Kice is known to be one of the most popular and hottest DJ and music producer from Chicago. He has performed at some of the most popular festivals – Burning Man, Northern Nights Music Festival, and more – and nightclubs around the globe. More notably, he has distinguished himself by teaming up with top-tier instrumentalists in his famous DJ ft. live music hybrid sets. As Treble Squad, he gained acclaim as a touring act integrating his original music and Treblemonsters artists Violin Girl (Violin) & MGabriel (Saxophone).
GrooveNexus got a chance to interact with Kice in an exclusive conversation where he opens up candidly about his life and his journey as a music artist.
1. Tell us about your journey as an artist? How did you start DJing? What has been your inspiration?
I am the youngest in my family, with one older sister and one older brother. I was born in Chicago,
but I moved to Jordan and lived there for around 12 years. At that time we would visit the U.S.
almost every summer up until my junior year of high school, which was when I returned to the
U.S. Growing up, my mom’s passion for music influenced my own love of music from a young age.
When I was younger, I played both the piano and tableh (middle eastern drum). As I grew into my
teenage years, I started listening to DJs on the local Chicago radio and started becoming curious. I
began to purchase turntables and trade old equipment for new gear.
From there, my cousin gave me a break-through in 2009 with the opportunity to branch away
from my low-profile bar gigs. A nightclub promoter that my cousin knew had a DJ cancel on him
at the last minute, so my cousin reached out and asked me to execute the gig. Ever since then, the
promoters and owners kept on calling me back.
As for my inspiration, the American hip-hop/rap and middle-eastern genres have had a great
influence in my life. By balancing both of these cultures, I have been able to cultivate and
experiment with different genres and styles. For example, in recent projects, I have worked on
blending genres in the realm of house.
2. What has been the most memorable experience for you so far?
Burning Man 2019. I did 13 sets with Treble Squad and had the best reset ever.
3. What is it like to DJ in Chicago?
I was a resident DJ at Soundbar for 8 years. It allowed me to really improve upon my DJing
abilities and gain the ability to perform at venues that range in a wide-variety of sizes. I initially
started by playing hip-hop because that is where my roots stemmed from, but I eventually
branched out into playing full house sets, which helped me gain traction in the Chicago scene.
Because of the popularity of house in Chicago, I’ve been looking to increase the number of house
nights across the Chicago venues that I manage through Treblemonsters.
I also love how Chicago restaurants effortlessly flip into nightclubs, and I have not seen any other
city have this type of variance. From high quality food to dancing, Chicago’s energy is unmatched.
4. What do you like to do in your free time when you are not making music?
Recently there has been no “free time”, without exaggeration. We have been working 12 hours
days. Sundays are our only true free day — I am either with family or on the couch binge
watching shows while maxing out uber eats, ha!
5. Tell us something interesting about your newest single, “Let’s Move On.”
The vox on the track is a Splice sample that has been used before. The curators of the vox have
heard them used abundantly throughout the years, yet have stated that even though recycled,
“Let’s Move On” is the best application they’ve heard of them.
6. Have you collaborated recently with any artists?
I recently collaborated with an artist on music production, which is still unreleased. Most of my
collaborations are happening with my electronic group, Treble Squad.
7. What are your plans for 2022? Any exciting shows coming up?
The goal this year is to push as much of my original sound as possible while playing out as much
as possible. You can see some of my shows that are coming up on my site.
8. If not a DJ, what would have been your alternative career choice?
9. Do you have any advice for young artists who have just begun navigating their musical
journeys during the time of the pandemic?
Make sure you are learning from someone that has proven real success and remember practice