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.

Picture that.

It is no secret that EDM was hit the hardest when Bonnaroo announced the 2021 official lineup. While about 60 percent of the original 2020 lineup stayed intact, some notable acts were removed without replacement, especially in the electronic realm. We lost Ganja White Night, Flume, Bassnectar (for numerous reasons), Rezz, Bonnie X Clyde, and tones and I. However, aside from not one headlining act, the electronic undercard runs deep. It may not look like it at first glance, but the more you go through the lineup, the more EDM heavy hitters you will find.

To be clear there are many reasons why EDM may not seem as strong as it did in previous years. As we all know, Covid hit live music especially hard. It’s not that Bonnaroo’s EDM scene is fizzing out but that it is just a strange year overall for the festival circuit. September is flooded with festivals trying to make a comeback, and each fest is fighting for a spot for each artist. On Labor Day Weekend alone, there are five major festivals, including Bonnaroo taking Place. Being that 4 of them are exclusively curated for EDM makes it even harder for Bonnaroo to book all the artists they would have wanted.

The good news for EDM and Bonnaroo fans is that despite everything, Bonnaroo was still able to book 35 electronic artists with a wide range of styles that know how to throw the fuck down. Bonnaroo’s EDM stage, The Other, has also been revamped with better production and lights for the best possible experience. Also, for the first time in Bonnaroo’s history, The Other will be going all night long, so look for secret sets and surprise b2bs. Mix that in with the Where in the Woods stage, and you have a ravers paradise!

Scroll through for your complete EDM guide to Bonnaroo!

2021 Bonnaroo Lineup

Thursday

Dabin

Genre – Future Bass, Melodic Dubstep

If you love Illenium you will love Dabin, and not just because he’s the guitarist in Illenium’s Awake band. Dabin has been making a name for himself in the electronic scene with his electrifying live show, and euphoric melodic dubstep. Definitely a must-see act on Thursday night!

The Funk Hunters

Genre- Electronic, Dubstep, Soul, Disco, Funk

If a jam band went electronic The Funk Hunters would most definitely be it. Members Nick Middleton and Duncan Smith mix everything from dubstep to soul, and rock n roll creating a one of a kind future funk sound!

He$h

Genre- Dubstep, Bass, Hip-hop

To be Frank, He$h throws the fuck down. With a perfect mixture of southern hip-hop and heavy wubs, He$h is someone you headbangers won’t want to miss!

Spock

Genre – Dubstep, Bass, Hip-Hop

As one of rap star Pouya’s favorite producers Spock is another hard-hitting dubstep DJ with a hip-hop heavy sound. Expect his set to be dirty, grungy, and full of energy!

Mize

Genre- Experimental Bass

One of Wakaan’s brightest prodigies, Mize has been pushing the boundaries of bass music with his hypnotizing tripped-out sound. Be prepared for a spiritual experience once Mize takes the stage!

Taska Black

Genre- Melodic Bass, Future Bass, Trap

Taska Black is quickly rising to dance music stardom with his top-notch production and genre-defying sound. Expect his set to be full of warm melodies and festival anthems.

Zía

Genre- Dubstep

Zía has been making noise in the bass scene catching the attention of labels like Bassrush, Deadbeats, and Gravedance. Inspired by her love of metal and dubstep the Philly producer will have one of the heaviest high energy sets on Thursday!

Friday

Tipper

Genre- Ambient, Trip-hop, Downtempo

Even if you are not a huge EDM fan don’t sleep on Tipper! Recognized for his visuals almost as much as his music, Tipper will take you on a spiritual journey!

Big Wild

Genre- Electronic, Indie-pop

Bringing back 80s nostalgia with a modern-day EDM twist, Big Wild knows how to throw a party. Don’t be surprised if he throws down one of the most fun sets at Bonnaroo!

TroyBoi

Genre- House, Trap

Things will get weird in a good way once Troyboi hits The Other! Expect dirty trap mixed with bouncy electro-house beats!

Svdden Death

Genre- Dubstep, Bass

If there is going to be any moshing at The Other it’s going to be during SVDDEN DEATH’s set! If you love heavy wubs and metal inspired dubstep don’t miss his epic bass-heavy show!

Lucii

Genre-Dubstep, Melodic Bass

Bringing those intergalactic vibes to Bonnaroo, Lucii will bring you on a wild ride through outer space with trippy bass and other worldly wubs!

Lp Giobbi

Genre- House

Since her emergence into the dance scene in 2018 Lp Giobbi has been quickly rising to become EDM’s next big star. Known for her feel-good house and deep bass her set is sure to light the dance floor on fire!

Atliens

Genre- Bass, Dubstep, Trap

Not much is known about the masked extraterrestrial duo except for the fact that they go hard with filthy wubs and earthshaking bass!

Mija

Genre- House, Bass house

Already Bonnaroo Famous, Mija broke into the electronic scene with a surprise 6 a.m b2b with Skrillex at Bonnaroo in 2014. This time she’s back to throw down on The Other as one of EDM’s most electrifying house DJs!

Detox Unit

Genre- Experimental Bass, Dubstep

A heavier version of Tipper, Detox Unit will not only stimulate your senses but will have you getting down to filthy bass!

Tripp St.

Genre- Experimental Bass, Glitch Hop

Another unknown Artist, Tripp St is rumored to be the alias of a big-time DJ/Producer, possibly even Liquid Stranger. Mysteriously coming out of nowhere Tripp St. has been taking the electronic scene by storm. Definitely, a must-see act at Bonnaroo if you love trippy experimental bass!

NotLö

Genre- Experimental Bass, Dubstep

NotLö will take you on a sonic adventure with her dark, low- end bass and celestial sound!

Saturday

Seven Lions

Genre- Melodic dubstep, Trance, Future Bass, Electro

One of the most versatile artists in all of EDM, Seven Lions will have you headbanging, crying, singing, and falling in love all in one set!

Sylvan Esso

Genre- Electronic, Synth Pop

Not necessarily classified as EDM but Sylvan Esso is definitely heavily influenced by electronic soundscapes. The fact that they are playing the super jam makes their set even more of a must-see!

Subtronics

Genre- Riddim, Dubstep, Bass

Subtronics will surely turn Bonnaroo into a frenzy with his hard-hitting face-melting dubstep and riddim! One of the hardest working producers in bass music this is a set you won’t want to miss. Just be cautious while head banging, you don’t want to break your neck!

Yaeji

Genre- House

Inspired by Korean indie rock, 90s hip-hop, and electronica, Yaeji has created a form of house music that is simply out of this world! With mellow vocals switching back and forth from English to Korean, and lo-fi house beats Yaeji’s set will be a party like no other!

Ekali

Genre- Future bass, Future House, Trap

Playing everything from aggressive bangers to beautiful downtempo anthems Ekali’s set will have you lost in your feels while getting down at the same time!

Wooli

Genre- Dubstep, Future Bass

If you combined Excision with Illenium you would get Wooli! The perfect balance of heavy dubstep with euphoric future bass!

Dr. Fresch

Genre- House, Bass House

Whatever you do not sleep on Dr. Fresch! If anyone is coming with the heat and the weed it’s going to be this Canadian house legend who will absolutely set the dance floor ablaze!

William Black

Genre- Future Bass

Don’t be alarmed if you shed a tear during his emotionally heavy performance! With a knack for uplifting melodies and emotional soundscapes, William Black will having you hugging your friends and maybe even strangers mid-set!

Level up

Genre- Riddim, Dubstep

Don’t let her small size fool you! Level Up has a massive presence on stage and will rattle the earth below The Other with some of the hardest bass-driven dubstep there is!

DJ Mel

Genre- House

A Bonnaroo favorite, DJ Mel always finds his way onto the Bonnaroo lineup! Also, as an electronic music vet DJ Mel’s sets are always a good ass time!

Lick

Genre- House, Bass House

Known for his high-energy, heavy-hitting house, Lick has gained support from the likes of Jauz, and Zeds Dead. Be prepared to jump and move your body once Lick takes the stage!

Sunday

Deadmau5

Genre- Progressive House, Electro House

A true EDM legend Deadma5 will be rocking Bonnaroo for the first time since 2015! Definitely a set you don’t want to miss!

Boombox Cartel

Genre- Trap, Dubstep, Future Bass

Boombox Cartel just has a way of perfectly blending hip-hop elements with his bass-driven electronic sound! His sets are high energy, heavy, and uniquely creative! Another must-see Sunday act!

Peekaboo

Genre- Experimental Bass, Dubstep

Known for his wobbly dubstep Peekaboo thrives at mixing funky grooves with heavy wubs!

LSDREAM

Genre- Dubstep, Experimental Bass

There is a high probability you will leave LSDream’s set with a new outlook on life! He will surely to take you on an extraterrestrial journey through the void but,we won’t say much more about his show! It’s better you wittness the greatness first hand. Without a doubt a must see act!

Luzcid

Genre- Experimental Bass, Dubstep

Another Wakaan prodigy Luzcid will rattle your soul with heavy bass and spiritual soundscapes!

Elderbrook

Genre- House, Electro

Performing a live show rather than a DJ set Elderbrook plays the keyboard, sings, and mixes as his feel-good demeanor will have you movin’ and groovin’!

Check out our Bonnaroo Apple Music Playlist!

Flynn Collins who’s known by his stage name Flynninho is one of the biggest names in house music coming out of Chicago. The 25-year-old DJ and producer has been on fire lately dropping huge releases and booking a performance at North Coast Festival where he’ll play alongside some of the biggest names in dance music. With roots embedded in genres like g- house and bass house mixed in with his love of old school punk, rock, and grunge, Flynninho’s high energy, in-your-face style is unparalleled.

A true modern-day Rockstar, Flynninho is quickly becoming a household name in electronic music and is set to have a breakout year in 2021. The Daily Frequency sat down with him to discuss his new Evanescence remix, the music industry, and a whole lot more!

Check out the full interview below!

First of all congratulations on booking North Coast! It’s such an insane lineup how does it feel to have the opportunity to play alongside such big names?

Thank you so much for the congratulations and for having me on to be interviewed! It really is mind-bending for me to think about this year’s North Coast. Being part of this year’s lineup in the first festival back from COVID, alongside so many of Chicago’s best artists and massive tour artists who have inspired me in my music and my pursuit of my dreams is honestly super humbling. A lot of these artists, such as Wax Motif and NGHTMRE, I have seen live at shows and festivals- now we are playing the same festival together! I am still kind of processing it all but what I can say is this- it definitely is a moment that kind of leaves me both speechless but also validates my dreams and all the work I have been putting in to make sure that my vision becomes a reality. I think when the moment comes to finally play though, I know I will just enjoy the moment, all that it is, and rock out with everyone there who comes to our set! The coolest part of it is the amount of people (friends, family, artists) that have reached out to me since the lineup drop telling me that they bought tickets just to see me!

So how did you get into producing? Do you come from a musical family or is it something that you gravitated towards on your own?

My story is unique in the sense that I actually planned on playing and being around soccer forever- I played at the highest level, thought I would maybe start a soccer agency after my career had ended! I grew up with music around me every day! My dad was a rockstar doing alternative and rock during the 90s and my mom was super into house music. While being brought up around music, I had never planned on walking into music production, DJing, and performing. I did choir, grew up singing, having rap battles with my little brother (who is actually a fantastic rapper and lyrical poet) but I never planned on pursuing it fully or making a career out of it. It was only when I hit college and went to my first music festival, Spring Awakening 2015, where I really started to fall in love with EDM and would be thinking to myself ‘Mannnn, I would absolutely crush it if I was up there and knew how to do all of it!’ I would be blasting dubstep, house, trap, or future bass every day during soccer workouts, but it was only really after soccer was starting to look like it was coming near an end that I ended up running into Nick Mazzei (NIICK NIICE) and Kyle Garcia who I had seen crush a festival set in Iowa as WITNESS the year before. I ended up chatting them up, fangirling about how good their set was, and eventually, they invited me out to their events they were starting as Be Nice Collective. I came out, joining Be Nice Collective as the intern, and became tight with the other artists who also were part of it. AYOO (another bass house duo who is on North Coast’s lineup), DJ Pharaoh, and NIICK NIICE pushed me to start DJing and make music at the end of 2017- fast forward to now in 2021 and I am full throttle into what I’m going to be doing the rest of my life! Ironically, I recently found an old homework assignment from when I was five where I had written that I was ‘going to be a rockstar and in the NFL’ so shout out to five-year-old me for predicting that I was born to have careers in football (the one where you actually use your feet though) and in music!

Transitioning from pro soccer to DJing is definitely out of the ordinary! Is there anything that you’ve taken from your days on the field that you can apply to your music career?

 I feel like I’ve lived a few lives in this lifetime already at 25, so I am grateful that I have been able to experience so many different things so early on. The mentality between soccer and music is strikingly similar- without my soccer career, I don’t know if I would be as successful in my approach to music as I have been. Taking lessons and mindsets like pushing through your mental barriers to make the impossible happen, never giving up even when you feel your body will, and pushing through adversity are all things that have done wonders in preparing me for what my music career has and will entail. Making it at the highest level requires discipline in either art form. This may mean you are not going to that party you get invited to so you can sleep, you can’t hang out with people all the time because you need to invest it in working on your craft, or that you are going to miss holidays with family so you can grind with your passion. The main idea with all of those in soccer and in music is crucial- you have to be able to get it done, sacrifice when you need to while also not sacrificing parts of yourself essential to you. It isn’t a super sexy answer, but the time will never be right to go for something like your dreams- if you aren’t willing to find a way to succeed when it isn’t exactly the way you picture it in your head, how will you respond?

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

 In terms of overall music tastes, I would say that I listened to almost everything growing up- everything from the Backstreet Boys and Ludacris to Motley Crue and Sum41. I remember in a single day I would bump music like Blink182 and Fall Out Boy and follow it up with Mac Miller and Freddie Gibbs and it would all hit- I guess you can say I was already curating the style I DJ like! I’ve always connected with the rock and roll, grunge, and pop-punk music that I grew up with harder than anything else. I remember watching the movie Dirt on Netflix and thinking to myself ‘That’s literally every vibe that makes sense to me!’ With all that being said, nothing has ever hit as hard as EDM- particularly dubstep and bass house. The earlier music I put out has clear undertones of Malaa, Joyryde, and Jauz while more recently artists like Saint Punk, Julian Jordan, and Seth Hills have been really influencing my house sound and been doing some amazing things. However, this year I have been returning to my roots and using everything from Evanescence and Motley Crue that I grew up on to Kayzo and Pixel Terror as inspiration.

 You just underwent a complete rebrand. What is the thought process behind your new vision and what’s the end goal?

This has been in the making for two years, so I am glad the shift has finally started! I am a person who prides on being true to myself and pushing others to do the same- for better or worse, I have always grown up marching to my own beat and really have refused to be anything but me. The thinking behind the rebrand wasn’t as much of a rebrand as much as it was getting my music’s sound and my brand’s image to be as close to reflect who I am on the daily while also accurately portraying past events I have experienced. I think that a lot of people feel like they have to live this perfect life because of social media and it is almost like a competition as to who can have the best life ever. It would drive me crazy because when I would see this, I would reflect back and see that every moment of my life hasn’t been beautiful- there are plenty of negative moments to match the positive ones and both have their places in my life. I have seen so many artists crumble early on because of this pressure to be releasing the best tracks of their life while also playing the biggest gigs of their careers out of the gate- the reality is that you have to start somewhere and it is not all rainbows and amazing times with amazing people. So, since there are a lot of tough moments that test you and help you grow, ultimately I am just being as vulnerable as I can be about the good and the bad that actually goes on so that way the next generation of artists do not have to feel the same anxieties I have. The whole point is to be happy and fulfilled by pursuing your dreams- this is for me another step in the right direction to ultimately better myself and those around me.

You’ve been open about manifestation and actualization. How important is it to visualize your goals?

Manifesting and actualizing is something that was instilled into me by coaches, sports performance experts, and psychologists during my soccer career that has never left my way to go at my life and dreams. The human mind is really an incredible and terrifying thing- it has the ability to do anything and push us through anything we need it to while also being able to tear you apart. The biggest question you have to ask yourself is this; If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, why would anyone else? The biggest thing I tell myself and others who want to be successful has always been this ability to manifest and actualize things into a reality. Believing in something that isn’t there yet is a very hard thing for many to perceive, yet I have found if you believe in it that badly, constantly put it out there that it will happen and work hard to match that belief via tangible goals, you will always be building towards your vision and end up exactly where you need to be!

You portray yourself as a modern-day Rockstar. Do you feel like that old-school rockstar mindset is something that is missing in music nowadays?

Abso-f**king-lutely (pardon my french). I really don’t know when it happened in music that was on the radio, but within the last two years in EDM especially, a lot of music lost this feeling that was so synonymous with the tracks that artists like CRANKDAT, NGHTMRE, Tchami, and Jauz were putting out. I remember when Jauz dropped ‘Feel The Volume’ and how insane the feeling was of hearing it played out versus some of the music that has been being released today. I don’t want to say it is because so many people want to be artists and DJs- I think music being open to everyone and more accessible/affordable to people who couldn’t afford to make music is genuinely beautiful. I think it more so has to do with artists being afraid to do something different if it means less streams, less followers, and it doesn’t follow a trend like the current slap house/deep house remix of an old song trend that has been going on for almost the entirety of quarantine. For myself, the rockstar mentality to make and release what you want while not really focusing on making music everyone will like or being something everyone will like is something that is lost. Saint Punk actually put up a post on Instagram recently that said “Been doing it my way from the beginning and this year is no different.” That is my exact way of thinking, a rockstar mentality that is raw and real that is focused on being true to themselves and being uncompromising in that. When you think like that, the music you make as an extension of you will connect with who it’s supposed to, and I think that in itself is the most beautiful thing.

It’s common today to see a lot of remixes of the same songs which in turn becomes repetitive. You on the other hand go outside the box with the songs you choose to remix. What attracts you to remix something like Kickstart My Heart by Mötley Crüe?

 I always say to myself that if I hear a remix of a song that I am thinking of remixing myself that I love already, why would I make another one? An example is the song SICKO MODE. We all know the Skrillex remix of it which is banging, but I thought I could do something different. I go searching for other remixes of the song and stumble upon the remix Guy Arthur did of SICKO MODEit’s probably one of the top five sickest tracks I have ever heard in my life, so creative, and it is a track I have played out regularly. At that point, there is no point to do a remix of something I have already found that I really, really connected with. Deciding on and remixing a track for me goes through a checklist: 1) I really like the original track and it resonated with me. 2) I can honor the original track’s identity and feeling while also bringing a new identity that elicits both the feeling you get when hearing that original and brings new feelings to hearing the remix. 3) There aren’t 1000 remixes of it already and there isn’t a remix I would play out already. Those that are now out that I have done, specifically my KCKSTRT MY HRT and BRING ME TO LIFE remixes, I feel check all of those boxes and are both songs that really hit with me growing up. I am super thrilled with how both turned out and honestly I am happy to give both those tracks a second life to remember the feelings that came with hearing those but in a brand new way. Old-school feeling with a new school take on it if you will!

On your Sherm In The Booth episode, you talk about not settling into producing a genre that comes easy to you. How important is it to push your boundaries creatively and work outside your comfort zone? 

 Since I grew up with so many different musical tastes and DJ so many different types of places in Chicago, while I do maintain my own identity and sense of self, one of the biggest things to me has been to not be open to different types of music, people, and places that I or others may not think that I match up with. In the club circuit, during my sets, I am dropping BadBunny, Drake, and Calvin Harris all in one set- all have connected with me in some way so finding ways to make it all fit together is the fun part! I am super energy, wild, and someone who loves to have fun, while at the same time I am also intense, deep, and can feel the weight of the world and those around me. I would like to think everyone has different layers to them, so music shouldn’t be any different. Most of my music for the most part gives you that intensity, wild, fast, and dark in different forms genre-wise. Sometimes I want to be on my sad-boy vibes and make something that is just emotional and vibey, while other tracks are straight aggression and wild. Both are parts of me, so I want to be able to bring both and have a space to convey every part of me!

 I love your style. It is aggressive, in your face, and full of energy. You really developed a sound of your own. When did you feel like you finally found your lane?

 I feel like you have just nailed it on the head better than anyone else!!! Honestly, the first track that really nailed what I was trying to do was when MURDEROUS dropped on SWUTCH. It was the first time I was able to bring all the elements together of what my sound’s foundation. I think like a person grows and evolves, an artist’s sound should do the same. I remember when I started, I definitely leaned into the plucky, early Malaa/Matroda basslines and jackin’ house percussion with a dark, yet fast pace to back it up. A lot of this year’s songs that set to drop this year feature repeating bass shots found in STMPD style future/bass house, maintaining the same intensity and aggressive darkness in the drops while also channeling more emotion into my breakdowns. I am super excited for it all to come out!

You just released a massive Evanescence remix of Bring Me to Life with your mentor Got Lucky. As a young artist how important is it to learn from someone like that and how does it feel to release a track together?

Alex has been a game-changer for me, mentoring and believing in me the same way I do while also giving feedback and new ideas that I normally wouldn’t normally think about. Learning from him, having him as a resource to lean on, looking up to him, and gaining a best friend in the process is the best possible outcome I could’ve ever imagined and I really am so grateful for him taking the time to be a huge part in developing as an artist. Having someone who you can relate to, connect with both as a person and an artist, is so important because there are times where being an artist can feel isolating, lonely, frustrating, and almost aimless when you aren’t seeing the immediate results of it. Having him there to push me to keep going, to keep growing, and to use as a sounding board makes it a lot easier to stick it out and to go for it all. You can imagine that being able to be working and collaborating with him is pretty rewarding for me- the fact that we could create something so amazing together with him is super humbling and only validates all the work we have both been putting in! He’s an idol of mine, his music is awesome, and it’s amazing that our friendship has translated to a moment like this.

The pandemic flipped everyone’s life upside down. How hard was it to cope with such an abrupt lifestyle change and how were you able to push yourself through?

Honestly, it was one of the hardest things to ever go through. Seeing everything just be paused after grinding for my dreams and performing every day resulted in a huge emotional, mental, and psychological shift that demanded me to adjust quickly. There have been moments of darkness that no one anticipated having to cope with while true moments of beauty have also came about that have to be appreciated, even more than any of us ever have. Personally, I was right on the cusp of having some massive things- things that would have opened up some massive doors- that unfortunately had to be canceled. I’ve lost loved ones during this time that I wish were still here and financially and emotionally struggled heavily over quarantine, but I think knowing that I wasn’t the only one in this boat made me want to keep releasing, keep creating and not just let everything I worked for pause too. The impact of my own work ethic not stopping, instead evolving, to work within the current times I hope pushed people to do the same. My best friends, my family, my peers truly held it down for me, and together we were able to be there for each other and foster a community of artists and DJs that normally wouldn’t get to connect- being part of that was a key motivator to know that I had to keep going too!

You have an intense work ethic. You were playing 7 shows a week before covid, can fans expect more of the same once everything fully opens up?

Oh hellllll yeah! I loved playing every single night- I fully expect to be doing the same once the current times allow it. I am working on some things to ensure that I get to bounce around a bit more and play all over, so we will see what the future holds!

From the outside looking in the music industry is full of glitz and glam but the reality is it can be a cutthroat business. What advice would you give a new DJ just starting out?

The reality is that while it can be glamorous, rewarding and a giant party, it also is just as ruthless in the sense that you can be the next biggest thing one moment, and then you can be cast aside if you aren’t constantly working to improve at the top. It’s hard to give advice because everyone’s situation is different, but one thing that I think translates across all walks of life is this notion of holding yourself fully accountable for everything that happens and that everything that you do. You can only do that once you take the time to fully understand what you are and what you are not. It is really easy to point fingers at everyone else as to why something didn’t happen or why something went wrong for you. What starts to happen is you stop blaming everyone else for the bad, you focus in on what you can and what you can’t control, and your dreams are then fully in your hands to make it happen. You will be in control of your destiny, less angry at other people, and more in-tune with yourself. It improves your appreciation when others do a solid for you, lessens your resentment towards others, and gives you a perspective of exactly where you stand. You owe it to dreams and yourself, to be honest with the work you put in and where you are so, only furthering you in your pursuits to grow.

 Lastly, when it’s all said and done what would you want your legacy to be?

I live by this: At the end of the day, I want to be a great person first, and a great artist second. Music is my platform to really connect, motivate, and inspire others towards acceptance and love of everyone, myself included. I express myself as hard, true, and vulnerable as I do so others feel like they can do the same. Even when performing, the show isn’t me- it is everyone who is there- light guys, dancers, security, and the crowd- we all make the show happen together. The only thing I am doing is acting as a conductor to curate the moments we all get to experience together. It doesn’t matter what your race is, your sexuality is, or what your upbringing is- you can do whatever you want in this world if you’re willing to grind for it and believe in it. There is a place for everyone here. I strive to be much more than just an artist at the end of the day. I want to make the world and those feel what I feel every time I am performing- love, freedom, and alive. I want them to remember why life is so worth getting through the lows we all face so we can feel these highs life has to offer. Music saved my life, and all I want to do is give that love, gratitude, and opportunity back to everyone around me. My music is the physical result of that. If I only inspire one person to not give up, to love instead of hate, to fight for their dreams whatever they may be, and to know that it’s okay to be whoever you are, then I have done my part. I want to look back and know that I made my mark using my platform to the best of my abilities, made those around me the best they could be, stayed open and honest no matter what it may have been, learned from my mistakes, and loved as hard as I could. When you bring that to every show, every time you perform, you’ll end up where you need to be. (:

Before there was Waves or Kids See Ghosts, before there was Man on the Moon III or The Scotts, before the accolades, Coachella, or the HBO shows, there was a kid named Cudi. A rapper from Cleveland Ohio, who to many, was more than just a rapper. He was the voice of a generation who not only changed the direction of hip-hop but became the signal of hope for stoners, loners, and outcasts alike. There is a reason why there is a generation of kids who claim “Kid Cudi saved my life.” Kid Cudi gave a voice to the voiceless. He wasn’t flaunting his money, boasting, or bragging. He wasn’t driving fancy cars or dressing outlandishly. He was in jeans and a flannel preaching “I am you and you are me.” He expressed his emotions, admitted his shortcomings, and became an open book, exposing his insecurities and in doing so related to millions of kids just like him. He became the stoner rapper who didn’t smoke weed for the clout or his image but because he used marijuana to cope with the world. He was real, authentic, and original. You may say you know Kid Cudi. You know Day N’ Night or Pursuit of Happiness, you know Man on the Moon II, and even Indicud. You may even know his mixtape A Kid Named Cudi, or his rock albums WZRD and Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven but there is a collection of songs only the real Cudi fans know about. From unreleased singles to obscure features, Kid Cudi did some of his best work behind the scenes and out of the spotlight. Here are the best Kid Cudi songs that never made it to the mainstream.

Dat New New

Released around the same time as Day N’ Night, Dat New New never saw the light of day when it came to mainstream play. You won’t find this jam on Spotify or Apple Music but nonetheless it remains a classic.

I Be High

Sampling Bob Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay, Kid Cudi raps about the polarity of life as he creates a true stoners anthem.

Love Stoned

Freestyling over a Justin Timberlake sample, Kid Cudi delivers the legendary line “I smoke to get high because the world is so low.”

Angles and Demons

For eternity Kid Cudi stans will wonder why this never made it on the Man on the Moon.

Wasting My Minutes

Cudi teams up with 88 Keys and showcases his comedic and storytelling abilities.

Goodbye

Cudi shows off his flow and lyricism over a sample of Pink Floyd’s Cruel World.

She Came Along

This groovy western track was released 11 years ago on Sharam’s Get Wild Lp. Although you can find She Came Along on all streaming platforms it remains one of Cudi’s most obscure tracks in his discography.

All Summer

Cudi channels his inner free spirit as he raps about good vibes, good weed, shrooms, and just loving life.

Symphonies

One of Cudi’s most surprising performances, Symphonies is euphoric, nostalgic, and remains a straight up vibe 11 years later.

Falling Star

R3k’s mashup of Symphonies and Florence the Machine’s Cosmic Love will leave with chills throughout your body.

Do It Alone

One of Cudi’s most emotional tracks, Do It Alone is yet another stoner anthem.

Love

Cudi provides guidance and inspiration to his army of lonely stoners as his harmonies and melodies will leave you in emotional bliss.

Never Come Down

Cudi spits hard on this gloomy track and proves that his talent as an emcce should never be in question.

Cudderisback

Sampling Vampire Weekend’s Ottoman, Kid Cudi spits a lighthearted fun freestyle as we get a behind the scene look at his life while on tour.

Higher Up

Cudi spits his whole life story over Dr. Dre’s Imagine. The only downside is that it isn’t longer.

Dose of Dopeness

Although never officially released Dose Of Dopeness is one of Cudi’s best performances. A perfect mix of lyricism, rapping, and melodies. 11 years later and Dose of Dopeness is still next level.

There is something extraordinary about the power of the music festival community that reaches well beyond just music. From going to festivals and shows for ten years now, I’ve not only discovered new music year after year but have had remarkable experiences that shaped how I view the world. I’ve made lifelong friends and have been exposed to new ideas that allowed me to open my mind in ways I’ve never thought possible. Our community runs on a wavelength that tends to be overlooked by the rest of the world. Surrounded by war, hate, judgment, and conformity, festivals and shows act as a haven for the free spirit. A place where like-minded individuals come together, spreading love, peace, and individuality. A place that encourages conscious thinking and spirituality as much as it promotes music.

One of the best things I’ve taken away from the festival community is the practice of meditation. During a walk through the campgrounds of Okeechobee Music Festival, I stumbled upon Lsdream’s cosmic soundbath set, and it completely changed my life. I never thought about how powerful the act of just breathing and being actually is. That the act of doing nothing and allowing your thoughts to come and go has a profound effect on how you view the world. I left the soundbath set feeling not only refreshed but as if I had gone through some sort of transformation, and I wanted more. Meditation was something I never considered, and if it weren’t for music festivals, I would never have given it a chance.

Meditation teaches you to live in the moment. We spend most of our days either stuck in the past or worrying about the future. We rarely ever take the time just to be, and meditation allows you to do just that. After all, we love music festivals so much because they, too, embrace living in the moment. For those three or four days, nothing else matters. Not the past nor the future. Not your career, your classes, or the bills you have to pay.  What matters is dancing with your friends, basking in love, and enjoying the now. Ironically, Okeechobee’s theme is “Be here now.” I left the festival eager to learn more about meditation and ready to incorporate it into my own life.

Meditation not only helps you live in the now, but it actually changes the wiring of the brain. Studies have shown that meditation enlarges the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for managing emotions, focusing your attention, decision making, and adjusting to complex behaviors. Meditation can help with depression, anxiety, and overall well being. There are also different kinds of meditation. There is mindfulness where the point is not to allow your thoughts to control your emotions. Just let your thoughts come and go. Then there is focused meditation, where you focus on a goal you want to achieve and tap into the frequency of the universe.

As I began to read and research meditation, I came across various practices that helped me make meditation a daily routine. From guided meditations to meditation music to mediation apps, here are some of my favorites that will help you find inner peace whether you’re a beginner or a meditation guru!

Guided Meditations

10 Minute Chakra Balance Guided Meditation

Great for beginners! Balance your chakra’s and promote positive energy with this 10 minute meditation.

10 Minute Manifestation Meditation

This powerful meditation will help you achieve your biggest goals through the law of attraction.

Spirit Guide Meditation Playlist

This playlist of guided meditations is designed to connect you with your spirit guide!

LIGHTCODE Guided Meditation Playlist

With this playlist Lsdream and his wife Sarah Hudson, guide you through numerous meditations with music provided by Lsdream’s ambient moniker LIGHTCODE!

Music for Meditation

Tipper’s Ambient CoSM Set

Tipper provides an ambient set perfect for meditation at the Alex Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors!

Charles the First Out of the Dark Mix

Charles the First performs a groovy downtempo set that’s perfect to vibe out and relax your mind.

LIGHTCODE & Lsdream Higher Conscious Set

Lsdream mixes a trippy downtempo set with excerpts of guidance from teachers like Alan Watts and Ram Das! Also check out Lsdream’s LIGHTCODE album!

Meditation Apps

Synctuition

Synctuition is a meditation app that is designed to sync you in to your intuition using gamma wave frequencies, binary beats, and 3d sounds!

Calm

Less intense than Synctuition but Calm offers great guided mediations, podcasts, and even sleep stories!