IDENTITY: Kid Enigma/KE
Interview by Phil Rizzo
Rafael Perez (aka KE/Kid Enigma) is a name that will be coming up on your radar frequently in the near future. With releases like “When I Do My Thang” with Nathan Barato and “On The Ropes” with Derrick Carter, KE has quickly become your favorite DJ’s favorite producer. We got a chance to sit down with him before his show this weekend at Primary Nightclub in Chicago as he is spotlighted in this months IDENTITY party.
For anyone who is just hearing about you, how would you describe the KE/Kid Enigma sound?
I’d describe my sound as Chicago House. Deep and Dirty. I like my Drums raw and unapologetic. Id like my bass lines to provoke a body jerk. I like my melodies to feel like breathing fresh air, and my words to provide you with a bit of encouragement through your day. #BePositive
How did you get your start as a DJ/Producer?
I started to DJ when I was 14, playing at local bars where I was snuck into( I DO NOT CONDONE THIS, Though). My brother Rene used to Dj back in the early 90s, around when a lot of the Cajual classics were coming out. He gave me his crate, and I would practice and gig out of it while collecting records of my own after school at Hot Jams , where I met Frankie Vega and Steve Melvage. Every other Tuesday I’d also go to Gramaphone up north on the Orange line to the Brown line. Michael Serafini was always welcoming when I came in.
I started making music when I was 17. I started on Reason, and I acquired Ableton Live shortly after. I didn’t know anyone else making music at the time, so I just keep at it until things started coming together. I used to release on my own imprint “ B Natural” with my partner, Mac. We would put out mostly original tracks, with a few bootlegs here and there. Lego, Mark Farina, Diz and The 1200 Warriors were the first to start supporting my music in their rotation, along with my good friend Ed Nine. One thing led to another and I started doing features.
Have you always had the dream of a career as a producer/DJ? YES! I have always loved dancing to the music, and I loved the idea of bringing people together through the music. I love visiting other cities and seeing what their local vibe is like. I love it all.
I also heard you have some skills as a B-Boy?
YES! Ground Syndrome Crew! I got MAD LOVE for Chicago Tribe though! In high school I used to Break, but eventually I got WAY more into the House Dance culture. The rhythm of House came more naturally to me. Some of my favorite nights were on Monday nights at Boom Boom Room. We would have a circle going in the side room while Milty (Evans) played, then we’d move into the big room with Diz and Michael Serafini. I LOVED IT.
The first time I had heard one of your tracks was “On The Ropes” and I loved the showcase ofother Chicago artists. What was the influence behind this track?
Life is hard in general, and I was going through a really rough patch in my life. You have to remember whats important to you, and then you have to fight for it, even if you feel like most of the time Life has you “On The Ropes”. Keep Swinging.
The showcase to other artists from Chicago was me showing pride in who indirectly had an impact on how I sound or why I love HOUSE so much. Those artists had so much to do with my sound, and it was all through their records. I still haven’t met BBB, Cajmere or Jamie Principle. When i do, I’ll thank them in person.
What road blocks have you encountered so far in your career and how have you overcome them?
I’ve had records stolen, equipment stolen, equipment breaking. That was all the small stuff though. The hardest part, and probably will forever be the hardest part, is falling in love with myself over and over again. Self doubt is a feeling I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Time would fall second to that. Art reflects life, and I have to live in order to have something to talk about or write about. Life is beautiful, but time will remind you that you can only do so much. #StayPositive
One thing people should know about you is the #StayPositive message you share. Can you tell us a little more about what that means to you and how you want it to effect others?
Mac and I started making music to have a positive effect on the demographic that chose to listen to it. We have always loved the idea of bringing people together through music, while still offering a message they can take home and think about. For most of us, our worst enemy is ourselves. We tear ourselves down, shaming our outward appearance or our productivity and value. We overanalyze ourselves instead of just being. If you woke up, then thats half the battle. The other half would be the struggle of being nice to yourself and others while still trying to accomplish your daily goals. Cut yourself a break and embrace your struggles. They make us strong, and allow us to find patience. #StayPositive
Whats the next along the path for KE (Kid Enigma) and what future goals do you hope to accomplish?
I’m going through a name change, and thats a mission in itself. We are off to a great start though, releasing this year only twice under Kid Enigma, but Releasing 3 times under KE. I have my first EP coming out on Blasé’ Boys Club, Duke Dumont’s label. I also have an single coming out on MadTech, Guesthouse, and I’m working with Suol Boy T(Till Von Sein) Harvard Bass, Ed Nine, Gettoblaster, Dj Sneak, Demuir, Nick Olivetti and Heartlybeats, Andrea Di Rocco, and Little By Little, to name a few. I’m looking to travel again, while still engaging in my lovely city of Chicago. I’d love to dance more too. #DoPositive
Check out KE this Friday night at Primary Nightclub as he headlines this months IDENTITY party! IDENTITY was created with the hopes of bringing exposure to the talent buried deep in Chicago’s electronic music scene. Through events, press, and promotion of those Chicago tastemakers, we hope to shine the spotlight on our city and help bring a new crop of artists to the forefront of dance music.
WANT MORE KE?
Check out his Soundcloud:
“This Life” : https://www.beatport.com/release/this-life/1805655
“Ridearound” (Original Mix): https://www.beatport.com/track/ridearound-original-mix/8206303