John Summit swung by ahead of his debut at Coachella to chat about his performances in Miami, recent tunes, and plenty more.
The rise of John Summit has been one that’s truly remarkable. Just a few years ago he could be found spinning at small nightclubs and playing in support of major artists, but flash forward to the present and he’s become the talk of the town. From taking the stage at EDC Las Vegas and loads of Defected showcases, to dropping some of the biggest current hits like “Human” and “Witch Doktor” with Nic Fanciulli, there’s seemingly nothing standing in John Summit’s path to the top.
This year has seen John Summit continue to bring the heat as he rides the wave of his massive success in 2020 and 2021. Not only has this Chicagoan dropped “La Danza” and a remix of “Don’t Forget My Love,” but he’s already graced the decks on a massive run of shows and appearances at CRSSD Festival, Ultra Miami, and more. And to further add to his growing legacy, John Summit also revealed his new imprint, Off The Grid, so keep your ears tuned for fresh tracks to arrive soon.
Ahead of his debut at Coachella this week, we caught up with John Summit for the first time since the early days of the pandemic to chat about his recent performances, what’s in store for those heading to Indio, and yes, even his take on fan-clacking. Check out his remix of “Don’t Forget My Love” on Spotify or your preferred platform and read on for the full conversation!
Stream Diplo & Miguel – “Don’t Forget My Love” (John Summit Remix) on Spotify:
Hey John, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today. It’s been surreal watching you continue to explode in the scene at such a rapid pace over the past few years. Have you been able to take some time to soak in your success so far? What has it felt like to be on this ride?
Honestly, no I haven’t been able to soak it in because it’s been nonstop but I absolutely love it. Like I finally just moved out of my sh*tty little apartment that I lived in when I was broke because I haven’t even had the time to look for a new place with this crazy touring and constant studio sessions. The ride has been amazing though, I’ve met so many amazing people and been to so many incredible places. I’m truly blessed.
You’re coming off a massive few weeks that saw you play during Miami Music Week and at Ultra Miami, as well as BUKU and Green Valley in Brazil. Has there been a moment since this recent run of shows that sticks out as special?
Miami Music Week was extra special this year since the last time I did it was in 2019 and I had maybe five people at each show, and then this year there were people climbing over the fences to get into my sold-out parties. [Laughs] So it really was a full-circle moment. Brazil was incredible too because the fans had been asking me to go there for years and when I finally was able to go, the shows were massive and they knew all the words to my songs even though they spoke so little English.
That isn’t all that you had in store this spring as you’ve also got an upcoming set at Coachella on the horizon. Are you stoked to be heading to the desert this month? Can you share anything that you might have for those catching your sets there?
Planning on a few special things such as new originals and remixes along with a couple of upcoming tracks on my new label Off The Grid.
You’ve had a pretty massive touring schedule this year with the aforementioned appearances and a seemingly endless number more ahead of you. Beyond refueling at Chili’s, what other ways have you kept up with the pace of pretty much non-stop shows?
I have a pretty extreme work ethic and don’t take days off. I really don’t have a social life outside of my shows. I was just at a bachelor party this past weekend and finally got to catch up with all my day one friends, which was amazing, but now I’m hurting after that bender. [Laughs] The key is to sleep and drink lots of water after a big weekend then back to the grind before doing it all again.
On the music side, you closed out last year with “Human” with Echoes which quickly became one of your fans’ most beloved tunes so far. You said you spent a month perfecting it, is this similar to what happened with your latest hit “La Danza”? How did that tune come to be?
“La Danza” was different because it’s not an original vocal but a cover of Nina Sky’s “Bailando.” The story behind this one is that I was trying to find a hooky Spanish vocal to play at Space in Miami and did a lot of digging to find a sample that no one else has really used before.
Finally, I came up on this one, and it had only like 200k plays on YouTube, but as soon as I heard the chorus I knew I could make it a hit. Took about a month for this one to come together fully as I made a bunch of different versions but I’m stoked how it turned out as it’s always a highlight of my sets.
One of the big conversations that recently took place online involved the importance of vocals to tracks, and your tracks are brimming with them. Can you walk us through the process of how you’re crafting these up?
So when I was smaller, I started with Splice vocals, sampling, and my own vocals; then once I got a bigger name, artists/managers started reaching out to me. Now I get hit up by singers/managers/labels every day with new top lines (vocals) to work from, but I also still sample too (like in “La Danza”). I recommend that new artists sample, but to actually do some serious digging and not just use the same huge samples that have been used hundreds of times before.
Beyond your own tunes, what are some of the other tracks out there from other artists you’ve been rinsing the most lately? Any standouts you can shine a light on?
Got unreleased ones from Max Styler, MEEN, ChaseWest, and Classmatic I’ve been rinsing out. Honestly, too many to name though since I’ve been getting sent so much heat lately and they’ve all been pretty original tracks.
Finally, just for fun, what’s your take on the whole fan-clacking debate?
F*ck fan-clacking, it needs to be banned. Someone also needs to make fans that aren’t clackable. They literally sound like a blown-out speaker and can really hurt your hearing too if you’re too close to it.