ORIGINAL ARTICLE: https://www.comolasgrecas.com/en/an-interview-with-kice/
Kice, a DJ and producer based out of Chicago, has performed at some of the most popular festivals and nightclubs around the globe. More notably, he has distinguished himself by teaming up with top tierinstrumentalists in his famous DJ featuring live music sets.
Born in Chicago, Kice spent his early life in Amman, Jordan, and developed a passion for musicthroughout his childhood. He moved back to Chicago at the age of 15, where he earned a reputation forhis beatboxing skills. It wasn’t long until he learned how to mix and realized he could translate his love formusic onto the turntables. He developed a philosophy that drives his ongoing love of music today: Thatmusic expresses what cannot be said, and yet is the universal language of the world.
Kice emerged on the DJ scene in 2007, with his first major set at Bon V Nightclub Chicago. For more than a decade, he enjoyed immense popularity as he performed at high profile venues. Over the years, hedeveloped a reputation for skillfully reading his audience, innovatively integrating all genres of music,attracting crowds, and most importantly, bringing energy to any venue.Using the impeccable knowledge and skills he gained from the music industry, Kice went on to found Treblemonsters, a unique artist management and music consulting agency that services both top-tierglobal talent and venues across the USA. Clients include international names in the nightlife, hospitality,and corporate worlds.
As Treble Squad, he has also gained acclaim as a touring act integrating his original music and Treblemonsters artists Violin Girl (Violin) & MGabriel (Saxophone), with sets at Burning Man, NorthernNights Music Festival, Hard Rock, Sound-Bar Nightclub, PRYSM Nightclub, and many other notablevenues.
Can you tell us a little about your experience as an artist? Where are you from / how did you get into music? Was it all internet-based?
I was born in Chicago USA and then at the age of four moved to Jordan. Then back to the USA for the end of High School. As a kid, I’ve learned how to play the piano and also the Tablah which is a Middle Eastern drum. It was all hands-on and my start as a DJ came from the radio era, where I heard and got inspired by DJs playing on traffic hours or night mixes.
Who have been your main inspirations (both musical and in “life”)? And how have they affected your sound?
At a younger age, my inspirations were Yanni who was my mother’s favorite artist. From there, the local and national DJs as DJ Crash, DJ Flipside, DJ AM, and A-Trak – who rocked some of the best radio stations and clubs. Most recently, MK and Sonny Fodera have hit home with the jazzy piano house that I love producing.
How would you define your sound?
This is a tough question because I know I want to stay in the electronic House world but I love implementing different styles of middle eastern sounds into each mix. Many people will tell you to stick in one lane but I want to try to experiment with different styles. If I were to pick one I would say Upbeat, Piano, Jazz House is really where I feel best. Definitely including middle eastern elements either underline or toplined.
How has your sound evolved so far?
I grew up on hip-hop and it will always have a special place in my heart. But after playing clubs for over many years I made the shift halfway through that (2014) to almost fully big room, house, and club sounds.
What can you tell us about your other job as the owner of Treblemonsters? What inspired you? What do you want to convey?
Treblemonsters was a very straightforward model. An emergency booking system for my friends who managed and owned venues. It was hard for me to get good gigs for the first four years of my DJ career. So it was a perfect balance of offering artists (new and old) an opportunity that usually takes 2 – 3 times amount of time to get in the door. The goal and mission of the company will always be that.
What can you tell us about each song that makes up your latest work, “Pusher” in particular? What inspired it?
I was sitting on that one for a while and then to see artists like John Summit, Fisher, Dom Dolla, Chris Lorenzo, Chris Lake, Sidepiece, succeed within a similar genre – inspired me to finish the track. I wanted something deeper and darker for an after-hours vibe.
How are you living in the current situation because of COVID? Has your work affected you a lot? Do you think there is hope? I feel like the underground scene will continue to persist.
Of course, who did it not affect? I think it’s getting to a point where everybody is extremely exhausted from it and is moving on. Things have been normal and better than normal at some times. It’s in the past.
What projects are you working on right now?
Music-wise, I have a ton of house tracks that I am sitting on but my next two songs will be a Middle Eastern vocalist (Arabic) over an electronic dance track. The other one is an experimental house with a Middle Eastern instrument (the Oud). I am excited about these two because they truly balance my house either in middle Eastern or closer than I ever thought I would.