. I'm still learning how to balance everything. However, sometimes I just “pull the plug” and just go. It's the worst anxiety when I leave but when I come back, the reset mind is everything.
iEDM: What did you enjoy most about your first major performance at Bon V Nightclub in Chicago?
Kice: How terrible my set was compared to today and how much the owners loved it at that time, ha!
iEDM: What is the best quality that the music scene in Chicago has to offer?
Kice: Restaurants flipping into nightclubs through the night. I don't know any other city that does it to this level. Of course, others are doing it everywhere but to be able to have this type of variance and this top quality of food into dancing; it's not matched anywhere else that I have seen.
iEDM: What was your favorite part about touring with Violin Girl and MGabriel? How do they factor into your style?
Kice: It was very organic. It's similar to having best friends or siblings that you love going out with, but on stage. We love the same style of music and have the same goals. More importantly, we each have something unique to offer in the market and when put together, it's 3x the uniqueness.
iEDM: Describe your experience and performance at Burning Man. What made it different from other venues you have DJed at?
Kice: It was not just a performance. It's truly an experience. From the loving and kind community that is alienated to the real world to the challenges performing in the desert, it is really different and unique vs any other festival or club show.
iEDM: What role does beatboxing play in your production and DJing?
Kice: It taught me how to keep count while transitioning into different sections of a “record.” It kept me on my toes from a production standpoint on how to keep the crowd engaged every 4-8 bars.
iEDM: Some of your tracks like “Pusher” have a darker vibe while others, like “Stuck With You,” are more upbeat. How is the inspiration behind each type of track different and what contrasts when producing each one?
Kice: I am not concerned about simply releasing what I am feeling or building. They all come from experience the months prior. I perform and feel a type of way then take it to the studio, months later you find the releases. The goal is to show that you can release different styles of the same category and still be market-relevant and build a fanbase. Most stick to one genre/category and some feel that they are stuck until they build a new alias. This should not be the case for the versatile. One brand can represent many.
iEDM: What advice can you offer upcoming DJs when it comes to reading an audience?
Kice: It starts with one knowing the craft and being able to maneuver the technical aspect. Then build a larger and more versatile library. Before agreeing to the show, stop in and see what it's like or at least do much research on the vibe. So when you perform at the venue, reading the audience should be set up for you to do well. Then when live, don’t just read the crowd, look at the staff. If the staff, who have been there nightly and seen many shows, are moving and bobbing, then you are guaranteed to have a great audience reaction.