In 2006, Alex Badanes and Ethan Maccoby were just like any other “emo kid” on the scene; they were two dudes wearing skinny jeans and faded band T-shirts, slam dancing in a garage and screaming the lyrics, “I’m stuck in a coma, stuck in a never-ending sleep” until their voices were gone. Now nearly ten years later, the two are still playing emo music at full blast, but they’ve just invited a couple thousand of their closest friends to the party, too. Badanes and Maccoby are the co-founders of Emo Night Brooklyn, and every two months they relive the “heyday” of emo music at the Brooklyn Bowl.
“Our biggest passion since we were 13 or 14 years old has just been blasting emo music in our room and having a great time together,” says Maccoby, who is now the Director of Sales for BOND, Inc. in New York. “We absolutely love this music because it’s been part of our lives pretty regularly, and we love hanging out with our friends, rocking out and drinking beer. We just wanted to share that with as many people as possible.”
“We absolutely love this music because it’s been part of our lives pretty regularly”
The reason that emo music has been so consistent in their lives is because Badanes and Maccoby are part of a unique culture. Now both 25 years old, they belong to the group of former fangurls and fanboys that were between the ages of 14-17 at some point in the early to mid-2000s. Albums like Say It Like You Mean It and Palm Trees and Power Lines are the background music to their high school experiences and even earlier memories.
“I wouldn’t say emo music is like ‘the oldies,’ and I’m not saying it’s had an impact like that of The Beatles and other amazing artists from the ’60s and our parents’ generation, but it will always be a really solid part of our lives,” says Maccoby. “That’s our childhood and that’s where we’re always going to go when we think back at fond memories. Now we’re learning that other people share the same type of experience with emo music.”
Maccoby and Badanes both say that Emo Night Brooklyn started “organically.” Badanes, who now works in the music publishing industry with Kobalt Music, explains that at the very beginning almost a year ago, they just wanted to play emo music at a bar to get out of their apartments and invite some people to share in the experience.
“It was absolutely insane from the very beginning,” Badanes says. “We started in January of this year and booked a 100 capacity bar and after the first one we had to expand to the 250 capacity room in the same bar. We made it a free show and had more than 1,000 people show up just to hang out and DJ with us. It’s been crazy sold out ever since.”
By the third show, the Brooklyn Bowl reached out to host Emo Night Brooklyn. Now that the event can hold 900 twenty somethings, guest DJs have decided to join the party, too. Since expanding to the new venue, Badanes and Maccoby have shared the stage with high school idols like Marko DeSantis of Sugarcult and Fred Mascherino from Taking Back Sunday.
“Fred just wanted to hang out and let us basically make his playlist when he DJ’d, so we were like, ‘Okay, you’re going to open with A Decade Under the Influence,'” Badanes says. “Literally the crowd of all 900 people knew every single word and sang with Fred, and it was amazing. Kenny Vasoli [of the Starting Line] DJ’d our last Emo Night Brooklyn and we played Best of Me twice. It was insane.”
“That’s our childhood and that’s where we’re always going to go when we think back at fond memories.”
Badanes says that their audience is always made up of the same demographic, people who grew up with emo and pop punk music and either haven’t heard it in a while or have religiously followed it throughout the years. (Maccoby adds here that his iTunes playlist hasn’t been updated since the ninth grade.)
“In terms of these people and this music, I think it’s just going to stay constant,” Badanes says of emo music and its following fading away. “Me personally, I’ve gone to see Taking Back Sunday every single time they’re in New York. I’ve done that for the last 10 years and I don’t see that changing for at least 20 years.”
As Emo Night Brooklyn approaches their one year anniversary, Maccoby says they don’t have any “huge” expectations, but rather just want to continue the ride and bringing the music to the masses. “We’re doing what we want to do, which is being able to live out our childhood dreams and blast music with people we really respect,” Maccoby says.”Now that we have guest DJs on board with such a great response, we just want to keep rocking out, playing air guitar and letting as many people enjoy it as possible.”Tags: Emo Night, Emo Night Brooklyn, Sugarcult, Taking Back Sunday, The Starting Line