Setting foot in California sixteen years ago by way of the Army, Patrick Hannan aka Harris Pillton never planned to be the well-known DJ, MC, and host he is today. Starting his DJ career in 1999 playing trance and hi-NRG under the alias Reclipse, he soon became attracted to all things bass, and currently plays "whatever else hits my ears and makes me move my feet." Two years ago, he decided to expand his skill set to take on the roles of MC and host, and since then has alternated between DJ and hypeman. We spoke with Harris Pillton about his three professions, why he changed his moniker, and the stereotypes of underage parties. He plays Friday, March 28, at DNA Lounge for Trap and Bass, with Party Favor headlining.
As a DJ, host, and MC, which came first? Which is most fun to do?
The DJing came first. I played out regularly for a number of years and achieved some reasonable local acclaim. One night at an event two years ago I grabbed the mic and introduced our headliner Vaski. A few times through his set I jumped up and hyped up the crowd with a great response. After his set, he sought me out to let me know he wasn't a fan of MC's, but he was very appreciative of the crowd-hyping I did and the MC/hosting duties started there. To be honest, DJing and hosting/MCing fill two totally different feelings. I love being up on stage in front of the crowd and I'm not sure if I could pick one over the other.
Of all the aliases you've had, how did you finally decide on Harris Pillton?
I used to go by Reclipse, and there are still plenty of people who will only call me that. The name Harris Pillton came from a bit of joking around at an afterparty where I mistook what someone said and I replied "Harris Pillton? I like that." It just grew from there.
Any comment on the DJ abilities of Paris Hilton?
If you can call pressing the play button on a pre-recorded mix, waving your hands in the air, and charging a couple hundred thousand dollars [at] a show "DJ abilities," then she's amazing.
Which residency of yours do you advise people to come and check out?
My primary residency is with EPR on Wednesday nights at 715 Harrison. We bring out top-tier headliners on a weekly basis and I love to see new faces out there all the time. By the time this interview goes up, we will have just celebrated a landmark 300 shows in just less than six years. Along with that, we do a Sunday show at Temple called Sunset Arcade with a totally different vibe. It's truly one of the most fun and interesting show concepts because of the interactivity of it all. Big-wheel races, pillow fights, videogame arcade, karaoke, and awesome music. It's an amazing way to end your weekend on a high note.
Since you play a few 18+ parties, EPR included, what's one stigma you'd like to set straight?
A lot of people still think the scene is all about the drugs. While I'm not going to blow sunshine up your you-know-what, the majority of the kids that come out to these shows are definitely more about the community, letting go of the daily struggles, and having a good time with their friends over the drugs. I know there's nothing like dancing your heart out all night while all of your problems are miles away. It's like therapy.
What type of parties do you think should happen more in San Francisco?
I'd like to see more focus on some of the newer genres of music, like Jersey club and the forward bass music sounds. These genres are getting more and more people interested in the dance music side of things because of the crossover appeal, and everyone could use some more sexy music in their lives.
If you weren't DJing, you would be a...?
A Big top circus ring leader! The parallels to that position and the shows I host are pretty dead-on (laughs). All jokes aside, food is my other passion. Anyone who knows me on a personal level knows how much it's a part of my life. It's my profession outside of performing, so I guess I'm already doing it with a whole bunch of amazing opportunities popping up all the time.
Is there a dream performer you'd like to open up or play alongside someday?
I've opened for and played alongside a number of world-class artists over the years. Right now, I think I'd wet myself if I had the chance to open for someone like Cashmere Cat or Ta-Ku. These producers are at the forefront of the future bass music scene and are really helping to blur the lines between R&B, hip-hop, pop, and bass music.
Any upcoming mixes you can share with us?
I just had a 100 BPM twerk/trap mix that was featured on 99.7 House Nation a few weeks ago. I'm also putting some finishing touches on another 100 BPM mix and a future bass/mixed genre mix that should be available in the next week or so.
If one were to come out to Trap and Bass Friday, what should they expect to walk into?
Trap and Bass is one of my favorite shows to play, and I'm glad to hold residency there. The crowd is always so lively and they love the heavy bass sounds. I've played alongside some of the best the trap scene has to offer because of this show, and this week is no different, as our headliner Party Favor is an absolute monster on the decks and his tracks regularly find their way into my playlists. DNA Lounge is an excellent venue with great staff, and we get an awesome turn out every month. A huge shout out to the Vital family for putting on such a great monthly show and bringing me on board last summer.