This week’s Indie Mixtape 20 is a bit different. Over the last five years, Emo Nite LA events have taken the world by storm, selling out medium-capacity venues across the country. The product? Good music from the height of early- to mid-aughts pop punk and emo. From Blink-182 and Green Day to Taking Back Sunday and New Found Glory, Emo Nite has it all, for a dance party that lasts into the wee hours of the morning. It’s also the event that gave us a reunited From First To Last with vocalist Sonny Moore/Skrillex and an impressive clip of Demi Lovato ripping an incredible a capella performance of Paramore’s “Misery Business” with all of her friends.
With My Chemical Romance’s reunion tour selling nearly 500,000 tickets in under 24 hours, now is as great a time as ever to consider why this specific type of music will always hold a special place in our collective hearts. To celebrate five years of Emo Nite LA, the event’s founders Babs Szabo, T.J. Petracca, and Morgan Freed sat down to talk My Chemical Romance, movies, and Crocs in the latest Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.
What are four words you would use to describe your events?
Curated, energetic, spontaneous, loud.
It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still attending Emo Nites. How would you like it to be remembered?
That Emo Nite challenged norms of what a live show in the rock space could consist of and that it cared about its audience more than any other party ever.
What’s your favorite city in the world to hold Emo Nite events?
I really love doing them in New York City at Webster Hall. Hawaii is so much fun. Everyone just has the best time from the moment we get on stage until 2 a.m. It’s the most positive vibe. And we get to drink out of pineapples.
Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?
Probably my [Emo Nite LA] partners… I didn’t know how to answer an email when we first started working together. I learn so much from them all the time and they’re the people that constantly challenge me to grow from failure and mistakes.
Where did you eat the best meal of your life?
In Prague, I ate eight courses at a Michelin star restaurant and it was super cheap because its Prague!
What album do you know every word to?
Saves The Day’s Through Being Cool.
What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?
I really loved seeing Pup at their first show at the Moroccan Lounge and also Emo Nite Day 2.
What is the best outfit for performing/DJing and why?
Crocs are the best shoe for DJing and performing because they are super comfortable and when we do Emo Nites I’m on my feet for 10-12 hours at a time running around, running up and down stairs, etc. Crocs are the only shoe that doesn’t make me feel like I want to die at the end of the nite.
Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?
Chrissy Teigen is a legend on Twitter. She’s so honest and funny, which is nice to see in this world where we protect our image and filter ourselves constantly. If I could only follow one person on Instagram, it would be John Mayer.
What’s your most frequently played song while you are traveling?
Uhhhhh can i get uhhhh “Sugar We’re Goin Down” pls
What’s the last thing you Googled?
“What downtown venue did pup play that was their first show there”
What album makes for the perfect gift?
If it’s a gift it better be a vinyl of something that you know your friend loves. My favorite album I’ve ever been gifted is Teenage Fanclub – Bandwagonesque from my old boss. He got it for me after he turned me on to the record, and I had been playing it nonstop in the office for months.
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?
Tour is weird in general.
What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?
My favorite tattoo is my dog’s name on my neck written in one of my favorite people’s handwriting.
What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?
Honestly, anything. [My friends] always jokes that I like every song, and I pretty much do.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
David Dobrik paid for my wedding.
What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?
What’s the last show you went to?
What’s more important than the last show I went to is the next show I’m going to, which is My Chemical Romance! I certainly never thought this day would come.
What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?
Se7en. Mean Girls. The Devil Wears Prada.
What would you cook if Kanye were coming to your house for dinner?
I would go pick him up McDonalds or Chic-Fil-A because I know he loves that stuff.
Emo Nite LA has a full run of North American tour dates in 2020, including a stop in the Bahamas. Check out the full itinerary here.