Avi Sic Interview: Pride Month, Chicago Bulls DJ, Dream Festival + More

Celebrating Pride month (a few days late), we connect with Chicago based Avi Sic. An East Coast native that moved to the second city, Avi started DJing and composing songs as a teenager, playing a range of musical instruments, later. With over a decade of experience, her DJ skills combined with diverse and high energy performances have set her apart from her peers and have led to a over a staggering 300 shows a year.

Avi has shared the stage as support for the world’s greatest DJ’s and Rappers including Calvin Harris, Diplo, Cardi B, Doja Cat, Lil Wayne, Flo Rida, Jason Derulo, Lil Jon, RL Grime, Gryffin and many more. Avi has also been the official concourse DJ for the NBA’s Chicago Bulls going on 6 years.

Her newest project, Late Checkout, is a weekly radio mix show that features the best in electronic music, experimental, and everything in between in her characteristic open format style, her show is being broadcasted weekly in 28 different radio stations in 16 countries.

Avi! Tell us about your earliest musical influences and how you decided to pursue music as a career?

As a kid, me and my brother would pretend to be pop stars. We would do it all like dress up, dance, sing, put on concerts. My uncle was in a band, he played guitar and that led to me learning a handful of instruments at an early age. I was always focused on music. All instruments, all genres. Creating all kinds of stuff. I got a pair of turntables in highschool and that opened the door for me to electronic music. I used to blend like trance records with Madonna or backpacker hip hop and do live mashups for my friends.

You’ve supported a huge range of artists including Calvin Harris and Diplo. Who would be your ideal collaboration partner in future and why?

Yeah, It’s definitely been cool. Collaboration wise, I would love to work with Chris Lake or AC Slater. I really love that Hard Tech/ Bass House sound. That’s the kind of music I’m releasing next.

In addition to your festival and club sets, you’ve been a DJ with the Chicago Bulls for 6 years now. How do your musical selections here differ from your choices at festivals etc?

Yeah, super different. I started as an open format DJ so switching up genres, reading the crowd, and choosing songs in the moment, are second nature to me. I love playing festivals, but also there’s an excitement that comes with being fully in the moment during gigs like Bulls Games, club sets and even corporate events. I have a lot of fun mashing up music that shouldn’t fit together but making it work.

If you could choose one, what would be your dream festival or club venue to play at, and why?

Tomorrowland is definitely top of the bucket list due to the electronic nature of the fest. It’s the top dog with the most attendees plus, it’s out of the country and I love to travel.

How would you describe your overall sound?

It’s constantly evolving and changing that’s for sure. But my appreciation for most genres remains the same. When I create music or play gigs with full freedom, I tend to lean toward the Electronic Dance side. Hard Tech House, Bass House, Ghettotech, Footwork, G-House, even Trap… I appreciate a hard drop. I also like to fuse elements of Hip hop, Pop, and Soul together and mix up BPM’s to keep my sets interesting.

You perform at over 300 events per year. How do you balance the work/home life and what do you do to relax?

Ha. I get that question a lot. I’m a workaholic for sure. I’m hands on in most aspects of my career and also pretty OCD when it comes to it. I have to remind myself to chill and take a step back. I hang with friends, ride bikes around the city and play tennis. I’ll take an extended weekend in random cities that I’m DJing  to put around and take in the scene. And sometimes just being full lazy and binge watching a show.

What has been your proudest accomplishment in your career to date?

It’s tough to point at one thing specifically – everything’s a building block and there have been so many amazing moments. I would say having my own radio show (Late Checkout Radio) has been fulfilling for me. I’ve done mix shows for various stations over the years but this is something that’s on my own terms and I’m excited to see where it can go. Ideally, I would like to find a home for it on Diplo’s Revolution or a like-minded station. I’ve started bringing on guests, artists I look up to so it’s a cool outlet for me for many reasons.

Tell us about your favourite and least favorite thing(s) about working in the music industry…

Favorite thing would be performing live. When the crowd is hype, the energy and adrenaline rush is on another level. It can be a very out of body experience. My least favorite is all the bullshit behind the music. The industry and behind the scenes can be very difficult to navigate. There is a lot to learn. You have to be strong and constantly push yourself in uncomfortable situations.

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now, in terms of your career?

I’ve worked so hard to make this career in music a reality. I only see big things ahead. In five years there will be bigger shows, more festival sets, original music that the crowd sings along to and collaborations with artists that I respect and admire.

How important is it for pride month to really raise awareness in our scene and change outdated attitudes which many still unfortunately hold towards LGBTQ communities?

Extremely important. Not just for the month but acceptance is something that should be practiced year round. Music is such an integral part of the LGBTQ scene.

From the origins of dance music in places like Studio 54 etc, the house community has always been a huge outlet of freedom for the LGBTQ scene. Do you think this puts greater emphasis on our industry going forward to keep trailblazing for that same cause?

Absolutely! Music is expression, period. The great thing about the Electronic music scene is that freedom of expression. Enjoying the music on your own terms. Be you, wear what you want, dance how you want, live how you want, love how you want. Music is a very personal thing. How you interpret a song and how it makes you feel differs from person to person. In that regard, it’s the most inclusive thing we have as people.

What changes towards the LGBTQ community have you witnessed within the music industry over the years thanks to events like pride month?

I’ve seen more awareness, celebration, and acceptance in general. Every year, more artists seem to be open and comfortable with themselves and also more supportive of others. This is progress. It’s very cool.