A lifelong obsession with dance music & over a decade of experience behind the decks has combined to create one of the most in-demand acts in Chicago. Eric Zingsheim (better known as DangerWayne) is best recognized for his ability to effortlessly glide through EDM’s sub-genres allowing for maximal crowd & energy control. It was this ability that landed him residencies at Chicago’s top venues playing alongside legends like Tiesto, Deadmau5, Kaskade, & more. A wealth of knowledge and familiarity with the art of DJing allows Danger to remain unbound from one specific genre. He knows what to play, and when to play it. He’s praised by promoters, managers, & staff members for always being “proper” whether warming up a room or blowing the roof off. Simply put: DangerWayne is a “DJ’s DJ” & a true value to the industry.
What genre would you describe yourself as? Why?
It’s hard to narrow it down. I started out playing strictly house and EDM, but nowadays I often play 3+ sets of different genre’s in a single weekend. I actually like the challenge of performing genre’s that I’m not comfortable with. In the production realm, I like to make high energy tech house that draws influence from electro & bass house.
What artists influence you/do you look up to? What was the moment you wanted to take the leap in this lifestyle? (artist/event/set/song/etc..)
Sound-wise, some of my favorite producers are Taiki Nulight, Chris Lorenzo, Chris Lake, Matroda, Kyle Watson, Billy Kenny, Walker & Royce. I could probably name about 20 more, but anytime I see any of these artists release something, I get excited.
What was the moment you wanted to take the leap in this lifestyle? (artist/event/set/song/etc..)
There wasn’t a single moment I can remember that lead me into DJing. I was in love with dance music for as long as I can remember & used to obsessively collect CD mixtapes from local DJs like Mixin Marc, Alex Peace, Inphinity etc… I got a job when I was 16 and bought my equipment piece by piece over a period of a few years. Started going to kiddy clubs and all-ages shows when I turned 17 and the rest is history.
What is your proudest moment so far? (blogged/signed/etc..)
When Deadmau5 announced me as “Mohawk Guy!’ to the crowd at Tao and then hugged me.
What do you usually start with when preparing for a set?
I usually don’t ever prepare for specific sets unless its a short festival set or a special occasion that requires it. Instead, I’ve developed a system of organization in my Rekordbox that allows me to be prepared for every situation at all times. I spend multiple hours per week moving things around, adding to, and deleting from my collection. I keep around 12 thousand songs on my flash drives, & every single one is labeled correctly and in it’s proper folder & playlists. I think the medical term is ‘OCD’.
What are currently your main challenges as a DJ?
I think a challenge that many DJs are facing is the oversaturated market we’re in. Everyone with a laptop is a DJ nowadays, so people are being undercut, and venues are getting away with paying less money for local acts.
Is there any future events we should know about?
I’ll be closing out PRYSM Nightclub this Saturday 1/4, and I make my debut on Sirius XM Satellite Radio this Sunday on Pitbull’s Globalization Channel at 10PM CST. Also, I’m looking forward to playing Techno Taco Tuesday at Therapy in Las Vegas on 1/14.
If you had to do something else (outside of music), what would it be?
Not many people know this, but I was a paramedic for about 9 years. I quit in February 2019 and have been fully self employed since then.
What’s your favorite Chicago venue to play at? Why?
That’s a tough one, but I think I’d have to go with Spybar simply because the crowd generally knows what to expect there. On most nights, people come to dance and they trust the DJ to set the vibe. There aren’t requests or micromanaging from management or owners (at least in my experience), so it provides a unique platform for DJs to truly express themselves. I also absolutely love playing at PRYSM because the sound & lighting is incredible.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Chicago?
Jubilee Juice. Not really a restaurant, but it’s right by my house, is open super late and has a huge menu.
What was your favorite show that you’ve played in Chicago?
My most memorable show had to be opening the main stage of Spring Awakening at Soldier Field. I was the first DJ on the first day, and they opened the gates as I hit play on my first track so I got to watch hundreds of people run across the stadium to get to the stage. I remember getting such a rush from that. I also had my own green room for some reason, which was cool.
What’s your favorite thing about this city?
I absolutely love the camaraderie among the local DJs, producers, & nightlife industry in general. I’ve spent time in a lot of the other big ‘music cities’ and I’ve noticed that nobody works together like we do here. For the most part everyone here wants each other to succeed. Any backstabbing or shadiness gets put on blast immediately and that’s the way it should be.
What is something that makes you stand out as an artist?
I think my biggest value is my versatility. I’ve been trusted to support some of the biggest shows that have come through Chicago in the past few years simply because talent buyers and managers know I can push the limits of a ‘proper’ opening set, but also because I can handle any request, or issue that comes with operating a show in a high-end nightclub.
What’s your current favorite show (tv/netflix/etc…) worth binging?
I don’t really watch much TV or Netflix. I like documentaries or anything I can learn from. The last one I watched was “The Game Changers” about plant based dieting among some of the world’s best athletes.
What advice do you have for producers trying to make it in the music industry?
Find a way to add value to whatever you’re trying to do. In my opinion, It’s a lot easier to be really good at 2 or more things, than to be the best at just one thing. If you’re a DJ, you should learn to produce. If you learn graphic design after that, even better. The days of “just being a DJ” are over, & it also applies to “just being a producer” depending on what your goals are. The point is, whatever you’re doing, DO MORE.
Tell us something that you’re doing now and are excited about.
I’ve been regularly setting aside blocks of time to work on new music and sticking to it. I’ve also recently begun working with the talent agency Treblemonsters which has been a great experience so far. Looking forward to continuing the relationship into the New Year.
What should we expect from you in 2020?
More original music being released, and more Vegas shows!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
WRITTEN & CURATED BY MARIAH M. VAZQUEZ