Jakeshoredrive is an upcoming tech and deep house DJ who is quickly rising to stardom throughout Chicago. Known for his high-energy, feel-good sets, the 28-year-old DJ knows how to throw a party. Whether it’s offering direct support to artists such as Don Diablo and Da Baby or DJing parties in the Hamptons, Jakeshoredrive knows how to electrify any crowd.
As the 2021 season kicks off, Jakeshoredrive is already making big moves. He just released a massive g -house track called Scandal along with new tour dates in Nashville this June.
The daily Frequency caught up with Jakeshoredrive to discuss the scene in Chicago, musical influences, and more!
Check out the full interview below!
How did you get into producing music, and when did you decide this was something you wanted to pursue professionally?
I have been producing music for 1.5 years. It all started with a vision I kept having every time I’d close my eyes. I kept seeing myself in front of thousands of people rocking to my music. I looked at where I’ve been and what I’ve done up until that point and knew I had to evolve from DJ to artist if I wanted to live out that vision. Then the process began.
Everyone has that one song that got them into electronic music. For me, it was Kaleidoscope by Tiesto. What was yours?
Wow, this is a great question. For me, it’d have to be Loca People from Sak Noel and Cry Just a Little (Kids at the Bar Bootleg)-Bingo Players …shout out Red Lion (U of I)
You are a house DJ from Chicago, which is widely known as the Birthplace of house. What impact has your city had on your musical taste?
It’s EVERYTHING. I consistently ask myself, can I play this in Chicago? Or how can I sprinkle some Chicago flavor into this track? Many great artists have paved the way for me to make music from this city, and I always want to do right by them by putting something with soul, swing, grit, and groove out there. I was blessed to actually grow up in the city, where I was thrust into a melting pot of different cultures, ethnicities, and musical tastes. It’s given me the ability to sample from and get inspired by a wide range of music from hip-hop, juke, latin/reggaeton, R&B, and beyond.
Although you define yourself as a house DJ, it is clear your sound has a lot of influences from other genres. How important is versatility when it comes to production?
I take pride in pushing the limits within house music. I believe it’s so necessary when you want to stand out or try to be different. Blending in other genres is just the DJ in me. It’s what I do in my live sets. I’m very intentional with it because it makes your music that much more marketable and familiar when people hear a melody, vocal chop, or sound they already love.
You’ve been putting in work this past year, releasing a bunch of new music. How were you able to stay motivated in such trying times?
In such trying times, I found the silver lining! For me, the silver lining was all a sudden, I have all this TIME since my day job was severely relaxed back to very minimal work. I looked at it as a blessing. Obviously, there was a lot to worry about and be cautious with the realities of COVID, but I’ve never been one to waste time when given it. I also looked at it as, ok, I’m not DJing, so how can I stay relevant, and the only way was to release music and push content.
You basically live a double life being an elementary school teacher for seven years now. How are you able to juggle teaching and producing music at such a high level? Your students must think your pretty damn cool.
“The juggle is real!” I’ve made some serious changes in my life in the past two years that have helped me take on the workload. My standards for both teaching and producing are that they are two full-time careers, and my time is balanced around them. I teach from 9-4 pm and focus on music in some capacity (creating, meetings, branding, content, marketing) at night. I rarely go out anymore unless I’m DJing or networking. Although, I’ve learned over the past year that balance is so EXTREMELY important for my creative and mental health. I make time for family, close friends, my dog Chief, and just living to avoid creative block and burnout. Thank you, I hope they do!
You are a great producer but also have a solid social media presence. How important is social media when it comes to marketing your music and connecting with fans?
In an industry that has had its in-person connection stripped away in the last year, it has been so important in both marketing and connecting with fans. I have really tried to solidify and focus on my branding and connectivity through social media a lot in the past 6 months. I’m trying to stay authentic to myself while giving people meaningful content that makes people happy, informs them or helps solve a confusion or debunk a myth about music, DJing, or producing. Again, it’s been the only way for me to stay relevant but also helps with narrowing down those super fans!
Not only do you produce, DJ, and Teach, you also have a radio show called WEHAVEFUN. How did that come about, and what’s the vision behind it?
WEHAVEFUN Radio was a way for me to showcase my musical taste and also market myself digitally to potential venues. It also was a way for me to showcase/sharpen my skills as a DJ and love for other people’s music. I have been able to connect to so many artists looking to get more exposure just through a music centric podcast. I will admit WHF Radio has taken a back seat recently, but I am ready to start gearing it up again for the summer. I would like to feature artists for interviewing and guest mixes. If you are in need of a jackin high-energy hour-long mix for car rides, workouts, or pre-games, then this is the radio show for you.
In September, you announced that it had been one year since you decided to quit drinking, which I applaud. But, obviously, DJ culture and party culture go hand in hand. How are you able to resist temptations? What advice would you give someone who just decided to quit?
I’m glad you asked this question, I honestly shy away from posting about it too much, but I’m always open about speaking on it because I know it could possibly help others.
Personally, THIS was the life-changing decision I alluded to in an earlier question. The temptation is always there, but I’ve learned to be at peace with it and not let it even phase me. This didn’t happen overnight, though. It was a one-day at a time process. I have a strong support system and true friends that have made me realize that I never needed it to be who I truly am. The music gives me that high now. I also view it as a transfer of addiction from partying to my music career. There’s a direct correlation between the amount of time I’ve been sober and the time I’ve been producing. I’ll be honest I have had a couple of small setbacks in the past 1.5 years sober, but that just means I’m human. I’ve learned and grown from a couple of times, and each time I come out more focused and locked in than ever before. It’ll always be a battle for me all my life, but it’s a battle I’m not willing to lose.
For anyone out there thinking about quitting, DO IT. The pros immensely outweigh the cons (if any cons at all). Here’s some of my best tips:
-Do it for yourself and no one else
-Take it one day at a time. Literally, say “I will not_______ today” and watch the days add up.
-Tell those around you and make it well known what your goals are. Communication is so huge!
-When you’re out, always have something in your hand. This will eliminate people from asking you to take a shot or have a drink.
-Just know you never needed alcohol to be the beautiful, fun-loving spirit you already are.
It seems you have such an optimistic outlook on life. You are always enjoying the moment and having fun. Is this something you try to incorporate into your music?
Three words, baby, “WE HAVE FUN”! It’s my slogan. I’ve used it for years, and it’s definitely the type of music I want to make and music go-er I want to attract. It embodies the energy I bring to my original music, remixes, and DJ sets. People are attracted to good energy, and I just try and put that out there at all costs. I currently have my own night centered around this idea. We Have Fun Fridays at Clutch Chicago! Come by and say hi if you’re in town 🙂
Take us behind the scenes. How do you prepare for a set, and do you have a pre-show ritual?
Oftentimes I try not to over-prepare because I’ve learned I get too caught up in being perfect, and it throws off my energy. Usually, before a set, I always think about the room or venue and the audience that is going to be there or the artist I’m directly supporting. The time of day is also a big factor for me as far as what music I’m lining up for the night. I’ll create crates of music that I definitely want to play, but it is always open season once it’s go time. Never really had a pre-show ritual before covid, now I usually call or text my mom or dad, letting them know I’m here, sober, and ready to rock this mf.
With live music coming back, what’s this summer looking like in Chicago?
It’s looking promising! Clubs and bars are slowly opening up and releasing restrictions. I saw some festival lineups posted so good as it can be, I guess. I’m honestly not gonna be here for a large part of it. I was able to damn near manifest my own unofficial tour at several cities around the US, starting with Nashville June 4th. So I’m very excited about that!
Last but not least, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
On top of the DJ booth on the Perry’s stage at Lollapalooza. With a Stone Cold hat on, waving the Chicago flag as my dad drops one of my bangers in front of 10 thousand hardcore members.