Joey Anderson and Floating Points will also join the San Francisco party's birthday revelry later this month.
The events were launched back in 2010 by a collective of Bay Area DJs—Ghosts On Tape, Low Limit, DJ Will and XLR8R editor Shawn Reynaldo. Taking place on an almost monthly basis, the series' early days often highlighted UK producers working in the bass music sphere, but in the last few years their focus has shifted more towards techno and house. It's an aesthetic reflected by the lineup of their latest birthday bash, taking place at their usual home of Public Works, featuring Levon Vincent and his protege Joey Anderson (making his SF debut), while UK jazz, soul and disco lover Floating Points will play an extended set in the upstairs loft. The ICEE HOT gang also started a label of the same name last year, which has seen releases from Contakt, Grown Folk and others so far.
We got in touch with co-founder Shawn Reynaldo over e-mail to discuss ICEE HOT's history:
What was your mission when you first started the party, and has that changed at all over the years?
On a basic level, ICEE HOT has always centred around a basic idea: presenting music and artists that we care about that aren't being highlighted at other parties in San Francisco. Back in 2010, the city's club scene was full of bad dubstep, tacky electro house, and snoozy minimal techno. At the time, we were really excited about UK funky and the various hybrid sounds coming out of the UK, so a lot of our initial guests were from that world. That being said, our tastes have always been broader than that, which is why our bookings over the years have come from across the musical spectrum. We really like putting unusual line-ups together, and still strive to bring people to San Francisco for the first time. We also insist on keeping the door prices low, no matter who's playing.
When and why did Public Works become the night's usual home?
ICEE HOT's first home was 222 Hyde, an amazing spot which sadly closed last year. It was a great little basement space with a top-notch soundsystem, and we loved being there, but right before our first anniversary, the club started running into problems with the city and we had to move. We bounced around for a few months, but Public Works had recently opened and seemed like a natural fit, especially once the smaller upstairs loft was completed. They've been incredibly supportive over the years, they understand what we're trying to do, and even though we do work with other venues in the city, it's always nice to come back to Public Works.
Do you think the SF club scene is in good shape, and what is Icee Hot's role in it?
On the whole, the San Francisco club scene is rather strong right now, at least by US standards. While California's 2 AM alcohol curfew continues to be a major bummer, there are numerous promoters bringing A-level talent to San Francisco just about every weekend. Quite frankly, it's all become competitive, but in a good way, where promoters seem to constantly be topping themselves and working to put on the best parties they can. Of course, none of this would be possible without people on the dancefloor, but the tech boom has brought a lot of people (with a lot of money) to the city, and they're all looking to cut loose on the weekend. Unfortunately, the flipside of this is that these same people are the ones driving up rents and gentrifying the city in a way that's driving creative types (e.g. promoters, producers, DJs, etc.) out of San Francisco and putting the whole scene at risk, so it all feels a bit precarious sometimes.
In terms of ICEE HOT, we honestly aren't trying to play a particular role in the scene. Most of the time, we're simply booking artists that we want to see, which is probably why so many of our guests are making their San Francisco debut. We want to focus on the music and keep the bullshit to a minimum. If that rubs off on the rest of the scene in any way, that's great, but it's definitely not one of our goals.
Why pick the three headliners that you did for this fourth anniversary event?
We actually started planning the anniversary party over the summer, and Levon Vincent was our top choice. The guy represents so much of what ICEE HOT is all about—he makes great music, he's a killer DJ, and he goes about his business with little fanfare. Levon actually played for us once before back in 2012, but we can't wait to have him back; this time, we're having him do a three-hour set to properly showcase his skills. Floating Points is another artist that we've been wanting to book for years, so we jumped on the chance to add him to the bill. We're having him play a long set up in the Public Works loft, and his love of all things funky should be a nice change of pace to what Levon is doing in the main room. As for Joey Anderson, he's someone that really came into his own over the past year or so. We love his records, and he already has a connection with Levon Vincent, so it just seemed like a perfect time to bring him out. Even better, he'll be making his San Francisco debut, so it's nice to keep that particular ICEE HOT trend going.
What about the party and its history are you most proud of at this point?
Obviously, so many great guests have played the party over the years, and it's been incredible to see so many quality artists come through, often for their first time in San Francisco. More than anything though, it's been rewarding to throw a party, do things completely our own way, and have it continue to be a success. We're not getting rich, so it's solely our passion for the music that keeps ICEE HOT going. It's nice to see that there's an audience who shares our values about what a club night should (and should not) be. We're also really proud of the ICEE HOT label. Our sixth release—the debut record from San Francisco producer Avalon Emerson—comes out this month, and there are more releases in the pipeline. The whole thing has been a natural extension of the party and a great platform to support both local artists and our friends and extended family.