Whats going on go ahead and introduce yourself
Yo, my name is Squeak; I’m a DJ & producer. Born and raised in the Westside of Chicago.
Discuss the different sounds between Squeak and a Lenny Set
When it comes to my sets, my Squeak sets tend to be on the more chill smooth side. I also throw my beats in my squeak sets. Lenny Len sets are more for turning the crowd up, getting the crowd as hyped as possible. Here you will see me throw in Lil Uzi Vert, Madeintyo, Famous Dex, and others to really get the crowd feeling good.
As a kid growing up in the Westside of chicago who musically influenced you?
I would have to say Twista, Crucial Conflict, and Do or Die influenced me growing up. They did a good job of representing the Westside. Jay-z was also my favorite rapper growing up as a kid.
How do you feel about chicago’s hip hop scene currently?
-Who are your favorite artists/djs/producers currently?
Chicago’s scene right now is great. It’s so creative. You can literally find anything anywhere as far as genre goes. Dj Damage is one of my favorites out of Chicago. I really like the energy he brings to his sets. My favorite producers I’d have to say are Ambilyrics, Monte Booker, Lucas G, Chad, and Flex Lennon. Also I have to make sure I throw in Saba and Joseph Chilliams, they have taught me a ton of things. My favorite rappers I’d say are members of Pivot, Chance, Qari, Lud Foe, and Supa.
When did you transition from loving music to producing and djing?
I got into djing and producing from hanging around Pivot. I would go over there and record for them. From recording, I then got into producing a year ago when we went to SXSW. Since, I’ve just been really into producing. I didn’t get into DJing until the week I went to New York. I taught myself everything. Each and every day I’m looking to get better, I’m constantly creating new beats daily.
Whats your current equipment you’re working with?
I currently use two computers. I DJ and handle my business from my Mac, but with my PC I strictly create beats. I create my beats on my PC in FL studio. From there I then convert the FL files and send them over to my MAC to work with them in Logic to add more sounds.
How would your describe your sound you incorporate into your music?
My sound is the representation of the new westside. When you hear my music you’re really feeling what I feel on the daily. I’m a chill happy guy and that’s the type of sound I like to incorporate into my music.
How do you prepare for your dj sets?
I don’t usually prepare for sets that much. I have two folders. One folder is for Squeak sets and the other is for Lenny Len sets. Within each folder is the music that will be played in each set for the night. Although I play different sets, I’m also very aware of my crowd and look to create transitions between the turnup and chill sounds throughout the night.
Tell us about Pivot Gang and how you got involved with them
Pivot Gang is a family collective of artists. It started back in 2012. Frsh Waters and Joseph Chillians started the crew. Before Pivot, both Frsh Waters and Joseph had their own crews. Due to them always hanging out, they ended up merging the crews together. The name Pivot came from an episode of ‘Friends’ where they were trying to get the couch upstairs and Ross kept saying “Pivot” “Pivot”. The name just stuck. We pivot through everything. I’ve always been around the members of the crew since I was around 13 or 14. When my brother got locked up, I started hanging around the dudes and the studio even more. My who also is in Pivot had told the dudes to look over me while he was locked up.
Back in october you got to dj a boiler room set for saba. How was that experience?
It was honestly a very cool experience for me. It was the first of a lot of things for me. My first time in New York, my first time DJing, and my first time DJing on a live stream. After the show I ended up having tons of label meetings, with record companies such as RCA and Def Jam. I ended up getting a lot of love. With that whole trip I learned a lot of things. I learned the importance of being on time and how important it is to work hard. It was a really motivating trip for me; it opened my eyes to see just how much more I had to work on my craft.
What has been your favorite event you’ve played so far?
I haven’t had a favorite event yet that I’ve played. What I can say is, any show I play with Joseph Chillians, is always a good time. I’m putting together a PivotGang loft party (more details soon) and that will probably be my favorite show, due to me setting it up and putting it together.
Lets talk about your One in a Million Remix. What was it about this classic Aaliyah song that made you want to remix it?
I consider this one of my top 10 favorite songs of all time. I felt Aaliyah was one in a million and I feel the same about myself. I ended up changing the name to “Last Saiyan” because I truly believe she was the last of a dying breed in that real r&b generation. With this song I was also looking to develop a fan base. The song had a great response, 16,000 plays in the six months that is has been out.
As a DJ in this day and age, do you think it’s your purpose to break records or has the Internet replaced that?
That’s a good question. I truly believe it’s how big of a platform you have as a DJ. When I’m Djing and I’m about to play a song I know the people don’t know, I’ll grab the mic and announce the song. If I’d have to give a percent, I’d say it’s 70-30. 70 percent in favor of the Internet. Most kids are just always on soundcloud or any social media finding new artists instead of listening to the radio.
What are your goals as a producer/dj?
My goals as a producer are for people to listen to my music and catch a representation of me. I want them to know exactly where it’s coming from. I want them to say, “Damn this is a squeak Beat.” As a producer my thing is to make people like what I like. I want to develop that trust with my fans and the crowd. When it comes to Djing, I just want to continue to have fun and create an overall good show for the people as well.
What’s the biggest advice you have for any artist trying to come up?
I think what’s really important is reaching out to people. You cannot wait for opportunities to come to you. Go out and create that energy, show your face, let people know exactly what it is you do. With going out and developing your craft, eventually people will catch on and want to be apart of your movement. Next, I’d have to say really look to perfect your craft. Get comfortable with what you’re releasing. Have confidence in your work. Last, I’d say learn how to take criticism. You’re never as bad as they say you are and you’re never as good as they say you are.
What’s next in 2016?
I’m really looking to perfect my craft. You can expect a couple more releases dropping from me throughout the rest of the year. You’re going to be seeing my name a lot, whether it’s for me DJing a party/show, or just seeing me on people’s production.