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When DJ and underground fashionista Gun$ Garcia plays twice in a week in D.C., it’s a bit of a big deal. Not only is it a homecoming of sorts for the Silver Spring native, but it further proves that the D.C. area is becoming nationally renowned as an underground-to-mainstream dance and pop music pipeline.
Tonight, Garcia joins New York City’s Katie Rex, Los Angeles’ Suga Shay, and local DJ The Lothario for a D.C.-based version of the trio’s Factory Girls parties at Rock & Roll Hotel. On Feb. 10, Garcia returns to D.C. at U Street Music Hall along with a fellow former Washingtonians DJ Dirty South Joe, DJ Spicoli, and Magglezzz for the Trillectro-sponsored local version of the “So Far Gone” Drake dance party.
For Garcia, who now resides in Philadelphia, the homecoming is bittersweet.
“I don’t even recognize D.C. these days,” Garcia says. “Every time I play at a club in D.C., it’s in an area I didn’t even realize existed. Not to date myself too much, but I went to my first emo show at the old Black Cat. [I] remember where the 9:30 Club originally was and definitely partied at the Ritz, DC Live, and all of those spots.”
Garcia describes next week’s Factory Girls as an event that “[tries] to create a spectacle rather than a party featuring drag queens, a photo booth, and only featuring artists that are female or celebrate femininity, regardless of gender.” As far as what you’ll hear, expect a mix of techno, vogue house, club, and rap. More specifically, Garcia says, “the sets we’ll be spinning will have a heavy female influence with female producers and female vocalists. We also try to push the envelope musically by playing a lot of music that’s new and a lot of music you don’t hear all of the time.”
But her return to U Street Music Hall for “So Far Gone” is an entirely different celebration. “Drake Night [is] totally different from Factory Girls,” she says. “I usually wait to play the hits later at other events. [However], the Drake Nights are popping off as soon as the door opens. People just want to dance right away. They want to hear the hits and everybody is freaking out. I’ll go into some slow [Drake songs], then speed it back up, and everyone just keeps singing along the entire time.”
Though she may have decamped to Philadelphia, Garcia still thinks highly of her hometown and its recent musical output. “D.C.’s tapping into what’s new and what’s hot,” she says. “I’ve worked really hard to be able to play the kind of music that I want to play whenever I want, and finally, it’s starting to happen where [cities like D.C.] have the space to do that and people are showing up more often. DJing in D.C. is a super-huge deal for me. It’s a life goal. I was introduced to club culture [here].”
Stream the latest Factory Girls mix from DJ Jubilee’s Brooklyn Radio–hosted Magic City program below:
Photo via Steve Garfinkel Photography