Recent parties

Here’s a few flyers of parties I’ve played recently. I was on tour in NYC, Philly, & Montreal last month, & now I’m back in Durham making music and throwing probably too many parties 🙂

Suzi Analogue threw a party & had me come play w/ TT the Artist, Nadus, & more (NYC)
Suzi Analogue threw a party & had me come play w/ TT the Artist, Nadus, & more (NYC)
DJ Chela & Dustyfingerz had me out for this one (NYC)
DJ Chela & Dustyfingerz had me out for this one (NYC)
Philly fundraiser (also me & Counterfeit are collabing on some 90s remixes right now)
Philly fundraiser (also me & Counterfeit are collabing on some 90s remixes right now)
I came back to Durham & was greeted by 300+ of nostalgic Durhamites
I came back to Durham & was greeted by 300+ of nostalgic Durhamites
Rang & Forge had me out at Arcana for their Super Secret Party <3
Rang & Forge had me out at Arcana for their Super Secret Party <3
THIRSTY was hella cute w/ DJ Bitchcraft as always
THIRSTY was hella cute w/ DJ Bitchcraft as always
Most recently, we had an all-vinyl Party Illegal & I got to break out my 90s drum & bass & acid house records
Most recently, we had an all-vinyl Party Illegal & I got to break out my 90s drum & bass & acid house records

Moogfest Shenanigans


Busy weekend for PlayPlay & Party Illegal!! Moogfest appearances are as follows:

The Pinhook
Friday May 20th at 4pm
I am doing doing a b2b2b2b2b2b set with Treee City / Queen Plz / Bitchcraft / GRRL / KT Caustic.
Ninth Street Bakery(Outdoors)
Saturday May 21st 2pm-6pm
We are playing a FREE/ OPEN TO ALL PUBLIC outdoor party with Runaway and I’ll be playing w GALDYTRON!, Treee City, Queen Plz, DJ Shahzad, & Bitchcraft. I go on around 5pm.
Event page: Local Motive: A RUNAWAY Celebration
Saturday May 21st 10:30pm-2:30am
Party Illegal Presents: Aeon Flux is FREE/ OPEN TO THE PUBLIC and my alter ego SlaySlay will be going on at midnight w/ another alter ego by the name of Free Pizza

Update and March gigs

illegal MARCH 2016 fb

Other than the 6-8 hours a week I put in as editor of Clarion Content, I am basically full-time DJ’ing and producing right now. Expect some new tracks and mixes from me in the near future, as soon as I stop being such a perfectionist 😉 Also, I have the travel bug after an incredibly dreamy trip to the west coast (shout out to Swagger Like Us in San Francisco for having me guest DJ and for all of the great producers I met up with in LA). I’ll probably head to NYC next, so if you run any parties out there, I’d love to come through and play! In the meantime, I should rest up because the latter half of this month is going to be wiiiild:

3/5 – Move Your Body (a 90’s house + techno party) @ Arcana
3/17 – Ladies of the 80’s @ Atomic Fern
3/18 – A rumored party @ Full Steam TBA (10pm-midnight)
3/18 – Late night set for Girl’s Rock fundraiser @ The Pinhook (1am)
3/19 – Early set @ the Durham Co Op (12pm-2pm)
3/19 – Party Illegal w/ JUBILEE @ The Pinhook (11pm set)
3/20 – Disco Deluxe w/ Luxe Posh @ Ruby Deluxe
3/24 – Disco night @ Atomic Fern
3/25 – DIDA Fundraiser @ The Vault (10pm-midnight)
3/25 – Late night Sweatcore set @ The Pinhook (1am)
4/2 – THIRSTY (new queer party!) @ The Pinhook
4/3 – WBIB Park Party (5pm slot)

February gigs

Here’s what I have going on so far in February. I’ll be in California for nearly half of the month and can’t wait to check out all of the parties in SF and LA. Lemme know if you have any suggestions! xo

2/12 – DJ Ripley, One Duran, PlayPlay @ The Nightlight


2/13 – CoxxPlay Goth Drag Night @ The Pinhook


2/15 – TBA, San Francisco

2/19 – Swagger Like Us ft. Big Dipper @ Oasis, SF

2/25 – TBA, LA

2/26 – Dreaming of the 90s @ The Pinhook

2/28 – Doctor Dakar, PlayPlay @ Arcana


#FML 1.0 – From Durham to NYC, Baltimore to Jersey

I recently wrote about the new #FML party my friends Zach, Yair and I have started. Total rager! Original article can be found here on Clarion Content.


Last year I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Zach Levine and Yair Rubinstein, two Duke grad students from New York who recently moved to Durham. It turns out that they both are amazing DJs and party planners so we joined forces and started planning #FML (named after a popular Twitter hashtag). The name is Zach and Yair’s creation and I think it is genius because the hashtag insinuates that this party has a cybernetic, posthumanist vibe to it – which is exactly what we are going for. Some associated hashtags: #fullspectrum #cyborg #futurism #shots #hype #cyber #666 #gay #cosmos #posthuman #candy #deephaus #nonbinaryeverything.

The venue we chose for our first party was The Vault on Broad St, under Joe Van Gogh. The Vault is a 3000 square feet private event space for the Palace International, a delicious restaurant serving authentic African cuisine. They have been gracious enough to open up the space for several public events centered on POC in the last few months, including an upcoming hip hop happy hour event put on by ZOOCRÜ, an Afro-Zouk night put on by Kizomba RDU & Embodied Dance, and the Perspectives on patriarchy discussion hosted by Art Underground. The event I attended in this space was Gemynii’sBODY POSITIVE art exhibit and I remember walking in and noting how gorgeous the space was, how great the performers sounded and how cute the placement of the bar was. Gemynii’s art is already incredible, but the space made the showing even more magical.

So, when Zach suggested we throw the first #FML party at the Vault, I was #allaboutit.

We brought in Abdu Ali, a phenomenal and forward-thinking touring artist who I am not even going to attempt to box into a summarization. Here’s the bio off of his website:

Rooted in the ghettos of Baltimore, Abdu Ali raps, sings, and chats over unorthodox sounds, creating music that’s green, provoking, and quenching. His work to conquer musical boundaries has put in him in genre categories along lines of afro-futurism to punk to hip hop to “post-apocalyptic” sounding. Ali, has also become known for his energetic visceral performances, spiritualizing audiences as a cosmic, punk, and soulful tempest on stage. Unapologetically black and queer, Abdu Ali is bold, raw, and most importantly life-affirming. 


Joining Abdu Ali was a producer & DJ whose remixes I adore and play a lot in my sets:Kilbourne. Her sounds are very Jersey club; very hype.


The night of #FML 1.0, Zach coordinated with the space, I rented some speakers, and we showed our two guests the fabulousness that is the NC State Fair. Turkey legs and apples galore! The sun set, and we were ready to rage. We made the space really dark, with the exception of some laser lighting and the bar lighting. Though the space is huge, the dark lighting made its size look less obvious (take note, Motorco).

Yair, aka Big Spider’s Back, started the night off wafting the warm synths of his original productions into the air, creating a polished ambiance that felt more New York than Durham. Since Big Spider’s Back was originally conceived in New York, this makes sense.


Next up, Zach’s DJ alias D.L. Masc took over and created a patchwork of hot remixes featuring dark ambient noise, heavy reverb, thumping club beats and chopped yet still recognizable pop vocals, pushing the club even closer to a New York vibe. A regular attendee of the GHE20G0TH1K party series in NYC, D.L. Masc’s sets are influenced the most by DJs like Physical Therapy, Total Freedom, and Venus X.


After Zach, I hopped on and played a typical high energy PlayPlay set, and included some remixes I recently added to my collection from GHSTGHSTGHST, Doctor Jeep, Cherushii, and more.


When Abdu Ali took the floor (no stage in the Vault, which makes for a much more intimate show), he SERVED. The crowd formed around him, but gave him enough distance to thrash around and hit the floor as he crooned and chanted along sharp, raw, afro-futurist productions that would be impossible to place into a genre – I did hear Baltimore club beats on a few of the tracks, but everything else felt unfamiliar (which I loved).



After Abdu was finished, Kilbourne threw down the highest of high-energy sets. She began with her original productions, which reflect her Jersey roots and aren’t the cleanest productions, but she prefers her mixes to sound “sloppy, distorted, and upset” anyway. Later, she began to play happy hardcore (!) and other 160+ BPM tracks. Zach, Matthias (below), and I had transformed into 5 year-olds and were jumping around on the dancefloor like little rabbits.



I ended the night with Top 40 hip hop and trap music in an attempt to bring Durham vibes back into the space. People were still dancing into the wee hours, which is promising for a city where everything seems to sleep by midnight on weekdays. Durham will never be Berlin, or New York, or LA, where people dance every night of the week…but if we could at least have well-attended dance parties on a weekday I would be thrilled.

Stay tuned for #FML 2.0 in December! We’ll be bringing in more out-of-town guests, and Clarion Content will be the first to know.

PS. Shoutout to Laura Jaramillo who held down the door allll night.


*Photography by Ryan Vu

October my boos

I’m baaaaaack. Europe was amazing (particularly Berlin!) and I’m feeling really inspired to take my djing/production/party throwing efforts to the next level. Also feeling really energized now that the jetlag has worn off. That’s good, because I am playing A TON of shows this month. Come see me and I’ll tell you stories!

#FML Presents: Kilbourne and Abdu Ali
w/ D.L. Masc, Big Spider’s Back & moi
The Vault, Durham
*Click for facebook event*

I Saw the Sign(s): An Astrological Party
w/ Corina Corina, Angi3, Mic Excel, Neatfreak & moi
The Pinhook, Durham
*Click for facebook event*

Touring w/ Corina Corina & Angi3
Snug Harbor, Charlotte

Touring w/ Corina Corina & Angi3
The Treehouse Lounge, DC

Dark Entries Goth/Industrial Party
w/ 20th Century Boy & Fifi Hifi
Atomic Fern, Durham
*Click for facebook event*

Demonology: A benefit for the Durham Anti-Repression Committee
The Pinhook, Durham
*Click for facebook event*

The Revival


Mystic Waters turning UP at a Party Illegal event last year; photo by Eric Waters

Had this great conversation with Mystic Waters (Chauncey) the other day; you can read the whole interview here at Clarion Content. The conversation was so powerful that Areli and I decided to start a dance party based on the spiritual roots of dance music, a theme Mystic kept referring back to. Here’s the first event, going down at Tootie’s (duhhh) on September 12th. Mystic Waters actually came up with the party name for us: The Revival. Here’s the fb event: Me, Areli, and Tootie’s own DJ Smitty will be spinning the best in old-school house, disco, funk and soul. We’re gonna try to channel Larry Levan circa Paradise Garage…



Dreaming of the 90’s….yet again.

The one and only CeCe Peniston
The one and only CeCe Peniston

It’s that time again! This Friday I’ll be throwing another Dreaming of the 90’s dance party (RSVP here!) and I plan to cover a lot of nostalgic territory throughout the night. Here’s what I’ve been really into lately:

90’s R&B

Probably my favorite 90’s genre aside from the nostalgic raver tunes I grew up with, there is, hands down, nothing sexier than 90’s R&B. Mmm mmm mmm.

90’s hip hop

On the early 90’s hip hop tip, I’ve been especially feeling NWA’s “Fuck the Police” and Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” for obvious reasons. In fact, I wrote a little bit about early 90’s hip hop as protest music for Clarion Content here. But even more than that, I’ve been feeling the brilliant lyricism and fierceness of female hip hop artists such as Queen Latifah and MC Lyte (who I recently had the opportunity to open for with Shirlette Ammons!)

Angsty Indy Rock

First, let it be known that I have been driving around the entire month with Liz Phair playing in my car. Specifically, the Whip Smart album. Sooo good. Also, Garbage and Luscious Jackson live on in my teenage heart 4-ever. I may or may not get up the guts to play my angsty stuff for you all but we’ll see…

The boys were angsty too; here’s some of my “curled up in a ball in my room” faves:

But on a happier note, 90’S TECHNO. You will always hear Crystal Waters and Technotronic from me. And Black Box, and La Bouche. And of course CeCe. But you may also hear me slip in a little raver nostalgia if the crowd is right….

See you all Friday at the Pinhook!! Have any requests?

Tweet @DJPlayPlay.


Home of Jess Dilday – DJ, Producer, Instructor, and Music Scholar