Phillip Hafner, who DJs under the name PHILCO, has created quite an enviable career for himself — heading up the Good Buddies collective/record label, DJing regularly around the DC area and creating original tracks and remixes. We were excited to catch up with him to find out more about his career, perspective on the DC disco scene and what is in store for the future.
Tell us a bit about how you got started in the DC scene?
I started DJing in DC six or seven years ago. I was just playing at smaller, non traditional spots for fun. I started to get more regular gigs after a while and began taking things a bit more serious a year or so in. Today, I’m holding down regular spots at some of the District’s more established clubs – a monthly residency at 18th Street Lounge, regular appearances at places like U Street Music Hall, Flash, etc. In general, my interests as far as club music goes have always been largely House and Disco and that’s how I cut my teeth coming up as a DJ as well.
How would you describe DC’s disco scene to someone from out of town?
I’d say Disco has a lot of influence on the dance music scene in DC. There’s definitely a spectrum, though. I see people / parties taking on modern adaptations of Disco, like future oriented sounds with Disco elements, that whole Nu Disco bubble. There are also a lot of heads playing more traditional Disco, older cuts, stuff like that. Then there is the subset that I probably fit into best, the Disco House sub genre which has more House oriented production structures regarding drums and bass, with a lot of Disco samples intertwined. In general, there’s probably something for everyone at the end of the day.
What does the word disco mean to you?
Kinda goes without saying to anyone who has an idea of dance music history, but I see Disco as the origin of a lot of things: today’s club culture, safe spaces for marginalized groups, the beginning of what we consider modern DJing, etc. So in that sense, it’s really why we see the dance floor as a special place today, where you can just be yourself without judgement, and all the logistics that go into creating that vibe (club layout and aesthetic, how DJs select records / mix, club ready sound systems, etc.)
What is next on the horizon for you in terms of your other musical projects?
As mentioned, I have regular gigs around town, with my monthly residency at 18th Street Lounge being a staple in that rotation. I host under the party name “Good Buddies” one Sunday night a month on their patio. We have some dates and guests coming up for the fall that I’m looking forward to. I run a label and collective under the same name and have some releases coming together soon. Personally, I have some tracks in the kicker too that should be out soon, both on my label and on other imprints.
PHILCO will be spinning alongside HOT COFFEE and Samantha Francesca at Backbar on September 27. Admission to this show is only by purchase of tickets to The Black Madonna show at 9:30 Club. Purchase your tickets at the link here.
PHILCO also took the time to create an exclusive mix for us. Take a listen below: