Nightlife Insider Series – Erik Espensen
LOS ANGELES LIFESTYLE | NIGHTLIFE
By Daniel Farr
All of our friends were promoters and I think at the same time we didn’t want the “club promoter” rep. I mean, who are we kidding, club promoters don’t get the best reputation and with good reason…
At DailyISO, we love to give people a behind the scenes look at some of the successful LA Insider’s who’ve made it in the worlds of music, nightlife, fashion and all-around lifestyle. Their unique perspectives both inspire and inform us as we continue on our respective journey’s in life. Every story is different and each is unique.
This week, we sat down with one of Hollywood’s top nightlife virtuoso & event promoter, Erik Espensen and got his thoughts on working in the nightlife scene in LA, what he does on days off, and if his hair is the real secret to his success:
1.) What do promoters actually do and is it fun?
Good question. Clubs and different PR companies expect two things from us. The first is to bring a crowd that meets their targeted demographic. At the end of the day, a club or an event is judged by who goes there and for what reasons. In LA, people want to go wherever the best crowd tends to hang out at. Places like the Soho House have done so well over the years because if you are lucky enough to attend, you know that you will be rubbing elbows with some pretty important people. The second thing that is expected from us is revenue. Clubs owners enjoy the perks of owning a hot spot, but at the end of the day they are in it to make money. Without profit there is no point.
And is promoting fun? Its an absolute blast. It can get tiring, but its definitely one of the most entertaining ways to make money. That’s if you have a genuine interest in other people, and our team most definitely does.
2.) What was your first promoting gig?
Our first promoting gig was a Tuesday night at Villa. Our good friend Seth Cohen (dj S.co), who has also been my roommate for the last 3 years, had been offered a DJ residency and came to Shay and I and asked us to help out with the night. Our first instinct was absolutely not. All of our friends were promoters and I think at the same time we didn’t want the “club promoter” rep. I mean, who are we kidding, club promoters don’t get the best reputation and with good reason. I’d be lying to you if I said that a fare share of promoters in LA haven’t rubbed me the wrong way. If you are gonna do it, do it with tact. Don’t mass text people and harass them when odds are you know nothing about them nor do you care.
3.) Where is your favorite venue in LA to throw parties right now and why? What are the other weekly nights are you involved in?
Its hard to have a favorite venue when you are lucky enough to work with all of the best clubs. Agency on Tuesday nights is the best boutique house night we have ever seen in LA. Its hard to make a small room sexy and profitable with house music. It’s never really been done in this city and Cy Waits and Allpoints Worldwide have done a good job of making it happen. Our Friday night is great because its like working with our family. Russian Rob, Kelvin & Igor and the whole Playhouse family have done nothing but help us over the last two and a half years. They were also the first house night at a good club in Los Angeles. Dirty Sexy House Friday Nights have been going strong ever since they opened. On Saturday we are at Beacher’s Madhouse. I personally never even imagined a club as unique as this. I dont think anyone has. Jeff Beacher is a genius and we learn from him every day. It is also a great hang out for a lot of huge celebrities.
4.) When did you and Shay partner up and is that when you first formally establish your promotions and marketing company After 8?
Shay and I have been good friends for the last 5 years, so when we started promoting 3 years ago it was just a given that we would do it together. Like I said earlier, we really had no interest in becoming promoters. However with some persuasion by our buddy Seth Cohen and a dire need to make some money we agreed to give it a shot. Like I said earlier, Villa was our first venue. Seth Cohen came to us with a good bar deal and we started After 8 right after we received our first decent check. That’s when we realized we might be on to something. About a year later Nicholas James teamed up with us and he has been very beneficial to the brand ever since.
5.) Why are you so good at attracting that hot crowd and big spenders?
This job is all about service. Some are in it strictly for the “cool factor” and the ego stroking this job can give you. But that is not the foundation you want to build any kind of business on. If people are willing to come out and spend money then our team is willing to give them the best service possible. Bottle service is not cheap therefore you should be getting much more than just a table with a few bottles. As far as the hot crowd goes, well, they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Im sure our friends will be flattered by your opinion of them haha. We couldn’t ask for a better group of people that have supported us throughout the years.
6.) Is the secret of your success really just because you have good hair?
Hahaha. Thanks. Next question.
7.) Where do you live in Los Angeles and why?
Shay and I are both neighbors in the West View Towers off of La Cienega and Fountain. Its very central to where we tend to go and there is valet with lots of available parking for our friends. If we lived together we would probably strangle each other within a month. So being neighbors is perfect. Close enough and far enough at the same time.
8. ) Where can we find you on nights when you’re not out partying?
To be honest, you can find me on my couch. Nothing makes me happier than spending time with my girlfriend Lunden and my closest buddies. I was told that its better to carry a few than drag a thousand and without my core group of good friends I would be incredibly unhappy. Its kind of crazy how much I love my nights off. I guess after you turn partying into a job, nights at home just seem that much more appealing.
9.) How can guests, table buyers, and nightlife brand reps contact you?
They can email us at Info@After8LA or reach us on our Vip Services line at 310-591-0013.
10.) What do you see as the future of clubbing in Hollywood?
When I first moved here 6 years ago there were only a couple good clubs. There was no competition. I would have loved to be a promoter at that time. However over the years times have changed and now it seems like a new club opens every other week. Some people look at this as a bad thing. However to me all it is doing is driving more clients and more spending to LA.
Back in the day it wasn’t about how much money you were willing to spend on a table, it was about who you knew. This can be a good thing for exclusivity however this is not good for profit. I would rather see clubs in LA making the kind of money that Vegas, New York, and Miami clubs tend to make and I think that this city is well on its way.
Follow Erik on Twitter: www.twitter.com/erikespensen
Follow After 8 on Twitter: http://twitter.com/after_8