DJ Spencer Huff: The energy of the crowd is why I do what I do

Wed. March 8, 2023 9:14 AM by Ross Forman

dj spencer huff

photo credit // provided

‘…when a crowd trusts you and you can lead them on the unforgettable experience’

DJ Spencer Huff is already looking forward to the annual Northalsted Market Days (August 11-12), when more than 300,000 party people fill the six blocks of North Halsted Street in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhoods for this summertime celebration of diversity, which is the Midwest’s largest street festival.

Last year’s Market Days was nothing short of phenomenal for Huff, 28, who is based in Los Angeles. He played the MEAT party on that Friday and had a whole room at Radius Chicago.

“Market Days 2022 was probably my favorite weekend of the year,” Huff said. “I had some friends who were throwing parties at Hollywood Beach. They hired me to DJ a sunrise party on Sunday morning. At 6 a.m., I showed up and there were 500 people, all ready to dance the morning with me.   

“Market Days 2023 will be my third; I’m very much looking forward to it.

“Market Days is special because Chicago is such an accessible (city) and I see friends from all over throughout the weekend. I live for those reconnections of friends, new and old.”

Huff has been DJ’ing on and off since 2007, though he claims that his DJ career truly started in May, 2020. Though he now does not have any running residencies due to his booking and travel schedule, he frequents X Bar in Denver for Afterglow, Mickey’s in West Hollywood for its Heat party, King Sunday at Harriet’s Rooftop in West Hollywood, the annual Utopia Festival in Isla Mujeres, Mexico … and D.S. Tequila Company in Chicago.

In fact, his sounds will be back at D.S on Saturday, March 11, starting at 10 p.m.

“I have such a special place in my heart for D.S. Tequila. It was my first gig opportunity in Chicago and I love to play there,” Huff said. “My favorite time at D.S. was playing Sunday afternoon on the patio outside during Market Days 2021.”

Huff started a small DJ business, SuSpence DJ Service, when he was in high school in Indiana, doing local gigs, such as his school dances, graduations and then, ultimately, weddings.

“I had a big collection of speakers and lights and would travel all around the state doing DJ gigs and event services every weekend,” Huff said. “I went to college and started to work in technical production for live entertainment. I learned the magic of the backstage and what it takes to put on a big show. I moved to Los Angeles in 2016 and continued to work in the industry until 2020. In March, because of COVID, I lost all my work as a freelancer and suddenly had free time.”

So, he decided to learn a new skill. He bought some decks and solicited some friends to teach him the skill of mixing. “During the pandemic, lots of shows were (transitioned) to an online platform for viewing-at-home, and I was no exception. I would stream my practice sessions on Facebook Live or Twitch and, funny enough, a friend who is a large promoter and producer of nightlife caught one of my sets and offered me to spin at some small events. We began working together frequently and the new DJ era of Spencer Huff was born.

“The promotor invited me to spin at some small gatherings and then, in September 2020, he booked me for the lineup of a small LGBTQIA+ COVID-safe festival called Utopia. The set was so amazing, the vibes were off the charts, and at the end of the set, I came out to dance with everyone, and they all picked me up and were cheering me on. It’s a very special moment I will never forget.”

Huff said his DJ style is in a constant state of change. “Music identity has so much to do with social and cultural environments that surround an individual. The gay nightlife scene often defers to circuit music as its identity and it’s been my mission, from day one, to push the boundaries of what our nightlife scene looks like and the type of music experiences available to us and, thankfully, I’ve found great colleagues with this same mission,” Huff said. “Ultimately, you can extract some overarching themes in my sets – I play house music that preaches good energy, fun times, love, sunshine, happiness, all the stuff that lifts me up and gives space for our souls to be free. Music can be so transformational and, for me, is such an easy way to pull myself out of a weird space and improve my mood.

“The energy of the crowd is why I do what I do. There is such a synergy that happens when a crowd trusts you and you can lead them on the unforgettable experience of a packed dance floor with tracks they understand. Ultimately, it’s about reciprocity. That exchange is vital for the success of the night. “


Early Years As A DJ: “My first DJ gig was in high school, even before I had my driver’s license. I played music for my cousin’s graduation party in 2007. The music added so much to the night; that was where SuSpence DJ Service was born.”

Favorite Actor: Bryan Cranston

Favorite TV Show: The Prince on HBOMax

Favorite Sport: College Basketball. “I always support my Purdue Boilermakers.”

Hobbies: “Well, the career that pays for the DJ career is still lighting design. There have been some spectacular moments that I’ve experienced behind the lighting console. I’m always learning, improving and growing, so discovering new things you like or that you’re good at is a hobby/talent in itself.”

Little-known Fact: “I am obsessed with the Titanic. It’s my all-time favorite movie and can recite facts about the ship, its passengers, the disaster and anything else you’d like to know.”

If I wasn’t a DJ … “I would still be working in entertainment. I have identified this industry as my passion and have to do something within that radius. I probably still would continue to learn and practice lighting design.”

Instagram: @spencer_huff