Joe Steinhardt of Don Giovanni Records on WXPN Local

Like many punk and indie labels, Don Giovanni Records launched as a means for its owners to get their own music out into the world.

Founded in Boston in 2003 by Joe Steinhardt and Zack Gajewski, its primary mission was pressing 7″s by their band Talk Hard, as well as bands in their immediate circle. Over time, Don Giovanni blossomed, moving to New Brunswick, New Jersey, and then Philly. It became home to a robust roster of uniquely-curated releases: a launching pad for renowned national artists like Waxahatchee and Moor Mother as much as a continual home base for underground faves like NJ rock heroes The Ergs! (and its frontperson Mikey Erg) and Screaming Females.

This weekend, the label celebrates two decades in the game with its 20th Anniversary Expo in the basement of the First Unitarian Church in Philly. The two-day event, taking place October 6th and 7th,  features a cross-section of artists who have released music with Don G over the years — the aforementioned Screamales as well as gripping indie outfit Shellshag, singer-songwriter Laura Stevenson, rapper Sammus, country artist Paisley Fields — as well as representatives from the community the label has orbited around, zine-makers and independent book publishers alike, as well as radio outlets like WKDU and WPRB.

Leading up to the big event, Steinhardt visited WXPN Local to talk about Don Giovanni’s journey from informal self-release platform to fully-realzed indie-stry player aimed at creating a space for artists to operate on a professional scale without having to compromise their values. We hear about the ethics and philosophies that guide the label, too, as well as a guest DJ set of artists playing the 20th Anniversary Expo. Listen in the player above, check out the playlist below, and get tickets and more information on this weekend’s festivities at WXPN’s Concerts and Events page.

Revisit our 2016 deep dive feature on Don Giovanni Records
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Mechanical Canine – “Twitch”
Sammus – “1080 p (ft. Jean Grae)”
Homeless Gospel Choir – “Future Ghosts”
Laura Steveson – “Jellyfish”
Screaming Females – “Mourning Dove”