DJ Jesse Mercado.
Jesse Mercado grew up in Crystal Lake and Cary, in the far Northwest suburbs, but he fell in love with Chicago as a kid and knew it was where he wanted to live – and he’s been a fan of local dance music since the late-1980s, when he used to sneak into Chicago on Sunday nights to attend the B96 dance parties at the Riviera Theater.
It was Steve “Silk” Hurley who inspired Mercado to be a DJ.
In 2005, Mercado watched Hurley spin one of the “DJ’s In The Park” events hosted by the Chicago Park District, “and he moved the crowd unlike anything I have ever seen,” Mercado said. “The crowd erupted into a frenzy every time he introduced a new track; it was magical.
“At that point, I knew I wanted to be a DJ.”
In 2007, Mercado started learning the craft, and has since worked at multiple venues in Chicago as well as clubs in Dallas, New York, Kansas City, St Louis, Toronto, and elsewhere.
Jesse Mercado is now DJ Jesse Mercado, a fixture on the gay scene, known for his tribal/vocal house style. He has been spinning at Hydrate Nightclub in Boystown for more than three years and has been an official resident since January, 2015. Mercado spins at Hydrate six times a year, with his next stop at Hydrate is on April 29. Plus, he’s been a resident DJ at Steamworks for the last five years, spinning at the bath house on the fourth Saturday of each month for its Bears, Bath and Beyond event.
“As a DJ (for gay venues), it’s very rewarding,” Mercado said. “Everyone on the dance floor faces one another and feeds off of the energy of the music as well as each other, which allows me to take the crowd on a journey over the course of several hours. I can play very high energy music and have them working up a sweat, then take them down a darker sexier path and watch sexual tensions rise. It’s really fun to orchestrate and something that is very unique to the gay community.
“When I DJ a daytime event, the vibe is more carefree with lots of tracks that people can sing with and throw their hands up in the air. When it’s a club event or something like Steamworks, it’s a sexier tribal or tech house sound with less vocals and hard driving beats.”
DJ Jesse Mercado always spins energy-filled. READ FULL INTERVIEW