Space Yacht recently took over Detroit — Elektricity in Pontiac, Michigan to be exact — and they brought more than just killer music and a fun time. They brought a sense of their own community to the dance floor.
Personally, I felt it from the get go. Upon meeting 2/3 of the fearless co-founders Henry Lu and Rami Perlman (sans Ollie Zhang), I was greeted with smiles and hugs and gifted a signature Space Yacht “Space Peach” enamel pin, which immediately found a prime spot on my Detroit Bad Boys jacket. But enough about me.
This night was about Space Yacht. What started as a smelly basement party has blossomed into the hottest weekly dance show LA has to offer. The first-ever midwest takeover brought Chris Lorenzo, Sacha Robotti, Worthy, and LondonBridge (that’s Rami) out to play, with a surprise appearance from hometown heroes Golf Clap and support from Henry Brooks. Outside on the patio, the party was bumping with sets from Qlank, Food Fight, Young & Heddy and Adam Westing.
The biggest takeaway from the night was that Space Yacht is out here with a mission to make people happy. To get a slice of what Space Yacht has to offer, check out their live streams, radio shows, and if you’re in LA be sure to hit up a party. Also, shoot them a tweet and your city could be next!
With the power of the internet, space is the limit. (This will all make more sense if you just read the interview.)
FOLLOW: SPACE YACHT
How did the name Space Yacht come to you?
Henry: The name came to us — Back in college me and our other co-founder Ollie had this conference that was for young, aspiring show producers, festival producers. We were kind of wowed and wide-eyed at the experience. We were all trying to become entertainment people in our own way. We were like, “Dude, let’s do this.” We had this conviction at the end of the night. But, by the time it happens we thought, technology is going to be so fancy and we’re going to be so far into the future that people will be driving their yachts — but in space. The name just kind of stuck around. There was no intention to make it a party or anything. It could have been an app in any other world. We had linked up with LondonBridge and we’re all kind of people that don’t take ourselves too seriously. Then, when we thought up the party we were like, “What do we call it? Why don’t we use Space Yacht?!”
Rami: It was also that Ollie had a birthday. It was his birthday party and for some reason he called it Space Yacht Landing. It was my first show as LondonBridge and I could barely mix. I used to spin on vinyl, but I had just learned CDJs so I was a little out of my element. I remember he put on the flyer — it said: Space Yacht Landing. And when we started talking about the party and we found a venue, it organically turned into Space Yacht. So, it was kind of an extension of Ollie’s party. But, that party was in some random salon on the 10th floor of some warehouse. There was like 50 people there.
You’re coming up on your 4th anniversary of Space Yacht — What do you wish you would have known then, starting out, that you know now?
Henry: We learned a lot of things the hard way.
Rami: But that’s good. Learning things the hard way is how you learn to be better at what you do. So, when you look back, yeah sure there are times a manager will be upset about something or maybe we didn’t do as well on a marketing thing or whatever. But, I think Henry and I are very big on — if we make a mistake, OK let’s not do that again.
Henry: That’s just small stuff. We’re level headed people at the end of the day. We’ll handle it in a professional, level headed way. You know what I think it is? I wish we would have known to not be afraid of anything back then.
Rami: But I’m still afraid of things now! I think fear is important to light the fire to make you work harder. I think we were very cognizant of the fact that we didn’t know anything. I don’t know. I don’t regret anything about what’s happened. We can look at it and say it’s a progression. We still feel that we’re in our infancy. We don’t feel like we’re where we want to be at all — but at the same time we’re lucky enough to be here in fucking Michigan being able to play a show. We feel amazing that we’ve gotten to this step. We’re always trying to make the show better, make the merch better, and make the fans happier. What can we offer them, whether it’s in a show format or online that will make them feel better about their day?! How can we service everybody, including the artists? How can we be a platform for new artists that want to rock? That want to jam. That want to Space Jam.
I wanted to say — Sky is the limit! But actually, space is the limit!
Rami: Space is the limit.
Henry: Space Yacht’s the limit.
Rami: It is infinitely expanding, but it’s expanding into what? I don’t think we can understand space, really. It’s infinitely expanding, but into what? That makes no sense. If it’s expanding it has to be expanding into something. That’s why they have quantum mechanics, which also doesn’t make any sense. At least not to me.
What does it mean to bring Space Yacht to Detroit tonight?
Henry: Oh, man! Well we’re on this whole mission. What we started in LA, at the time and even now, nothing has really changed. We wanted to showcase fresh stuff that wasn’t getting the looks in the clubs and we were personally digging. We figured out our own way of making it work for us. What brings us to do that outside of LA is like — people are tweeting at us. At first we were kinda taking our time, but now we feel a sense of urgency across the US and even outside the US, in Australia and in the UK. Maybe we don’t see this in our everyday lives, because we’re so immersed in it and we are what we are. But, people are saying, “We need stuff like this in our town.”
Rami: I think we take it for granted, because LA is so saturated with dance music. So, we’re like, “Doesn’t every city have this scene?” And, they really don’t. I would say LA has a very unique scene that isn’t anywhere else in the states right now. That’s what we’re trying to do coming here. Both towns are great music towns, but to build something that feels like a community type thing where you’re able to put on local artists and bring someone really cool as well — I think people are appreciating that. We just did Vegas. We just did San Diego. San Francisco. We’re here now. We’re doing a lot of these shows outside of LA and realizing we can bring a fun vibe. I like the idea of being able to go somewhere at least once a month. Once a week would probably kill us. LA weekly is already enough for us. The concept to have a Space Yacht always going on, even if it’s on a monthly basis, is cool to us. That’s what we’re trying to see — if it’s viable. It could be viable. I like to party.
Henry: I, too, like to party!
Can you name off all the cities you’ve been to so far?
Rami: We can try! There’s been a lot. Miami Music Week, great for us. SXSW in Austin. Dallas. Obviously, San Francisco. Phoenix is really great for us. Riverside in SoCal. New Orleans. Soon, New York. Soon, Chicago. Shoutout to Detroit for being the first midwestern city! Vegas. Tahoe. Man, there’s so many! Coachella. EDC. That’s not even a city! That’s a city on its own. Buku. We got to do a lot of festival stages, so we’ve done Life is Beautiful, Beyond Wonderland, we did this Coachella pool party. We feel honored to be invited to the festivals and and will probably do more of that come this summer.
Do you guys have any bucket list cities you want to take over?
Rami: Pontiac, Michigan.
Henry: Sydney, Australia.
Rami: I’d love to go to London, because they call me LondonBridge. I think that would be really cool!
Henry: I want to do another one in Denver — that’s a cool one.
Rami: Fresno. Rocked it in Fresno. You wouldn’t know it, but they know how to party.
Are there certain qualities you look for when your booking talent for your lineups?
Rami: No, not really. Very commonly it will just be over a joint or over Twitter DMs. And, we’ll just be like, “Dude! I love your shit!” Lately timing has become the whole thing. People are sending us music every day and then we’re meeting so many people at the shows. So, there’s no longer a criteria. The music leads, and then when we do shows in LA we do like to have a wow-factor with those headliner people. Whether that’s one big headliner or we’re putting together a lineup of up-and-comers. We just sit in a room and think, “OK, what’s cool? Do you like this? Do you like that? Oh, this person has a really cool song!” It’s just us being fans at the end of the day. The criteria is make authentic, really cool music. I think uniqueness does stick out to us. If you have a good vibe live that’s important, too. We’re fans so — make cool shit that would make any fan excited and you’ll probably get us excited as well. I like music.
Sometimes you’re rolling with it, taking submissions super last minute — What’s that like?
Henry: We have a combination of shows that we book four hours before doors open. Riot Ten was one example and that was one of our biggest shows. Other shows we kind of plan in advance, because we already know we want to support the artist, their brand, or their whole crew. But, why are we doing that Twitter stuff? It’s the power of the internet. We want to harness the power of the internet. Being on SoundCloud and Spotify has enabled us to discover what is now a massive artist name, which was once a lesser known name. We have to use this stuff to discover more shit. I’m almost certain we’re barely scratching the surface. Some artists like Lucati and Morelia that we support a lot in LA, that started with tweets to us in the beginning. Then, we started a narrative with them. They kept energized and kept coming out to shows and now their music is getting really good and we’re supporting them in bigger ways.
Rami: What Henry said. Coming out of Space Yacht, some of these regulars are getting really great at producing. Where some of them were further than others in the beginning, now it’s like, “Damn, they’re all homies from day one and now they’re legit.”
Henry: Even take Qlank who’s from out here. I bring him up because we’re doing this interview in your city.
Rami: He’s been coming for the last three years!
Henry: We never made the connection he’s from here — but now we know.
Ultimate Space Yacht story? One to tell the grandkids…
Rami: I liked when DJ Snake rolled in when What So Not was playing. It was like, everybody in dance music was there! It was in between Coachellas, so everybody was in town. Dombresky was there. Am I thinking of the right one?
Henry: Yeah he was there. I think Wax Motif was hanging out there. Destructo was hanging out.
Rami: That one was cool because it was like like, “Damn! What are you doing here?”
Henry: Yeah, that’s the thing that’s like, “wow” to us. Not that they weren’t invited, but we didn’t know this. They just kinda pulled up. Afrojack was one of those guys. That was crazy.
Rami: I think the theme you hear is that we’re fans and we’re just so stoked to have this as our day jobs. We really work hard to make this experience really awesome and special for people. We just want to make it a night that you want to talk about with your friends, over and over again. We’re pretty tame I think. When I think of how we could be rocking out and being crazy — it’s like, I just got married. I go to bed early.
OK, so a Space Yacht party in outer space — What does it look like?
Henry: I got this whole thing planned out. It’s a music festival called The Galactic Mission and the bathrooms are on planet Uranus.
Rami: There’s no gravity. It all floats. [laughs]
Henry: The trap and bass stage is on Trappist 1, which is the astroid. Mars is where you have the house stage.
Damn! You’ve been asked this before!
Rami: No, we’ve thought about this! This is our whole festival concept.
Henry: You see where I’m heading with all this. It’s called The Galactic Mission music festival. Or, we could call it something else, but —
Rami: We should call it Space Yacht!
Henry: Basically, Elon Musk, we’re coming for you. We’re gonna partner with you.
Advice for dreamers like yourself who want to start something up, maybe it’s a Space Yacht or something else — What’s your advice for that person?
Rami: Work your ass off. Save your money.
Henry: I think it’s like, be good people. The reason I say that is because I think there are people who come in here with the intention that it’s a money thing and solely a money thing or a clout thing. That’s supposed to be the byproduct, that’s not supposed to be your intentions. Just be good people and let things happen how they happen. But, work your ass off. Drink water.
Rami: Yeah, no! Seriously, being nice is actually the most important thing because people want to work with who they like. Having an attitude or being a prima donna — even though I think it goes without saying — sometimes you come across people who didn’t get that memo. There’s always somebody more famous, talented, rich, whatever than you, right? We really try to make friendships and work with people that we like. We book a lot of people that we also like personally in addition to their music. And, we won’t book people who we think are kind of assholes so — be nice!
Does Space Yacht have a mantra?
Henry: Weed is tite.
Rami: Weed is tite, yeah.
Little bit of quick fire — Favorite labels right now?
Rami: Oh yeah! Box of Cats! Night Bass. Fucking Dirtybird. Disciple.
Henry: Black Label. Defected.
Rami: OKNF and Box of Cats are always the ones who find it first.
Henry: Drumcode is a classic.
Rami: Homies like Sinden’s House Line and TONS & TONS by Stranger and Psycho Disco! by Treasure Fingers. We like that too. We like to see artists that are homies putting out records.
Henry: I know this is supposed to be quick fire, but we love working with people in that regard. 4B has a label, MACA. We could go all day with naming these passion projects. This is their vehicle to do really creative things, so shoutout to people like that!
Favorite artists right now?
Henry: Schade, for me. Lucati is really great. VNSSA.
Rami: Volac are really great. They’ve been getting it for a while, but they are still one of my favorites. This guy, Vouti — I just did a collab record with him and I think he’s like the young Chris Lake. He’s writing great house hits. Of course, Chris Lake and Fisher. All that stuff is great, too. Dombresky. Habstrakt. AC Slater. All of the people you like, we like!
Rami: Favorite song?
Like if you have to play something 10 times in a row right now…
Rami: I’m playing “Animal” by LondonBridge and Vouti. That’s what I’m playing! Over on a loop! That shit’s fire!
Henry: I’ve got two. “Schadeifornia” by my boy Schade. There’s another one called “Headbang Gang” by Trollphace and Trampa. Two great songs!
Henry: It’s a Space Yacht one, not sure what number it is, with Nitti Gritti.
Favorite clothing brand?
Henry: Actually, this is not even biased. We just started up Space Yacht in-house design and it’s kind of dumb, but we’re in love with our stuff. I’m really proud of the team and what they do, beyond just logo stuff.
Favorite pizza topping?
Henry: Ohhhh! Red onion and barbecue chicken.
Henry: Do you like pineapple on pizza?
Me: I don’t like it — but I’ll eat it.
Henry: OK, the interview is over. [laughs]
Photos via Treevalds