The LA-based DJ Phillip Andrew talks gay clubbing with straight friends and the importance of faith ahead of his St Patrick’s Day gig at Ku Bar this Friday.
Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised a few miles away from Downtown Detroit in a small city called Melvindale, Michigan. In 1995, while watching the cult movie classic Hackers, I heard the song Voodoo People by Prodigy and it launched me into an obsession over dance music. I began DJing professionally at the age of 17 and by the time I was 19 I had earned a spot on the thriving nightlife scene in Detroit and a residency in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
And where do you live now?
After attending Michigan State University, I moved to Los Angeles, California, and have been able to DJ at some of the top nightclubs and lounges all across the city. I have lived in Los Angeles for over eight years and love being active with basketball, lacrosse and snowboarding. And I spend my nights endlessly swiping right on Bumble and Tinder, so if you have any single lady friends let me know…
When did you last visit London and what did you do when you were here?
My first and only time was during a trip with my mother when I was 13 years old way back in 1999. She and I did a month-long trip of England, Scotland and Wales all the way down to Italy and Greece, covering 13 countries. I remember coming to London and seeing the usual tourist spots like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. I was a little nerdy kid in love with hip-hop so I even performed a freestyle rap on a soapbox in Hyde Park.
Apart from your Ku gig, what else do you hope to do during your visit this time round?
I want to experience London as an adult and connect with its people. Unfortunately my mother passed away from cancer just a few years after my first trip to Europe, so in some sort of way this trip is about reconnecting with her and all those amazing memories we had together. Her name was Margaret. She was awesome. You would have loved her!
What was the first gay venue you visited?
The first time I ever went to a gay club was in Omaha, Nebraska, back in February 2009. I was actually in the middle of my road trip moving to Los Angeles and we stopped in Omaha to visit a friend of mine who was serving in the US military. He took a group of us to a club called The Max. I will always remember that night having a blast with my four straight buddies. It was awesome.
What is your guilty pleasure and why?
Smoking cigars. I began drinking and partying (as many of us do) at a pretty young age. By the time I was 22 I already had a lot of regrets, broken relationships and court cases, so I quit drinking. Actually the state of Michigan told me I had to stop drinking! So I don’t drink, smoke cigarettes or do drugs, so cigars are about as wild as I get. Does Red Bull count?!
What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
I have been a DJ for almost 14 years now and have DJed all types of events, from huge nightclubs to Hollywood afterhours to small birthday parties. Once I even DJed a kid’s bar mitzvah the same day as a 80 year old woman’s birthday party. They all have their significance.
What’s the best party you’ve ever been to and what made it so good?
Two that really stand out in my mind are the Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF) and the Halloween Parade in West Hollywood.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
That fear is bullshit! Fuck fear! However you want to write it. Fear prevents so many amazing people from doing the amazing things they were created to do. It tells you that you aren’t good enough. It tells you that you aren’t worthy. It tells you that you are a disappointment, that you have no business even trying, even dreaming. Fear is a huge lie. We are all capable of amazing things. The way I look at it, every decision I make is either led by fear or faith. That doesn’t mean faith as in ‘Go to church every Sunday’, but just having faith that good will win. Have faith in yourself, have faith in each other and have faith in the world. Even when it seems like fear is winning, always choose faith.