Sign In for your personalized experience!
Born in the south suburbs of Chicago in 1975 during the disco days, DJ Misfit (real name Shawn DeVries) was introduced to house music at a very young age by an older brother of a friend right around 5th grade (1986). Misfit recalls hearing house music on tapes and on the radio, but didn’t have a clue their significance.
During the summer of 1987, Misfit was introduced to UK Goth, Punk and Ska by friends. By 1988, Misfit’s music tastes leaned toward punk (Black Flag, The Misfits) and even some of the growing gangster rap scene that was coming out of LA at the time (NWA).
Misfit got more and more involved in computing as well. Coming online at this time were Bulletin Board Systems (for file trading) and online chat. A friend introduced him to a local chat server that could host up to 15 people at the same time running over 300 Baud (and you thought 56k was slow). This friend said he needed a “handle” because “it wasn’t a good idea to use your real name on this thing.” Well, being that he was into The Misfits, Shawn went with “Misfit” as his handle.
During 1989 a club opened up in Chicago’s south suburbs that was all-ages called “Off the Alley”. Misfit and crew went religiously every Friday night and he was exposed to even more obscure music, most importantly the acid house coming out of the UK, Industrial and Thrash/Body Music either from Europe or the local Chicago Wax Trax! label. Looking back, Misfit realizes that “if it wasn’t for this club, the people I was friends with at the time, and the music being played, I would not have started DJing.”
Misfit realized how much control the DJ had over the mood of the crowd. Misfit introduced himself to the DJ who laid down the basics of the equipment, beat matching, track selection and programming. Misfit was hooked, on the spot, until he found out how much this stuff cost.
Misfit and his best friend decided to “borrow” their dad’s belt-driven turntables and buy a starter mixer. They went out and bought club remixes of popular songs and lots of “hip house” which was exploding at this time. Dad’s turntables were not meant to be used the way they were being used, and when they broke, so did the DJing career of Misfit.
With the DJing thing on temporary hold Misfit explored the allure of partying and being a nutty teenager. 1992 turned memorable when he decided to experience this whole “rave” scene he had been hearing so much about.
On December 26th, 1992, Misfit’s first rave was a full-on, mappoint, warehouse event. “Not very big”, states Misfit, “as things were still on the underground tip at this point in Chicago. I’d estimate about 250-500 people at this event.” After mappoints, Misfit and team head up the freight elevator and the doors open to this new world. Some of the DJs on the night were Hyperactive, Miles Maeda and Dan EFX.
At this point, Misfit had honed his DJing skills a bit and was building up a collection of house, acid house and breakbeat. Misfit had decided on a college at this point (Purdue University) and, heading down in August of 1993.
Within 48 hours of his arrival at college, Misfit had found 2 other DJs in his dorm with whom he teamed up to throw parties. Misfit had swapped most of his records for breakbeat and UK hardcore and started to head in that jungle (drum n bass) direction which was just starting to bloom.
The combination of the MW-Raves (Midwest raves) Email List and a hosted real-time chat community called Vrave (Virtual Rave) the Midwest scene blossomed. The Midwest Ravers travelled; driving for hours between states meeting up with like-minded (or twisted-minded) individuals and experiencing the community, the DJs and live acts, the vibe. Misfit was a full-on jungle DJ by this point, hooked on the sound, the style, the culture, everything about it.
So Misfit regrouped, left school for a while, started dating his best friend, Shannon, and went back to school around Chicago. He eventually made it back down to Purdue with the goal of finishing off his degree.
Being a bit wiser and much more focused, Misfit was doing things his way. Through friends Misfit had made in Indianapolis he was DJing almost every weekend, and loving it again, but this time for the right reasons. Misfit graduated and got engaged in 1998.
11 years after that infamous first rave Misfit is still here spending time putting together mix CDs, keeping in touch with the scene and getting back into production while holding down a full time job with a software company in Chicago.