Chances are you have already heard of Avery Delgado aka SMIIRK before reading this interview. That’s because over the past year this 16 year old DJ has performed at North Coast Music Festival, a pool party in Miami for Miami Music Week, several Trinium Events parties at Mojoe’s as well as Bass Therapy for OPM Presents with The Trap House.
We had a chance to catch up with him over the past week via email to get to know him a little. Below is the complete interview.
1)Take us back to last year or even before that. What made you decide to pursue a DJing career and what motivated you to enter in React’s North Coast DJ Competition, which you ultimately won?
I became interested in DJing after seeing Deadmau5 at Lolla when I was 11. I really fell in love with the idea of becoming a DJ. My parents bought me for Christmas a simple DJ controller from Discover Music. It literally had one function which was one control, a cross fader. I got bored and over the next summer I asked my parents to pay for half of a better controller as long as I paid the other half. As far as why I entered NCMF DJ contest that was my third entry in a contest. The one previous was for Spring Awakening and in that contest I placed 2nd but they picked another winner as they changed the rules a couple of weeks before and requested us to own our own music that we mixed. I did not change my mix and so they picked someone else. I’m happy for those winners (Dionysus) as we became friends and do a lot of shows together now. After that loss, I said to myself that I was not going to enter another contest. It takes a lot of time promoting and I did not want that burden on me again. When NCMF contest came out, my Dad said that I should never quit and that I should try this one last time. I entered the contest and this time around I submitted an original song called “Paradise”. I was surprised to find out that I was chosen as one of four finalist over 500 entries and that we had to Battle each other at the Concord Music Hall. We each had 15 minute sets and they where looking for crowd response and song selection. I was a little nervous as I only performed live one time at Medusa’s 3 months prior for 30 minutes. I had put the practice in my basement for years but did not know how to read the crowd. The other contestants had residencies and more years of experience. I was surprised when they announced my name at the end as the winner. It was a surreal moment for me.
2)Seeing that you’re only 16 what would you say your biggest obstacle has been so far to get your name out there, in what seems to be a very saturated yet very big EDM scene in Chicago? (And if you have, how did you overcome that obstacle?)
My biggest obstacle is my age. Most of the promoters know that my friends are not old enough to go to my shows, since most are 18+, so as far as selling tickets they are skeptical. The way I overcome that is that I promote very heavily and I am very active with my followers. I am seeing that more and more shows that I am doing my followers are starting to really support me and come to my shows.
Right, we’ve heard that from other local DJs as well, that promoters seem to care a lot about how many people each performer can bring in rather than focusing on if the music is good or matches the show. Regardless your following has been growing and you should be complimented for that. You wouldn’t be winning competitions and Djing in Miami, portage theater or mojoes if it wasn’t.
3)That being said. What venue in Chicago and beyond would you like to play but haven’t yet?
In Chicago, I would love to play at the Mid. I’ve heard there sound system is really good and from the pictures the venue is not too big or too small. It would feel very intimate. Also, the Aragon would be great as it holds a bigger crowd. I played at Concord when I had to battle the other DJ’s for North Coast Music Festival. I would love to go back there. My goal is to one day play Madison Square Garden. I love to dream big!
That’s great. It always good to aim high. Aragon and the mid are definitely good venues to for.
4) Looking at your SoundCloud, it looks like you don’t stick to one genre of electronic music when creating original tracks or mixes. Is this by design or does it just happen that you like to put together different types of sounds?
In my mixes, I love to play all sort of genres together. I try not to stick to let’s say Trap for an hour. To me that would seem boring and not very appealing. People really enjoy my sets because I try to cater to all, because I love all types of EDM music. As far as my own originals and remixes. I have done it all from Trap to Tropical and everything in between. I am still experimenting with all types of sounds and genres and trying to find SMIIRK’s sound. I really find inspiration in Skrillex, he is so talented and does cross genres with his music.
Smiirk at Portage Theater for OPM Presents Bass Therapy, (photo credit: K&N Media)
5) So Skrillex and Deadmau5 are your big name inspirations and idols. Any local DJs or producers that you follow or keep track off?
The Local DJ’s that I look up to are The Trap House and JSquared. I love that they have a great following and have really pushed there brands as DJ’s. As far as Producers I dig Louis The Child. I love that they are young producers and that there quality of music and sound is unique.
6) We saw you were on the lineup for a festival in Wisconsin dells, you’re also on the DayTrip Fest lineup. Are you playing any other festivals this summer that we should know about?
I am in talks with one other festival right now that I can’t really discuss until it is confirmed. Let’s just say, that’s where it all started from.
7) What’s next for SMIIRK musically? Any new releases we should keep an eye out for? Any collaborations?
I can say that I wont have any collaborations soon because in all I am stopping DJing for a little while to focus on my music production. I want to perfect my craft and truly find my SMIIRK sound. I will though be releasing a bunch of new music while at the same time really mastering my work.
8) Are there any DJs or artists that you’d like us and our audience to know about that haven’t shared in your success but that you think should be recognized?
Yeah most definitely. I think there are a lot but I will name two that stand out to me. Zeelaa is an up incoming trap artist who is supported by big name artists but doesn’t perform much as a DJ, I think Chicago should keep an eye on him. Another artist that I see has a lot of potential is Solstis. That duo produces Future Bass and has a ever growing SoundCloud. That style of music is really growing in the edm scene and I know they will be successful.
Enough music talk. Let’s get to know you a little. Real quick
Favorite sport? Soccer.
Hobbies you like to do when not djing? Make music haha.
Favorite junk food? Potato Chips.
Favorite vacation spot? South Beach Miami, Florida.
Least favorite subject in school? English.
Dream job (If not DJing)? Entrepreneur, Shark Tank is hands down my favorite show.
Be sure to follow SMIIRK on the following social media to show him support: