Siren Songs

A new Friday night party is luring gay men to Apex

At last month’s inaugural Siren, local promoter and DJ Aaron Riggins closed the night playing Mariah Carey’s ”All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

”For some reason that song just evokes pure happiness to people,” he says. ”Everybody sings along no matter [what the season]. It’s always funny to see the reaction of the crowd when it comes on, because at first they’re like, ‘Hmm, what the fuck?’ But then after a few seconds they’re like, ‘Okay, I love this song.’ Then everybody just goes crazy — they’re dancing, they’re singing along.”

Riggins, a co-promoter of Town’s WTF? events as well as the monthly Homo Hotel Happy Hour and Saturgays in the Park, teamed up with Mikey Adolphson, best known for Cobalt’s monthly Shift, to launch Apex’s latest monthly party, Siren. ”We had both been talking about how great a venue Apex is,” Riggins says. ”It’s got a phenomenal audio and light system.” As for the party’s name, in Greek mythology, female ”sirens” lured sailors and ”led to shipwreck,” explains Riggins. Indeed, Riggins and Adolphson are luring gay men to the nightclub by using female electro-pop singers, factoring into the mix nostalgic music from a decade ago.

”[It was] the era of club music from ’97 to ’03 when the late 20s/early 30s crowd was just starting to go out,” explains the 26-year-old Riggins, who by day works for the National Gay and Lesbian Travel Association. Still, newer music from ”electro, sort-of alternative voices” predominates — of-the-moment artists such as Kylie Minogue, Kelis and Robyn.

Another distinction: Unlike most club DJs, certainly those heard at Apex in 2000, neither Riggins nor Adolphson offer much in the way of beat-matching segues between tracks. And they don’t play extended club remixes of songs. ”Mikey and I just have so many tracks that we love and want to fit in,” says Riggins. ”I think we get a little bored when songs have these two-minute ‘intros’ and ‘outros.’ I love that feeling of just hitting a song, having it be impactful and people loving it, instead of kind of dragging the night out.”

Last month’s party, held the Friday of Pride, was ”a phenomenal success,” says Riggins, who’s hoping to repeat the pattern — right down to the last song.

”The best part is Apex has a snow machine,” he says. ”I think it would be hilarious to play ‘All I Want for Christmas’ and just turn the snow machine on full blast.

”It would be a nice little reprieve in July when it’s, you know, 100 degrees outside.”

The next Siren is set for this Friday, July 9, at 9 p.m. Apex, 1415 22nd St. NW. Cover is $8. Call 202-296-0505 or visit apex-dc.com.