Meet South Philly Sauna: Where House Parties Are Remixed

Photography courtesy of c2h2photo

What happens when a drummer, dancer, producer, and DJ move into a house?

Philadelphia has been the catalyst for revolutionizing DIY as we know it. “Venues” such as West Philly’s Golden Tea House (R.I.P)  and South Philly’s The Pharmacy, have have opened their arms to the onslaught of independent artists coming from near and far to create.

The affectionately named South Philly Sauna (SPS for short) sits on a quiet street past Reed where on a nice day out, you can hear Soundgarden’s own resident DJ Evan Riley screaming obscenities or blasting a new mix from his 2nd story bedroom. In the non-assuming town house Evan lives with Katarina Poljak, Sam Becht, and Fawk Samuel- all young creatives from different corners of the East coast. 

Their hobbies include Yu Gi Oh duels, cooking together, and throwing the most genuinely trill house parties west of Broad St. 

Meeting at Philly’s University Of The Arts, the SPS  squad are dominating the late-night scene with house parties fueled by original music, production, and jungle juice. All this at a prime location makes this particular turn up worth the low entrance fee at the door.

With 2016 in full swing, the young entrepreneurs are taking these events from a South Philly townhouse to a full venue capable of handling the constant influx of attendees. Want to experience a SPS shindig for yourself? This Friday 1/29, join South Philly Sauna for their Miley Cyrus Party filled with DJ performances all night and nothing but dance floor.

The SPS team continuously work during the week to create music, book artists, and  assure your weekend at the South Philly Sauna is remix of your average college party. Their diversity as artists and friends have allowed their dream of opening an artistic hub for creatives a reality.

MEET THE PLAYERS: 

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Photo courtesy of SPS

WHO: Evan Riley

WHAT: DJ/ Producer. Resident Bass DJ at Soundgarden Hall Club & Venue / Ramen Connoisseur

WHERE: Originally from Havertown PA. I’m in Philly cause it’s perfect place for artists and an all around a kick ass city.

WHEN: I remember coming up with the name for SPS when looking for housing for our squad last May. My hopes for SPS is to be a hub of talent and a place that touring acts can come, hang out, make tunes, use our studio space and enjoy a crisp Colt 45.

WHY: I do what I do because it makes me happy. Plain and simple it brings me joy. It’s an unreal feeling knowing something I made or a show I played put a smile on somebodies face. Also it’s just an unreal rush of energy.

QUOTE! “What do Y’all want from Dominos?”

Catch Evan Riley opening for Alison Wonderland at SoundGarden on 2/13

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Photo courtesy of Zach Smith

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WHO: Katarina Poljak

WHAT: I kinda do a bit of everything..other than music. I’m a dancer, choreographer, illustrator, painter, photographer, model, film director, and editor. I just returned from a 6 day Winter dance module in Brooklyn with the world renowned choreographer Sidra Bell, owner of Sidra Bell Dance New York  I recently finished a choreography video for my piece entitled; “Pink Hands”.  The concept for the video, like much of my work, circulates around the idea of breaking down the many personality shells we put up as human beings, but it’s not always so serious. I did aIso wrote a book called How to be a Professional F**k up which is an extremely sarcastic book full of sad ironic cartoons. It will be for sale soon through my website.   I’m hoping to expand my work by combining the platforms I have to create and adapt mediums to fit inside one another.

WHERE: I’m originally from Moorestown, New Jersey, I moved to Philly for School at UArts as a dance major.  I’m currently taking a semester off to pursue various mediums of interdisciplinary fine art.  S.P.S. gives me a place to collaborate and make work with other artists who create what I don’t, i.e. music production, playing instruments, mixing, rapping, and singing.  Together we truly have the ability to create anything in any genre of art.

WHEN: We chose the name S.P.S., short for South Philly Sauna, after our first visiting the house and seeing the small  room in the basement which we there named the “Sauna.”  The name caught on after we became known as the house without air conditioning for most of the summer and the name has stuck ever since.  What started as a home and four friends has become a hub of artists collectively feeding of each others creativity.  It has become a venue where the young artists of Philadelphia are coming together and [expletive] thriving on inspiration.  It’s great to be a part of such talented plethora of artists that allow for more genuine and confident art making.

WHY: I create everything I make because it’s something that I feel like needs to be made.  Portraying a level of vulnerability is important to me as an artist. The idea of removing the layers of persona we put up in attempt to fit in culturally. If I can convey something real or true, thats what people will connect with, whatever the medium.

QUOTE: “I have to create things because I can see them so clearly before they exist.”

Watch Kat in “Pink Hands Piece” here:

 

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WHO: Sam Bekt / Penny Each

WHAT: JANK Drummer / Producer / Rapper / Artist / Dollar-Menu Dealer

WHERE: I currently live in an event house.  It feels liberating to know you are a piece of the puzzle that is Philly’s underground entertainment scene.  South Philly Sauna is the culmination of artists, thinkers, and workers in the art industry and is an outpost for other pieces of this industry passing through.  SPS also hosts and curates shows whether they’re at venues across the city or in our own household.  I am also in the process of pioneering my own label company titled “Pound 40z”.  It will serve as an online art show/release party type community where artists of any discipline can post media and network with surrounding users. I play a role in booking artists to play my own space and other spaces in the city as well.

WHERE: I am originally from Collegeville, PA.  I am in Philly because I am attending school at University of the Arts in Center City.

WHEN: My hopes for SPS are that it continues to host great events and expand so we can work with bigger audiences.  I just want to be able to do more things for more people and put my feet in more doors (also a bigger house would be nice).

WHY: I do what I do simply because I love it.  When I do other things, I don’t get into them as much as I get into this.  Things like this get in the way of me eating and sleeping, and that’s how I know it’s important.

QUOTE:  “I’M NOT THE BOMB, I DROP BOMBS.”

Don’t miss JANK play SXSW in Austin, TX this year!

 

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WHO: Noah, but new people recently call me Fawk.

WHAT: I would say I mainly make music these days, among many things music takes up a large portion of my time. Starting as a hobby at the age of 12 (if you don’t count playing the saxophone as “music”), Music has become an everyday venture for me. I produce music for myself and various underground artists I work with in Philadelphia and make purely instrumentals under the name HoodieBum. I run a small clothing brand I started in high school called Oracle Cloth as well as model. Now, I host events with SPS as well as consult for a few other organizations on events, bookings, and creative direction. I am currently working on a free album entitled “Night” that features local talent.

WHERE: I am originally from right outside of Wilmington Delaware in Claymont (aka Clayraq).  I moved to Philly last year to begin studies at UArts, but after a year and a half have recently decided to take a break from my studies to focus more on the activities outside of school, such as the making of my album and the various business ventures I have become part of thanks to the beautiful art community of Philly.

WHEN:  My hopes for SPS is expansion- we have made it clear at this point that we are a serious factor in the underground scene of Philadelphia and I want to see what we can do with that in order to help the world see all the creativity this city holds.  I think some of the meetings we have been having are putting us on the right track to get there. I won’t say much but…. SPS should be having a nice summer!

WHY: SPS gave me a place to be myself and do the things I loved at my own pace- with that piece of mind alone, I began to live the life I wanted.

QUOTE: “Drake if you are reading this, am I too late?”

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“Wish You Were Beer. – XXXO, South Philly Sauna”

Regardless of what you listen to, South Philly Sauna has a couch cushion with your name on it. Next time your Friday night is feeling a bland, head to the South Philly Sauna for original community driven content all while being surrounded by the dopest artists Philadelphia has to offer.

Will you be at the Miley Cyrus Party? Tell us in the comments below what you think!

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