Interview: Caesars Entertainment chats with Emo Night Brooklyn co-founder Ethan Maccoby

Last updated: March 8, 2019 at 4:08 pm. Posted by in Atlantic City, Atlantic City Nightlife, Atlantic City Shows, Bally's Atlantic City, Caesars Entertainment, Uncategorized. No Comments on Interview: Caesars Entertainment chats with Emo Night Brooklyn co-founder Ethan Maccoby.

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For many, Emo Night Brooklyn is not just something to kill time on the weekends— it’s a lifestyle.

“I’ve gone from screaming and dancing with complete strangers, to screaming and dancing with people I love,” Garden State native Mike Zaremba explained regarding the long-lasting friendships he’s created running around the East Coast attending these nostalgically infectious shows.

Jersey girl Cassie Rickmers, who like Zaremba, is a frequent face at ENB, deeply appreciates those who celebrate the two decades worth of angsty music that has made her into the person she is today. “Everyone at Emo Night is family to me,” she shared.

So, who are the masterminds behind this brilliant ode to the sounds that shaped us? Meet Ethan Maccoby and Alex Badanes. Four years ago, the two hosted their very first official emo hysteria and the rest, is history.

Before Emo Night Brooklyn takes over Bally’s Wild Wild West on March 29th for Atlantic City’s Beer & Music Festival’s official after party, we caught up with Maccoby to discuss how he and his best pal-turned-business partner successfully transformed their pop-punk listening habits into a career and safe haven for those ready to rage.

What bands or artists initially sparked your deep-rooted love for “emo” music?

One of the first albums I ever bought was ‘Hybrid Theory’ by Linkin Park. That album really sparked my love for the alternative/hardcore scene. That evolved into some of the more pop punk stuff like Simple Plan, New Found Glory, Yellowcard. Then I really got into bands like Taking Back Sunday, Paramore, Underoath, and other staples of the genre.

How did the idea of Emo Night Brooklyn come to exist?

Alex and I grew up in the UK and there was a thriving emo/pop-punk /alternative scene there. We would go to tons of shows. We also loved to drink and party, and of course the drinking age is younger in England 😉 When there weren’t shows to go to, a usual pregame for our friends was to blast our favorite music while playing pong, drinking, etc. Alex and I both moved to Boston for school, so we kind of kept pre-gaming like this. Then we both moved to Brooklyn and would have some epic pregames at our apartments. By this time most of our friend’s music taste had evolved into other genres, but Alex and I always just loved to rock out and listen to the music we grew up with. In January 2015 we decided to ask the bar across the street from Alex’s apartment if we could throw an emo themed party. Our sole intention was to try to get free beer ha! The bar agreed and we created a Facebook event which went viral. On the day of the show, there was a giant line of people trying to get in to the bar, but it was already over capacity. It was one of the craziest nights ever. We did another show there a couple months later in the bar’s bigger room, and it went even more nuts.

After that, there was a lot of local buzz and Brooklyn Bowl reached out to us asking if we wanted to do our next party there. We were stoked! We started doing monthly parties there, slowly upping our production game and inviting important artists from the scene to party with us. We then got approached by other cities and started traveling to Vegas, Florida, Jersey, and expanded the party rapidly. Fast forward 4 years later and we are now holding ENB in 30+ cities across the country and now internationally!

When did you first realize this was going to be a worldwide phenomenon? What was your initial response to ENB’s success?

After the first few sold out shows at Brooklyn Bowl, and a few shows outside of NYC, Alex and I realized that there was so much more potential for ENB. I think we both thought we could eventually bring this to other countries, but the prospect of that was so far in the future in our minds and we honestly had no idea how to even do that.

We knew very little about the music industry, how to book shows, or reach out to venues. It built pretty organically. To Alex and I, ENB’s success is a dream come true. We are living our dream and couldn’t be more stoked.

You’ve had a wide range of well-known names (Ryan Key, Anthony Reneri, Jordan Pundik) join you guys on stage. How did the artist involvement begin?

Artist involvement began when we reached out to a few on Twitter. Acceptance had a show in NYC the same night as our second party, and we told them we could be their after party plan. After that, we started working with incredible booking agents who represent a lot of the bands that we play at ENB, so it was a lot easier to get in touch and book artists that we wanted. I think they have as much fun doing it as we do!

How has it been being able to do these shows with them—people who you’ve grown up listening to and admiring?

An absolute dream. If 15-year-old Ethan and Alex could even guess what we were up to now…insane.

Anyone you haven’t worked with yet that would be a dream to have as an ENB guest or performer?

JOHN MAYER.

Tell us about one of your most memorable ENB experiences to-date.

Probably the first time we were asked to do a show outside of NYC. Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas asked us to do the official after party for the New Found Glory/Yellowcard show — two of our favorite bands. We arrived the night before the show, partied & gambled until 8AM… we were so hungover and nervous before our first Vegas show that we actually were throwing up in the bathroom of the venue up until we had to go on stage haha.

But once our show started, it was all worth it — being able to say “WHATS’ UP VEGAS!”, party with Ryan Key, NFG. It was absolutely insane. There are so many more great memories, but I’ll never forget our first Vegas show.

I’ve seen fans on social media reach out requesting you guys to DJ their wedding receptions. Can you tell us about any wildly awesome events or celebrations you got the chance to be a part of?

Honestly, we haven’t done any! I think people like the idea of it, so they ask, but when it comes to actually confirming it, people change their minds. We are 100% down though. LET’S DO IT. Maybe we will even bring a guest or two with us???

Top tracks that are a must-play at every Emo Night?

I think people would be mad if we didn’t play at least “I’m Not Okay” (My Chemical Romance), “I Write Sins…” (Panic! At The Disco), “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” (Fall Out Boy), “Ocean Avenue” (Yellowcard) and “Cute Without the E” (Taking Back Sunday).

You make rounds through various cities multiple times a year. What keeps you coming back to a location and how do you maintain a fun set that is different than the last? After all, you’re continuously evolving.

We love traveling and partying in different cities. It’s been pretty amazing to form working relationships and friendships with venues, promoters, photographers, merch sellers, etc all over. The first time you do a show in a new city, with new staff and a new venue, there are always kinks to work out. But I love coming back again and again, seeing the same familiar faces, and stuff just working like clockwork, business as usual. It’s also incredible meeting new attendees, being able to switch up our set lists based on the location, age and preference of the crowd.

We always bring the same energy to every show, but definitely are adding in new music, changing up a bunch of the set, upping production, bringing new guests with us, etc. I’d say about 50% of each show is new people who have never been before, and the other 50% have attended at least once, with some fans never missing a show!

Where is one place you hope to bring ENB in the near future?

Definitely want to hit South America… I bet shows there would be crazy.

What has been your favorite part of this entire experience?

It’s been such an incredible four years, so it’s hard to pinpoint just one. Being able to work with my best friend (Alex) and deeply get to know the music industry has been one of my favorite parts.

 

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