The New York promoter will throw a beach party and sunset cruise in May and July, respectively.
The first event will be a Memorial Day long weekend beach party on Sunday May 27th at the Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club, headlined by Middleton as well as Get Physical duo M.A.N.D.Y. Starting in the evening at 6:00 PM, the lineup is bolstered with a healthy selection of locals including Sleepy & Boo, Cameo Culture and Dory. The second party will take place on July 4th on The Lady Windridge in Chelsea Piers, the second annual Never Say Never Sunset Cruise that starts at 4:00 PM and features Sasha as well as special guests. The Sunset Cruise party requires registration and approval that can be submitted through Mad Not Mad's Facebook page.
We spoke with Mad Not Mad promoter Paul Lanzarotti to discuss the Sunset Cruise's unique crowd selection system and his future plans.
You say you're not a standard promoter exactly. So what's something that you would tell a venue?
Well, we're going to be opening a... I can't tell you what the name of the club is because it's secret, but in June we're going to be opening a new club, and we have been working it for eight months with the venue owners, and the concept was borne out of my original experience with the first Sasha boat cruise, and then playing around with the format... I got into it because a lot of my friends were, I stopped going out in New York about a year-and-a-half, two years ago because I was frustrated with what was out there, and I think the NY club scene is in a bad place. Then my friends were going out and they were coming back and they were complaining, and every bit that they were complaining about what was the same things that I was complaining about, so I decided "You know what, I'm going to give this a go, I'm going to try and change things."
In New York, everything's much closer together [than London], so people have four or five options when they go out, and that changes people's mindset, and I noticed this seven years ago, that the crowds here are much more apathetic—people come, people go. This new club we're developing is a new club which kind of turns things on its head. First of all the production is going to be first-class, the venue owners are spending a fortune on a state-of-the-art Funktion One soundsystem, not just a couple of speakers in the corner, we're going to have six 21-inch subs in a beautiful space. It's a very beautiful space, it's in Manhattan and not in Brooklyn.
We have a lighting company that's coming in who were recommended to us by a couple of people called iDesign and they're going to be doing some fantastic design work. We're not trying to design a very loud and in-your-face club, in fact what we're trying to do is design a club that's very underground and is targeted at a slightly older audience. We're going to have lots of seating available, the best sound that money can buy, the best lighting money can buy, in an underground, 500-capacity club, and it's going to be semi-private, and the idea is to connect the real fans of music to the DJs and give the DJs the best possible platform to be heard.
It sounds like it shares a lot of the same inspiration as the Sunset Cruise.
Yeah, the Sunset Cruise is a very extreme version of that. We literally cut and paste the email addresses of every single person and we go into their Facebook profile and we look at what music they listen to and it's interesting because we don't just look if they listen to house music. If they're someone who listens to Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode and The Cure, they're probably going to get on because I know that those are bands that Sasha is heavily influenced by. Obviously if you're an out-and-out Sasha fan it's also going to help your cause, but we're really into trying to get a feel for what you're into musically and then make a decision based on that. We don't really look at what a person looks like. A lot of people think we do, but we don't. We don't care.
Do you think there's an emerging demographic, people that want to go out and go to clubs but they want it to be sort of a slick, dignified event—not like a rave?
It's exactly what you say. I mean, I don't want to go to a bottle service club because I don't want to spend $600 on a bottle and the type of crowd that attracts is very different than the people I want to hang out with, you know? I don't particularly want to hang around a rich businessman with 15 Russian models, it's just... ten years ago it might have been cool, but now I would much rather hear an amazing DJ through the best soundsystem with my friends and have somewhere to sit without having to throw down $600, and not feel like money constantly is being taken off me.
The venue that we're working with is not a pure club. During the day, they do something else. If you look at it from a business perspective, if you own a venue and you have revenue coming in all day, by the nighttime you don't have to get 500-600 people in there spending as much money as they can because you've already made your money.
The venue we've chosen doesn't have to do this—they want to do it, and of course there will be additional income, but they've got money coming from other areas. So it takes the pressure off them, off me, and it means that this club is not going to be available to any other promoters. We are working exclusively with them, and we're going to be booking all the shows there. As soon as you start handing over the keys to your venue to other promoters the consistency of the experience and all the systems you put in place to moderate the crowd fall apart. We're going to be booking shows and it's going to start slowly, we're not going to put out a press release, we're not even going to announce the name of the club on our marketing materials. People are going to have to email us. We don't want to make a big deal out of it. The quality of what we're doing and the feel for it should be word of mouth.
Do people ever get stung, like, if they can't get onto the boat or if they don't get invited?
Oh, well, yeah, probably about 1,500 of them. I mean, of course! Listen, if I could find a bigger boat, we'd be on it. There isn't a boat big enough, and you know, here's another thing, there's a lot of people from last year... last year's event was amazing, it was an incredible event, and it was incredible because the crowd were phenomenal, but some people from last year's event have been emailing me and saying "Listen, I was on last year's boat, so can you get me tickets?" and I reply to all of them, I can't do that because every year we have to do this from scratch and we have to make it fair, and we don't want this to get cliquey, you know?
We don't want it to become a cliché or a clique. It has to be open, and there can't be a bias. I let a couple of my friends go on but generally... it takes a lot of time. It takes six weeks just for the invite process, and then planning for the boat, that's a whole other matter because the boat requires a massive generator because you aren't allowed gas. Just that alone should give you an idea of what's involved in this party. I don't get paid for it, Sasha doesn't get paid for it, no one gets paid for it at all. Every dime... if we raise money from sponsorship, the ticket price comes down. If we raised enough money to cover the cost, the party would be free.