This summer it’s all about the afterparty. And luckily for us, the world’s top DJs are spinning as artists in residence at a handful of locations all summer long.
That means that come July, you can hang and dance with Lil Jon and Candyland as they spin (on separate dates) on the rooftop at The Wit, which is celebrating its fifth year in the Sunday swerve business. Or you can visit Studio Paris and lounge with DJ Kiss (she’s often the resident DJ for the NFL, Vogue and New York Fashion Week events.) And DJ Cobra, who has done parties for Madonna, Paris Hilton and “Good Morning America,” is turning things up at The Underground.
“I don’t think any non-Chicago resident plays in Chicago more than me,” says the LA-based Cobra, whose legal name is Andrew Bagg. He’s at The Underground one Sunday a month and says the Windy City club crowd is unique because of the city’s place in music history as integral to house, jazz and gospel. “Chicago locals really embrace new music, they like genuinely good music that has integrity and people call you out on it if you’re doing some fake crap.”
Like DJ Kiss, B-96’s DJ Flipside, born Vince Garcia, is spinning at Paris Club as well. He echoes Cobra, saying that house music roots make for a more discerning clubber. “This is the birthplace and they embrace all the EDM that’s around,” says Garcia, who will also be lending his talents to clubs in Clearwater, Florida, and Toronto before the summer ends. “In the smaller cities, they don’t get that all the time, so they’re constrained to what they hear on regular radio, so it’s easier for us to accept because it’s not new to us.”
Candyland, the duo DJing group of Ethan Davis and Josie Martin, come to Chicago about three times a year. Their dubstep and trap music sets fit in well with a house-raised crowd that frequents the rooftop at the Wit. Chicagoans “definitely prefer more aggressive music,” say the pair, who are working on an album slated for release later this year. “They’re definitely pretty seasoned in terms of dance music and we can get away with playing less commercial music and more cool stuff that no one’s really heard of,” Davis said.
The song of the summer has yet to blow up, but a few DJs gave their faves. Grammy nominee Clinton Sparks, who spins at Underground and has worked with Lady Gaga, even gave three: “Summer” by Calvin Harris for its “perfect blend of easy-to-singalong, relatable lyrics for the time of year mixed with melodic synths and explosive drop to make anybody want to raise their arms and dance in celebration of being alive.” Sparks also loved “Wasted” by Tiesto and, of course, his own “Geronimo,” a drop-it-like-its-hot club banger featuring T-Pain, Ty Dolla $ign and Sage the Gemini. Flipside echoes the Harris cut, but adds Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What” plus his own new work featuring Paula DeAnda & Jump Smokers, “Horns Blow (Shimmy Shimmy)” to the list of hot summer music.