After the seemingly lost warehouse rave, BangOn!NYC has been throwing party after party, bringing them alive again in the electronic music scene. Last weekend was no exception as they brought the Creatures of the Night out to play. Featuring SNBRN and Dr. Fresch as the headlining DJ’s, an outdoor silent disco, a zip line, giant suspended UFO, the organizers aim to go where no other event has gone before. When we got to sit down with the founders, Tim, Brett, and Gene, they explained how the party evolved from a 350-person going-away party thrown for one of their roommates. It’s incredible to see where they have come since then. Along with a history lesson, the guys go on to tell us about their wildest party and what’s in store for their stage at Mysteryland USA.
DB: Let’s just start off by you telling me how you guys got started and how you 3 joined together.
Tim: We’ve all kind of like parties our whole lives (laughs). Our first one, there wasn’t an official BangOn!, we did a big one on my rooftop. It was kind of like a going-away for a roommate but like 350 people showed up and we had fire breathers.
DB: How long ago was that?
Tim: About 6 ½ years ago. So, yeah, awhile ago. But it was like, ‘Oh wow, we can get a lot of people to parties. Why not do it under a name?‘ So, it went from there.
DB: Why the name BangOn!?
Tim: Because, as you can see, we attempt a lot of crazy stuff. It’s like, something always goes wrong and you just gotta bang on. (laughs) Making it happen one way or another.
DB: What about the art car (boombox)? The first time I saw that was at Camp Bisco 2012.
Gene: We all got electrified.
Tim: Yeah, we all got electrocuted because the wires were sitting in water during the rain and we were sitting up on it and it’s all metal. If you touch any metal, you’d be shocked. Even the turntables and everything, we couldn’t turn anything off. So we were just sitting in there, frightened.
DB: How do you guys come up with the ideas for all the themes?
Brett: We’ve got a guy in China that we email and he just emails us back. (Laughs)
Gene: It doesn’t make much sense but we try and decipher that.
Tim: Nah we always have a meeting, ya know, we have some drinks. We have a big crew. We’re the 3 founders but the big crew… people have been working with for years and years.
Brett: It’s usually something crazy that’s been in the back of our minds for a long time that we think, ‘How can we turn this into a party?’ It nice when there is a participatory and a visual component.
Gene: And yeah, if it’s like Summer appropriate or Winter appropriate stuff so if people want to dress up they can wear not that many clothes, or a lot of clothes.
DB: Well, Creatures of the Night. Has that been brewing for awhile.
Tim: It’s kind of like an animal theme and animal themes are always fun because you can do so much with them. Besides costumes being easy, we’re doing these giant animal skull heads. It was a general animal theme. ‘Creatures of the Night’ just had a nice ring to it.
DB: What about choosing the artists that are going to be apart of this?
Tim: One level up, is what we like. We like ones who are going to do… like, everyone has seen someone do an aerial dance. So we’re like, ‘Okay, you can do it but you have to do it wearing a dress that’s like 40 ft long.’ Or, ‘You have to do it on a zipline.‘ Or something that you’re not going to see. We try and make every performer do something that has never been done before. Not everyone can be completely original but try and do something…
Gene: It’s also people who are in town. Some people just aren’t available sometimes.
DB: Yeah, like where do you guys find these people? Are they all NY local?
Gene: Well after doing this for awhile, people just come to you.
Brett: We get calls from the naked guy all the time.
Tim: Or the carpet guys.
Brett: Yeah, the carpet guys too. So you kind of have to filter sometimes.
Tim: There are these two different carpet guys who like to be stepped on, like roll themselves up.
Gene: And they compete on where they go to parties and get stepped on.
Brett: More often than not you just think of something that you want to do and find someone who can do it. We like to go to shows and explore a lot of different local talent too. So sometimes you discover someone, like the guy from the Glam Party.
Tim: Oh yeah. Definitely Craigslist too. Not anymore, but we used to. Cause we would want something for a theme and we’d be like, ‘Alright, we want a fuckin’ ninja‘
DB: And you can find anything on Craigslist!
Gene: We actually used to have a ninja who would whip cigarettes out of people’s mouths.
Tim: (Laughs) Yeah, not safe whatsoever.
Gene: He was pretty confident…. drunk.
DB: What do you guys look for when selecting a warehouse for the parties and why not always at this one?
Brett: Ahh variety is the spice of life.
Tim: The new one, too, has a crane over the dance floor that can lift 5 tons.
DB: The one for Saturday?
Tim: Yeah. So we’re going to hang the UFO off of that, put people inside it, and take them up over the crowd. So I was really excited that it had higher ceilings as well, so we can do a lot of new stuff.
Brett: Plus, we love to take people exploring a little bit.
DB: Yeah, I’ve never been to that part of Brooklyn before.
Tim: Yeah, no one has been to that warehouse before. We like to pioneer stuff.
DB: How do you draw the number that you do?
Tim: Booze. (Laughs) Well, it definitely grew.
Brett: I guess we’re just amazing at what we do.
DB: Well you guys are definitely doing something that no one else is.
Tim: I mean, yeah. It definitely grew from 350 people.
Brett: It took a long time; it was just one step at a time. Pushing the envelope a little bit each time and making sure that people are happy and come back and come back for something different too. Sometimes we’ll get people who come to a party like, ‘Oh man I haven’t been back in 2 years!’ And then they’ll come and… if we can still continue to blow people away each time, that’s our bar of success.
Gene: Yeah, I mean, we always find at least 3 pairs of pants the next morning…
Tim: Or high heels… one high heel. (Laughs)
DB: Well that brings me to my next question: What’s the craziest thing you guys have ever seen at one of the parties?
Gene: Well, we had a live sex show at one event and for some reason it got on some swingers list and there were people having sex everywhere, like in the cupboards and stuff.
DB: The cupboards?!
Gene: In cupboards, bathrooms, anywhere you could think.
Tim: One time he (Gene) went down a zip line naked and there was a guys standing there at the end trying to slow him down… direct dick and balls right to the guys face, and he popped right into the wall. (Laughs)
DB: He had to see that coming though!
Tim: No, he was wasted! He was a zombie like, ‘Ooo I got you, man.’
Gene: If his mouth were open, I would have lost my dick.
DB: What do you guys have to go through to get permission to do these parties and is there anything you don’t agree with?
Brett: I guess suffice to say, you used to be able to get away with a lot but Brooklyn is no longer off the map. This is prime territory. But, ya know, we take pride in doing things properly and making sure that it’s safe.
Tim: But still making it feel like it’s an underground rave.
Brett: I mean, it is.
Gene: Yeah, there’s no razor wire in a bundle sitting in the middle of the dance floor.
Brett: But, yeah, the stakes are higher all around so there is no way but to do it properly.
DB: I’m sure the cops still have their eyes on you, right?
Gene: Cops love us.
Brett: We follow through and do what we say we’re going to do and fortunately we’ve had a great relationship over the years.
Tim: It’s a lot of time and years; doing it readily every couple of months for 6 years, going and meeting with them and being nice and saying, ‘We’re going to do this’
Brett: You have to be responsive to everyone’s needs.
Gene: The cops are used to everyone being like, ‘Oh we can do this.. blah blah blah.” But if you’re honest with them, they really appreciate it, because they want to keep the people safe too.
Brett: At the end of the day it’s a crowded city and they’re responsible for keeping the peace. it’s a tough job to do so we try and do our part to make it easier.
DB: What can you expect from you guys in the future? I saw a post about bubble balls. That seems fitting.
Tim: Oh yeah, we like those. We just have to find a way to make it happen. That and we’re doing a big stage at Mysteryland which is cool. We’re bringing all our cages and art cars and UFO’s. Just bringing it all to one stage.
DB: So you have your own stage there?
Tim: It’s Friday night in the camping grounds. The camping ground open Friday and like 40,000 people show up for that. So we do live music from 2-2 (PM-AM). And then from 2-6 (AM-AM) every night we do a silent disco, after everything else lets out.
DB: Well I’ll be there so I’m definitely excited to check it out!
Photos by Sara Wass Photo