Don and The Chicago Shufflers

Hello hello everyone and welcome back to MKQ blogs! I have missed you all and I welcome you back to blogs of season 3! This interview I am featuring today I’m so stoked to be sharing with you. Okay ready for a secret: I cannot shuffle lol 😂 So when BDE let me know I’d have an opportunity to get to interview what I considered a shuffling master, to say I was beyond elated us an understatement. He is the host a of the Brosepctive Podcast and the current President & Owner of the Chicago Shufflers. Today I have the honor of featuring Don from the Chicago Shufflers!!   
  1.     Tell me a bit about yourself: Where are you from? What’s your background? M
Hey there, my name is Don, and I was born and raised in the home of house music, Chicago! I’m Mexican and Guatemalan and a first-generation child. Outside of the EDM community, I currently am a licensed Mental Health Therapist for the state of Illinois. I also host a podcast called Brosepctive Podcast and am the current President & Owner of the Chicago Shufflers. 
  1. How did you get into and how long have you been in the edm scene?
I started my raver journey in 2013. I’m a warped tour kid at heart as I have a massive love for metalcore bands. But it wasn’t until college that I met one of my very good friends, who introduced me to dance music. At first, I was hesitant, but it grew on me after listening to the likes of Major Lazer, Diplo, and Dada Life. I still remember the first song that got me into loving dance music, Martin Garrix’s “Animals.” I remember being blown away by the big room sound. Since then, I just kept going to EDM festivals here in Chicago, and the rest is history.
  1. Have you ever been to an underground rave?
Underground raves have some of the best moments lodged in my memory bank! I actually just went to an underground rave a couple of weeks ago and loved how it was strictly about the music.
  1.   What’s your favorite genre of edm/Favorite artist? 
Well, I’m from Chicago, so you know House Music is in my soul. Of course, I love Techno, Trance, and Dubstep on occasion. My favorite EDM artist is definitely Eric Prydz. He’s one of the few artists that I can see over and over again and just be blown away by how his music makes me feel and his production for these shows.
  1. What is the Chicago Shufflers organization/community all about?
Chicago Shufflers is a community-based organization about the inclusivity of all styles, races, and creeds. If you ever come to one of our meetups or meet one of us on the dance floor, I promise you that you’ll feel right at home. We want to make sure that all dancers of all levels and styles can feel like they can escape the stress of their week and be in a safe place to express who they are. We also our performers as well! We have performed for festivals and nightclubs here in Chicago and currently have major opportunities lined up to perform at other festivals as well. We just hope to spread the art form and dance style of shuffling and that people take it more seriously for what it is.
  1.   What is the Brospectivepod ? And what impact are you hoping to accomplish with your podcast?
Brospective is a podcast started by me and my co-host Dian. We started this project because we realized there aren’t any podcasts out there that are geared toward men from a clinical perspective. Often times you’ll get podcasts that men of color run, but they often don’t have the clinical mental health background that we offer. We realized the disparity and wanted to create a space that offers what we’ve noticed was lacking. We speak directly on topics that men often have a hard time discussing such as vulnerability, seeking help, communication barriers, and expressing love. We know that, as men of color, representation matters, and for us both to be Latino men who are professional therapists, we realize how crucial it is to be trailblazers in our communities.
  1.   What is one misconception you think that is made about ravers today? 
 One of the biggest misconceptions that ravers have to often deal with is drug use. Everywhere you look in other dance communities, there is often a drug or drink associated with them. Yet, ravers face the most scrutiny. I think most of the “mainstream” community views ravers as something that was a fad in the 90s and that all our shows our underground. You can see this by the way multi-genre festivals will book DJs but don’t often get a mainstage slot. So, in turn, we have to deal with some people’s choices as if they were ours now too.
  1.   Here at Rave Talks we stress the importance of Women and Rave Safety. From your perspective I would like to know what do you think can be done to further ensure the safety of attendees during and after leaving an event?
Insomniac does an excellent job at ensuring safety at their festivals. They have a very active and hands-on approach to hiring volunteers who will scan the grounds for anyone who looks like they need help or just to be checked upon. It’s something I would hope that other festivals take notice of.
  1.   I cannot shuffle lol.. Do you have to be a experienced shuffler to join your community? 
Another big misconception about shuffle communities, in general, is that you have to know how to shuffle. This is entirely false, and in fact, we have members who still show up just because they love to have a community of people they can go to shows with. So, the big takeaway is that you don’t need to know how to shuffle but just be open to the idea that you can have a community that you can go to shows and festivals with as well. Actually, my best friends are a part of the shuffle community, and that was because we took a chance and put ourselves out there and made connections with one another.
  1. When is the next Chicago Shufflers event and how can people find and join your movement?
We have some big outdoor meetups coming this summer. We usually have two meetups a month in the summertime and have two planned on 5/15 and 5/29! We also have our Shufflepalooza festival happening the weekend before Lollapalooza (6/23). This is the first and only shuffle festival that’s occurring in the United States! You can find more about us on Instagram (@Chicago Shufflers) and check out our bio link for classes, merch, and events that we have coming up. Also, be on the lookout as our official website is coming very soon! Thank you so much for sharing Don! I look forward to hearing more about Shufflepalooza goes and seeing the new website!!  As always follow us on our Instagram @ravetalks_ and on Facebook Rave Talks and also subscribe to our newsletter. Make sure to tune in to our season 3 episodes found anywhere you get podcasts…  I love you all… MKQ out ☺️

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