The “emo revival,” for lack of better words, has been taken off by storm for the past two years in the independent music scene. Young adults from the scene are feeding their laptop to PA systems and playing songs from My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy like it was 2007. This revival of nostalgia has taken the scene by storm and it doesn’t look like it is going anywhere anytime soon.
An “emo night” (for those out of the loop) is a dedicated night any given venue or promoter sets aside to pay homage to the alternative music that defined a generation in the mid 2000s. The event consists of a rotating panel of DJ’s who play rock song popular in the era. Emo nights will also typically feature a guest DJ who is a famous musician from this era.
One group that is keeping “emo music” alive on the east coast is called Emo Night Brooklyn. We recently got a chance to sit down with founding partner Alex Badanes and pick his brain about the origins of his event, nü metal and their upcoming tour with New Found Glory.
CC: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Alex. To start things off, what bands got you into the emo “scene?”
Alex Badanes: What got me into “emo music” was initially nü metal. I grew up listening to Korn and Linkin Park and that opened the door for me down the road to experience Blink 182 and Taking Back Sunday. I love Taking Back Sunday. That was the band that officially got me into the emo genre. You can’t go wrong with Taking Back Sunday.
CC: That’s pretty awesome. A lot of our staff members grew up with TBS as well. They are a solid group of musicians. In lieu of your previous response, what was your first ever live rock / emo concert?
AB: Sure thing. I grew up in London believe it or not when I was younger. I met our co-founder of Emo Night Brooklyn (Ethan Maccoby) there when we were really young. We both grew up very close to each other. We listened to the same type of music and always had a great time hanging around.
Both of our first concerts was when Underoath and Silverstein toured together in 2004. We saw them at a small pub just outside of London and it was amazing. Still one of my favorite experiences to this day. It was definitely the best way to start going to concert and become involved in the scene.
CC: That’s very impressive! Both bands you mentioned are extremely talented and they contributed a lot to the emo genre. It also sounds like Emo Night Brooklyn was a long time in the making. With that said, how did Emo Night Brooklyn come to be?
AB: It was a pretty organic process in my opinion. The event started for us about four years ago when Ethan and I were going to school in Boston. The idea kind of stemmed from the Friday nights I use to spend with Ethan back in the listening to this type of music. We would get together, hang and mosh to this music.
We started hosting these type of events, not expecting much. We hardly promoted the event in the beginning, but it started catching on and we wanted to get as many people involved. We moved to Brooklyn after college and started hosting Emo Night Brooklyn there.
CC: Sounds like your dreams came true. When did you guys realize that what you were doing was going to be huge?
AB: We started off doing basement bar shows in the beginning with a capacity of 100 people. We keep it free for anyone who wanted to come out and have fun. We started taking to social media to spread awareness of the events we were hosting.
One of the first few events that we did went viral on Facebook. That Emo Night was packed. We fit as many people as we could in a 250 capacity bar. There was moshing and everyone had a blast.
We got an offer after that to move to a bigger venue that would accommodate more people and we said “Sure.” We did everything we could after that to get Emo Night Brooklyn the exposure it needed and to make it our biggest event yet. We ran ads for that night and took to social media to reach as many people as possible between Williamsburg and Brooklyn. Over 1,000 people RSVP’d to the Facebook event so we once again fit as many people as we could from the line into another 250 capacity bar. We recently got asked to host Emo Night Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Bowl. We were so excited because that venue had a 900-person capacity. The rest is history.
CC: That’s a very exciting story. Sounds like a lot of work went into it. Speaking of, with all the work that goes into the event, how do you guys keep each Emo Night Brooklyn fun and interesting for everyone?
AB: I think what keeps this fun for everybody is that this is what we love to do. I really feel like this is what I was meant to do with my life and I feel like I was born for this job.
What also helps keep things exciting is the guests we bring out each night. We try to choose an artist before the event and make the night a tribute to that artist. We embrace the era and that’s what makes it fun for everyone.
CC: Well said. I want to talk more about your future plans with New Found Glory. How did the New Found Glory after party tour idea come into play?
AB: The idea technically started the first time we invited their singer, Jordan, to one of our events. Both Ethan and I grew really close to Jordan and the guys after that night. We kept in touch since then with the guys in New Found Glory. Their 20th anniversary as a band is coming up and we thought it would be awesome if there would be some way we could all collab with each other for this. We pitched the idea to Jordan and now we are doing the after party run with them.
CC: It must be really awesome to say you are on a first name basis with Jordan of New Found Glory. Continuing with the previous question, what are you guys looking forward to on this run?
AB: I think this tour in general is going to be so amazing. If I had to choose one stop from the tour, I think I am the most stoked for Irving Plaza. When we play that show, it’ll be our one year anniversary of us inviting Jordan to be the special guest. That show is going to be lots of fun for sure.
CC: You guys have been hosting this event for some time now and have created a lot of memories in the process. What has been the best memory of Emo Night Brooklyn so far?
AB: There have been so many memories over these past few years, but if I had to choose one, it would have to be when we invited Fred, the former guitarist of Taking Back Sunday to DJ one of our events. It was so cool to see him spin songs like “A Decade Under the Influence” because we grew up with those songs.
Fred’s been out of the scene for a little bit so we kind of helped him get back in touch that night. The best part was when he said, “I can’t believe 10 years later people still love this music so much. That makes me so happy.” It made us happy to hear and see that we made someone we looked up to happy.
It was also cool touring with Ryan of Yellowcard and watched the crowd go crazy every night when Ryan played songs from Ocean Avenue.
CC: That is amazing! To the flip side of our previous question, what was the least favorite moment you guys have experienced so far?
AB: It is hard to think of a bad moment when the good times significantly outweigh the good, but if I had to choose, it’d probably be the time when some random kid in Brooklyn thought emo was some sort of EDM. He got mad that we weren’t playing EDM so he got up on stage and shut down the laptop. We had to get the bouncers to escort him out. The night surprisingly rebounded quickly after that. The crowd was in shock for a bit and then everything went back to normal. It was quick, but in the moment, it felt like that whole ordeal lasted hours.
CC: Wow. That’s something. You can’t make stuff like that up. Ending on a positive note, what do you guys want to accomplish with Emo Night Brooklyn this year? Also, who would you guys like as guest DJs for Emo Night Brooklyn?
AB: We want to keep pushing the bar, do as many shows as we can and have a good time. As for guest DJs, we want Aaron and Spencer of Underoath, Ryan of Yellowcard and Jimmy Fallon.
CC: That is a good list. Thanks again for your time, Alex.
For more information on ENB’s upcoming tour with New Found Glory, visit emonightbk.com.
Have you attended an Emo Night before? Comment below.
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