Two years ago, Kristopher Charles “KC” Malone experienced a transformative dream.
The Washington, D.C. producer entered a spooky carnival pavilion filled with existential challenges and lessons. After waking up, he shared the lucid dream with longtime friend and collaborator David Brescia-Weiler.
“It was a crazy, trippy dream. I was in this carnival, and people didn’t recognize me. I wanted to express what it was like, so I called David, and said ‘Hey man, would you want to make an album?’” Malone said. “I had never done anything like that and neither had David. It was a broad ambition that came from COVID and being inside … this was super lockdown time.”
Despite being in lockdown, Malone and Brescia-Weiler turned that life-changing dream into a vivid, musical reality. The duo formed a new creative collaboration called KDC Guild and embarked on an ambitious journey to develop and executive produce Cise Pavilion, a hip-hop, audio-narrative concept album filled with a global cast of 60-plus artists, musicians, audio engineers, actors and comedians.
“We weren’t necessarily trying to start a company; we just wanted to work on a project together. We were like, ‘We need to do this,’ because everybody was jumping on board and getting excited,” said Brescia-Weiler, who’s also based in D.C.
“We couldn’t have predicted people from Vegas, Berlin and LA would have suddenly said, ‘Yeah, I’ll go. Send me the contract, and I’ll do it.’ We grew with the process as well.”
KDC Guild’s Cise Pavilion vision quickly grew into a classic hero’s journey brimming with 11 valuable lessons (or tracks) along the way. The insightful album thoughtfully explores the concept of “cise,” a D.C.-based term for “hype,” through protagonist Malone’s personal experiences and interactions with others in a carnival-themed world.
Compelling “cise” metaphors for jealousy, greed, peer pressure, hyperbole and vanity sprout from the digital sphere and overflow into everyday life. With Cise Pavilion, KDC Guild advocates abandoning these toxic behaviors and creating a harmonious environment that promotes acceptance and authenticity.
“Part of the point of Cise Pavilion as a project and something we all grapple with is … that temptation (of ‘cise’) is always there. As much as I’d like to say I don’t need other people’s validations, I might get excited when I get a lot of Instagram likes versus more than I normally do,” said Brescia-Weiler.
“I think that’s an internal struggle that we all have, and it’s been a fun exploration, not just for KC and me, but we get to have an ongoing discussion with each person that’s part of the project. It’s given us a lot of time to think about it … because we’re in a social media age where do you have to puff out your chest and hype yourself up a little bit or try to get on the latest TikTok trend to be seen.”