Halcyon Nightclub in San Francisco is not just a gem for the Bay Area in terms of nightlife but is an acclaimed club loved by many in the electronic music industry from around the world. With strong roots tied to Ibiza, Halcyon aims to provide classic warehouse vibes mix with elements from electronic music’s favorite party island. This past November, Halcyon celebrated its third anniversary after years of successfully bringing in world-class talent. Halcyon has seen performances by Charlotte de Witte, Len Faki, Anna, and many others. Open from dusk to dawn, Halcyon has been named as Best Place to Dance in San Francisco by Thrillist.
JoJo Walker and San Francisco doyenne Gina Milano became friends after a chance meeting at dinner. From there, the two creative minds brought together their visions and music industry backgrounds to form Halcyon. In big news for these visionaries, the duo has continued to expand their talents for event planning (alongside additional co-founder Tommy Speers), with the release of a new festival to debut in 2020: E Komo Mai.
This festival is set to take place from February 14th to 17th, 2020 on the gorgeous island of Oahu in Hawaii. The festival is one-of-a-kind in that it combines the peaceful elements of native Oahu with the strong electronic music environment found in Ibiza. During the four-day event, guests will have the chance to enjoy the world-famous Waikiki beaches in between dancing all night long in a tropical paradise. In phase one release of headliners, guests will see DJ Dan, Doc Martin, Kill Frenzy, Mikey Lion, and Sacha Robotti will be taking the stage. With the aloha spirit and a lineup like this, E Komo Mai is the perfect excuse to get away this winter for a short vacation. We were extra lucky to catch up with Jojo Walker recently for an exclusive interview and look into the upcoming event!
EDM Maniac: How did you get started in the electronic music industry?
Jojo Walker: Honestly, I was very fortunate as it’s mainly down to timing and chance – the industry definitely came to me rather than it being sought out! I was living in Ibiza, running a successful on island private events agency which had a lot of crossover with DJs and electronic music – simply due to the fact it’s Ibiza so everyone wants known DJs playing at their party and the bar is raised in terms of quality expectations, plus pretty much everything is dance music focused. I have always loved dance music and dance music culture too, hence the attraction of Ibiza. I also managed a few DJ’s who had asked me for my support and I found success and great enjoyment in. Through this and some mutual friends, I attended to a last minute dinner invite in Ibiza and ended up sat next to my now business partner Gina! We became fast friends and I went to visit her in San Francisco over that winter. The following year she told me about her idea to create Halcyon, and asked me to join her in launching the venue, running all the events, artists, talent buying and general Creative Direction. The profile of my business skills, entrepreneurial nature, high level corporate event experience and dance music knowledge, is quite unique and fitted perfectly. My plan was always to create a brand, rather than just a venue space, which I think we have achieved – as Halcyon to me and many of our regulars is definitely now a feeling/vibe, rather than a physical thing!
Nowadays alongside Halcyon, I manage a few acts (including Ant LaRock, Crackazat), curate events at Elsewhere NYC and am Founder of E Komo Mai Festival in Hawaii – a new project coming in 2020!
EDM Maniac: That’s amazing! What’s it like being part of a female-run business?
Jojo Walker: Really cool. I wouldn’t say I’m traditionally a girls girl – so the idea of an all female environment is not something I would typically be in to. That being said, the women I work with are incredible creatures, who make me proud to be female. They are all strong-minded, capable, funny and intelligent. We all learn form each other constantly, work at a extremely fast pace, all have the attitude that anything is possible and each of us have a wicked sense of humor. At the club, there’s definitely a slightly different vibe to other venues, as it’s all women leading the show – it just feels nurturing. Women who really get the dance music industry are quite a special breed in my opinion! Our team has a lot of ongoing banter which being British, I love; one of our constant sayings to each other is “get in the van”!!
EDM Maniac: What are some long-term goals you have for Halcyon and E Komo Mai Festival in the future?
Jojo Walker: For Halcyon, it’s to continue to bring amazing talent to our intimate room week in and out, and blow peoples mind with the experience we create – both for clubbers on the dance floor and for the artists performing. Honestly, I feel like Halcyon between 2-4am is one of those “if you know, you know” vibes – as late night, once the DJ has settled into their set in that room, the energy is off the freaking scale good. If we can keep that going and also bring it to offsite venues too, then that will be ace. I have been working on a few Halcyon offsite events for 2020, which will be at special venues across the city – eyes peeled!
EDM Maniac: Tell us more about E Komo Mai!
Jojo Walker: E Komo Mai is also something which we aim to grow progressively over the coming years. We’re starting in February 2020 as a small boutique festival, activating pre-existing venues in Waikiki and focusing on local attendance with some internationals. The daytime programming will include cultural activities and the afternoon-night electronic, so there’s a healthy balance which really platforms the setting of Oahu and the idea of community, as well as having great music at the core. Hawaii has many similarities to Ibiza in terms of doing business and we are bringing the Halcyon vibe along with us, so I feel right at home on that project.
*Images via islands.com