Alex and KJ Eichstaedt, also known as IKE Music, are two brothers from Waukesha, Wisconsin who make music together.
KJ, the older of the two, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2016, and Alex graduated from UW-Madison in 2019. The brothers have been working on developing a brand for music production and sports journalism since 2014, amassing over 70,000 followers across a variety of platforms such as Twitter, Spotify and Tik Tok.
The IKE brand is an abbreviation of the brothers’ last name, which KJ said was frequently mispronounced when they were in school.
“We like the simple pronunciation of the name, and it allows us to diversify it into a different thing,” KJ said. “Our big overarching goal is to create a brand, whether it’s IKE Sports, IKE Food and Recipe, IKE Fashion or IKE Music.”
The IKE brothers started out making hip-hop music on pro tools, but quickly decided to change genres and renamed their group IKE Music, as they already had a podcast and website under the name IKE Sports Report.
They were releasing their music on Soundcloud and YouTube, but weren’t getting the feedback that they were looking for.
“We don’t want to be hip-hop, No one would take us seriously,” KJ said. “Our image isn’t what people are looking for in that realm. We have a couple hip-hop pieces in the vault and some people want us to release them. We go back and forth on it, but we think it isn’t aligned with what industry wants.”
Instead, IKE Music offers EDM style instrumentals with pop vocals, creating a sound very reminiscent of Avicii or Zedd’s music. Most of their songs are about love and relationships, and while the lyricism isn’t groundbreaking, the songs are well put together and pleasing to the ear.
KJ spoke to IKE Music’s motto, and described it as “beautiful sounds that appeal to the senses.”
This extends beyond the music into the group’s music videos which consist of very simple, aesthetically pleasing shots which lack complicated editing or visual effects.
Another motto that IKE Music adhered to is “less is more,” and KJ said the group draws inspiration from the sleek, simple marketing of companies like Apple and Tesla.
The group also draws inspiration from artists like Drake and Avicii, which makes a lot of sense considering their music is very reminiscent of both EDM and pop.
“He can make music in any genre. When you have beautiful sounds, the theme of love, and a really capable producer it turns into a really cool final product. It sounds fresh every time he releases it.” KJ said about Avicii.
He also said he draws inspiration from Drake’s ability to tell stories and make catchy music.
KJ and Alex work with a makeshift studio, which KJ described as “everything but a sound booth.” They move the studio around quite a bit, from their hometown of Waukesha, to the cities where they went to college, Milwaukee and Madison, and produce all the elements in their music themselves. I was quite surprised to hear this, as their music sounds extremely professional and well polished.
Coming from a musical family, KJ started playing the guitar when he was in the 5th grade, and Alex played the drums. KJ focuses on crafting the melodies in the songs, while Alex handles the percussion and much of the beat making. They also work extensively with female vocalists Gabi Schiffler and Sarah Licau, who appear respectively on tracks such as “Airwave,” and their newest single, “Blue Moon.”
The brothers have been using their various sports platforms, IKE Badgers, IKE Bucks, IKE Brewers and IKE Packers to promote their music, as their sports reporting has an even bigger following than their music.
The group’s various Twitter accounts, where they live tweet games and produce original graphics for the various Wisconsin sports teams blew up when following the success of the Milwaukee Bucks and Brewers, and their strategy of live tweeting Bucks games was effective as no major media outlet was really doing so at the time.
As the Green Bay Packers continue their success this season, IKE Packers has been very popular on Twitter, and the group looks forward to continued success with all of their different media outlets.
Be on the lookout for new content across all of IKE’s different platforms, and go stream their new single Blue Moon, out now