Rebel Disco's Jake Goldsmith and Aaron Francisco on How They Spin Disco and Other Music That's About "Just Flat Out Sex"

Rebel Disco's Aaron Francisco (left) and Jake Goldsmith
Rebel Disco's Aaron Francisco (left) and Jake Goldsmith

When patrons of Downtown Phoenix hotspot Bar Smith's weekly Wednesday night joint Push Push find that they can't stop shaking their asses uncontrollably, there's a few people to blame for the phenomenon. Namely, the members of local DJ collective Rebel Disco.

According to co-founder Jake Goldsmith and Aaron Hempsey, the mission of the six-member cabal of talented selectors is to "championing feel-good dance music in true American style" of the disco, house, acid, and techno variety.

Besides getting rumps bumping every Hump Day up on Bar Smith's rooftop, Rebel Disco aims to "bring out-of-town DJs and friends that no one else was bringing" to the Valley. They'll do just that this Wednesday when famed WNYU disc jockey Tim Sweeney, host of the renowned weekly Beats in Space program and member of the DFA Records crew, pays a visit to Push Push.

We recently chatted with Goldsmith and Francisco via Facebook regarding Sweeney's appearance, Push Push, and other topics related to Rebel Disco, including some of their, um...bonding rituals that may include group hugs and something a bit more scandalous.

Names: Jake Goldsmith and Aaron Francisco

AKA: Rebel Disco

Preferred genres: Disco, house, acid, and techno...for those who dare.

So what the fuck is Rebel Disco, exactly? Jake Goldsmith: It's a motley crew of vagabonds and derelicts. All seriousness aside, we are just a group of bubs having fun playing music for party people. Oh, and we are kinda nice too.

What's its origin story? Aaron Francisco: [In] 2010 when we brought Eli Escobar to play at Bar Smith. It started with just us initially as a way for us to bring out of town DJs and friends that no one else was bringing to town. Just for fun. We literally wanted to do something that we couldn't find in the city. What we do is in L.A., in New York, Chicago, Miami, Berlin, London, Paris, Tokyo...hell, even Austin, but not Phoenix.

Explain. Goldsmith: We're all about championing feel-good dance music in true American style, circa 1970s Chicago, 1980s Detroit, and 1990s New York.

How so? Goldsmith: As a whole, we tend to select music that isn't so introspective; music that is convivial and makes you want to celebrate life on the dance floor.

What do you dig about the genres that Rebel Disco spins? Goldsmith: Honestly, the genres that we play are all about funk, soul, and from time to time just flat out sex. It's disco.

Who else is a member? Scott Owen, Edward Navarro, Luke Hansen, and Miguel Espada (a.k.a. Mike Jonze).

What does each person bring to the table? Francisco: With each one of us comes our own tastes, styles, and approaches. Scott has one enviable record collection from classic to contemporary, and a style that is totally his. Edward was raised on some amazing music, and his record collection reflects that. Old school electro, boogie, and rare disco gems can be heard in almost every one of his sets. Luke has a more youthful approach to dance music, his sound is playful and fun.  

And what about y'all? Goldsmith:

Aaron takes a wide-view on the subject with tastes across the board and sets that can be sometimes unpredictable, but always solid.

Francisco: Jake takes his sound back to the heydays of dance music and at the same time highlights his favorite contemporary producers.

Do y'all collaborate on mixes? Goldsmith: Aaron and I have done some collaborative DJ mixes that were a lot of fun, a couple of gigs in and out of town too. In the studio there hasn't been too much collaboration just yet, but there are plans to do so for all of us. There are talks of a record label.

Francisco: Jake is in studio a lot. Edits, remixes, original work, etc. Scott is in his studio quite a bit as well. We are all planning to get stuff out collectively and individually in coming months.

Do y'all ever have group hugs or conduct other male bonding rituals? Goldsmith: Group hugs are a prerequisite to any event. And I think we've all seen each other's penises.

So why's the night called Push Push?

Francisco: We were all poolside drinking moscow mules struggling to find a name for our new Wednesday night, then in a moment of collective inspiration, a classic disco track came to mind: Musique's "Push Push: In The Bush." Doesn't everyone like to Push Push?

What's something that no one else knows about Rebel Disco? Francisco: We're all secretly in love with Skrillex and are huge fans of Paris Hilton's DJ sets.

What's the mantra of Rebel Disco? Goldsmith: Try everything twice.

How is Rebel Disco different from other local DJ collectives? Goldsmith: We're not really that different. We're all just trying to have fun and share the music we love the most, with friends, and friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends.

Do the members of RD enjoy bringing new music to people's attention? Goldsmith: That's really what it's all about. Phoenix has had a long history of DJ's pushing the Phoenix sound, drum n bass, tribal house, soulful house, hip hop, mashups, electro house, and now moombahton, dubstep, glitch, and trap. We are happy to now contribute something else to the lineage of Phoenix sounds.

Because you're not in LA, NYC, or another high-profile city, does that provide y'all with more breathing room to experiment? Francisco: Not necessarily, because in LA or New York people are expecting the boundaries to be pushed, whereas here it seems that you have to slowly take them there.

Is that good or bad? Francisco: It's a little of both. It's good because we're at the beginning stages of building a diverse scene that's open to experimentation. On the other hand, it's a risk of alienating the uninitiated.

Some people believe that the reason Justin Bieber puked at is because he rocks so hard. Have any of the RD had a similar experience? Goldsmith: Funny story, one night at Bar Smith Mike Jonez threw up on his own leg, and another time I gave myself alcohol poisoning and didn't even know it. Oops. We're a bit unhinged.

What's Rebel Disco's favorite tracks of the moment? Now we're getting down to brass tracks. Storm Queen, "Let's Make Mistakes;" Scandal, "Just Let Me Dance" (Maxxi Soundsystem Remix); Mike Simonetti and Johnny Jewel, "Hollywood Seven." [There's a] different vibe on each cut, yet they all have exactly what a dance floor full of sweaty revelers wants: Groove, and glory. wants: groove and glory  

Tim Sweeney of WNYU's Beats in Space and DFA fame.
Tim Sweeney of WNYU's Beats in Space and DFA fame.

Will Tim Sweeney's set at Rebel Disco be like one of his Beats in Space shows? Francisco: Yes and no. Yes in the sense that it's Tim Sweeney, and his collection is amazing. No in the sense that he won't be playing for home listeners in a radio studio. He'll be playing live for people dancing. Either way he's a master in both settings.

So he'll be dropping the same sort of rarities, obscura, or undiscovered tracks that you'd hear during an average broadcast? Goldsmith: None of us know. We'll see what happens when he plays. Readers should come find out for themselves. All we know is that it will be a worthwhile, rare occurrence.

What does Sweeney do best as a DJ in your opinion? Francisco: He showcases quality music that no ones heard before, and he's not afraid to take chances. He also maintains sensibilities that are attractive to a wide audience.

Given his stature, is it a major shot in the arm for Rebel Disco to have him appear? We don't know, we'll find out after the event! Really, we're looking to build a scene that trusts our judgment.

Rebel Disco's Push Push featuring Tim Sweeney takes place on Wednesday, December 12, at Bar Smith.

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Bar Smith

130 E. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004


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