How much of John Summit’s “on a bender” image is real?

Let’s face facts. There aren’t exactly a lot of new standout artists in the dance music world right now. A lot of this is probably to do with established artists trying to secure their positions in the first year of being able to dance without lockdown restrictions since the pandemic began – although we expect this will change over the next year.

Which makes the rise of John Summit something of an exception to the current rule. Ears To The House covered his ascent to fame a few weeks ago – and a few people thought we were a little unfair, saying we weren’t giving him enough credit for his achievements. Respectfully, we disagree.

For instance, his technical proficiency is certainly not in doubt. Summit – real name John Schuster – partially rose through the ranks by publishing tech-house tutorials on YouTube, most of which are still available on his own channel. Based on what Ears To The House has seen, Schuster has an advanced understanding of what’s involved in music production.

We also had nothing but good things to say about his work ethic – easily one of the hardest working DJs this year – and we acknowledged his ability to adapt to different audiences with his DJ sets, a skill surprisingly lacking amongst some of the big players at the top. Also unlike many of his peers, he’s fairly approachable, taking the time to respond to followers on social media.

And his decision to sign a three-year publishing deal with Defected shows a certain amount of business acumen. But we did express concerns about his image – frankly, he comes across online as someone teetering on the brink of alcoholism. And whilst we understand that Schuster parties as hard as he works, this is an industry where far too many people making the music have ended up being destroyed by drugs such as alcohol.

So the way in which he seemingly talks about getting drunk is more than a little concerning. His song “In Chicago” – lifting a vocal sample from the 2002 release “Judgements And Misconceptions EP” by Steven Mestre and Wilson Santos – even features the words “I’m drunk and I’m high”. At least Green Velvet’s 2001 release “La La Land” was vague on the question of whether it celebrated or cautioned against drug use.

To be fair, however, there are times when Schuster preaches a message of caution himself. Last month, he spoke about a recent event when “someone gave me a xan at the afters for my flight home from ibiza and it ended up being a roll. He didn’t even speak english and the pill looked like scooby doo… I don’t know what I was thinking, but that 9 hour middle seat come up into comedown was not it.”.

When a Twitter user queried whether he was glamorising drug use, Schuster replied with “I would 1000% argue that this shows you shouldn’t do that? Clearly I made a mistake.”. This expression of regret, strangely enough, might serve him well for future business dealings.

Schuster, through no fault of his own, inhabits a world with a very paradoxical view on drugs. Whilst a lot of people within the dance music world are users, a lot of them also get very angry when drugs get in the way of business. Because the dance music world now is a multi-billion pound business – and Schuster, being an accountant by training, will have his eyes all over the numbers.

So how much of Schuster’s “on a bender” image is the real deal? We’ve concluded it’s real, but it’s also not the complete picture. And we’ve also concluded that, for his rise to come during a year which has been largely focused on older names securing the positions they once had, he must be doing something right…

Ears To The House Team

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