Pasquale Rotella on the Future of EDM in 2014

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Courtesy of Erik Kabik
Pasquale Rotella
Insomniac's CEO Pasquale Rotella created the Electric Daisy Carnival in 1996, just three years after founding his company. A proud owner of nine crates of vinyl, Rotella grew a passion for electronic dance music, even manning the decks under his DJ moniker, Minder. Of course, these days people know him for throwing massive EDM events like Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. Sporting old-school "raver" type gear such as a big Dr. Seuss hat, and attending underground parties which had themes and props back in the day sparked his imagination to produce his own events. Taking inspiration from theme parks and movies, Rotella does his best to create unique experiences that are meant to highlight the crowd instead of the DJs.

Today he takes you to another world of carnival rides, theatrical performers, art installations, and audience participation at events like EDC (one of the largest EDM festivals in the country), the Wonderland events, and Enhanced Concert Series to more than three million attendees in California, Nevada, Colorado, Washington, New York, Puerto Rico and London. This December 31st, Rotella will ring in the New Year right here at the Anaheim Convention Center for their third annual White Wonderland. We spoke to Rotella to find out what can we expect this New Year's Eve, the direction of his company in 2014, and how becoming a new father has influenced him.

OC Weekly: (Alejandra Loera) What initially brought you to Orange County specifically, the Anaheim Convention Center for this 21-and-over event?

Pasquale Rotella: The venue was the best option for us, being that it's cold and there's potential of rain. It's a nice indoor convention center that can accommodate thousands of people. Personally [the Insomniac staff] gets to go to Disneyland the next day straight from our hotel. This is our third White Wonderland and it's become tradition. I enjoy Disneyland because I love everything that's fantasy and takes you to another place. Whether it be cartoons, movies, or theme parks. It's something that I've always really liked. I strive to bring that into the festivals, so it's a great inspiration.

The Wonderland franchise has grown to be a big part of the EDM culture in Southern California. Do you think Nocturnal Wonderland and Escape from Wonderland are too close together, being only a month apart?

That's actually in our plan next year. We do feel like they're really close together, so we keep going back and forth with a new date. We were going to bring Nocturnal back to labor day weekend, but there's a great non-dance festival that our good friend is involved in producing for labor day next year. So that's why I'm not really fighting for the date anymore. It's a great weekend for musical festivals though!

Plus it's also the same time as Burning Man. How has it been bringing your new baby Rainbow Aurora to the burn and other major festivals?

Burning Man is one of my favorite festivals in the world. I've been going for so many years and the whole Insomniac team goes with us. We would consider missing it for a couple days instead of going the full week if we did change Nocturnal to that weekend, but it's all still up in the air. Rainbow is taking everything in. It's good because she's getting exposed to everything. She's become very social and loves being around people. But she's so young that she probably doesn't know if we're in the living room or at Burning Man. I think we're getting the most benefit from having her there though. I'm so busy, so it's been great to be able to travel as a family.

Did your recent nuptials inspire the new wedding chapel introduced at this years Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas?

Oh it definitely inspired me. For the longest time we've had people ask if they can propose on stage at our events, we've had wedding ceremonies by the lagoon at the NOS events center, and some couples have even bought their own tickets and created their own ceremonies among their friends. It's all part of what makes these types of events so community based and interactive. So when I was going through that experience in my own life, I just knew I had to make it happen at EDC.

Do you think having a lot of the same artists on the line-up at events like EDC, Beyond Wonderland, and White Wonderland takes away from making each event feel fresh or new?

I don't because the DJ being there is really important, but it's only a percentage of what you see. All of he different EDC's have a very different feeling. The environments we are using at the Mexico EDC, which we just announced, is this amazing venue in the middle of Mexico City. Puerto Rico is completely different because it's on an island, there's the beach, the costumes are different, we use local artist, and the whole energy is different. If people are going just for the DJs then I would say it gets a little redundant, but not everyone can afford going to everything. We try to make the spirit of each event different by using unique stages, theatrics, and art installations so that the soul of each event is different.


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