A Chat With: Pacha New York’s Eddie Dean
Pacha is celebrating its eighth anniversary in New York on Saturday, December 7 with Dirty South headlining the night that will also feature an opening set by 9-year-old DJ Kai Song. Earlier this week, I spoke with Pacha New York owner Eddie Dean, who is largely responsible for the nightclub’s success. I asked Mr. Dean about his past, his thoughts on Space opening in New York and about being a husband and a father.
Your first club was Faces in Brooklyn in 1987. Describe the times back then, operating in a Bay Bridge. Have any good mob stories to share?
E: It was ‘89. I was a young guy from New Jersey no one knew and all I could say is that it’s actually much easier running a big club in NYC, than it was running a saloon in Brooklyn back then. Let’s just say I had my windows broken a few times.
Before meeting with Pacha founder Ricardo Urgell, you once said you were first looking at Space as a nightclub brand to bring to New York. Were you ever in negotiations to open a Space in New York prior to striking a deal with Pacha?
E: Yes – I did have some preliminary talks with one of the owners of Space but I realized there were guys in Miami who also had a Space and they were also interested in opening up in New York, so I didn’t want to get into the middle of Space wars!
Fast forward eight years, what are your thoughts on Space New York opening just a stone’s throw away from Pacha?
E: Its not a question of any one specific club. The issue is that in NYC, competition comes in all shapes and sizes. It comes from other markets. It comes from other boroughs, it comes from festival exclusivity. Which new clubs that survive will be interesting. We will just do what we do. We have some big things coming up. It is a really exciting time.
Knowing how much money can be made by nightclubs, do you expect the next wave of clubs to buy rather than lease the space they will be using?
E: Well, using Spirit as an example, the club never made a penny but to me the club owners are the most successful club operators of the last 20 years. They bought the building, sold it three years later, and made $20 million dollars.
Pasquale Rotella of Insomniac recently stated he would be providing a breakdown of Electric Daisy Carnival’s costs to show fans where their ticket money is going. While a chart from Pasquale has yet to be released, do you feel pressure to be equally transparent with Pacha and RPM?
E: No. I’m not aware of that and don’t understand what that would accomplish – it certainly would change a lot of peoples minds about wanting to be in the nightclub and festival business! Pasquale spares no expense when producing a festival. He wants to make sure the fans get the very best experience possible and that costs a lot more than people could possibly imagine.
E: We still hand out flyers, we still do mailings, we still try to do a very thorough promotion on every one of our shows. Social media has definitely become much more relevant than the traditional marketing, but we still want to be thorough. We do everything.
Is RPM still involved at FINALE?
E: Not formally, but we’re still good friends. They’re just doing less EDM because everyone else is doing EDM, so they made a smart decision to do less and to stick to what they do best.
While many know you as a club owner and event producer, you are also a husband and a father to three children. How are you able to balance your home life with club life?
E: I have a great staff, a great group of managers that I can rely on if I need a night off or if I want to go on a vacation, I know my business is in great hands with my partners and my staff. These days, it’s just as important for me to be home and to be a good dad as it is to have a successful club. I’m definitely one of the few dads who gets home at 7 A.M. and is at a little league baseball game at 9 A.M.!
Has your interest in nightlife rubbed off on any of your kids?
E: Yes! My kids absolutely love it now. I bring them to WMC, Ibiza, and my oldest daughter Raeanne writes a column for Elektro Magazine and recently started her own merchandise company; she sells headbands at festivals and clubs.
My middle daughter Jill loves coming to the Pacha U18 shows with her friends.
My son Thomas’ favorite DJs are Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, playing Pacha December 14th.
Editor’s Note: A New Jersey Monthly article published 1987 as the year Eddie Dean opened his Faces nightclub in Brooklyn.