“I like to switch it up – I play a few reggae gigs, then I want to do baile funk, then techno. It’s the same with my art. I like jumping from one thing to another.”
Celebrating the diverse and multi-faceted pool of Amsterdam talent, Calvin Klein Jeans and Glamcult have come together to capture creative individuals in the new season’s workwear finest. We caught up with DJ and all-around creative, Ike, to reflect on his legacy and Amsterdam hot spots. Read the interview and make sure to come by DOLLEBEGIJNSTEEG 5 to experience the Calvin Klein exhibition and brand-new Glamcult Store from March 3rd to the 12th!
Let’s begin with your journey! Tell me about yourself and your craft.
My name is Ike Melchizedek, I was born in Amsterdam and raised by my Black mother. She is very creative – she is a DJ and that’s what has always inspired me. She’s always reminded me that being creative is a great expression for your soul. I was born in the South-East, a place where a lot of different cultures co-exist. Getting used to those different cultures really inspired me with music, arts and fashion. I started drawing when I was a kid, and never stopped making art since then.
How did DJing come about?
I started with art, and my mum would always be asking “are you going to take my sound forward? Are you going to continue the legacy?”. Her sound is Empress Messenger Sound, and she always plays with a good message. If the rhythms are very positive, that’s what she drives on. I didn’t like being always simply positive – I also like the edge, the dark side in music. I think art should be an expression of all emotions. That’s why I couldn’t fully continue my mother’s legacy.
I guess you’re improving on the legacy!
Yeah, at the end of the day, I still settled in DJing and also did a lot of gigs with my mum. Last summer we were on the main stage of this reggae festival together. It was such a special moment – I was playing and she was hosting the stage. I’ve also taught a lot of DJs who were just starting out, and now they’re having sold-out shows. So, I’m happy to contribute to the scene as well.
What are your favourite genres to play?
I love to play electronic from a wide angle. I also love playing roots, with a focus on instruments that were first basics before electronics. It’s hard to pinpoint one genre – country music came from blues, hip hop came from reggae, etc. At times, I get tired of playing the same genres. I like to switch it up – I play a few reggae gigs, then I want to do baile funk, then techno. It’s the same with my art. I like jumping from one thing to another.
You’re very much a multidisciplinary creative. Tell me more about the Amsterdam scene and the importance of collaboration for you!
Creating in Amsterdam has always been extremely inspiring. I love to collaborate with a lot of people, and before anything, I need to know if they are real, if our energies connect, and if they truly love what they do. When I got with my friends as creative individuals, we had this slogan The Gang is Beautiful. So, whenever someone would ask me how my night is going, I’d say ‘TGIB’. That’s how we started our collective, with a goal to empower collaborations and individual expression. And sexy energy!
I love the moustache! When did you first decide to grow it?
I’ve never ever shaved my face before. It’s god’s given, haha. My mum brought me up like this – she loved having this natural element in the concrete jungle. I love contrast, generally, in the way I express myself. Some things should be left to nature and never touched, and other things you can fuck up.
What makes someone stand out to you in the crowd when you play?
The way they carry their body. Energy-wise, what I can get from the person.
What is your favourite food spot in Amsterdam?
I have a few spots, but the first one is definitely home. My wife is a great cook, and sometimes she does this pop-up dinner at museums or shops. It’s called Sugar Cane Collective, and they’re really good.
What is the song to play to get in the mood for your set?
Road to Gizah by KaRai, SPXZE and Ike Melchizedek. It’s really spiritual and gets me in the drive and ready to play a set. No matter what I’m going to play, it never fails to get me in the groove.
If there was one thing you could change about the music industry, what would it be?
I would really love for all the money to go directly to the artists, instead of the record labels. I also want to see more people do it for their soul and love for music, not for money or fame. Doing something just for the love of it is everything to me.
Calvin Klein Jeans have a very signature style, how would you describe this in relation to your own personal wardrobe?
Calvin Klein is a very iconic brand for me. It helps me feel authentic. Calvin Klein Jeans has some great basics, and if you’re an outspoken person like myself, it’s a perfect base. Their pieces can also be very sexy, which adds to my personality and wardrobe. We’re definitely a match!
Calvin Klein Jeans will take over the Glamcult Store from March 3rd-12th!
Launching with a bang, come by the store and see the full exhibition of Amsterdam creatives alongside the Calvin Klein Jeans pre-spring ‘23 collection, New Utility.
(From March 18th onwards, we return to the Glamcult curation)
Art Direction by Glamcult
Photography by Piet Oosterbeek
Styling by Pykel van Latum & Rogier Vlaming — Glamcult
Makeup by June Peters
Modelled by Daniel Smedeman
Photography assistance by Andrea Amponsah
Styling assistance by Evita Shrestha
Shot at Studio Mucha