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Certified Accountant Turned Party Animal John Summit Talks Off The Grid Imprint

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John Schuster, known best behind the decks as John Summit, is revered for his modern, driving and melodic sound that spans across house and techno. Today, May 13, the first song out on his new imprint, Off the Grid, drops.

The track, “In Chicago,” showcases the music that Schuster is known to play in his sets. According to the producer, his inspiration behind starting the label is to not only have creative control, but to also throw events similar to brands like elrow and Dirtybird. “It's about throwing the best show possible,” he says. “It's both the label and being able to do my own thing, too.”

The perceived avid partier is a certified accountant—quite the contrast between the two careers. Schuster’s social media presence even projects him as a nightlife maven. The Off the Grid label boss says he was bored at the start of the pandemic, so he began streaming on Instagram Live each day, and, naturally, would shotgun a White Claw each time. He says his audience found this funny, thus causing Schuster to use this humor as a way to promote his new music. Now able to perform onstage at live events again, the artist continues his brand identity by even drinking tequila straight from the bottle while performing.

Despite the humorous side of Schuster, he takes his business seriously—even taking on various roles within his brand. “I would basically consider myself the CEO of John Summit in the fact that I do all the music and stuff, that's a given, but then more so than that,” he says. “I'm so nit-picky at every little detail where most other artists have someone that handles all the label releases so they can focus just on the music. But I don't really trust anybody, especially in the music industry. There's so many little things that go wrong all the time where I'm just like incredibly anal about everything.” However, the artist notes that he has “an incredible” team. In addition, he says he looks up to Lee Foss and Jamie Jones as he believes they are hardworking artists who also know how to party.

The certified accountant made his switch to producing after finding his full-time career “literally the most soul-sucking job of all time.” He saved up money from his accounting job to hold him over while pursuing music full-time, but by the time he had left his position, he was already playing shows around the country. However, he wasn't making nearly enough as a touring deejay at that stage to live off of. “I went into 2020 basically broke, like dead on money. Then I went into the pandemic…and went full throttle with making music, building the community. It worked out super well,” he says. “No one [was] playing these massive gigs. We [were] all [on] the same playing field.”

When it comes to finding new music to release on his imprint, he says, “I always like saying this: ‘You don't have to reinvent the wheel…but you should innovate it.’ You should make it better. So I don't need to hear the craziest tune I've ever heard in my life, but I do need to have my eyes open up a bit.”

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