JakeShoreDrive Discusses House Music in Chicago and Recent Collaborations [Mix+Interview]

We talked to JakeShoreDrive about DJing at Chicago’s biggest clubs, working with other artists, and his path to a full-time music career.

One of the most exciting artists climbing the ranks of Chicago’s music scene is JakeShoreDrive. Known for both DJing at venues around the city and his original productions in the studio, Jake is a house music talent to watch in 2022.

He recently released his track “Who High” on the Hood Politics Chicago All Stars compilation. His remix of “Summertime Chi” was supported by Lee Foss and John Summit, and he has several collaborations alongside Maximo Quinones. JakeShoreDrive has opened for Nitti Gritti, Don Diablo, Bryce Vine, and Dombresky at venues like Prysm Nightclub and Sound-Bar.

We caught up with Jake about his experience as a DJ, his life as an up-and-coming artist, and where he sees his career going in the future. Learn more about JakeShoreDrive and listen to his exclusive Premier EDM mix below:

You’ve played several massive shows around Chicago, opening for Nitti Gritti at Prysm and Dombresky at Sound-Bar. How would you describe your sets when performing before headlining DJs at clubs, and what do you enjoy most about DJing?

It’s electrifying. As an up-and-coming artist, we pour hours of time and work into not only the studio, but into our brand, our involvement in the local community, and our live sets in order to get these opportunities. The feeling of adrenaline takes over and I’m locked in and giving the fans a performance they won’t forget.

On these nights, I want to do everything in my power to set the artist up properly by giving the crowd a high-energy performance that utilizes well-known remixes/edits and remains near the genre of the artists they paid to be there for. Honestly, I want the crowd to know I am just as excited to be there as they are.

“Who High”, your collaboration with Chris Diaz and Fya Man, was released on Hood Politics Records’ Chicago All-Stars compilation in January. What are some of your favorite qualities of the Chicago music scene, and how would you describe the talent we have here?

I truly believe that this compilation should be valued as a pivotal recharging/resurfacing of a somewhat static and undervalued Chicago house music scene. It also showed me how powerful of a statement it was that the compilation itself landed 8-10 Chicago artists on the top 10 Beatport charts in one week. Not to take ANYTHING away from some of our legends that have laid the foundation for Chicago to be even considered the birthplace of house…but let’s be honest, those legends have had to leave Chicago to be appreciated elsewhere in recent years. The club/nightlife scene in the past 5-10 years has been solely surrounded around bottle service, drug dealers, and mumble rap. Owners haven’t cared who the DJs are or about the music being played, they just wanted to fill the room and make money. No one has been there for the music, just the popularity.

Since the pandemic, you can tell a large group of us (producers, artists, shufflers, house music lovers) have been WORKING towards changing that narrative. The talent we have here across the board is astounding… you get a sense that there is a big bubble filling up and something is going to POP in the best way possible. Now there are even some really dope community groups like Black Hearts, What’s Good Chicago, and EDM Chicago that are leading the community in the right direction and throwing house music-centered events. I can’t forget to mention some of the venues like Prysm, Radius, and Sound-Bar who have believed in the local talents and given us an opportunity to change the dynamic of the city’s scene as of late.

You’ve recently released music with producers like Maximo Quinones and vocalists like Josh Arce. What are some things you’ve learned from other artists via collaborating, and how does collabing compare to producing on your own?

Collaboration in my opinion is vital for any artist to succeed these days. Putting multiple creatives in the same room, with the same goals, and the same drive/passion for greatness can be an extremely powerful experience. While collaborating, I’ve learned the importance of artist perspective and that music hits people differently. I remember sitting in Josh’s basement with his producer Jessie running through shelved tracks I had and them both screaming “STOP” when I got to the half-done “What U Say” instrumental. We spent 4 more hours writing, recording, and flushing out the whole thing because of how much he loved the vibe. The experience alone made me realize that I probably have some more hits shelved away for a rainy day. 

Something else I’ve learned from collaboration is that it comes in many forms… I think ideally most artists would like to be in the same room creating something from scratch but it simply doesn’t always happen that way. For Max and I, I approached him with some almost finished ideas that needed his Latin tech-house touch. He also has built a solid following for himself, so as a marketing venture, it made sense for both of us.  I have several other collabs in the works with some up-and-coming artists such as Rodrigo Serna, T3KAS, Etan Hawke, Jenny Voss, Pastel Blue, and BINGIL to name a few.

Overall, there isn’t much difference in the way I produce solo vs. collabing. The goal remains the same: making music that we want to play, dance to, and represent our lives with the people we love.

You balance a job as a teacher as well as your music career. What are some time management tips you have for other artists who are also working a full-time job outside of music?

For me, prioritizing a lot of my time for mental and physical health are so important.  My battle with alcohol over the past couple of years has been the key to my success and time management, but also the downfall. I’ve remained sober for the second time for the past 130 days now and I couldn’t be happier with how healthy I feel and productive I am. When I fell back into those holes, I couldn’t keep up with anything and I began to fail in several areas of my life, time management included. 

Writing down daily, weekly, and monthly goals is essential to keep everything in front of you as an artist or professional. Even if you don’t get to them, just having them in writing can allow you to free up mind space and energy. This also allows me to be time-efficient and stay on track with what I want to accomplish.

I’ve been blessed to have a strong team of support around me as well. My parents and my girlfriend are there with endless support through all of my failures and successes. I have a marketing and brand team- Drew and Greg from Fun House Events that get all my backend info, data, and help with curating reminders, goals, and direction for my career. Having these personal vessels in place has been such a blessing…because this shit can get lonely sometimes.

Looking towards the future, what are some things that you hope to accomplish in 2022? And where do you see Jakeshoredrive in 3-5 years?

Well it’s funny, I had two goals for the year 2022 and I smashed them in the first week. Getting on a festival line-up like North Coast is a dream come true, and releasing on a label like Hood Politics was something I’ve been striving towards for years. As for the rest of the year, I want to continue to get my music heard globally through collaborations and reputable labels so that I can continue to make my mark on the world. I’m actually resigning from teaching after this year to go full-time music. With that, my plan is to relocate to another city and build a brand/community around growing the house music scene there. Yeehaw!

Within 3-5 years from now I would like to be traveling the world, playing festivals, meeting all walks of life through music, releasing on some of the biggest labels, and possibly creating my own. I want to eventually start a family but before that, I want to be living off of my music full time. I also hope to give back to up-and-coming artists like myself by providing education communities like Westend’s ‘Kick and Bass’. It’ll be important to me to use my platform in the next 3-5 years to spread positivity and also give back to the educational community by facilitating philanthropic events like food drives for impoverished schools.

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