FEATURED ARTIST FRIDAY: Flynninho

From early on, Flynninho’s driven success came from his skillful talents playing soccer indoor to playing professionally overseas in Europe. He’s always had a soft spot for music growing up. With the support from the industry and his friends he calls family, Flynn has made his dreams into a reality. You’ll always catch the crowd dancing to his beats. You can see him spinning all over Chicago’s favorite clubs and bars such as Joy District, Electric Hotel, Soundbar, Spybar, and Prysm. He’s also made a impression at Concord Music Hall recently and at our favorite music festivals like North Coast and Spring Awakening. Make sure you see him and his ride or die, Maximo Quinones go back to back at Prysm Nightclub TONIGHT! He’ll be playing his new single “Worry” for you on the dance floor. Give him a follow to see where his next move is this year.

What genre would you describe yourself as? Why?

I would describe my genre as EDM, however mainly house. As an artist I think itʼs important to make everything even if it doesnʼt apply to my “brand“ as it keeps you well-rounded and on top of that allows you to do more within the genres that you really care about. With that being said, house has my heart. Nothing else compares! Thereʼs something about house music that just keeps me going and grooving even if itʼs weird or even if itʼs unconventional house music that no other music that has ever done that for me.

 

Who would you say are your biggest inspirations within the industry?

For me, I know I could list of 100 people off the top my head that have inspired me to push on as a DJ and producer, however I would say that as a whole the industry itself serves as an inspiration to me. There are so many talented producers and DJs who every day push me to be a better artist, but also as you know a better person. To me, why care most about is not How good of a DJ or producer someone is, but how good they are as a person and if they would make me a better person regardless of what my profession was or is. I know thereʼs so many different people Iʼve met over my time doing this that have really allowed me to thrive as a person which in turn has allowed me to thrive as a producer as much as I possibly can. Honestly itʼs something that I will never be able to really show enough gratitude for even though I try, but yeah I would say the industry as a whole the old heads or are you know my class of DJ or those who are coming up all inspired me to push as hard as I can to be the best that I can be. Without the diversity in role models I have surrounding me everyday doing this, I donʼt think I would be in the position I am now to succeed.

 

What was the moment you wanted to take the leap in this lifestyle?
(artist/event/set/song/etc..)

My story is a lot different from others because I never really intended or had an a dream to be doing this for a living. Or even at all. I basically walked into it and when I saw Nick Mazzei Play at 515 live out in Iowa and then I had bumped into him at sound bar for a Lollapolooza pre-party that joyryde was playing. He invited me out to Be Niceʼs Events and from there I really connected and clicked with every single person who is part of the collective. I started just fill me in them every time I go out and see them, and from there I start doing social media for them. I was making music at this time, but I wasnʼt a DJ. The collective basically pushed me to try DJ and if I want to and when I started I was just messing up my house in Iowa just spent in for hours and hours on end. I had so much fun doing it and without those guys support I donʼt think I would even be a DJ today, so shouts to Eric and James Estrada, Nick Mazzei, Anthony Mitchell for being the core motivators and teachers! In terms of entertaining the idea that DJing would be cool, my sophomore year of college when I saw the movie We Are Your Friends with Zac Efron as a DJ, was the first time where I really connected with house music on a song that was played during the movie (Tchamiʼs remix of You Know You Like It) and I remember watching it thinking ‘Man that would be so cool to do and be part of.

 

What do you usually start with when preparing for a set?  

I am always listening to music, new and old, when I am driving back-and-forth between the suburbs and the city. This way I do the biggest hassle of preparing which is finding new music. I think itʼs super important to always have fresh music, try new things, and see what I can fit into a set of mine. Maybe itʼs a new remix, maybe itʼs an old track I forgot about, but those are things that really lay the groundwork for preparing the set. Given how much I am DJing each week (typically 4-7 days a week), most of my free time then goes to producing music. So when it comes to preparing a set for a show, I normally will be working on my set starting the night before all the way up to my set. At places like Prysm and Concord, I try not to play a lot of the same music from one set to the next so it requires me to stop being lazy, shut off everything and crank it out until itʼs done. For the festivals Iʼve played, Iʼve had one where I planned out each track in order I was going to do and one where I just had a list of songs and went with the flow. As a DJ, I love going in with a playlist of 60 songs and basically free styling it as I am always reading the crowd. Iʼll have a general idea of what I want to play and adjust with the crowd as needed, which to me, is the most fun part of DJing. There have been times where Iʼll download 100 songs for a show and play none of them, solely because I am reading the crowd. Having a good library allows me to do that and play better shows as opposed to forcing a crowd to listen to what I want them to listen to. A great DJ can give a crowd
what they want while also gaining their trust to take them to where the DJ plays what they want.

 

What are currently your main challenges as a DJ?

The first challenge has to do with DJ and top 40 open format, which is a lot of clothes and a lot of fans want to hear the same stuff or songs that they know all the time. As a DJ, and someone who makes music and as I was trying to find new music, it can be frustrating when you are playing lotta the same stuff over and over again. I can feel monotonous sometimes. The way I combat this like I mentioned earlier is trying to find ways to keep it exciting not only for the crowd, but for me as well. Whether itʼs finding new music, or transitioning something new into something that you normally transition into before, or even new remixes of old tracks, for me, that is the easiest way to keep it exciting and going. The second challenge that I would say I am personally dealing with, would probably be finding the balance between being a DJ and being an artist. A lot of DJs are just DJs, and a lot of producers I just producers. My whole class of DJ who is coming to Chicago nightlife is in this position where we are doing both almost regularly. Iʼve found itʼs important to not overexpose yourself as a nightlife DJ so your supporters donʼt get fatigued, however, you still have to find ways to bring people out every time so you can make money as a nightlife DJ. Doing this well allows you to then plug your own work more easily, and itʼs a struggle that can really be tedious sometimes. A lot of people want to talk about branding and how you shouldnʼt include the Top 40 in your brand if youʼre trying to do EDM. For me, I think itʼd be dumb to alienate and forget that. I
have built into my brand and honor what what has allowed me to be in the position I am to do these bigger shows, which are the Top 40 gigs and working my way up that way through the industry. To be honest, I think it makes you a much better performer when you find ways to play a set that has future bass, hip hop, Latin, house, etc., and not only does the crowd enjoy it more, but I personally do too. even though I love house and produce house music, I would much rather play a set with everything in it. 

 

What is your proudest moment so far (blogged/signed/etc..) 

As a DJ, being trusted to play and given the opportunities to play at some of the biggest night clubs in Chicago with some of the best talent that Iʼve ever heard doing this would probably be the biggest achievement for me personally as a DJ. I also think that earning the trust of my peers and friends in this to me is probably the best accomplishment I can think of. Having a talented community around me, telling me when Iʼve done a good job or what I can work on and itʼs all love is honestly the best thing about DJing in Chicago. As an artist, so far playing at both spring awakening and Northcoast last year was really an honor for me. Getting my track signed to Golddigger which comes out soon musically is an achievement because I have have listen to their tracks since Iʼve been into the EDM and to the house music that I listen to and make now. Itʼs crazy to think how different my life was 3 years ago and how I used to see and hear these names and in my head say to myself ‘Itʼd be dope to play with with them.ʼ Fast forward to today, and to see that now those opportunities are being given to not only myself but talented performers that were previously overlooked as well is humbling.

 

Youʼve recently played Concord and opened up for Cheat Codes with your partner in crime Maximo Quinones. Tell us what itʼs like to play for a big crowd. What runs through your mind when you jump off the decks?

Max I love you brother! I donʼt think there is a human way to really describe what the feeling is. Itʼs crazy because you have so many emotions going through your head. Youʼre looking into the crowd one moment and youʼre like ‘Oh my god this is freaking insane!ʼ but then itʼs also ‘Oh sh*t I still have to find a song to play!ʼ and itʼs a trip. Itʼs honestly surreal. There are times in the middle of our sets when Max and I are playing where time almost stops. Iʼm in my head and I canʼt hear any music and Iʼm looking into the crowd and will just be overcome with like happiness, love, appreciation and gratitude. Every time I perform, I DJ like Iʼm In the crowd with them where I am just as excited as they are to be there. So when I look into the crowd and I have these moments where I look over and Iʼm playing with my best friend on the stage, itʼs almost like ‘Yo man you can do this, look what youʼve overcome personally and look what heʼs done to have this opportunity here- enjoy it. I donʼt think thereʼs really a way to put it into words because those moments I
will remember for the rest of my life. Big show or small show, it doesnʼt matter. I could be playing in front of 10 people or a sold out stadium, and still have the same feeling every time Iʼm up there. It is so freeing and liberating to allow my personality to thrive through the music that I am playing, where I am part of the moment just as much as everyone in the crowd is, taking in that moment as itʼs happening and appreciating it for what it is. It is not guaranteed that I am going to be in the same position tomorrow that I am in in that moment. Want to show love to Isaiah for allowing us to be part of these shows at
Concord, so glad to have gained a friend and someone in our corner as we
progress in our careers as artists!

 

How do you and Maximo Quinones vibe so well when you play B2B? Tell us your secret!

This is a funny question ha ha. I think that we have a bond outside of music and outside DJing that allows us to really feed off each other- good and bad. We genuinely love and care for each other because we are family, and we know that nothing is going to bring us down no matter how badly things may go and no matter how rough things may be that we are always going to have each otherʼs backʼs no matter what. That, alongside our similar music taste allows us to really bring the energy and the passion that we do every time we get to DJ together. I Actually love DJing with Max way more than I do alone at this point. Itʼs exciting And Iʼm so grateful that I get to experience it alongside my best friend when we play these shows. You can see it in our faces with how much fun weʼre having! Max and I have been through a lot, individually and together, that also make us want the best for each other. We will go out of our way to help each other, text every day, and also keep each other in check. Max is really one of a kind and makes me a better human being, something I try to reciprocate for him. We tell each other what we need, not what we each want, and have a very honest and genuine friendship that keeps us real with ourselves. I would do anything for that guy and without a doubt he will be my best friend for life. Beyond grateful for everything heʼs done for me and Iʼm so proud of the person and artist he is and becoming. 

 

 

If you had to do something else (outside of music), what would it be?

I wouldn’t say I have a masterpiece, but something that I am really striving to accomplish and instill in those around me is that no matter what you are, no matter what youʼre doing, you can do anything you put your mind to as long as you just believe in yourself and put in the work to back it up. Regardless of who someone is, what theyʼve been through, I want people to feel loved,appreciated and respected so they know that they will have the opportunities they work for. I know that when I started in this industry only a few years ago the energy was much different than it is now. A lot of negativity towards others has vanished. Be Nice Collective was based on this. Flat out, I think most people would way rather work with people who are nice and genuine and real than those who are using others to climb up the ladder. On top of this, there is so much talent in the industry where now if you are an a**hole on the regular, clubs donʼt need to book you anymore and can book someone who can do the job while also being respectful to those around them. This isnʼt a competition to me, a mentality that has benefited Max and I and a mentality is something that I am really striving to put into those around me. Thé compétition should only be with yourself, pushing your abilities and your craft to be the best it can be compared to yourself. This opens up avenues of love and fosters collaboration versus fostering a culture of selfishness and individuality. The end product is much more beautiful and relatable then it would be just with one person going at it alone. I have very high expectations and dreams for myself, for Max, as well as the rest of the industry. I hope that as I progress that I can continue to be part of the community that is laying the groundwork and establishing a path for those who want to do this and want to pursue their dreams inside of the industry as well as outside of it. I literally have love tattooed on my fingers, so establishing a community that is based off love versus ruthlessness is anever ending process that holds the most weight with me.

 

Can you tell us about a time the music industry or someone in the industry helped you reach your goal or a path you were struggling to find?

I was definitely struggling with some personal issues that I was allowing to interfere with my performance and drive in nightlife for a period of half of year. It took a DJ who I respect, look up to, and see as a big brother in Marquee sitting me down and just laying it out in a way no one else had before. He made me realize how much potential that would go to waste if I continued at the rate I was, and it honestly changed my life. It was one of

What is something that makes you stand out as an artist?

First, no one being able to pronounce my DJ name (which is pronounced Flynn-Niño) is definitely a stand out! Iʼve heard it pronounced Flynn-in-ho, Flynn-ho, and even (my personal favorite) Flying-Ho. The inspiration for the name comes from when I played soccer and was in Brazil. There are a lot of Brazilian soccer players who have the ending -inho to their name. In the
Portuguese language when that ending is present, my name would translate in English to the equivalent of Flynny. Thereʼs your culture lesson for the day! In all seriousness, as an artist, my music is very groovy and full of energy while also bringing a hardcore punch with a hint of darkness. I tried to incorporate what I loved most in the house music and use it to build my brand and my music. Jackinʼ house percussion, plucky basslines, and dark vocals are generally staples of my songs. When I perform, the energy I bring is like if gave a squirrel an energy drink. Itʼs wild, itʼs raw, but most of all itʼs real emotion. If Iʼm happy, you know Iʼm happy. If Iʼm sad, you know Iʼm sad. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and the music I make and how I perform shouldnʼt be any different. Who I am on stage and who I am through my music is who I am outside of it. Itʼs not a gimmick!

 

What’s your favorite Chicago venue to play at? Why?

For shows, definitely has to be Prysm. The entire staff, from the management to the bathroom people, have always treated Max and I with nothing but love and respect for what we do. Huge shout out to Mike for that; I know Max and I say it all the time but he has been in our corner since day one, allowing us to be part of little family they have there. I also think thatʼs why we perform well when we play there, because since the staff is nothing but nice and trust what weʼre gonna do, we are fully allowed to thrive and try new things where another club maybe you donʼt DJ at all the time, you are going to l have those same leeways. In terms of clubs, all the clubs that I am a resident or consistently involved with (Parlay, El Hefe, Bottled Blonde, Trophy Room, Electric Hotel, Happyʼs, etc.) all do an amazing job of making me feel like family and making my friends feel welcome. Itʼs a blessing that these Chicago clubs have the people they do and it makes me look forward to being around them each and every time I perform, and I am beyond grateful I am able to experience the love I do from these places. Without this, I would not be able to be in a position to succeed and I am so grateful for each club that continues to believe in what Chicago DJs can provide. Have to give a special shout to Parlay where Max and I are at every Friday! You guys have believed in us to do our thing and we have really created something special there together that has opened doors for us and we will always show that love back to you guys. Fridays are the best day of the week. Thank you!

 

What’s your favorite restaurant in Chicago?

I am vegetarian, so itʼs a little different for me. But definitely has to be Chicago diner as they have the best milkshakes and they have the best vegan buffalo wings Iʼve ever had in my entire life. Highly recommend you check them out as they have two locations in the city.

 

What was your favorite show that you’ve played in Chicago?

I would say that there are two- Benzi at Prysm and this last show at Concord
for Cheat Codes and Ricky Retro. The Benzi show was wild! Max and I played everything from house to future bass to Top 40 to trap which makes it so fun for us to feel like we can play anything. The crowd brought the energy, we brought the energy, the lights
were going crazy, and then Benzi brought it home. I think we even played hyper house during that set too! It was a blast. It was the first time whereMax and I really saw we can take this as far as we want things to go, so it was an eye opening experience a blast at the same time.This last show at Concord with Ricky Retro and Cheat Codes was unreal. We had the opening slot but it was sold out, so by the time we were 30 minutes into our set it was wall to wall. Anytime you can play in front of a crowd that wants to be there so much so that they are there almost three hours before the headliner, you can really bring the energy to your set. Being alongside my brother, crushing a set, playing what we want to, all while in front of a great crowd with many close friends of mine in it is exhilarating. It was the first time where Max and I really felt like we were viewed as artists by a crowd before, and it was a moment where I almost wanted to cry out of happiness. Seeing all the hard work we put in and all the sacrifices we have made to do this all come together to produce that set really takes my breath away. Everything from before the set hanging out with some of best friends (shouts Sherm, Tony, Colton and Eric) to after the set where we all got to take it in together, where we weʼre able to chill with Ricky and Cheat Codes and all vibe together really was mind blowing. The love from the other artists as well as the hospitality from the staff (Isaiah and Chloe- you guys are awesome) really enabled us to enjoy every moment of it.

What’s your favorite thing about this city?

Summertime Chicago is the most beautiful time of the year. Itʼs so exciting and fun! As a DJ, playing on rooftops and enjoying the weather alongside everyone is one of the best feelings in the world. Plus, so much more house music is being played!

 

 

What is a quote or phrase that you try to live by? Why?

Whether you think you can or cannot youʼre right. I think the power of manifesting something into reality is so much stronger than people think. If you believe in what youʼre doing you will end up where you need to be and it attracts belief from others. If you don’t believe in what youʼre doing, no one else will. The moment I instilled that philosophy into my life is the moment
that things started happening. 

 

Tell us something that you’re doing now and are excited about.

This month is particularly crazy! I actually have a track releasing today (by the time this interview comes out) with one of my closest friends Sherm called WORRY on TruMusica which will be available everywhere. Highly recommend you check it out, weʼve been sitting on this for a while but itʼs one of my favorite tracks Iʼve been part of!
You can purchase it here:

https://www.traxsource.com/track/7027794/worry-original-mix

In terms of shows, on 3/6/2020 Max and I open up for our boys AYOO and Dirtybird artists Teknicoz at Prysm which will be an awesome night. On 3/20/2020 I am playing a show alongside some of my biggest influences and idols in Birthdayy Partyy, Wenzday, and Kar Pow at Soundbar. All these artists have released on huge labels, including Gold Digger. Itʼs funny because I also have a release coming out on Gold Digger Records on 3/20/2020 called COME ON, which will be my biggest release to date. I am super, super excited for it as the track goes hard! On 3/21/2020, Max and I will be launching our duo project together called STOPCALLINGME in a headline show at Electric Hotel. Weʼre super excited to rinse some of the tracks we have created with this new identity! Finally, on 3/28/2020, I will be playing alongside Snakehips at Electric Hotel which I am beyond excited for! Have to give shouts to mistaHAN for giving me the opportunity to grow as an artist and allowing us to become good friends since heʼs taken over there.

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

I want to shout out some important people that the readers should be
following and paying attention to in the industry!

 

Follow Flynninho:

instagram.com/flynninho

facebook.com/flynninhoofficial

https://open.spotify.com/artist/5AxpenZmu6AYltIuC48PLR

 

WRITTEN & CURATED BY MARIAH M. VAZQUEZ

 

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