In 2005 co-owners Eddie Dean and super DJ Erick Morillo opened Pacha NYC, the latest outpost of the world wide brand. Pacha has been the undisputed king of New York dance clubs ever since. Early on there was intense competition from Crobar but that ended abruptly with Pacha still standing while Crobar is no more.
Pacha just celebrated eight years with a splash which included Australian DJ/Producer Dirty South. The landscape has changed over the years and now two large clubs, Sankeys and Space, are entering the market and Output in Brooklyn has become a force. The question in the dance community: is the market big enough to support these mega clubs as well as the ever present and well booked Webster Hall and the midsize joints like Marquee NYC and Cielo and hundreds of other venues offering dance music?
All the mega clubs have great sound systems. All have credibility and therefore the ability to book big name DJ's and attract big crowds. Does something have to give or will the ever expanding demand for dance music and the EDM revolution sustain everyone? Theoretically as these places and others book big talent and people have a great time when they are exposed to it, they will come back looking for more. People might find themselves choosing the mega club with the big sound system and famous DJ's over the smaller joints and smaller DJ's. It’s impossible for small spaces to compete head to head with rare exceptions when a super-rich bottle service club books an international talent to make a statement.
There was a time when NYC supported a half dozen large clubs. Clubs relied on vibrant social scenes to attract "their crowds". Although there was some cross pollination; most people had their favorite place and didn't follow the name DJ. You went to the club because you knew everyone there and lesser known DJ's were sufficient. Unlike most places today, clubs had multiple dance floors offering many types of DJ's and formats. Will competition force an embracing of a more social scene type market? Will clubs even with superstar DJ's carve out small rooms and offer multiple sounds? With prices for DJ's going through the roof, clubs must find ways to fill their space without being DJ dependent.
Pacha NYC has proven stamina by celebrating their 8th year running. We caught up with Pacha co-owner Eddie Dean and asked about how they have continued to fill their space over the years.
The additions of Sankeys and Space to the NY market begs the question, has the saturation point been reached?
Eddie Dean: Saturation is definitely upon us. A lot of new places have opened recently (and there are more to come), and they’ll all find out what we already know. It’s very, very difficult right now. It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out over the next year.
Is the appreciation of house music and EDM growing exponentially and will the new additions support that growth?
Dean: That’s one way to perceive it; in some ways yes, in other ways no. There’s something to be said for so many places trying to do the same exact things with the same talent when they’ve been playing this market for the last five years, it just seems there’s nothing special about it anymore. You’re only going to be a new place for so long.
In the past Pacha has turned away the competition most notably Crobar and District 36. Why is this different?
Dean: This is a question you should ask me in a year! And for the record, District 36 was never competition. I really thought Crobar would put up much more of a fight - they crumbled quicker than I thought!
Pacha is more than just a club space in NY; it’s part of an international club brand. How much does that help marketing?
Dean: Pacha definitely has international name awareness - but when we opened Pacha New York, let’s face it, not a lot of people in America had heard of Pacha, never mind Ibiza. Although, it does have name recognition now. It probably helps us more now than it did then. But at the end of the day, we still have to run a club and it’s still New York - most competitive market in the world.
In that "it's more than a club space" attitude, Pacha NYC does many outside events and has strategic partners. Tell us about the need to have such relationships.
Dean: Rob Fernandez and I have always promoted, done shows and worked with a lot of different venues and a lot of different DJs, so it’s really not much different. We have grown with the whole EDM space and we like doing it. It’s very risky - but also very rewarding when it works out.
When our friends at Insomniac brought Electric Daisy Carnival to New York, teaming up with the biggest promoters in the market it was a perfect fit. A few years ago, I was looking to do big festivals and I had a conversation with Pasquale. We both shared the same vision and we decided to do it together. Now we have two EDC’s under our belt - it’s the biggest festival in New York. We couldn't be more proud to be associated with Pasquale and his team.
You have booked a huge December which includes your 8th anniversary. Tell us about the bookings over the last eight years.
Dean: If you look back at our history, December is always a huge month for us! We always have a great lineup around our anniversary and this year it goes beyond our Anniversary thru the end of the month. We’ve got a few more announcements to come.
Where is the music now? Is it house vs. EDM or is it becoming all the same?
Dean: We book quality music and we make sure there is something for everyone. If you look at our lineup, we embrace the locals and we want everyone to feel that this club is their club. We try to give people what they want and everyone has different tastes - we try to book the very best of every genre and make a conscientious effort to groom new talent and book locals and upcoming stars.