Bells & Whistles accessorize Harlot 

click to enlarge DJ duo Bells & Whistles moved from San Diego to San Francisco for a more diverse music scene. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • DJ duo Bells & Whistles moved from San Diego to San Francisco for a more diverse music scene.

San Francisco-based house-DJ duo on the rise Bells & Whistles returns to South of Market nightclub Harlot today, part of the busiest year ever for young Zack Yakovlev and Yanick Rieffel. Bells & Whistles plays the “Sound” night at the swanky club alongside Lisbona, supporting PBR Streetgang. Expect good times, fierce-looking ladies and some deep house, Yakovlev says.

“Definitely a good, good time — no serious faces,” the 25-year-old Western Addition resident says. “Harlot is definitely on the nicer end of places I usually play. They have bottle service, it’s very clean with pretty cool, nice big leather chairs and sweet chandeliers. So it’s definitely a nice kind of vibe. It’s got a little swankness for sure.”

Born in Vladivostok, Russia, Yakovlev was raised in San Diego. His roommate and DJ partner Rieffel was born in Zurich and raised in San Diego as well. The two moved to San Francisco after high school, mostly for the music.

“Six years ago, the San Diego scene was awful,” Yakovlev said. “It was just like all electro and the only clubs with soundsystems were really weird. We’d visit San Francisco once in a while and go to a crazy underground basement with 300 people and this music that we’ve never heard that no one was playing in San Diego and go, ‘Oh, we definitely got to get up here.’”

Yakovlev graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in broadcasting, as well as electronic commercial arts with an emphasis in audio production. Rieffel attended Pyramind audio production school. They threw their first regular party at the elite Sir Francis Drake Hotel on the 21st floor.

“We were barbacks there and the managers loved us,” he said. “It was an awesome venue because the whole city was around you. We just had the crazy idea to bring a bunch of speakers up there and some techno and minimal.”

The party “Dresscode” made it 11 months. Bells & Whistles has also thrown unlikely parties at Harry Denton’s Starlight Room.

“It was a good time,” Yakovlev says. “I like the idea of mixing places and crowds.”

In 2013, Bells & Whistles is playing weekly while planning several original EPs and parties under their Four Sweaters brand. They’ve also become residents at the “As You Like It” party with a May 17 date at Mighty.

“I definitely love it way better than San Diego,” Yakovlev says. “There’s so much more opportunity here.”


Bells & Whistles

Where: Harlot, 46 Minna St., S.F., Free
When: 9:30 p.m. today
Contact: (415) 777-1077,

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David Downs

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