The Architect of Nickel Beer Night Reflects on Time on the Bleeding Edge

nickel_fucking_beer_night_joe_borusiewicz_by_anthony_mair_HOMEPAGE.jpgYou know the kind of party that’s so much fun the cops appear? Or maybe the fire department came because too many people showed up to see girls getting ratchet for a trophy adorned in Olympic rings made from gold-hoop earrings? Or perhaps because the bass was shaking so hard? Joe Borusiewicz throws those. But then there are also the times he partners with artists and musicians to support and educate the scene. No matter what, this guy knows how to keep it interesting.

How did Nickel F—n Beer Night on Tuesdays at Beauty Bar start?

We had some kegs left over from something. We saw that the other Nickel Beer Night had ended recently and decided, “What the hell?” The first one had about 30 people. Now it gets somewhere between 250 and 350 people a week. It gives us a chance to book a lot of the different music that we really want to see but we don’t really have anywhere else to put it, like U.K. future music acts, weird bands, underground hip-hop, things that wouldn’t really work at a bigger venue. But since the people are coming for cheap beer, maybe we can expose them to some cool music while we’re at it.

Where do you come up with some of the crazy ideas for Nickle F—n Beer Night?

It’s really a product of what can happen when you throw regulations and rules out the window and just think, “What would make a really fun party?” Like, “Oh, it’d be really weird if we did a party with a snow machine in the middle of July,” or, “It’d be cool if we did a contest for the Rachet Olympics and tell all these people to do stupid things onstage for a trophy.” We just come up with the most random stuff. We did a bath-salt event one time during the bath-salt craze, and Metro actually came and tried to shut us down. We were joking; we were giving away stuff from Bath & Body Works. If you go to the Nickel Beer Night Facebook page, you can find three years of goofy-ass events that we’ve done.

What is the monthly Bleach event all about?

We do the event Downtown at Beauty Bar and at the Learning Village—it’s kind of a combination music event and an educational experience. DJs, producers, promoters and people who have had some success in the industry can sit down and give some face-to-face time with the local scene. Local DJs and people who have aspirations in the music scene can just fire questions at them. On May 16, we’re bringing out Starkey and Dev79 from Philadelphia who are big in the underground bass music, footwork kind of thing and they’re gonna come out and talk about production and DJing. They’ll play a set later on in the night. We’re also working with Industry Supporting Industry—which is a big crew of artists and tattooers—on a pool party every Saturday at the Downtown Grand.

What is your personal Las Vegas party-throwing background?

I think I went to my first event in 1998. I was in high school. It was at the Cande Factore. The first time I went, I knew it was this whole crazy world I wanted to get into. I did my first event by 2000; it was called Beautiful Diversions.

And like a lot of parties back in the day, did the cops bust it up?

We didn’t have a venue until the day of the show; we had no idea what the hell we were doing. We had just put out a flier with a pager number on it that we got from JJ’s Beepers. The venue was next door to this big office building off of Charleston Boulevard and Brush Street. So we start doing this rave, paid $300 to rent the room, Chad [Craig] from AWOL Productions did the sound and Dig Dug played it. It turned out the building next door to it was the one that Metro used for all their record processing. We didn’t know this until about 100, 150 police cars were pulling in throughout the night. We got away with it until about 1 in the morning when a drunk police chief decided he didn’t like the happy hardcore and made ’em shut it down.

Who are some of the DJs you brought in before the EDM domination of Las Vegas?

We did the first Vegas [bookings] for people like Skrillex, Dillon Francis, Borgore, Flosstradamus—there are a whole bunch of people who were maybe getting a little bit of Internet hype at the time or maybe were popular with DJs that we knew who thought we should check out their tunes. Obviously they’re all huge now and playing the big-dollar residencies. But we feel like in a lot of ways we’re kind of feeding into that by giving people their first chance to play here.

I still have you in my phone as “Stasis.” What do you recall most about your days as a DJ?

The very first party that I walked into I wanted to be a DJ like every other kid probably. I started spinning drum ’n’ bass with my friend, because there really weren’t a whole lot of other people doing it, and we wanted to be able to play the music that we liked on a big-ass sound system somewhere. … I DJ’d for probably about a decade. I used to play at the Ice House and Ice nightclub when there were drum ’n’ bass nights there. I had to choose which way I was going to go as I started to get more involved in the behind-the-scenes and the business side of things; I realized that was more of my calling than music was.

I still rock out a set every now and then when somebody asks me to. I just dig out some records—I don’t know how to use CDJs. But I can still play a half-decent set if I need to.

Originally published in Vegas Seven.

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