DJ IV will be performing at the Raven Tower stage at Madness on Main this weekend. Here’s what you need to know before the show.

DJ IV, or Ichikara Valdez, has been a behind-the-scenes staple in the Houston hip hop scene for years. The CEO of Killem Collective, a group of local creatives destined to blow up, grew up around hip hop as he hung out with his father. Music is in his roots, and he’s finally ready to go out and blossom in front of the scenes. His latest project was debuted at Dean’s Downtown on the patio. The aptly-named Paper Maché Muscle is a mixture of a super hard series of music. The project is available to hear on the Killem site now.

HC: What’s your Houston history and how is it associated with music?

IV: Born and raised in Houston. I spent the first 13 years of my life in Northwest Houston amongst what was probably the most culturally diverse areas of of the city in the ’90s. I was able to soak in how these cultures integrated and cooperated with each other early in my childhood. This time also showed me how universal hip hop music was, as my friends consisted of every ethnic group from Asian and Middle Eastern to Latino and Black, our common bond was always Hip-hop music. I moved from this neighborhood to Alief, a suburb on the West (Originally Southwest! aka S.W.A.T.), shortly before starting high school. This period is where I began producing music and making my first incarnations of beats and songs. A local neighbor gave me my first computer program called Fruity Loops, which was essentially a sound sequencer. From that point I began to study sound, sequence and song structure. Using my parents’ record collection as a guide, I started to try recreating some of the records I’d grown up with.

HC: Super dope. I bet all of that exposure had a huge effect on your music.

IV: I think my senses soaked in a lot of the changes between cultural integration from one side of town to the next. Where I was exposed to the peaceful and harmonious side of this concept from from the Northwest, a largely middle class community, I experienced the chaos and tension of that concept in the mixture of classes and how that affected the groups around me in Alief. I drew from the dichotomy and, for better or worse, began to understand and empathize with the fragile relationship between members of the community in Alief. This is probably most evident in my selection of multi-genre and international sound sources for inspiration for my work.

HC: So then, what’s your style like now?

IV: My style is a fusion of hip-hop, with nuances from various genres including, but not limited to, psych. rock, progressive rock, soul, funk and jazz – with harmonious minimalism being the ultimate goal.

HC: What would you call your personal style?

IV: I’ve been described as everything from an old soul to a hipster. While I don’t conform to labels, I will describe myself as an “introverted enthusiast,” paradoxical from day to day at best. My style reflects how I feel about the world around me. This comes through in the music, as much of what I created draws from emotion or vibes in a room. Aesthetically, I try to mimic a warm gray painted wall, slightly worn, leaving room for optimism and interpretation.

HC: Well, that was actually really beautiful…you’re definitely unique. What would you say is your place in today’s music. Like, if there were a Grammy category created specifically for you, what would it be called?

IV: I am a part of the whole, so I don’t feel I have a place, per se. Maybe it’s more of a role to play, in revealing the act and lifting the curtain every once in a while to let some light in. I’m just here to contribute what I can, in hopes that my work received as I intend it to be.

HC: Your music styles represent a huge range. Who are your influences?

IV: D’Angelo, Prince, J Dilla, Dre, Madlib, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, and a slew of hip-hop, soul, funk, jazz and latin artists and producers (past and present) too vast to name.

HC: If you could record with one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

IV: ?uestlove of the Roots, because it would be fucking bananas and we’d get to reinvigorate the sound scape of hip-hop again.

HC: In your words, what do we need to know before we go see you at Madness on Main?

IV: I’m currently producer and DJ of the JAXIV project with artist Jax Yohana, creating the hip hop music the world needs, as well as alternatives that have yet to be discovered. We’re producing the current project together and will be performing at this year’s Madness on Main festival with our band. Looking forward to dropping ill content this summer.

HC: OK, and one fun question to balance out the universe. Who you got in a cage match, Chris Brown or Soulja Boy?

IV: Chris Brown, all day.

If you want a sneak peek of what you’ll hear from DJ IV this weekend, head to Dean’s Downtown Thursday night for The Score. This week’s edition will serve as the pre-party for Madness on Main.

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