With great mustache comes great power—and DJ Susan has it in droves.
Based in San Diego, Susan made a cross-country flight last week to immerse himself in the hedonism of Miami Music Week, a pilgrimage he takes annually. And he made his presence felt.
But that wasn’t by design, as if he concocted some kind of masterplan to kick up dust in the name of fame like a hellbent TikToker. It’s just in his nature.
In many ways, the gregarious Susan was emblematic of the triumphant ethos of the return of dance music in Miami after a brutal pandemic. If his unbridled personality didn’t pull you in like a magnet to a fridge, it was his giant bear-hugs.
While hundreds of thousands of people flock to Miami for the week’s pièce de résistance, Ultra Music Festival, the city’s various hotels and clubs moonlight as breeding grounds for the next era of electronic music. It's at those venues where Susan operated and pollinated, replanting the seeds of dance music culture that had eroded during the pandemic.
"It was incredible. The community was strong and everyone was out in full force," DJ Susan told EDM.com. "It was a place for artists and fans alike to connect without any borders and create a beautiful space for all of us to thrive together through our art and passion for music. After being away for so long, it really made it special to be able to physically be with these fans, fellow artists and industry players that we have only connected with online in real life. Not to mention, this was unmistakably the year of house music, so it felt really positive to be in the right place at the right time with too many legends to count."
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But it wasn’t just the infectious antics of the "Tech House Tony Robbins" that made him the sweetheart of Miami Music Week 2022. It was also the music from his flagship record label, Hood Politics Records, a tastemaker known for its gritty hip-house style. And in a city that has long championed house music—perhaps now more so than ever—the imprint’s signature sound could be heard far and wide.
Hood Politics is also beloved for its dedication to spotlighting young, genuine music producers who do it for the love of the community—not the pursuit of streaming notoriety. It's this tenet by which the label—and its love-drunk founder—are shaping the future of the underground.
"Hood Poli is a big family. Everyone we've connected with through the label has been nothing but genuine and supportive of each other," said Rich DietZ, a fast-rising DJ duo who have released music on Hood Politics Records. “It has to stem from the guy up top, DJ Susan. He's just out here spreading the love and reminding us all why we got into this scene."
Now back home in San Diego, Susan is decompressing what was a tornado of a week in Magic City. All it took was one look at his Instagram Stories, which functioned like a Dominique Wilkins-esque highlight reel of sun-kissed DJ sets and hysterical interactions with his fellow artists.
"To say it was historic would be an understatement," he reflects. "The love and energy was palpable and everyone was really focused on spreading that love throughout. This was the year."