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John Summit Quit His Accounting Job to Become One Of The Biggest Names In House Music

John Summit came blasting onto the international scene in 2021 like a bat out of hell. 

The homegrown Chicago talent, made a name for himself DJing down in Champaign, IL, while in college at the University of Illinois, before returning to DJ in the Windy City at legendary venues like Spybar and The Mid. He managed to do this, moonlighting as one of the hottest up-and-coming house DJ's, and producing his own music, all while maintaining a day job as a CPA at Ernst and Young. 

Hard work, over long hours, was something John was used to, being a decorated long-distance/cross-country runner his whole life.

He found himself putting in long hours at the office, then retreating back to his apartment where he'd work furiously on new music before gigs. Upon returning from the club, high on adrenaline, it would be back to work on his music - which he taught himself how to do by watching Youtube tutorials- until it would be back to the office.

The hard work paid off a couple of years ago in 2020 with John breaking out of the Chicago scene and onto the national stage with the release of his chart-smashing "Deep End" on Defected Records.

Released late in the year in June, the record became the longest Beatport #1 of the year and was named "Pete Tong’s Essential New Tune" before it became a mainstay on BBC Radio 1’s main playlist. 

The success of Summit's music blowing up online, (his Spotify boasts a robust 5 million unique listeners a month alone), wasn't able to translate over to live shows however, due to the pandemic and the world being shut down.

So John got to work hammering away in his bedroom studio. And documenting everything for his fans.

His fans! How could we wait this long to get to his fans?

Through a brilliant marketing strategy (which we discuss in depth in the interview), based on, get this, just being genuine, and himself, Summit has amassed an army of die-hard fans who hang on his every tweet, (which are legitimately funny, and unfiltered)

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and his Instagram stories, which over the covid shutdown, featured Summit working on new music projects in his room, testing new songs and sounds out for his fans, and actually accepting their feedback. 

He's helped spearhead the resurgence of the Chicago favorite, "tech-house" genre. A sound he has stayed true to and spun since his early days, even before it came back in style. (Except for the college bar he popped his cherry djing at- a great topic we discussed). It's also a sound he has managed to hone and perfect as a producer, with some of the biggest DJ's in the world using his tracks as staples in their sets.

One of those songs was a collaboration Summit did with Sofi Tukker, which turned out to be just one of many hits Summit would go on to release in 2021, "Sun Came Up".

Later in the year, he would release "Human", arguably his biggest track to date, and one John is really proud of.

The result of John's hard work in the studio, and engagement with his social media followers, was a loyal following of rabid fans, foaming at the mouth for the world to open back up, and for their leader, John, to take the stage at their favorite venues and festivals.

And boy, did he ever.

You couldn't find a festival flyer this past year without Summit's name splashed across it. 

A highlight for him, which we discussed in our interview, was playing what he referred to as a "homecoming" set at Lollapalooza.

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He's been on a tear, going non-stop, ever since. 

Again, something we discussed in the interview, I have no idea when this guy sleeps. 

He spent the summer juggling residencies in Europe, including Ibiza, and flying back to the US during the week to play venues or festivals here, before hopping back on a jet to head back to Europe. 

One of the things I love about John, aside from his incredible work ethic, is his attitude. 

The guy is ALWAYS smiling, laughing, and having a good time. You can tell her truly enjoys what he's doing. 

Coming from that "cube life" corporate world, you can tell makes him appreciate the lifestyle he's enjoying these days a ton. And he takes not one minute of it for granted. I fucking love that. 

I also love how down to Earth and cool he is. We've been trying to make this interview happen since last summer, both of our schedules sadly never worked out. So when John really started to explode this summer, (he seriously is one of the biggest names in house music now), I worried he'd become "too big" and it would never happen.

Luckily, the incredible team at the best venue in the country, Brooklyn Mirage, lead by our girl Emily, reached out to my podcast co-host Colin and I, and asked if there were any shows coming up we'd like to work together on.

John was playing not one, but TWO sold-out shows in one day at The Mirage, a day show, and a night show. We jumped at the chance and reached out to his team. John and his team happily agreed and bang. Next thing you know we're sitting in John's green room chopping it up before getting on stage with him having our faces melted off by the pyro in his set.

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Another great thing about John is he's also as Chicago as they come. A subject we will get to tomorrow with part two of our series on him. 

Be sure to check out John's Halloween show at Space in Miami -

and his sold-out show at Chicago's Radius next weekend. As always you can get the best deals on last minute tickets, and sold out events on the one and only GAMETIME APP - Use discount code "Stool" for $20 off. 

He has a new song coming out on November 4th, called "Show Me"

Follow John on Spotify here -

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Check out the interview, and Barstool Backstage on Youtube here 

And check back tomorrow for part 2.

p.s.- we've got lots more interviews and shows coming from Brooklyn Mirage this season, and really couldn't be happier working with their incredible team. If you have a venue or act we should check out, hit me up at dante@barstoolsports.com and lets make it happen.

p.p.s.- shout out to everybody that helped on this. Emily from Avant Gardner/Brooklyn Mirage, Colin from On the Guestlist, Holt from John's camp, our videographer/producer Tom Leigh, our editor Coleman. Our swiss army knives, Caleb and Cole. And of course John himself. THANK YOU!