Back to basics with a world-conquering festival crew.
Insomniac's flagship event, Electric Daisy Carnival, is a teeming wonderland. Headlining DJs are dwarfed by a massive, wide-eyed owl. Ferris wheels and miles of neon illuminate the grounds and over 400,000 punters turn up over the course of three days. The Gatsby at the center of all this, Pasquale Rotella, might be seen flying in on a chartered helicopter, or waving to fans from a golf cart zipping through the grounds. He's as recognizable to fans as perennial headliners like Kaskade and Armin van Buuren.
But underneath this byzantine excess, Rotella and his music director, Carlos Correal, are down-to-earth people who have strategically charted a slow and steady rise over the course of 20-plus years. Rotella, a son of working-class Italian immigrants from the Pacific Palisades, was taken with PLUR principles at early '90s raves and slowly built up attendance at his events from hundreds, to thousands to hundreds of thousands. Correal's techno journey started in the Basque Country, leading through the Miami club scene to his tastemaking position at Insomniac.
Rotella now sits at the top of a multinational empire with ties to a publicly traded company. He's beat a bribery case, been chased out of Los Angeles by concerned parents and city council members and remains accessible to his legion of fans. With its Factory 93 warehouse parties and club nights, Insomniac also seems intent on going back to its warehouse party roots. Matt McDermott spoke with Rotella and Correal at RA's Los Angeles offices.