CVIndependent

Sun08252019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Summer is upon us, and one of the best ways to escape the heat is to enjoy a local pool.

However, we aren’t talking about the local YMCA or the community pool at your parents’ condo or friend’s apartment complex (not that there’s anything wrong with those). No, we’re talking about pool parties—so let’s take a dive into one that I’m bringing to the desert each month this summer.

Being a DJ here in the Coachella Valley for almost a decade, I’ve been fortunate enough to play at most clubs in the valley. Palm Springs in particular has venues where people enjoy hearing disco and house music. By playing at places like Toucan’s and Chill, I was able to reach an audience that wanted to hear new music. Yes, everyone loves the classics—but there is so much great music out there that people haven’t heard yet, which is a shame.

Now that I am older and wiser (OK, I am definitely older; the verdict is still out on the wiser part), I have taken the experience from my years of working in the valley and created a new Palm Springs poolside event. Disco Relief is a “Tropical Disco House Pool Party” that takes place once a month at ARRIVE in downtown Palm Springs. It’s a concept I’ve been working on for a few years, and I felt this year was the right time to bring it out. I’m especially excited about the fact that this is a regular event; we don’t seem to have a lot of music events that occur regularly, especially events that feel fresh and exciting.

The music at Disco Relief is both new and old, known and unknown—so you can both enjoy the classics and hear great new music! Sets are created on the spot, which means each event is different. The guest DJs and I always strive to “feel the crowd” and create an experience that is reflective of the audience that day. Disco Relief an event that should appeal to a wide age range—and I am excited to say our first event had a diverse crowd, jamming out together and relaxing poolside.

You can expect to hear Whitney, Madonna, Crystal Waters, Prince, Daft Punk, Disclosure and so many others. A common theme is playing remixes of famous songs by classic artists—reinventing music in a way that is inclusive and doesn’t exclude anyone.

Then there’s the venue: ARRIVE is a beautiful resort that offers the perfect backdrop. Between the midcentury-style architecture, the palm-tree-lined mountain views and the amazing pool, the music won’t be the only thing you enjoy.

The event is co-produced by ARRIVE and my independent record label, House Your Disco. Our May party was a hit (and we had a blast putting it on during Coachella, too), and our guest DJs are having a blast. Most of these artists create their own work—and we include our own music in our sets. Based out of Palm Springs, House Your Disco is always looking for artists both locally and worldwide.

The next Disco Relief will take place from noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, June 16, at ARRIVE Palm Springs, 1551 N. Palm Canyon Drive. Admission to the 21-and-older event is $10; floaties and friendly dogs are welcome. Disco Relief will take place monthly on third or fourth Sundays during the summer; get a full calendar at alexharrington.co. See you there!

Published in Subatomic

So you want to be a DJ? Or maybe you’re a DJ already.

There is a running joke these days that says “everyone is a DJ” now. I have been doing it for seven years—and even that amount of time pales in comparison to the amount of experience others have.

This month, I’d like to share some things that I have learned over the years.

Know Your Goal: First things first—and that is to understand what you want to do. It’s important to be realistic, especially at the start. Do you want to play clubs? Weddings? Do you also want to create your own music? I think of what I do as a business—no different than being a plumber or doctor. The only difference is the medium with which you are working. As a DJ, it is important to know that most markets are over-saturated, so you’ll need to find a way to stand out. Your best shot is to find something that fits you.

Get on the Web: Having a presence on the internet is more vital than ever before. Social media is a great tool. Choose the networks that best fit your target audience. I like Instagram because it’s easy to digest: Photos, videos and short captions let your followers keep up with you. Facebook is also good, because you can run promotional ad campaigns and reach a targeted audience. No matter what your social media choices are, a website helps tie it all together. You can list links to your mixes, music, events and more—all in one place!

When in Doubt, Reach Out: I have had some people ask me: “How do you get your gigs?” The answer is pretty simple: I reach out to venues and promoters directly! If you know of a club that you want to play at, record a mix, and shoot the venue a short email. I find messaging via Facebook pages to be efficient at times. Think about why you would be a good fit for the venue. From a business standpoint, why should they hire you? How will you make them money?

Be Respectful: I live by the rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Over the years, it has never steered me wrong. No matter how big (or little) your local scene is, there are those who have been doing it for a longer time than you. I always made an effort to reach out to those in the scene with experience. If I wanted to play at a venue they were at, I would talk to them first. In that vein, don’t try to move in on a DJ’s residency. It may be tempting, but the best thing you can do is put yourself out there and perfect your craft. Things come in time.

Say No to Ego: This is a big one! No one likes someone who thinks they’re better than everyone else. I’m proud of what I have done, but I know there is always more to be done, and more to learn. In the music business, it is easy to get carried away. Be yourself, and learn how to market yourself in a way that feels right. If you enjoy what you do, you will connect with others—and the gigs will keep coming.

I hope you find these tips to be useful. I know that when I first started, I had to go it alone for a while. Everything takes time—so keep on working on getting better, and success will come!

Published in Subatomic

It’s 2019, and the way we listen to music has changed. We moved from vinyl to cassette, then from CDs to MP3s and now streaming. How we enjoy music has evolved—and not only is it easier to find music to listen to than ever before; it’s easy to share it with others as well.

I recently spoke with streaming music consultant, strategist and curator Mike Warner about the ins and outs of the modern era of digital streaming via services like Pandora, Spotify and Apple Music. He’s had a front-row seat to watch this evolution over 15-plus years in the music business.

The main difference I’ve noticed with these newer services, especially Spotify, is the addition of playlists—specially curated lists that feature artists both popular and unknown. Warner curates playlists via Spotify, Apple Music and other services, and these playlists range from “Wine Bar Grooves” to “Funky and Nu Disco Jams.” He handpicks all of the tracks—which reach tens of thousands of his followers each week.

Beyond this curation, Warner works with artists and labels to find playlists for their music. Most of his work is done through personal networking—a breath of fresh air in this often-distant digital era.

“My primary function, really, in 2019, is education,” he said. “I just want to get out there and educate as many artists as I can.”

This education involves sharing tips with artists to help them better promote their releases. “The more people that become successful, the better,” Warner said.

Warner published an e-book last year called Work Hard Playlist Hard. It details some of the best practices people can use to distribute their own music.

“The stuff that I preach, I’ve done myself, and I continue to do,” he said.

I asked what inspired him to write the book. “It got to the point where I was writing so many emails and sharing the same information again and again that I went, ‘You know what? Maybe I should just write this down one time and put it in a book,’” he said.

Warner also works with commercial clients, including labels.

“Labels see importance in independent playlists and third-party curators just as much as the indie artists do,” he said. “… A lot of the labels are doing the same thing you’re doing now, (so) they’re actually reaching out to independent curators, too.”

Warner himself is an artist; he’s a third of the popular Australian trio Date Night. Warner and bandmates Sharif Darmansjah and Anders Magnusson produce fantastic music; while Warner is now based in the United States, and his bandmates remain in Australia, that hasn’t slowed them down. The year 2018 was big for them, especially regarding the streaming numbers, with a total stream count in the millions.

Work Hard Playlist Hard is available via on Amazon, Apple Books, Gumroad and other providers. If you purchase it via Gumroad or Apple, you will get automatic updates whenever Warner updates the e-book.

Visit www.workhardplaylisthard.com for links to purchase his book, submit music, listen to his podcast and more. If you’re looking to catch me live,  find me Thursday nights at Landmark Lounge, and Friday and Saturday nights at Big Rock Pub. Visit my website at www.alexharrington.co for more information.

Published in Subatomic

Hello, readers! My name is Alex Harrington, and I am a music producer and DJ based in the Coachella Valley. I have been playing music for more than 16 years, and I’ve been a DJ for the last six. I’ve been fortunate enough to play at venues across the valley, from downtown Palm Springs to Old Town La Quinta. This has helped me develop my sound—and inspired me to dive into the local scene to find the best spots to enjoy music.

I consider Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley to be an internationally influential location. What does that mean? It means people visit us from all over the world. There is no universal culture here; we’re truly a mixing pot. Still, while the valley has grown, it feels like the music scene has stagnated at times.

Is that because of a lack of talent in our scene? No, it’s not. I know many people out here, true artists, who offer something different—and I think that bodes well for the future of our scene. The valley is home to some artists who provide listeners with a truly unique experience—something people will fly home and talk about. The Flusters are a great example of a band who entertains and tells a story in an original way.

This stagnation has not just been limited to bands. The “producer” and “DJ” monikers have been thrown around a lot in recent years. It’s true that many people can get into DJing, but it’s not necessarily easy to translate this “passion” into something people can actually enjoy. It’s not just about playing the hits; that’s why some people choose to visit places off the beaten path. It’s about having options and variety. Look at Los Angeles, Miami, New York, London and Tokyo. What do all of these places have in common, music-wise? Nightlife and scenes with creative people bringing it to the masses.

I don’t see our valley—and Palm Springs specifically—as being too far removed from those locations. Why? Again, we have a valley full of people from all over the world, both visiting and living here. It’s also no secret that many people here enjoy nightlife, no matter their age or class. So shouldn’t there be more choices when it comes to hearing music? We have great places to hear reggae, hip hop, Top 40 and rock … but what about house, disco, funk, indie and dance? I’m not talking about a disco throwback playlist being played; I’m talking about DJs who dug for tracks and worked them into mixes everyone can enjoy.

Many other cities, and even towns, have numerous lounges and bars that provide DJ entertainment—and people love them. This inspires me to stay original and to strive to bring my listeners something fresh. It’s also why I wanted to start this column!

In this space every month, look forward to interviews, in-depth discussions, local artist features and more. In the meantime, you can hear me play at the Landmark Lounge in La Quinta every Friday and Sunday night, playing the best in funk, soul, house and more. Details can be found at alexharrington.co.

Published in Subatomic

DJ Alex Harrington dropped his new album, Stargazer, in early October—and within two weeks, the album had already generated 250,000 streams and a whole lot of buzz. The album is a fantastic production from start to finish with a lot of nu-disco awesomeness. For more information on Alex Harrington, visit www.alexharrington.co. The former Independent contributor was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Hoobastank at the Fillmore in San Francisco with my mom!

What was the first album you owned?

Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?

What bands are you listening to right now?

As far as bands go: Holy Ghost!, Friendly Fires, and Kasabian. On the producer/DJ side: Bondax, The Knocks.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

Hate to be cliché, but I don’t get Taylor Swift. Good on her and her team for building an empire, but I don’t get the fascination people have with her or her sub-par tunes.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

Tough one! I’d have to say Chic. Nile Rodgers is an amazing human being, and their music is made to be heard live!

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Throwback songs from the mid-’90s to early 2000s, especially on the rap/hip hop side of things: Mase, Puffy, Biggie, Brandy ... I love it all!

What’s your favorite music venue?

Bang Bang in San Diego.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

“Ooh baby, I feel right, the music sounds better with you,” Stardust, “Music Sounds Better With You.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Jamiroquai. I found them in 1994, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I idolized (still do) the lead singer, Jay Kay. They make real music that’s accepted by the mainstream. Keeping it funky!

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

I’d ask Jimmy Page what inspired him to write the lead riff for “Kashmir.” Such an epic tune!

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Maybe Tomorrow” by Stereophonics. A beautiful song, one of their most lovely, in my opinion. Love the message!

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Holy Ghost!’s self-titled debut album!

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Hoodrich Disco” by Rome Fortune. (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13

The second of this summer’s two Splash House parties landed Aug. 10 at the Palm Springs Air Museum.

By now, Splash House is running like a fine vintage watch: Shuttles running from the three main pool-party venues—the Renaissance, the Riviera and the Saguaro—delivered Splashers to the pre-party at the Air Museum on Gene Autry Trail. I’m sure most of the young fans understood the deep connection Autry had to music, baseball and Palm Springs.

I am kidding: These EDM fans were here to party and listen to the best electronic music, in an effort to warm up for the pool parties that followed the next two days.

The Black Madonna headlined the pre-party. I had no idea who she was, which allowed me to listen with no biases or preconceived notions. It turns out she is a native of Kentucky who began her career as many do, by selling mix tapes in warehouses and—in her case—farm fields that became underground music venues. She magically melds different genres of music into tracks that fit well together, helping her stand out in the bro-dominated EDM scene. Her original mix of “He Is the Voice I Hear” was absolutely enchanting.

British DJ Hannah Wants brought her house beats to the Saguaro on a very hot Saturday afternoon. The Saguaro is the über-party place of Splash House; the proximity of the room’s balconies to the elevated DJ stage makes it a faultless spot if attendees do not want to leave their rooms.

Louis the Child was excited to be headlining the Renaissance on Saturday night. Robby Hauldren asked the crowd if they wanted a standard set, or a one-of-a-kind set. The crowd was mum on the subject, so the duo went with an incredible new set. “It’s Strange” was a pleasing tune. Aware of the long, hot day, Hauldren inquired as to the mood of the audience: “Are you still all right out there? Are you feeling the love? Are you feeling amazing?” This garnered a cheer from the sun-baked crowd.

Hauldren announced with excitement: “This is our first time headlining a festival.” He then announced the last song, a recorded track, “Better Not” (featuring Wafia), which played as they waved to fans.

One of the highlights of the Splash House after-hours party, once again held at the Air Museum, was Mija—a post-modern harlequin-like tech-house dream. Her “Notice Me”—with the words “I want you so badly in this weather, If only we could be together”—was joyful.

I was excited to see DJ Alex Harrington, whom I first met several years ago at Splash House when Gorgon City played in front of a few hundred fans at the now-defunct Hard Rock Hotel. Alex got the nod to open on the same stage where Gorgon City was the headliner last Sunday at the Renaissance. Harrington, a local and a former Independent contributor, has a new record coming out, Stargazer, and this was a great opportunity to show case his talent to a noon crowd who got to listen to his original material.

Splash House is like any music festival, in the sense that one can find gems while wandering around early in the day—like Silva, a DJ/producer playing a 1 p.m. set at the Riviera.

On a shuttle ride back the Saguaro, I met Kaley from Los Angeles, and Tina from Portland. Both ladies had floaties that were partially inflated. As Kaley was inflating her floatie, she said the air valve tasted like salad—and that she hates salad. She later explained that the night before, after the Louis the Child set, they’d acquired the floaties after they were abandoned by their previous owners; presumably, the person who previously inflated the floatie liked salads. Later that day, they waved happily when they spotted me at the Riviera. The best thing about Splash House is that everyone is in good spirits; it is easily the most laid-back music scene I cover all year.

Early Sunday evening, Grammy-nominated Camelphat packed the Renaissance during their nearly 90-minute set, keeping the bass strong, which re-energized the dancers.

Gorgon City returned to Splash House to close out the night. Fans adored new track “Love Me.” I am sure that while standing on the massive stage, they reflected upon the first time they played this event—in a room that was smaller than that stage.

As Splash House concluded for another year, I wondered: Is this a music festival, or just a well-planned pool party? Frankly, I don’t think it matters, because attendees are getting exactly what they paid for—a fun weekend under the sun with thousands of like-minded fun-seekers.

Published in Reviews

Since 2013, local DJ Alex Harrington has been beating the pavement, playing countless local poolside and club gigs.

He’s also been branching out—regionally, nationally and internationally, collaborating with different artists through various DJ internet communities, and building up his Spotify page with listeners from around the world.

On July 25, Harrington will release his new album, Stargazer. During a recent interview in Rancho Mirage, Harrington discussed how the album came about.

“Ever since July of last year, I’ve been releasing singles pretty steadily,” Harrington said. “Over the past few months, I started writing and stockpiling tracks, not sure what I wanted to do with them. I sat down and said, ‘I’ve put out about six or seven tracks and have another six or seven that are unreleased.’ I wanted to do an album for a long time, and a friend of mine told me that now would be a good time to do it, so I put it together. It’s all come together at the same time as the poolside gigs. Playing the poolside gigs gave me the inspiration to write the tracks and the album.”

Harrington has ventured into varying styles of DJing, from nu-disco to tropical house, and he said playing poolside gigs has always given him inspiration.

“I think with club gigs, you have a certain amount of freedom as far as the vibe goes, but for the most part, you have people who are there to ‘turn up.’ They have drinks, and they get excited. It’s the nightlife,” Harrington said. “With poolside gigs, you can do that, but you can take it in a different direction, and what I really like is that you can affect the crowd. The last set I played poolside was three hours long. I started off upbeat and got the crowd excited, and I dropped it down a little bit to chill them out, and brought it back up at the end. That’s something you can’t necessarily do in a club, because you’re building and building and building, and you hit that crescendo at the end of the night; then everyone gets excited, and the club empties out. Poolside gigs offer more freedom to work with the crowd and more freedom as far as your direction in music goes.”

His DJing has frequently taken him into Los Angeles, most notably at Bardot.

“That was a lot of fun. I was fortunate to have played there a few times as part of an event called School Night! that’s thrown by Chris Douridas from KCRW,” he said. “It’s a fantastic venue. It’s Victorian-themed, and it has two different rooms. I would be in one room DJjing, and (there would be) a band in another room. We’d switch off and go back and forth. That’s something that you don’t get anywhere. It’s right on the Sunset Strip, and I’d walk out on the balcony and see the Capitol Records building.”

Harrington said there’s a definite difference between Palm Springs and Los Angeles crowds.

“I try to bring the same vibe wherever I go,” he said. “It’s the same mixture of my energy and the energy of the town I’m in. Los Angeles is a little faster, and people are a little more with it, so when I go out there, I’m more free to play music from across the board. Out here, I’ll stick more with familiar stuff—but it depends. Los Angeles has a more-trendy crowd that’s looking for new music and to hear stuff they haven’t really heard before, whereas out here, they like the familiar a little more. The bachelorette parties out here are great, but they want to hear Beyonce and Rihanna songs. In Los Angeles, you have so many clubs. … With Bardot, within a stone’s throw, you have so many other clubs. You have to bring something different, because there’s so much great music. Out here, we’re still developing.” 

These days, being an independent DJ/musician is easier than ever … but in other ways, it’s also tougher than ever.

“I think that the tools that artists have to succeed these days—there are a lot more than (artists) used to have,” Harrington said. “But with greater means of access in this business comes a flood of more people doing it. On things like YouTube, 1,000 hits used to be a lot; now it’s 10,000 is a lot. The same with Spotify: Now it’s 10,000, then 100,000 and then 1 million. I think you have to be savvy about it. It’s a lot easier if you know your sound and find the right tools for it.

“I will say this: You have to invest these days. You just can’t put something out there and say, ‘Enjoy it for what it is.’ Even if it’s $100 or $200, playlist services are something you can pitch your music to and say, ‘Hey, I have $100; if you guys like this song, can you help me get some exposure?’”

On Sunday, June 17, plus other dates throughout the summer, you can catch Harrington at the Saguaro.

“The Saguaro has done a fantastic job over the past couple of years curating music that’s on the forefront—music they bring in from all over,” he said. “If you go to a Saguaro pool party, whether you’re there to relax, hang out, grab a day bed or float on an inflatable ice-cream cone, there’s something for everybody.”

For more information, visit www.alexharrington.co.

Thanks to the exploding popularity of craft beer, large-scale beer events these days are becoming ever-more common.

But it’s safe to say that the Palm Springs Air Museum’s annual Props and Hops Craft Beer Fest is the only large-scale beer event around these parts where you can sample fantastic brews and go for a ride in a vintage airplane.

The Sixth Annual Props and Hops Craft Beer Fest will take place from noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 18. Air Museum spokesperson Ann Greer pointed out how great of a venue the Air Museum is for events; the Air Museum now hosts everything from Palm Springs Leather Pride to Splash House after-parties.

“The Air Museum in general is a very unique facility, with 86,000 square feet inside, and 40,000 square feet outside,” Greer said. “It’s near the airport, so there are no sound issues or concerns about the volume of the music, and there’s plenty of parking.”

Unlike Splash House and Leather Pride, Props and Hops is the museum’s own event—and that means it has a definite airplane vibe. This year, pilots of three different airplanes will be offering attendees rides for an extra fee: a P-51 Mustang; a DC-3; and the B-25 “Executive Sweet.” Rides on the DC-3 can be purchased in advance via the Air Museum for $195 (which includes festival admission); rides on the other two planes must be purchased at the event, or by calling the plane owners directly. (See the Props and Hops website for more information.)

If you have no interest in a plane ride, but you love craft beer, no worries: Props and Hops will be featuring beer from 20-plus breweries, including our valley’s very own La Quinta Brewing Co. and Coachella Valley Brewing Co. Food from In-n-Out Burger, G’s Taco Spot and Knights of Columbus Pizza will be available for sale.

“It’s very laid back,” Greer said. “You can be outside or inside, whatever your preference. If you want, you can just hang out, listen to music and watch planes take off.”

As for that music: Alex Harrington will be providing the day’s entertainment, along with singer David Macias. Harrington—the former Coachella Valley Independent resident DJ—is one of the valley’s most in-demand DJs, and he said he’s a fan of Props and Hops.

“Opportunities to play venues like this don’t come along too often,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to vibe off of airplanes taking off, but the energy at the event is really good.”

This will be the first Props and Hops to include the Palm Springs Air Museum’s brand-new hangar, which focuses on the Cold War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Greer mentioned that Props and Hops is a useful event for the Air Museum, because it gives the facility exposure to a younger crowd.

In a similar vein, Harrington said he’s excited about the fact that Props and Hops will introduce his brand of electronic dance music to people who have never heard him perform before.

“I love to bring my sound and the idea of DJing to new crowds,” Harrington said.

The Sixth Annual Props and Hops Craft Beer Fest takes place from noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Palm Springs Air Museum, 745 N. Gene Autry Trail, in Palm Springs. General admission is $40 in advance, or $45 at the door, and includes a commemorative tasting mug and eight 4-ounce beer-tastings. Designated drivers pay $5 at the door. Props and Hops is a 21-and-older event, although well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome; attendees are encouraged to bring folding chairs. For tickets or more information, visit pspropshops.com.

Published in Local Fun

Local DJ Alex Harrington has made a name for himself as one of the Coachella Valley’s most in-demand DJs—but he’s also been spending a lot of time on the production side, creating his own house music.

It appears that hard work is starting to pay off. He recently released a new EP, and has yet more new tracks in the works.

During a recent interview in Palm Springs, Harrington—a former Independent contributor—discussed his recent goings-on.

“I’ve been trying to focus on my production work, doing remixes, putting out EPs of originals, and also keeping up a presence with live gigs,” Harrington said. “As before, there was exploration involved. Now, I know the ropes and what I can do with them.”

After doing some work with nu-disco and tropical styles, Harrington said he’s currently focusing on house music. Harrington added that stepping up his production game has helped him grow as a DJ.

“When I changed from All Night Shoes to Alex Harrington, that was a big decision to dedicate myself more to house versus what I called myself before, ‘indie dance music,’” he said. “It was a mix. I think that when I changed over to Alex Harrington, which is my real name, I decided to focus more on my production. Instead of (my songs) being 3 to 4 minutes long, structured like a radio song, now they’re more made for clubs. That became my focus, and I think that my production work evolved, because the target changed. Before, I’d put it on the Internet. … Now, a lot of this is mostly for clubs and for people into this sound.”

Harrington has DJ’d beach houses in Malibu and clubs in Los Angeles, and is regularly performing locally at venues including the Saguaro and the Avalon.

“What I do is a little different, and it’s very similar to what an indie rock band does,” Harrington explained. “You play those small gigs; you build up; and last year, I had the chance to go out to Los Angeles a lot. Even if it’s an unpaid gig, I’ll head out there sometimes to play. We’re in a bubble out here, and we’re still evolving. I’m grateful for places like the Saguaro and the Avalon. I’d describe it like ‘Franken-gigging,’ because you patch together the good ones moneywise, and try to make it all look good as best you can, if you can.”

Harrington explained what he does to win over a crowd.

“I try to bring a stage presence,” he said. “Some DJs rely on a song selection and play what the crowd wants to hear. There are people who are really good at that and know what to play. For me, that wasn’t natural, and I wanted to do something different and engage the crowd. I find it more challenging, because it’s like a DJ trying to be a band. People walk in and already have a stigma of, ‘Oh, he’s pressing buttons.’ I passionately try to think of what songs to mix, and a lot of it is similar to what bands do. I use a four-count on a lot of songs and bring in another track; it’s about matching beats, and it’s not about pressing buttons. When the crowd engages, it’s magical, but there’s a stigma (about being a DJ), and you have to overcome it by not being obnoxious.

“I’m also not going to put on a helmet or anything like that,” he continued with a laugh. “To each their own, but I’d get too hot in a helmet.”

Has the term “EDM” died with the rise of house music?

“You and I probably remember house music in its infancy in the ’80s and ’90s when it was still raw and very powerful,” Harrington said. “Now that it’s popular, you hear the term ‘house’ a lot, and it’s so broad. I have tried to avoid … labeling, but you kind of have to at the end to give people an idea of what it is you’re doing. It’s a positive thing, and I think that’s why it’s exploding and why it’s here to stay—it’s so broad.

“The term ‘EDM’ was created because they tried to make dance music corporate, and EDM was a tagline. I think that house music is different. People who say ‘house music’ either love it or hate it. But people should do themselves a service and step outside the box. … When you walk into the café, and there’s a guy playing guitar or a girl singing, you don’t know who they are, but you think, ‘This is good,’ and you’re engaged by it. That’s what I’m trying to do with my music.”

While Harrington loves hip-hop and has remixed 50 Cent and Azealia Banks in the past, he is currently listening to a wide variety of music.

“A lot of the stuff I’m listening to right now is, of course, house, like Sonny Fodera,” he said. “A friend of mine, Husky, who is from Australia, makes a lot of great music in that scene there. I’m also listening to Fatboy Slim, who’s making kind of a comeback. He’s a perfect example of someone doing what I love. He’s put out some great tracks recently. I’m also listening to GoldLink, who is a rapper.”

Harrington has more new music to come.

“I have another EP coming out on April 5,” he said. “In May, I have a single coming out on Nylo Music, which is based out of New York and Europe. It’s kind of nice this year, because instead of me releasing my own music, I’m having labels come to me. There will also be a lot of remixes in between.”

For more information, visit www.alexharrington.co.

After six years at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs, DJ Day has decided it’s time for his popular weekly ¡Reunion! party to come to an end.

He recently announced that the sixth-anniversary edition of ¡Reunion! on Thursday, March 31, will be the final show.

“Honestly, after six years every week, which is something like 320 nights, it begins to take its toll,” DJ Day said during a recent interview in Palm Springs. “Long story short, I just got burnt out on the whole nightlife thing. It’s run its course, and I’d like to start doing something else. I want to get back into recording music, and I’m ready to move on as a person and just take a different path in my life. It’s been great, but it’s also a very trying thing.

“When I first started out, I talked to someone who had a weekly in Portland, and she said, ‘It’s not easy. You’re going to have stretches of good times and stretches of bad times.’ It’s been up and down lately, but it’s on an upswing right now, so I figured it was time for me to leave on a good note.”

For the past few months, DJ Day’s good friend and regular guest at ¡Reunion!, Aimlo, has not been present.

“(Aimlo) is moving away and hasn’t been coming since the end of last year. For the past three months, he’s been doing his own thing and gearing up for the move,” DJ Day said.

DJ Day, whose birth name is Damien Beebe, said the decision was completely his own, and that Ace Hotel management was surprised to learn about his decision, yet was supportive and understanding. He said he will continue his last-Saturday-of-the-month Highlife party at the Ace.

“The Ace Hotel didn’t even see this coming. I’ve been kicking around the idea for a year, and in my gut, something told me it was time to move on and do something different,” he said.

DJ Day said one of the things he enjoyed the most about ¡Reunion! was the vibe that could often be felt in the room—something I experienced myself many times.

“Trying to Rolodex through six years’ worth of shit is insane. There have been some crazy times, from people dancing on tables to trying to put money in my underwear,” he said. “The best times were (when the crowd was) willing to take a chance and trust me musically, and it creates this reciprocal feeling in the room where everyone is on the same vibe together. It’s a church-like vibe, and everyone has the same spirit going through them. It’s the best feeling I can get through music and playing other people’s music.”

¡Reunion! has featured many amazing guests. The first ¡Reunion! I attended was in 2013 during Coachella, when Flying Lotus showed up and performed a surprise set in the Amigo Room.

“There have been times when I didn’t even know who was in the room just hanging out,” DJ Day said. Lykke Li was in there chillin’ one night in a booth; Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine was there one night, and just other random people. You never knew who would be at the Ace.

“During the first two years, we’d have special guests once a month. Jeremy Sole (of KCRW radio) put together this flier, and I was trying to remember all of the people who came through, but it’s a pretty big list of folks. I just wanted it to be a place where people could come and hang out … and be comfortable. That’s why it’s ‘¡Reunion!’—it’s a place for people to come together. I wanted to create a good vibe, and I’m proud to say we never had any fights or dumb shit happen in six years.”

Along with Aimlo, the aforementioned Jeremy Sole was a regular guest at Reunion, and other local DJs such as Pawn, Pedro Le Bass, JF//Discord and Independent resident Alex Harrington often joined the party. There has always been a spirit of collaboration and openness.

“I’m very happy to be part of anyone else’s success, or give people a platform to do their art of playing their music when they never had (a platform) before,” DJ Day said. “I love being part of the community here and being part of the future of young people. For me to give a hand to anybody, it’s a great thing.”

Despite DJ Day’s busy touring schedule—including various international trips—he always came back home to play at ¡Reunion!

“I was on tour in Europe, and I remember coming back one night (and) getting off the plane at LAX,” DJ Day said. “I went home and showered, and went right to ¡Reunion!, because DJ Nu-Mark was playing that night. I wanted to go and just make sure everything was cool. My wife was like, ‘What the fuck you doing?’ And I was like, ‘Hey, I gotta be there.’

“What has taken its toll, in an emotional sense, is going overseas and playing for like 4,000 people in Tokyo, and coming back home to no love. It’d be like, ‘Where the fuck is everyone?’ I felt like people were starting to take this shit for granted, and it was like old reliable: ‘Oh, I’ll go next week,’ and next week becomes next month and on and on. Then you’re relying on the hotel guests, and that can fluctuate.”

DJ Day said ¡Reunion! has been a true learning experience, because he never knows what kind of crowd and vibe each Thursday night will bring.

“I have to be on my toes for whoever is there,” he said. “Some nights, it’s been straight party shit; other nights, I’m playing Portishead at fucking midnight. It just depends.”

DJ Day has talked about how much effort he put into his record Land of 1000 Chances, which was released in 2013. He said he’s a much different artist now than he was back then.

“Whatever music I choose to make now is coming from a totally different perspective, life-wise and internally, than where I was at that time,” he said. “That was a culmination of events that were going on behind the scenes both within myself and other areas of my life. That record addressed some of them, and I put my heart and soul into that record. I’ll still do that with the next one, but it’ll be from a different place. … I think I’ll be more of an optimist, and my taste has evolved and changed.”

What does DJ Day see himself doing on Thursday nights after the final ¡Reunion! show?

“Watching Better Call Saul on the DVR,” he joked. “No, actually, I don’t know. It’s going to be weird, and it’s going to be an adjustment. I’d like to spend more time with my family. That’s what I really want.”

DJ Day said he’s not sure what the future will hold for Thursday nights at the Ace.

“I’ve been there since Day 1—I used to do sets by the pool, so I’ve actually been there seven years,” he said. “I offered to find a replacement for me, whether it was Aimlo or Pawn, to continue that night, given they know it, but they might go in a different direction and do something completely different.”

DJ Day said he feels very thankful as six years of ¡Reunion! come to a close.

“I couldn't have done this without my man Aimlo, who's been there from Day 1, and my Ace Hotel family who have been nothing short of awesome,” he said. “I also want to give a tremendous thanks to all of the artists who've played ¡Reunion! and everyone who's come out and supported us throughout the years. Much love to you all.”

The Reunion Six-Year-Anniversary Farewell will take place at 9 p.m., Thursday, March 31, at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-325-9900, or visit www.acehotel.com/palmsprings. Below: DJ Day with Alex Callego.

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