Crying out over the din of the struggling Cape Town alternative scene, the organizers of South Africa’s first ever Emo Night prevail. Based on the American-born concept of the same name, Emo Night RSA – to be hosted for the first time on 2 July 2016 at Longmarket street’s The Manila Bar – promises to be all the rage for former-emo’s, punk rockers and any other hangers-on of alt culture.
Being a loyal punk fan myself, I recently got in touch with co-organizer Craig Roxburgh to find out more about the event. And in addition to discovering his secret identity as the billed DJ xxBr00talTearsxx , was able find out more about just how exactly the concept came to be.
Herewith follows the minutes of that brief encounter:
Hi there. Thanks so much for agreeing to have a chat with me today. So, Emo Night RSA. What can attendees expect? And where are tickets available for purchase?
I’ve actually been putting the finishing touches on much of my playlist for the evening and I’ve seen glimpses of my other fellow DJs playlists and what I can tell you is that it is going to be an evening that explores much of the music that actually falls under the genre of emo while also featuring songs that were commonly associated with the emo subculture despite not actually being emo. Attendees can expect reliving songs they used to sing when they were in high school, but can also expect to be exposed to some of the finer nuances of the weird musical niche that is emo.
Tickets can be purchased at the door of The Manila Bar for R20 – a complete bargain when you look at the costs of other events that just feature DJs spinning set playlists.
Now, looking at the list of organisers, one can’t help but notice that you all seem to be quite young. How have you managed to secure funding for the event?
We prayed to the almighty emo gods, but that didn’t work. So, we’ve managed to secure some private funding, but we’re hoping that we don’t actually need to use said funding as we are expecting to cover all the necessary costs on the night. We only need 150 people to come through for us to able to break even, but we’re hoping to fill up the venue due to the interest that is currently being expressed.
How long have plans been in the pipeline? And why now have you finally decided to take the plunge and host the first event?
Emo Night has always been at the back of my mind for the past year, or rather I’ve been saying to myself that I want to attend an Emo Night for the past year. I have a few friends in America that rave about their Emo Nights and that sparked my initials interest. I’m a student living in a country with a terrible exchange rate so the chances of me ever actually making it across the Atlantic to attend Emo Night are slim, and I guess that planted a seed in my mind.
It was only in a conversation with my co-founder Dom that this plan to host an Emo Night came to fruition. We were joking (actually, we were being deadly serious) about opening a Made For Broadway (when they eventually tour Cape Town) show with a DJ-set that would just play pop punk songs and eventually take over the entire show and eventually the country. Much of the conversation was rooted in light-hearted humour between lectures, but at some point we just decided that we didn’t need a band to tour here to do exactly that and that is how Emo Night RSA came into being. With regards to why we decided to take the plunge and launch into an event without much warning? I think it was probably because we wanted to know if such an event would ever work and we would rather completely fuck up now then nurture this idea and have it fuck up later when we’ve grown even more attached to it.
The original American version of “Emo Night” is a recurring affair. Any hopes of doing the same?
We hope to make it a recurring event especially within Stellenbosch’s club culture as we feel that there is much potential for us to grow in Stellenbosch due to the high density of students and since there is a Confession or Rage about the lack of alternative music events/clubs in Stellies. However, the chances of this being a recurring affair is entirely rooted in whether or not it is successful on 2 July. We will need to see a huge turnout for us to consider putting together another event.
When one thinks of the Cape Town space, it’s almost impossible to ignore the fact that alternative spaces are falling out of vogue in a big way. How conscious were you of this when planning this event?
To be honest, we didn’t even consider the space in which Emo Night would operate until after we launched the event. It pretty much just started as some massive pipe dream that Dom and I turned into an event and were expecting no-one to even give two shits about it but the response has been phenomenal so far and I guess at some point we had to stop and consider the space in which we would exist, but we wouldn’t say that we exist within the alternative space. Simply because the alternative space does not really make provision for counter cultures to exist and especially not for the emo counterculture to exist.
I have always been conscious of a lot of individuals, outside of the traditional alternative spaces catered for by the Cape Town space, that have loose ties to the emo genre and to the emo subculture – both of which are vastly non-existent in South Africa as opposed to just in Cape Town. The alternative space catered for in South Africa has been on a rather downward spiral over the past few years as it has become a rather exclusive space dominated by a rather particular brand of metal snobbery – the kind that sneers at the metal headliners for the likes of RAMfest and Oppikoppi, but 2015 and 2016 has seen that particular space kind of resurrect itself thanks to much of the work done by a lot of the media outlets and promoters. However, the alternative space as an encompassing whole still remains segregated along a genre basis – which is partially why it has fallen out of vogue to some extent. We were kind of aware of those divisions, but we didn’t pay much mind to it as Emo Night (in our mind) falls into a very particular niche that caters to a wide variety of people within the alternative space while also catering to a more mainstream audience – the people that don’t care too much for metal, but would be happy to rock out to some nostalgic pop punk and alt rock songs. At the end of the day, Emo Night is a celebration of a genre, a subculture, but also a very particular phase in people’s lives where angst and anger reigned and things weren’t so serious and adulty as they are now.
And adding to that point, what do you hope to achieve by hosting these nights?
You know what. I asked bands this so much when I ask what they hope to achieve with a new album or whatever, and it always amazes me that they don’t reply with “we actually don’t fucking know because all of that totally depends on how much people love or hate the album”, so I guess I would reply with something like that if I was a total asshole, but I’m not. My personal vision is for Emo Night to become this meeting ground for like-minded individuals to come together and bond over mutual musical tastes and then from there go out and grow what I hope I can one day refer to as the “emo scene”. My goal is for Emo Night to foster a sense of unity in the music scene especially with regards to the punk and post-hardcore scene that would serve to bolster the scene and allow for bands to pursue genres that no-one would ever think would exist in Cape Town like pop punk or hyper aggressive emo (although Past Haunts kind of do that already).
Last question: How can our readers spread the word about Emo Night RSA?
They can spread the word by heading to the event page and clicking attend and sharing the living shit out of it. Like, we want to see 5k people invited or something. Else they can find us Facebook under Emo Night South Africa or on Twitter as @EmoNightRSA
Thanks so much for your time. See you at Emo Night!
See you there. We fully endorse panicking at our disco.