Ever wonder what it’s like to hold the world’s coolest job?
For many, a trip to Las Vegas is preceded by months of planning – staring at a bland calendar and counting down the days, hours, and minutes until your escape to the promised land, where the sweet release of The Party washes away the stress of long hours at work or school. Nightlife activities are meticulously planned; from the headlining DJ you’re there to dance to, down to the shoes you’ll dance in. And when the day finally arrives and that sun sets, throngs of friends head out their doors with one lofty goal in mind: to have the best night of their lives. At one of the world’s most illustrious night clubs, Ryan Perrings is tasked with helping to turn that desire into a reality.
As the Nightlife & Entertainment Programming Manager of XS (as well as its sister club, Tryst), Perrings oversees all talent bookings, both of in-house DJs and touring superstars (we covered their massive residency haul earlier this year). Perrings must also be involved in artist relations, which includes enviable engagements like going to dinners with artists when they come to town. What sort of career path brought him to where he is today?
“I was actually a student at UNLV and I ended up working in nightlife,” Perrings explains. “I started at XS as a host, and I went on to do online marketing. From online marketing I went to full-time artist relations, and from there I went on to the role of Talent Buyer.”
Fresh off a Memorial Day Weekend extravaganza that brought record attendance to XS, Perrings is already gearing up for another one of the most important times of the year – EDC Week. Since Electric Daisy Carnival relocated its flagship event from the City of Angels to the City of Sin, the already ravenous appetite for high-caliber EDM events on The Strip has been magnified to the point where music fans expect to see artists in Vegas that are on par with what they would experience at the festival. In between preparations for XS’s explosive five night stretch (kicking off Thursday, June 19th) Perrings spoke with us about what his life is like during EDC Week, how the scene has evolved in recent years, and recounts his favorite moment of EDC Weeks past. Read on for a peek behind the curtain at one of the world’s premier clubs.
What was the initial reaction of the XS team when EDC made the choice to move from Los Angeles to Las Vegas? How have things changed over the past 4 years?
“The whole scene was growing at that time, basically Vegas was really just jumping into the whole DJ/EDM phase at that point, so it was really exciting. The programming has come so far and there are so many more artists and DJs playing the market now than there were at that time. Any time you have a big event like that come to your city, you’re really excited.
The whole scene has definitely developed since. I think that it’s grown a lot: there’s just a lot more clubs, a lot more artists play, a lot more artists have blown up since…it’s really come a long way. I mean, you’re even starting to see some underground bookings in Vegas; the scene has definitely developed pretty substantially. And some of these guys are global superstars now. Before I don’t think any of them had 50 million Facebook followers, that’s a pretty substantial number.”
What are the biggest differences you witness at XS during EDC Week in comparison to other times of the year?
“The crowd at XS always really enjoys dance music, - you know, we’re really dance music oriented – but I would say they’re more open to different sounds and different types. So you know the DJs will play a little bit of a different set, that’s maybe a little more underground, or a little more their style. They don’t cater to the [general] crowd as much; they cater to what that specific crowd wants to hear.
Yeah [I think DJs take more risks during EDC Week], I mean one time Steve Angello did a three hour tech-house portion of his set, so you definitely see them go different directions with it once they feel it out and start to see that people are really responding to it.”
XS routinely books some of the biggest DJs in the world, so how do you decide which DJs to book during EDC Week?
“We definitely want to bring in some of our biggest artists. We have a really great talent roster, and we hone in on our top guys. Also, if someone is not playing the festival for whatever reason, we always want to take a booking with them, because then that makes it unique to us. So the primary things are going off of our great talent roster and finding the best guys that fit that market, and if they’re not playing the festival, it’s even better.”
Why should EDM fans choose to go to XS during EDC Week over any other club?
“Our parties are great, and they’re unique. We have Nightswim on Sundays, which is a nighttime pool party that’s really, really well known. Also, our talent we have, Zedd and Skrillex, that won’t be playing the festival, and instead are playing XS, so that’s your opportunity to see them. And our Monday party is going to be crazy, it’s totally unique – we have Skrillex, Diplo, and RL Grime playing on a Monday, so it will be like the closing party for the weekend. It’s just a dynamic and unique lineup.”
During EDC Week, many DJs like to appear as special guests at clubs. How difficult is it to keep these kinds of secrets from leaking out?
“A majority of the time those are completely organic. Generally if a club is going to pay someone to play they’re going to market it, because that’s the benefit of it. But usually our goal is just to throw the best parties, that not only the fans and the guests want to come to, but also the artists. A lot of times if you get them in there and it’s a great, great party and experience they’ll want to join in on it, and we’ve had that happen a fairly substantial amount in the past.”
What is your typical day like during the weekend of EDC?
“It’s non-stop; it’s day and night. It’s a lot of phone calls and text messages, and meeting up with people, and going to the festival once – it’s just pretty hectic. It’s one of [the busiest times of year]. There’s a couple weekends that are bananas; Memorial Day weekend, we just did record numbers, record attendance, it was crazy – so there are definitely a couple weekends that are like that.”
What is your favorite aspect of EDC Week? And your least favorite aspect?
“I think my favorite aspect is the energy. It’s just really cool, and a lot of friends from the music industry come through the city and it’s nice to have everybody around.
I’d say my least favorite aspect is probably the traffic.”
What’s been your favorite XS moment that took place during EDC Week?
“I think it has to be Steve Angello playing until 7 am. It was just a very cool experience, and it’s not something you see every day, where the sun is literally out at an outdoor club and people are still there enjoying it. And the music he played was unbelievable. It’s rare that someone will not only double their set time, but triple it, or even beyond that - it was just awesome.”
Moving forward, what is your vision for XS?
“My vision for XS in the future is to maintain our status as one of the world’s premier venues; we’re the only four-time winner of number one bar and nightclub. We really just want to be on that level and be one of the best, if not the best, venue in the world. That’s always our goal.”
Listening to Perrings speak, you can hear the passion he feels for creating memorable experiences for music fans - and who could argue with the results? Check out the killer lineup that he and his team put together for the upcoming EDC Week at XS (you can click on the links for more info and tickets):
Thursday – Avicii
Friday – Zedd
Saturday – Steve Angello
Sunday – Skrillex
Monday – Diplo, Skrillex, RL Grime
The fact that XS was able to assemble a major-festival-caliber set of headliners, including two of the most notable producers missing from the EDC lineup, speaks to the cache some clubs still hold despite the proliferation of dance festivals across US. XS has capitalized on the symbiotic “EDC effect,” and that means one thing: more great shows for fans.
Looking for some fresh EDC gear? I’m sure you’ve heard of Electric Family by now – a brand that works to inspire positive action inside and out of our dance music community. We really look up to this group and what they’ve accomplished so far; you can help out while snagging some sweet gear at the same time over at ElectricFamily.com.