Stevenson High School DJ to spin at North Coast Festival

Avery Delgado, known on stage as D.J. Smiirk, works the crowd during a recent performance. | Submitted
Avery Delgado, known on stage as D.J. Smiirk, works the crowd during a recent performance. | Submitted

He does not show his teeth often — that’s how he got the name “smirk.” But Avery Delgado plays to win, so if you see his teeth, it is likely because he is gritting them.

In his first competition, the Vernon Hills resident took fourth place.

“Which is pretty good, but, you know…I wanted to win, and I didn’t win,” he said of the Spring Awakening concert earlier this year.

In July, though, he performed at the Toast of the Coast contest at Concord Music Hall in Chicago — and won, earning him a slot in the biggest gig of his 15-year-old life, the North Coast Festival at Union Park in Chicago.

“I did my best, and I prepared for it,” Delgado said.

Delgado plays electronic dance music under the moniker D.J. Smiirk — and yes, that is with two i’s. The Stevenson High School sophomore will mix from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Saturday on the 630 stage at North Coast.

“This is a really big step for me, being able to perform at a festival I’ve attended for a long time now, since I was 11,” he said.

Inspired in particular by EDM artist Skrillex and working in the electro-house, deep-house, trap and dubstep styles, D.J. Smiirk makes his beats with a laptop, “a really sick mixer” and the latest software he can grab.

“I needed to upgrade, because I had way more ideas than I should,” he said.

North Coast will be his fourth professional gig; he was already hired by the Medusa Nightclub in Elgin, where he last played a breakdancing set on Aug. 23.

The Toast of the Coast organizers selected Delgado for his original song “Paradise,” and he trumped the three competitors during their 15-minute sets.

He smiles a bit more these days.

“When I was younger, I had braces and stuff, and I had a retainer, and I would never smile. I was always smirking,” he explained. “People in my family would be like, ‘Stop smirking.’ They called me Smirk.”

When he switched from playing the piano to the more flamboyant medium of DJing, he needed a stage name. His family suggested Smirk, so he added the second i and made his own logo. He did not like it at first, but it grew on him.

Promoters misspell it, of course, and Google does not think highly of it yet.

“A lot of people spell my name wrong,” he said.

Maybe that percentage will decrease, if D.J. Smiirk keeps gritting.

“I never knew that DJing was going to become a passion,” he said.

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