About / Bio
“To those involved deeply in UK Garage music since around its heyday in the early 2000’s, I will always be known as someone who has loyally and persistently championed the sound and much of what has come from it.” —DJ Sushi
Though this statement is one that still holds true today, if you ask the typical question “what does he play?” among clubgoers (and sometimes even fellow industry-types) in Chicago, the answers tend to be inconsistent when it comes to DJ Sushi. Embracing this mystique, he plays up the unpredictability factor throughout his performances, oftentimes surrendering his playlist to his crowd but never losing the plot. With his progressive rejection of genre classification in favor of a broader view of track selection, focusing on similarities in composition and elements, he took a situation that could have potentially yielded a lump of muddled musical coal and turned it into a symphonic diamond.
Already recognized by the likes of URB Magazine early on in his career, Sushi came up in the Chicago rave scene as most did — a “mix ’n blend” DJ. His love for Hip-Hop and R&B throughout childhood, coupled with his teenage love for sounds like Chicago House and assorted Breakbeat Rave music, made 2-Step Garage an obvious yet challenging genre to start with as an DJ. However, it was his deep admiration of Hip-Hop culture as a whole, as well as DJ influences such as Qbert and Rossi B & Luca, that later motivated Sushi to incorporate turntablism elements into his live performances.
Armed with a brand new bag of tricks and an outright refusal to be silenced due to the limited reach of UK Grime in the States, Sushi soon began competing regularly in “quick-mix” competitions in the Midwest, placing in 1st or 2nd in the majority of them — even besting some “hometown heroes” with considerably larger, established fanbases — and often celebrating victories with "partner-in-grime," Whoa-B, with whom he occasionally performed with as "B.Raw." Brüt Force became the go-to promoter for UK Grime in Chicago, giving way to an event partnership with Vice Records. In the years to follow, Sushi continued to gain recognition as a DJ and grew Brüt Force’s name as Chicago’s promoter for niche UK Bass/Dance music through the Bassweight event series, while also co-founding new DJ supergroup Asian Bodybuilding Club in 2013 with some of the hungriest and most legendary Asian DJs in Chicago dance music -- The Flying Almaria Bros. (Karl & Mark Almaria) and Phil Free Art.
With his career spanning over a decade, Sushi’s role as a conduit for the freshest UK music carries firmly into the present, the labels supporting him a Who’s Who of UK dance music old and new — including the likes of Ice Cream Records and Black Butter, respectively — but never limiting his willingness to please his audience with some Chicago throwbacks, new EDM bangers, or even Top 40 tunes. Although some claim the emergence of EDM has created a divide between underground and mainstream dance music, Sushi’s versatility and simple self-dedicated focus on the dance element of music have allowed him to ride the fine line in between — satisfying his calling as a trusted name to support niche UK acts in Dubstep and Bass music, while also affording him the opportunities to perform at epic music festivals and support internationally successful artists in EDM.
Press / Features
URB Magazine (June 2003); Mixcrate "Pick of the Week" (October 8, 2012 & August 9, 2013); UKGarage.org (October 2011 & August 2012); Columbia Chronicle (May 2007); Shepherd Express (June 2007); Skank The F**k Out! (April 2012); 5 Magazine (March 2017)
North Coast Music Festival @ Union Park (Chicago, IL - 2012); Official Lollapalooza After Party w/ SBTRKT & Disclosure @ The Mid (Chicago, IL - 2013); Run The Road: Volume 2 Record Release Party (for Vice Records - Chicago, IL - 2006); The Streets "The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living" Record Release Party (for Vice Records - Chicago, IL - 2006); Official Lollapalooza After Party w/ Black Butter Records (Chicago, IL - 2014); Garage Conference (Dallas, TX - 2004); Transatlantic 4: The Garage Mashup (Miami, FL - WMC Week - 2005); West Fest - BBP DJ Stage (Chicago, IL - 2014, 2015)
Bassweight @ Smart Bar (Chicago, IL - 2012 to 2013); Bassweight (moved from Smart Bar) @ Primary Nightclub (Chicago, IL - 2013); The Deep End @ Morseland (Chicago, IL - 2012); Party & Bulls#!t @ Pint (Chicago, IL - 2010 to 2011); Hangover Sundays @ Betty's Blue Star Lounge (Chicago, IL - 2005 to 2006)
Big Boi (from OutKast), Disclosure, Axwell, Steve Aoki, Steve Angello, Knife Party, Chuckie, Excision, Alesso, Paul Oakenfold, Tommy Trash, Yelawolf, Pretty Lights, Modestep, Girl Talk, DJ EZ, Rudimental, Gorgon City (Foamo & RackNRuin), DJ Autobot (of Flosstradamus), Felix Da Housecat, Digitalism, Atmosphere, STS9, Todd Edwards, Chris Lorenzo (of Cause & Affect), T.Williams, Youngsta (Rinse FM), Truth, Reid Speed, DJ Q (Ministry of Sound Radio), DJ Dan, Danny the Wildchild, Paul Johnson, DJ Funk, DJG, Joe Nice, Freaky Flow & MC Flipside, Skylab 2000, DJ Dara, DJ DB, Submerge 101, and many more.
Midwest DJ Summit 3.0 - 1st Place (2006 - sponsored by Sam Ash); Chicago Northside vs. Southside DJ Competition - 1st Place (2006 - sponsored by Underground Semetry); Take the Decks - 2nd Place (2008 - sponsored by Sam Ash); Unititled DJ Battle - 2nd Place (2009 - sponsored by Untitled and Original Penguin Clothing)