It was around 2 P.M., at the Square Brussels Meeting Centre. Standing in the yard and smoking, the veteran House DJ was chilling before closing the Listen! Festival in the third room. Originally born in New York, he then moved to Detroit. Now, he lives in Atlanta and runs a label called N.D.ATL Muzik (abbreviation of NY, Detroit and Atlanta).
Kai Alcé moved to Detroit when the musical revolution was at its peak. He grew up as a producer and DJ in the heart of the house and techno music scene… to finally become a part of this history.
“I’ve been learning how to DJ a long time ago… But when I started as a job, I was around 22 years old… So, it was about 25 years now.”
He created his very own label N.D.ATL Muzik in Spring 2008, which references the three cities that most heavily influence his work. We can discover tracks of Palms Trax, DJ Deep, Omar S, Theo Parrish and many more.
Soulfulhouse, Deephouse, Nu-Disco, Classical House with powerful vocals… His mixes have been making people dance and smile for a while now. And for he for sure isn’t ready to stop spreading the dance culture!
So, I asked him a few questions…
InDepth : Can you notice any changes in the electronic music scene in Detroit compared to 20 years ago?
Kai Alcé : Yes, definitely. Now, the scene is not as big but is different. And not so much in Detroit, but everywhere! Things have changed, maybe also because I’m getting older. I am more an observer than I am a part of it. But I still love the energy and to be part from it. Nowadays, I do my part, which is playing music.
… And concerning the public?
It’s always changing! Every 7 years, there’s a new crew… New people are coming.
The people who are going out are mainly from 25 to 35 years old. Before or after these years, you probably don’t go out that much. Anyway, I’m glad that people still love the music I play!
InDepth : How do you think that the public will change?
Kai Alcé : Well, sometimes it will get smaller, sometimes bigger…
But the one thing I’ve learned about dance music is that the public will always change a little bit but will always stay true to the essence, to the beginning. It can get a little bit more commercial at times, or a little bit underground… But that essence will always stay.
InDepth : And what about the difference between Europe and America?
Kai Alcé : Definitely, Europe is different from America. It’s my second time in Brussels, and I think they have a similar energy from the one in Germany. Italy has a more soulful and American style appreciation.
InDepth : What’s happening in Detroit?
Kai Alcé : There are big festivals, like Movement Festival in May… and many clubs.
There’s a new generation now. The one right before them were not so much interested in dance music… But the new twenties are not so much into commercial music. Dance music is a universal sound but some people like a little harder there.
InDepth : Do you think that technology influence music in a good way?
Kai Alcé : It’s easier, more accessible now than before. When I was young, if you didn’t know where the clubs were, then you couldn’t hear. This kind of music was not on the radio! Now, you can be at home and search online to find the music you like.
InDepth : Do you think that radio is still a good way nowadays to get artists famous?
Kai Alcé : Yes, definitely! The radio has still a great part to become commercial. You become commercial on the Internet and eventually you raise up on the radio.For example, “The Weeknd” was first on Soundcloud and Youtube… And now he’s on a major label! Commercial will always need the underground, and the underground will always need the commercial – if they want to. You’ll never get big doing only the underground… But you need to stay true to yourself.
InDepth : Any plans for the future?
Kai Alcé : I will just continue what I do! I’ve never expected to be here in Brussels for this festival. When I started to be a DJ, the question was more how to survive… I didn’t think it was possible to leave from it. But now I’ve doing this for a while, and I like that.
InDepth : Good advice for some DJs or producers to get noticed?
Kai Alcé : It’s different nowadays… I see some DJs became popular without any music out. I think that the thing number one is to try to have some sort of music out, always doing your best as a DJ and play the music you like.
Whatever city you live in, always try your best to represent it!
Some people get very very famous but when they go home, nobody’s listening to them. I think that when you go home, you should still be able to play music that you love and that some people listen to it.
Kai Alce works also with FCL, the house project of Belgian DJ/producers San Soda and Red D… who are part of the biggest Belgian producers according to him.