All/Everything equals OVER CAPACITY. Trust me. I would know. I was on the list for the Kanye edition and couldn’t get in! Anyone who knows me knows this event was made for me! I KNOW Ye and I don’t care what you say- I still love him. Maybe my chance to vibe with the G.O.O.D. tribe that night was a flop, but I said my ultra light prayer and got to sit down with the man behind it all.
In a nutshell, who are you and what do you do?
I’m John Stewart, wearer of many hats and doer of awesome things. By trade I’m a certified audio engineer with a résumé that spans across the world and touches most genres from hip-hop to folk. I also DJ and throw awesome parties. To zoom out, but also be more specific, I’m a hyper-active entrepreneur that currently operates inside of the music industry but I always have an eye out for intrigue and opportunity. That has and will continue to manifest itself in different ways.
You aren’t a Dallas native. What’s your background?
My background I’d say was pretty traditional. I moved around quite a bit growing up. Ended up in Colorado for high school. I attended Harding University in Arkansas where I was a Marketing and Management double major.
Where did music come into play?
I ended up dropping out like 22 credit hours short of graduation to move to DFW. I studied audio recording at Mediatech. Started a label and started a tech company.
Ok, so what happened after that?
I moved back to CO to build out both. I co-founded a non-profit in CO that focuses on pooling resources for entrepreneurs and connecting high-growth tech startups to potential investors. I was featured by Forbes in Nov 2012 for remastering Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album. I ended up feeling stagnant in CO and wanted to make a move. Dallas felt like the right move, so I moved back in June 2014. So, here I am.
Why did you feel stagnant?
What made me feel stagnant was simply a lack of people like me. I’m a hyper-active creative. I have ideas and then start sprinting. In CO, I felt like the lone occupant in that community. So call it being misunderstood or just not feeling supported, it was conducive to my success to stick around. However, it’s my favorite place I’ve ever lived. I miss the mountains every day.
Do you think you’ll ever get that degree?
I highly doubt I’ll ever finish school. Education is about gaining perspective and growing as a human. I may not have a piece of paper on the wall, but I definitely took what I needed from my post-secondary experience.
You seem to be doing more than what your official job title says…
Some people would say I have career ADHD. I constantly have too many things on my plate because I want to do everything. I want to win or lose on my own power. Anything I do, I do because I’ve groomed myself to execute on a high level and to really trust my own thoughts. But, really, I’m selfish. I do things that I enjoy. I’m thankful that I happen to be good at a lot of those things and I think it’s incredible whenever other people react positively to whatever I’m doing.
How do you work? What is your creative process?
I just live. My brain has been stuck in a constant state of brainstorm for like 6 or 7 years. I’m constantly researching, constantly exploring, constantly asking questions and constantly looking for opportunities to attack. Sometimes I’ll be drunk, in the middle of a moshpit, and have a flash of inspiration. Other times I’ll be watching a random documentary on Netflix which will spark a thought. My mind is always open for business.
What is your favorite thing about Dallas?
The music scene. It’s really the only thing I care about. There’s so much of the metroplex that I never have or will see. I wake up every day and go to the studio. At night, if I’m not in the studio, I’m DJing somewhere. If I’m not DJing, one of the homies is playing somewhere or I’ll hit a show. Rinse and repeat.
Do you go to any one spot for inspiration to brainstorm?
Anywhere. I create my own inspiration. However, the DMA is pretty awesome. I do enjoy just wandering the halls. Also, Shepherd Fairey (Obey) did an installation with the Dallas Contemporary a few years ago which led to a bunch of Obey murals scattered around both sides of the Trinity.
What has been a turning point in your career so far?
Really, being featured by Forbes. It gave me sooooooo much perspective, both good and bad, but all constructive. Like, I had an idea, executed, and days later was on the phone being interviewed. It opened a lot of doors, shined a light on what I had been doing, but also built a strange public expectation that I totally didn’t see coming.
I think it would be unfair to call anything a pitfall. This life is a mix of survival of the fittest and luck. Not everything is meant to be. If something doesn’t work, it’s on to the next one. I buy into the entrepreneurial thinking of ‘fail fast’. Try. Learn. Pivot. All in one motion. If it works, awesome. If not, awesome. Never stop moving.
You get to spin your mixes and for one night you get to create an escape for diverse crowds. What memorable responses have you had to your work?
A huge theme in my life that translates into my mixes is that I’m never afraid of risk; I invite it. I may randomly throw in Eifel 65 ‘I’m Blue’ into a mix and backdoor it with ASAP Ferg’s ‘Work’ just because I think it will be funny. I often play brand new records and songs from unknown artists just because I know the music is incredible, even if no one else in that venue has ever heard the record. Every time I DJ, there’s always at least one person that will ask me about a song I just played. As long as that stays consistent then I’ll be happy.
Is the creation part of your work lonely? I.e. Work all day and spin all night.
I don’t’ find it to be lonely. I do spend a lot of time alone, but that’s by choice, I think. I mean, if your life is built around you developing and applying your own creative thoughts, you can’t afford to have a bunch of people around you all the time lending their thoughts or trying to guide yours. I enjoy it. Plus, I get tired of the “are you mad?” questions or people feeling like I’m reserved simply because I’m in my own world 99% of the time.
What is your dream project?
I have to get Jay-Z on my résumé at some point. Some how.
Random quetion. What wouldn’t you do without?
My brain. And Gatorade. And whiskey.
Let’s talk about All/Everything. How did you come up with the idea?
When Kanye’s ‘The Life of Pablo’ dropped, I held a listening party for it here in Dallas. To fill up time in the night, I played a bunch of older Kanye records and received a great response. I played deep, album cuts, not just the records you’re used to hearing in a club; and people loved it. I thought I may have a ‘thing’. I left the venue that night with the idea to test the waters and throw an All Outkast party the following week and we ended up hitting capacity that night with a paid cover. I knew I was onto something. From there, I’ve just continued to build the idea out. I switched to a bigger venue, started designing one off merch for the events, and really just shifted my perspective to ‘promoter’ instead of just ‘DJ’.
What are the main keys to a building a successful event? Do you have a specific formula?
Vision and execution. If you see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hand. As for a formula, I can’t say that I have a conscious one. It’s really just plan and attack.
What can one expect from an All/Everything event?
To be a fan at a concert with your favorite artist but under the guise of a weekly DJ gig.
How do you choose which artist to feature?
Really, it’s just a matter of what I feel can fill up a room, once. I have a long list. There’s no end in sight.
Did you think it would get this response?
Yes and no. None of this was on my radar as recently as a couple months ago. But, once it was in my mind, I knew what it could turn into if I really catered to the idea instead of tradition.
What’s next for All/Everything?
We’re moving to a bigger venue after this Drake party. Heading to Elm St. to really be in the heart of Deep Ellum. However, the model is still being refined. Plus, there are a lot of really interesting conversations being had. Just expect to keep hearing about us and to keep partying.
Last and certainly the most important question: When the Beyonce edition rolls around, will you drop a crown and bumble bee emoji on my timeline before you announce it so I can plan to take off of work?
Lol, yes I can do that. We definitely have something special coming for the Queen.
You can check out John’s work at thejohnstewart.net and follow him @_mixgod on Twitter and Instagram.
Don’t forget to like, comment, and share with Jay-Z. Let’s help John get to the throne.