Luxe Life Blog
Jesse Waits explains the staying power of electronic dance music
Editor’s Note: While Robin Leach takes his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, many of our Strip and Las Vegas personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. Our first day starts with Rick Harrison of “Pawn Stars” and this column about the growing and lasting influence of electronic dance music and its star DJs taking over the Las Vegas nightclub scene. Who better than Tryst and XS chief Jesse Waits to explain.
By Jesse Waits
A year ago, the Las Vegas nightlife world felt a major push happening in our city toward programming electronic dance music and focusing on major headlining DJs in our venues. Any operator with their finger on the pulse saw this approaching, but I’m not sure even we knew how large of a draw this would become and the international attention Las Vegas would earn as “the new Ibiza.”
Major media outlets have started to catch on to what we’re building in our community, and one question always comes up, from the New York Times to Rolling Stone: Is this a fad, or does electronic dance music have staying power?
An understandable query, this is something that has crossed all of our minds at one point or another. It’s no secret that we’ve gone all in with this music, from recruiting top talent to developing marketing campaigns to branding the city the EDM Capital of the World. I have been a fan of dance music for as long as I’ve worked in nightlife, and I can recall a few times where the energy would start to buzz around the genre and we’d think it was about to break through, but nothing can compare to where we are today and what is brewing in the U.S.
Not long ago, DJs were often in the back of the room, a faceless visionary leading the crowd through the mixes, mash-ups, beats and melodies that would define their evening. Today, they take center stage in every way possible, from Diplo talking you through his tour on a Blackberry campaign to Avicii spinning in a Budweiser commercial during the Super Bowl. Tiesto gave the first-ever live streaming concert on Twitter at XS this year, and Deadmau5 posed for the debut EDM cover of Rolling Stone this month.
During past heights of interest, the music was still considered an underground movement and never broke into mainstream society in the way we are currently observing. A major difference: Our youth are fascinated by the genre, from the music to the personalities. In a recent conversation with Patrick Moxey, president of Ultra Records, he insightfully noted that today, most children’s first musical instrument is a computer. They can relate to the work and are eager to understand the technology and technique. The young emerging talent, including Porter Robinson, Madeon, Pierce Fulton and Alesso all reaching international fame as teenagers, acts as a testimonial.
This past year, the Wynn nightlife teams including XS, Tryst, Encore Beach Club and Surrender partnered to develop a roster of 36 resident DJs who were exclusive to the property and aligned with our vision. Our goal was to continue our reputation as the leading nightclubs in the world while now being known as the ultimate destination for dance music fans. Our already successful venues have seen an increase in revenue, and acts like Deadmau5 and Tiesto have set record-breaking attendance numbers.
I am confident that this music will remain a popular force in Las Vegas and especially nightclubs because we offer DJs something not many other cities can: a revolving door of new eyes and ears each night. As a destination, we provide an opportunity to introduce their music to the curious and unfamiliar at the same time that their devoted followings fill up venues. It’s a truly great partnership.
If you’re looking for more or wanting an introduction to the scene, I encourage you to check out the XS podcast to see if the music speaks to you. Then join us for a night at XS or Tryst. We have dates with Avicii, Morgan Page, Steve Aoki, Dada Life, Porter Robinson, Manufactured Superstars, Knife Party and many more in July alone. The experience of watching these DJs play master of ceremonies inside an intimate venue is incomparable to anything I’ve ever seen during my 15 years in the industry.
I have no doubt that once you feel the energy and allow the DJs to take you on this journey, you will be a believer, as well.
Check out our other guest column today from “Pawn Stars” hero Rick Harrison, and look for our Donny Osmond and Myron Martin guest columns Wednesday.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.