Mikey LaCroix is busy. You’ve probably enjoyed one of his performances under the name Kind Beats at Backyard on Bell, or listened to one of his radio shows. But, as he himself admits, he’s not the kind of performer you always notice. That’s kind of the point: As long as you’re happy, he’s doing his job.
The hip-hop head-turned-DJ has two shows, a booming SoundCloud page, and friends in every nook, corner, and cranny of DFW, but he’s still not satisfied. He’s on a mission to unite artists, unite sounds and make Denton even funkier.
We sat down with the music man to find out what drives him and his sound.
WDDI: Tell us about your roots. What made you first interested in
music as a career?
KIND BEATS: I was always interested in Music. I used to make my own drum sets out of pots and pans, and I had this wooden box with a bunch of mini Nascar toys in it that had the most perfect pop sound for a snare drum. My older brothers listened to a lot of hip hop, my mom a lot of 80's and 90's rock, and my dad was either playing Neil Young, Tony Bennet, Frank Sinatra or something from Soul Train. So I grew up with a lot of different types of music around me, and all of these genres can be found in my music. I smash them all together to create a kind of sound that I think will make people relax, dance, chill and basically just feel better. But it wasn't until I got into my teenage years that I began to play instruments, and not until I was in my 20's that I started to branch out into electronic music production. My roots lie in hip-hop; I always loved when my older brother would drive me around playing None Thugs ‘n Harmony. He would tell me “Don't tell mom and I'll get you ice cream,” so I just stayed quiet and enjoyed the beats.
Describe your weekly radio shows to a first-time listener. What's it all about, and what kind of experience do you hope to provide to the fans?
I have two shows: The one on Sunday is called "Sunday Brunch," and the one on Monday is called "Sound Values." I wanted to start "Sunday Brunch" as a way to bring the genre "Chill-hop" to Denton. If you tune in you, will see me mixing different types of chill hip-hop beats, most of which are my own productions, and some are from people I've discovered on SoundCloud. We also do a weekly residency at Backyard on Bell on Sundays from 12 - 3pm, where the Resident DJ is Lofty Beats. "Sound Values" is 7 - 8pm every Monday, and I have different musicians from all over the DFW area (but mostly Denton) come on the show and we talk life, music, stress, setbacks, what keeps them going, their roots, and of course snacks. I want my fans to get a quality look at the people behind the music in Denton, Dallas, and Fort Worth. It’s not so much about musical performance as it is about the person behind the music.
People have pre-conceived notions about what a DJ is or what he or she does. Beyond the logistics, what does DJing mean to you?
Being a DJ is one thing, but being a producer and a DJ is different. I don't use the traditional turntables, so most people aren’t really sure what I'm doing, and they assume that because I have a computer, I’m just playing MP3 files, which isn’t the case. I use a sampler, so I have my productions all sampled out, and I can launch these samples in an order that creates the song that I have produced. I am exclusively playing all of my own productions almost every time you see me perform. It’s about providing a vibe of happiness in the room, and creating something that people not only can dance to, but also can turn to their friends and continue to have a conversation once they are done listening. I don't want to consume the room; I just want to be something that you can choose to listen to or choose to have in the background.
What are your goals as an artist?
My goal is to help younger kids - I'm 30 - who are like me find ways to get shows, stay creative, and eventually monetize their music. I want to create a culture that supports all types of artists and thrives on the creativity that is already instilled in Denton. Let’s face it: most of us who are artists would love to find a way to make a steady paycheck off of the art we love to create. I am very fortunate to have people around me who support my goals and dreams, and I just want to pay it forward to those who are going to continue to bring creativity, love and passion to the city of Denton.
Thanks, Kind Beats!