Kai Alcé is a man of many talents, and the world is taking notice. Growing up in Detroit and New York gave him a first class education in House Music, which he took to the city of Atlanta where he has been working steadily ever since on just about every facet of music that he can. He is one of the premiere House DJs in Atlanta, and uses that position to educate his crowd and help throw many events, including the growing House In The Park festival every Labor Day weekend. Kai’s legendary Deep Detroit party in Detroit every year during DEMF weekend is always a highlight as well, with sets by some of the best DJs to ever do it along with a special record featuring the artists who play there which is only available at the event.
Kai’s label NDATL Muzik (named for New York, Detroit, and Atlanta) is also increasing in profile, thanks to Kai’s original productions and keen ear for A&R which has broken new artists like Stefan Ringer and assembled a catalog that includes such deep luminaries as Larry Heard, DJ Spinna, Theo Parrish & Moodymann, Abacus, Robert Owens, and Donnie amongst others. He has also collaborated with artists such as Jovonn, Omar-S, Ron Trent, Phil Asher, and Byron The Aquarius, and had tracks and remixes appear on such notable labels as Track Mode, Sound Signature, Mahogani, and Prescription.
There are few underground heroes who can boast such an impressive resume, but Kai’s profile is still on the rise, thanks largely to Defected Records’ recent licensing of his remix of Dangerfeel Newbies’ song “What Am I Here For?” This remix perfectly distills Kai’s distinctive style into one jam, molding garage, deep house, and neo soul into an infectious, modern, uplifting vocal hit. Almost two years after its first limited white label release, it is still dancefloor gold every time it is played. Demand for his music and DJ sets is blossoming throughout the US and worldwide, as more people are drawn to his soulful sound. Kai brings positive vibes and a serious knowledge of House and Disco history to everything he does.
5 Magazine recently sat down with the man to discuss his own personal style in glasses, his roots in music, and what the future holds for him and House Music in general…
Photo by Marie Staggat.
Deep House is the one sound with no commercial support. It seems to support itself, and that’s been because of its true loyal supporters.
What was the first dance record you bought?
That would probably have to be at Buy Rite on Seven Mile in Detroit. It was John Rocca’s “I Want To Be Real,” the import version or something like that, before House Music.
Which edition of Deep Detroit has been your favorite?
Oh, that’s tough. First of all they are all a nice continuous blur in my mind. But a highlight was being able to host Larry Heard one year.
How many pairs of glasses do you own?
Oh, about 30 pairs but I’ve probably have owned over 100 over the years. You lose some, you break some, and some just disappear.
Who is your favorite House DJ and what is the best set you’ve seen them play in person?
That’s hard to say now as my favorite DJs are either no longer around or are no longer my favs as their tastes may have changed in a direction that I’m not willing to go. So now when I go out I try just to enjoy & appreciate what the DJ is trying to convey.
How do you plan what you’re going to play for a House in the Park set?
I try to focus in on a few classics that I know I want to rock and then just base my set around those few tunes. Usually a theme of some sort arises.
What is your strongest skill as a producer?
I would say my drums and maybe arrangement.
Why do you think Deep House Music has persevered over so many years, and what do you think the future holds for it?
True HouseHead loyalty. It’s the one sound with no commercial support. It seems to support itself, and that’s been because of its true loyal supporters.
The future seems bright as the young 20 year olds seem to be looking & finding new sounds with young artists like Stefan Ringer, Byron The Aquarius, DJ Aakmael and Chaos In The CBD.
Which of your tracks/remixes are you most proud of?
There a few remixes that come to mind “Into Your Story,” “What Am I Here For?” and two that haven’t been released yet. One is for Gregory Porter’s “On My Way To Harlem” and Kamasi Washington’s “Askim.”
What song have you played in more sets than any other, and what is the best memory you have associated with that song?
In recent memory would have to be my remix of Sandman & Riverside “Into Your Story.” A favorite memory was playing it at House in the Park here before it was released and still ripped the roof off the house!
Between throwing parties, DJing, producing, and running a record label, how do these different skill sets work together to make you better?
HA! Who said that!? Not sure if it makes me better, but I know all sides of the game and what it takes. Luckily all of these skills came in a natural progression for me, never have I found myself having to one because I had to except for DJing but I love doin’ that!
Outside of music, what is your favorite thing to do?
I don’t have any crazy hobbies like cars or anything like that. I don’t know – drinking and watching ladies.
Support #RealHouseMusic! This story was originally published in 5 Magazine Issue 146 featuring Kai Alce, Doorly, Chip E., Golf Clap, Frederick Dunson and the Frankie Knuckles Foundation and more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full Access to Real House Music for only $2 per month!