Pasquale Rotella
Erik Kabik

VIBE Exclusive: Insomniac Founder Pasquale Rotella

Arguably one of the most innovative music festival and event conglomerates of our generation, Insomniac, gave $115,000 on Monday, July 30 to four charities in the city that first boasted their premier annual Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC). What can only be described as a state-of-the-art, boundary-pushing music-fueled circus, EDC profits helped Insomniac contribute to Rock the Vote in support of Spin the Vote, the Clark County School-Community Partnership Program, UNR’s Foundation’s Emergency Medicine Resident Research Fund and the Injured Police Officers Fund, and Speedway Children’s Charity.

Original night owl and founder of Insomniac, Pasquale Rotella has brought spectacular performances, pleasure and money to millions of people—festival diehards, music enthusiasts and those less fortunate alike. From mayhems that can ensue at large scale events to the sleepless schedule required to run an operation named for folks that stay up all night, the EDC visionary offers up insider details about his two decades of insomnia.

Here are his thoughts:

On getting started:
The first event I organized was a warehouse party in South Central that drew in 300 people, and I was hooked from there. I didn’t grow up in the most inviting [of] sub-cultures in California, and when I went to my first [underground electronic/hip-hop] event, people were so kind and open, accepting of one another, and that was something that drew me in. We reached a period where every event was getting busted, and then simultaneously people were knocking the growing popularity, which killed the scene. But I wasn't easily influenced and remained passionate about it. I originally started producing events because I wanted somewhere for my friends and I to go. I didn’t look at it like a business. I wanted to experience that feeling I had when I walked into my first party.

On the defining moment:
When at 19-years-old I was successfully able to get our events from warehouses into legal venues. This was a huge sense of accomplishment as it was very difficult to get approved for licensed venues for dance music events. In Los Angeles, the convention center, sports arena, and other large venues had been turning down dance music producers for years. I worked for six months to get the LA Sports Arena to agree to host Countdown, which was a New Year’s Eve Party.

On keeping it thriving:
The most important key to my career has been simply staying alive. Keeping Insomniac afloat through all of the different challenges. The dance music culture has been so scrutinized and beaten up, and we’ve been at the forefront, holding the torch and defending it as good. So many people have tried to jump in and capitalize on it during these upswings, not even just recently. It happened in 1992, 1996 and 2000, and it’s happening again now. Each time it’s been on a different scale with new challenges, but we just always stuck through it. I am most grateful for being able to survive and continue doing what I love through the ups and downs.

Continue reading on the next page!

On living in the moment--without sans smartphones:
People who stand with a camera in hand for hours are missing out. I understand trying to capture a special moment at the festival but don't want people to forget to enjoy the event first hand, and get home wishing they had. We put a lot into the shows in hopes of giving everyone the time of their lives. Living through your cell phone and social media isn't as good as the real thing. Take a quick flick then dive into the experience. Live in the now, dance like no one is watching and explore.

On social media:
Social media and the Internet overall have been huge for the growth of dance music. People are able to connect with people. Dance music was a lot more popular in Europe before America, and when the Internet was really catching on, people were able to connect in those markets where the music was thriving and share it at home.The influence of social media has been helpful for the producers too. You’ve got kids making beats, and they can get it out there and let it grow organically. They share it with their friends and before you know it, it’s gone viral.

Social media has allowed me even more so to connect with our attendees [and] help put out fires at the events, and I can engage with the fans to find out what they like. A great example would be at EDC in New York. I kept getting tweets about the lines being too long, so I immediately met with security and the production manager in order to fix the problem right away. Before, I wouldn’t have heard about this until after the event took place and it was too late to correct. It helps to let our attendees know that I care about their experience and learn how to become an even better producer. It’s not about making money for me.

On nourishing new talent:
We created the Discovery Project because my team of Insomniac Owls and I feel there are too many shows that include the same DJs featured over and over again. The plan is to discover new talent that we can create partnerships with by bringing the Insomniac platform to the table and using our resources and experience to help develop and manage their careers. Featuring them at our festivals, clubs, and concerts will only be one part of what our side will offer.

On what’s next:
I want to build out my own festival venue that is perfectly tailored to our unique needs as a music and arts festival producer. Our team is developing some new event brands. Plus, I hope to expand into new markets, including Brazil – which we’ve been talking about for a while. We’re getting close.

Image By Erik Kabik

From the Web

More on Vibe

H.E.R. Brings All-Star Medley To Tiny Desk Set

Grammy-nominated singer H.E.R. appeared on NPR's "Tiny Desk" set on Dec. 12, to deliver a 4-piece-medley from her last four projects.

Tucked neatly behind her dark sunglasses, the songstress began her set strapped to a mustard yellow guitar with a host of back-up musicians accompanying the 21-year-old on her first solo journey with "Tiny Desk." She previously appeared on the performance series in June 2018 alongside collaborator Daniel Caesar to bring their single "Best Part" to life.

The singer began with "Going (Interlude)," a low-tempo song ushering a heavy-hearted feel into the 18-minute-performance. Keeping with the melancholy vibes planted by the first single, Gabriella Wilson – best known by her three-letter-moniker –  delivered a stunning rendition of "Feel A Way." With two-final transitions, the singer-songwriter concluded her act with "Focus," a throw back from the 2017 EP that gained her worldwide recognition, H.E.R. Volume 1.

Switching from strings to keys, Wilson sat peacefully before a keyboard playing the melody she crafted for the crowd favorite. Chaperoning the performance to a close, Wilson and her background singers played a vocal game of tag as the band jazzed up the slow beats until the set officially wrapped.

Watch as H.E.R. rocks the "Tiny Desk" set in the video above.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Cardi B To Join James Corden On A Forthcoming "Carpool Karaoke" Segment

Your rapper’s favorite rapper Cardi B is slated to make her debut on “Car Pool Karaoke” with James Corden, Billboard reports. The Late Late Show host teased the upcoming episode, which airs Monday (Dec.17) via Instagram along with a small schedule of the show’s upcoming guests.


View this post on Instagram


Here’s what the next two weeks look like on the @latelateshow! Seeing the year out with a bang x x x

A post shared by James Corden (@j_corden) on Dec 10, 2018 at 5:17pm PST

In addition to the “Money” rapper, Amber Heard and Armie Hammer will also appear on the same episode. Corden is closing out the last leg of 2018 strong by having a slew of other prominent stars on the show on the last week before the program goes on break for the holidays. The likes of Gwen Stefani, RuPaul, Jennifer Lopez, Emily Blunt, Leah Remini, Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others will be featured on the show after Bardi’s Monday episode.

To say the least, we're sure the British talk show host and the newly minted Grammy-nominated rapper are going to have the time of their lives.

The 26-year-old's now estranged husband Offset, along with the other members of Migos were guests on the beloved show. Joining Corden as he drove through the streets of Los Angeles, the trio performed a slew of hits including "Walk It Talk It"  while also giving a nod of praise to past hits, including Whitney Houston's "Wanna Dance With Somebody."

With all the fun Migos had with Corden, we can only imagine what shenanigans James and Belcalis are going to get into.

READ MORE: Cardi B Buys Her Mother's House

Continue Reading

Usher Releases "Peace Sign" Video Off Of 'A' Project

Given Monday's (Dec. 10) debate about who's the king of R&B, one of the names that steadily popped up in the conversation has stepped onto the scene. In a visual promotion for his A soundscape, Usher released the video for "Peace Sign" alongside producer Zaytoven.

Previously, the pair hit the studio for an eight-track project that pays respect to their hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. It was surprise-released in October and effortlessly fuses ATL's aura on the soundscape. Now, the "Peace Sign" video puts that decision into cinematic motion.

"Atlanta offers a certain attitude and a sauce that I can't explain, and it is a little bit in 'No Limit,' it is a little bit in 'TNT.' I'm literally talking sh*t, man," he said in an interview with The Fader. "I'm popping sh*t that I haven't popped, like really ever. And that's what being in the moment creates. When you have months and months to think about it and you begin to analyze all the people who you need to think of and what you want this entire project to work out, you'll lose certain elements of your spontaneity an incredible culture that just happens in the moment. I didn't give that space. I really was honest with the feelings, I was honest with the conversation and I was really in the moment. And I thank Zay for that."

Watch the video up top.

READ MORE: Tyrese, Usher And Others Reacts To Jacquees' Claim That He's The King Of R&B

Continue Reading

Top Stories