The Los Angeles-based Emo Nite is a popular monthly event that brings together emo fans of all backgrounds. Emo Nite notably reunited From First To Last with former frontman Sonny Moore (a.k.a. Skrillrex) at one of its events, as one example of what could happen anytime the trio of Babs Szabo, Morgan Freed and T.J. Petracca get together. In 2017 alone, Emo Nite has grown to host events in 10 states, and on May 4th, Emo Nite will taking over all three floors of New York City landmark Webster Hall; scheduled participants include Thursday’s Geoff Rickly, Chiodos’ Craig Owens, Machine Gun Kelly and Emarosa’s Bradley Walden.
PureGrainAudio had the pleasure of speaking with Babs, Morgan and T.J. about their May 4th New York event and what else is coming up for them. More info on Emo Nite can be found at www.emonite.com.
Check out the video “Emo Nite: Two Years”
How would you describe Emo Nite to someone who hasn’t attended it?
Morgan Freed: It’s less like a concert or DJ set and more of an experience, to be honest. It’s hard to see in pictures, you just have to be there then you’ll get it.
T.J. Petracca: Everyone just lets their guard down and screams along to all their favorite music. It’s the most fun you’ve ever had in your life.
Babs Szabo: People ask us this all the time and I always find it so hard to explain Emo Nite in words. You have to go experience it for yourself because it is truly magical. Imagine a room full of people smiling from ear to ear, listening to the songs that they grew up listening to and still listen to every day — from Blink-182’s “What’s My Age Again” to Jimmy Eat World’s “Pain,” and newer bands like Sorority Noise — and getting to watch your favorite musicians play songs that they love and are inspired by. You find instant connections with strangers who become your life-long friends, dance, jump, mosh, just let go for a few hours, forget whatever else is going on in the outside world. The positive, supportive community that makes up Emo Nite is really, really special.
Has there been a highlight for you so far?
Freed: I think the coolest thing is the response from everyone about how much they needed something like this in their lives and how affected they have been by it.
Petracca: For me, it was when Chris Carrabba came and played acoustic. We had probably 100 people on-stage around him and it was super intimate and special. It was like the MTV Unplugged session he did but way cooler.
Szabo: The highlight for me has been being able to travel to different cities and get to meet all of these amazing people. From the people we’ve gotten to work with, to the artists, and most importantly to the people who come out to attend Emo Nite — they’ve made me really love life.
Check out From First To Last Reunited with Sonny Moore at Emo Nite
When did you first notice emo to be nostalgic?
Freed: I didn’t really.
Szabo: For me personally, emo is not nostalgic. I never stopped listening to it. I do see that a lot of bands I listened to growing up are doing 10-year anniversary shows and whatnot, but for me, that’s just another show I attend. One of the best things about Emo Nite in Los Angeles and now New York is we’ve been able to have newer bands play. Right now I’m obsessed with Movements, Gardenside and Eat Your Heart Out. And to the same point, Blink-182’s new album is brilliant. So yes, there are some older songs that take me back to a moment in high school, for example, but I listen to that same song now and find new meaning in it.
Do you have a favorite of the early 2000s emo bands?
Freed: There’s a lot but Saves the Day will prob always be my fave.
Petracca: Brand New.
Szabo: So many! I absolutely love The Used, The All-American Rejects, From First To Last, Chiodos…I could go on forever.
Check out the NECK DEEP on The Ride Or Cry Podcast Ep. 2
When not busy with Emo Nite, how do you like to spend your free time?
Freed: We’re pretty busy with our other company, Ride Or Cry, a full-service creative agency, so I don’t really have much. I’ve been rewatching “Dexter.” Also writing a couple movie scripts that will probably never see the light of day.
Szabo: With Ride Or Cry, we help artists and brands with digital strategy, social media, content creation, web development, music videos, merch. So between that and Emo Nite, there is not a whole lot of free time. But when I do find a moment to myself, I love being active — swimming, yoga, hiking, opening up the pit in my living room — going to shows, reading, I guess just normal things.
Petracca: What’s free time?
Do you have a favorite restaurant in New York?
Freed: I grew up there, so whatever Chinese restaurant my family used to go to in Little Neck, but I forgot what it’s called.
Petracca: Sbarro is my favorite New York slice.
Szabo: I had the best slice of pizza EVER at a hole in the wall restaurant near the Brooklyn Bowl once but have not been able to locate it since. Do you have any suggestions?
Finally, any last words for the kids?
Freed: Not right now, but I just woke up. Check back with me later.
Petracca: You may think you know what Emo Nite is…because there are a few in New York already, but we’re excited to bring our party to New York City because it’s unlike any other and we’re excited to show y’all.
Szabo: Can’t wait to hang with you guys in New York!
Check out the “Emo Nite 2016 Presidential Debate”