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DC DJs host EDM legends at two Washington parties this month

Olivia Osborne began to fall in love with Washington when she toured the city’s local colleges as a teenager. Then, in her first week at George Washington University, her affection for DC was cemented by a walk down the steps of U Street Music Hall.

“There was just something so exciting about that energy and the people who were there,” she says of the now-closed nightlife scene. “It was something so special to me, and something I had never felt anywhere else. And from that moment on, when I was 18 years old, I knew I was going to be here for the rest of my life.”

Osborne eventually settled in the city, taught herself to DJ (which she does under the name Blankphosphenes) and made her way into the nightlife scene. There she met Kabir Khanna and Madeleine Johnsson, a few friends from Bard College who developed a passion for electronic music and ended up in DC after graduating.

At Bard, Johnsson and Khanna had thrown a DJ party at the lonely bar in town, with the playlist gradually changing from Top 40 hits to funk and disco to house and techno. In DC, they wanted to continue celebrating the deep end of the electronic dance music pool. Johnsson, Khanna and Osborne are the brains behind Hast du Feuer, a collective that has quickly established itself in DC’s busy nightlife scene.

“The main guideline is to showcase the local talent we have here and adapt lineups from out of town to be tailored to our locals and fit the sound we have,” Khanna says.

Since launching last year, Hast du Feuer has brought some of the most respected selectors in the world to various DC bars, clubs and warehouses. This month they outdid themselves with a few events.

Ben UFO, Pearson Sound and Pangea, a triumvirate of UK-based musicians who have helped advance the evolution of the hardcore continuum as DJs, producers and the heads of the Hessle Audio label, will perform on February 10 and a few pairs. synthesizer-wielding electronic experimenters Laurel Halo and Marie Davidson with DC mainstays Beautiful Swimmers.

With its parties, the crew also hopes to serve as a gateway to a new breed of nightlife residents — those who’ve never been to a rave — and provide a sense of community and comfort, says Johnsson, “whether they like music without words or not.”

The name of the collective, Hast du Feuer – translated from German as “do you have a light?” — is a double entender, a nod to both friendships fueled by asking for a lighter and for something deeper, about what has driven the nightlife of the trio and their associates.

As Johnsson asks rhetorically, “Do you have the fire or passion within you to get what you want to do?”

Hessle Audio: February 10 at 10 p.m. at 618 Cocktail and Whiskey Lounge, 618 H St. NW. ra.co. $60. Laurel Halo, Marie Davidson and Beautiful Swimmers: February 24 at 10 p.m. at an undisclosed location (revealed after ticket purchase). ra.co. $30-$35.

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