What’s up everyone, I’m Ikon. I am a producer from Chicago, Illinois.
How was life growing up?
Life was pretty chill. My mom and dad would constantly play music in the house, which really started my love for music. My dad specifically, he definitely showed me some really cool stuff from Biggie all the way to Steely Dan, and Jimi Hendrix. . He was very versatile I guess you could say. Marvin Gaye, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd were artists he grew up listening to and when I was younger we would go on car rides and that’s what he would make me listen to.
You talk about music and getting into it through your parents playing it but when did you actually witness that you had creative talents?
I want to say around 7th or 8th grade I really was getting into music and wanted to just test it out. It all started out as just a hobby. My boy introduced me to fruity loops and sampling. From the beginning, he told me, “Yo, don’t sample this much, start actually creating your own music.” So Ever since I was introduced to fruity loops, I later moved to Abelton then I just ran with it.
In hip-hop do you think the producer is as important as it once was?
I think the producer is even more important now. We’re actually in the spotlight. We have a voice. Guys like Metro Boomin and Mike Will are killing it, making huge names for them. We’ve also got DJ Mustard, Skrillex, Calvin Harris and so many others.
When do you begin to start taking music more seriously, from being a kid trying out fruity loops, to making records with Saba, Noname, and Malcolm London?
I’d say I really took it seriously when I was in college. I attended Columbia and majored in Music Business. One of my semesters in college I got to run AEMMP records at school and really started to dive into the culture of music. This was big for me because I was able to see what the inside of what a record label was like. I also learned how to put together a project and that really pushed me into producing. One of my classes, I had an amazing teacher who was able to teach us a lot. Alexander Fruchter, who now is the Co-founder of Closed Sessions, a Chicago Indie Hip-Hop label was making huge moves at the time. I remember I would see their SXSW footage, where they rented out mansions and brought artists into record there. I remember seeing guys like Freddie Gibbs, Naledge, GLC, Curren$y, Action Bronson, and really getting inspired to get involved within the music business.
While in school, I was also in class with Thelonius Martin and Saba, and we made a track called “Reggie” which was on Saba’s first project. The relationship I had with Saba, turned into a relationship with Malcolm London, and from that relationship stemmed a relationship with Noname. I think just being in the culture and in that school at that time really benefited my career and me.
Upon graduating from Columbia, you begin working at Fedex. After the harsh winters, you decided to quit and put your all into music. How big of a step was that for you?
It was a scary time. I saved up all this money and after a little while, it was going to all go away because I was about to put this into my music. As much as it was a scary place to be, luckily I had the support of my parents and my grandparents to help me keep going. Also the team here at Private Stock really helped me out. We were just like, “Let’s do it.” It was a motivational thing and now it’s really starting to see the rewards of chasing after your dreams.
Two years ago, you drop your debut project, Private Stock, talk about the concept behind this project
I finally got to the point where I was like, you know what, I can do this on my own. I knew some people so I figured I might as well try it. At that time, I used to come up to Fort Knox where we had a room called “Forty-Two”. I would kick it with Saba and John Walt, (R.I.P. Walt) Melo, Squeak, you know Just the Pivot guys and I never approached them like, oh, let’s do some music, it was more like, let’s build a friendship. That’s how those things started to go down. Malcolm used to come through, NoName used to come through and we’d just talk, kick it and have fun. At that point I’m thinking, man, I know a lot of people, I should probably do a project with them and make this shit work. I knew Malcolm, Saba, and Noname were eventually going to blow up, so I figured lets start this now. Eventually, we did it. The project really helped establish myself here in Chicago. The first song I put out had the Pivot guys on there and it hit over 150k plays and the NoName track hit over 50k.
With it being two years since your last project, is a project something that really matters to you at this point in your career?
Yes. I’m actually working on a project. It’s almost done. It’s called Auragami and it’s nothing like my other project. The sound of this project is very electronic. I’ve always listened to electronic music and that’s the music I listen to in my car and the music I listen to at home, so it felt right to finally make a project with that sound. With this project, it’s all about fluidity. That’s why it’s called Auragami. It’s like an Aura or a good feeling. The whole project is a collection of songs that I’ve done with people in the past 6 or 7 months. I’ve been dropping music ever since the project but now, I want to do another project and I want to continue to do more projects because they make big impacts. This one is more something that I want to take to the next level. It’s going to drop in the summer.
How much has expanding genres and making new sounds helped your success as a musician and as a producer now?
It’s helped a lot because then I’m pushing myself to be more creative. We have Youtube now. It’s like, Youtube University. You can go on it and learn how to do anything, so why not expand your sound? I don’t want to be put in a box. I think that for a producer, nowadays, it’s always good to wear different hats in the music industry. You need to know how to help somebody become a songwriter or help somebody expand his or her sound.
Fall Out Boy had a song called “Sophomore Slump or Comeback Of The Year.” Are you scared of the sophomore slump?
That’s a good question. I wouldn’t say that, no. I’m not scared of the sophomore slump and the reason I’m saying that is because this is something I love to do. This is probably the best music that I’ve ever made and it feels good. It feels right. It feels like this is what I should be making. I don’t really get scared about sophomore slumps or anything like that. At the end of the day, these are still EPs. It’s not an album. I might be working on an album afterwards but I want to keep building myself up as an artist.
Who are some artists that you would like to work with?
Right now, Gallant. I really like what he’s doing now. Um, Alicia Keys because she’s super dope. Rihanna, Diplo. Skrillex. Alina Beraz. She’s so dope. Man, there are so many people. Drake. I would love to work with Drake one day. That shit would be awesome. as far as chicago acts I want to do some stuff with Joey Purp and Towkio. I’m around these guys a lot so eventually it’s going to happen.
When it’s all said and done, how would you like to be remembered?
I feel like it’s really early to think about how to be remembered. I want to live in the moment. You’re going to make memories in that moment, People are going to be like, yo I remember that. It’s not up to me how people perceive me. I know what I’m doing. I want to make statements with music so everybody should remember me from those statements. As a human being, I want to be somebody that you can just come up and say, “what’s up” to. I’m not an asshole or anything like that. I don’t want to be that person. There are open doors for everybody. It’s always a good thing, as an artist, to come into a room, be respectful, and say what’s up to everybody, even if you don’t know them.
Written By: Serenathekid