From their parents’ basement to the main stage, Emo Night has become the rage of Brooklyn (and elsewhere).
A laptop stands alone as the crowd eagerly awaits the DJs to take the stage. People throughout wonder if they will play his or her favorite song that night. As the DJs take the stage, those in attendance get ready to party the night away.
But instead of hearing Tiesto and David Guetta, the music spinning is Brand New and My Chemical Romance.
Playing a style of music often associated with being sad, Emo Night Brooklyn has been responsible for many nights of fun for the last two and a half years. Attracting guest DJs such as Kenny Vasoli from The Starting Line, Fred Mascherino of Taking Back Sunday, and Jordan Pundik of New Found Glory, Emo Night has become a must-attend event.
Founded by best friends Ethan Maccoby and Alex Badanes, the duo have turned the night from a small basement party to an event that sells out venues across the country.
From small beginnings
Ethan and Alex are the closest thing to brothers without being related. They have known each other since the age of two, growing up just south of London until the age of 18. They would both end up going to school in Boston albeit different schools (Maccoby went to Tufts University while Badanes attended Berklee College of Music), and the two would eventually move to NYC.
Music always had a big influence on the two friends growing up.
“We always just loved music,” says Alex. “That was our favorite thing.”
Early influences for the two included Limp Bizkit, Korn, and Linkin Park. From there, interest would evolve to the music of Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday, and New Found Glory among others. The two would constantly go to concerts in London on the weekend. And on nights where there wasn’t a concert, the two would have parties in their basement rocking out to the music they loved.
Despite going to different schools, the duo remained close and would attend concerts in the Boston area. And much like back in London when there wasn’t a concert the two would throw crazy parties, this time in their dorm rooms. From there, they moved to Brooklyn where the parties moved from the dorms to their apartments.
The parties would grow to the point where they were able to move it to the basement of the bar across the street from Alex. They would host a free event where the only expectation was that they would rock out with a number of friends with a laptop in the corner (and hopefully get some free beer). Little did they expect things to turn out the way they did.
The first night, the duo filled the 100-person venue to capacity with a line outside. The night was successful to the point where the owners of the bar decided to move the next party upstairs, where the capacity was 250 people. The guys, realizing they may have a thing going on, decided to take to social media to promote the event. That’s when the two realized they had something big on their hands.
According to the Facebook event created, there was anywhere between 700-1000 people interested in attending. That night had people lined up around the block to the point where most couldn’t get in. Outside a few complaints from those who couldn’t make it inside, that second event generated enough buzz to get the interest of other venues in the area.
Ethan and Alex would be contacted by Brooklyn Bowl, a just under 1000-person capacity venue in Williamsburg, to host Emo Night Brooklyn on an every other month basis. As the event grew in popularity, it went from an every other month to an once a month gig. From there, an offer came that the two would have never imagined.
After 11 months of sold out shows, Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas would reach out to the guys. As Ethan recalls, “they said we have a Yellowcard/New Found Glory show. Would you guys want to come out and do the party here?”
“And Alex and I were, like, ‘Uh, Yeah!'”
From there, Emo Night Brooklyn grew into an event that goes around the country (and internationally with shows in London and Toronto). They would go on tours with New Found Glory and Bayside respectively, serving as the official after party. If you ask the guys, the experience has been nothing less that surreal.
“When Alex and I look back on this from when we were 14 years old,” says Ethan looking back at those nights in the basement, “I don’t think either of us could guess in our wildest dreams we’d be traveling around the country doing the same thing.”
“I think one of the best parts is we get to do it together.”
Bringing people back to more simple times
At Emo Night Brooklyn, you can expect to hear songs from bands such as Yellowcard, Brand New, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday, and many more. Some songs will bring on a certain memory while other songs can take people back to a specific time. People may disagree on the definition of emo, but there is no doubt that each song played at Emo Night Brooklyn connects with the crowd.
Most of the people are aged 21 to 35 and grew up listening to the music throughout their school years. In a way, the night gives a nostalgic feeling to a time when life was more simple.
The fact that people have differing opinions on the genre has made it challenging for Alex and Ethan to create a playlist for the evening. Yet, each time, the duo seems to find the perfect compromise.
“We’re just trying to find music we love and that other people love,” according to Ethan. “And that’s what makes it fun.”
Memories to last a lifetime
While the music may strike up a lot of memories for those attending, Emo Night Brooklyn has certainly created many a memorable moment. Whether it is sharing an experience with one the guest DJs to starting a friendship with a complete stranger, the event never fails to let those in attendance down.
When asked what their favorite memory has been thus far, both Badanes and Maccoby seem to have trouble settling on just one. From traveling to London with Ryan Key of Yellowcard, to the New Found Glory tour, to a night at Mohawk in Austin, they have all been memorable.
Still, Alex does have a fond memory of walking onto the stage in Las Vegas for the first time and saying, “What’s up, Vegas!”
The future of Emo Night Brooklyn
Emo Night Brooklyn has events coming up the next upcoming weeks, from Asbury Park, NJ to shows in the Carolinas. Meanwhile, Maccoby and Badanes are working diligently to make emo night as big as it can get. All the while, the two maintain a sense of humility as they are just thankful to be where they are.
And if you ask the guys, they wouldn’t be bothered if they were to end up back to playing to 100 people in a bar basement.
“Those were some of our greatest nights.”