meet seva granik, alexander wang’s go-to party guy
We met the reigning king of NY nightlife at the secret location of his most ambitious project to date, ‘SHADE: 2084 New Years Eve’ to talk building a club from the ground up, fashion parties, and why Berlin is still the best place to party.
Photography Christelle de Castro
Until he started throwing them, even Seva Granik had a hard time getting past the door at Alexander Wang's afterparties. "Yeah, his parties were the shit. I could never get in!"
Granik and his partner, the New York City nightlife empress Ladyfag, took on the overwhelming task of producing Wang's parties in 2013, beginning with an over-the-top Japanese Shibuya mega-mall concept, and followed by a secret warehouse party in Bushwick this past summer. From his fetes for Wang, to his Shade raves, to his uber-underground Lowbrow parties, Granik is a control freak obsessed with the party-goer's experience who works with derelict venues to build his ideal party space from the ground up. "Even though we never make any money and it comes at this ridiculous price...the end product is something that I don't feel embarrassed by," he says. Ladyfag and Granik's latest, and most ambitious project to date was 'Shade: 2084 New Year's Eve,' an all night dance warehouse party that raged until 9AM on New Year's Day. We met the reigning king of nightlife at the Shade's secret location to learn about his party-making magic.
How did you end up working in nightlife?
I was in many, many bands. One after the other they all imploded. By then I had already acquired all this experience of running a band, booking shows, dealing with agents and venues, and I just parlayed that into promoting. People were responsive to me because they knew me. A lot of it is just about knowing people.
In addition to throwing your own parties like Shade, Holy Mountain, and Lowbrow, you've also worked for companies like MoMA PS1. What are the benefits of working with clients versus throwing your own parties?
I'll produce or be a creative strategist behind something, but no one knows… It's probably a good thing! I haven't done anything that I feel embarrassed about, it's just work. If I hadn't been doing those things I wouldn't be able to do this New Year's Eve party because this is a massive, huge production and we have to pay for it.
What's your secret to throwing a great party?
There's no secret. I think the most important thing is to care about the experience of someone. It's hundreds of things. It's everything from location, to how people get there, to the care and promotion, staff, sound, lights, bathrooms, security being nice… It's everything, from bad things that we don't have, to good things that we can't afford.
I read that you're obsessed with Berlin techno clubs. What makes Berlin nightlife the best?
There, it's people from nightlife who end up in positions of control. Here it's people who have millions of dollars to build a club, or have the connections to get a license. The majority of club owners you deal with in New York City don't even know how to spell nightlife!
Let's talk about the Alexander Wang after parties. How did you meet Alex?
He's a friend of Lady's. We started this thing called Shade. He was at the very first one and he tried to buy a bottle at the bar with his Black Card, and we had to tell him, this is not that kind of place [laughs]. Hilarious!
In the beginning, how did you deal with the hype of throwing an Alexander Wang after party?
We were just too busy to deal with anything! We didn't really sleep for a month.
I was at the last Wang after party in Bushwick which was part of your Lowbrow series.
The Lowbrow parties are a different animal. Basically don't expect too much. It's a kind of reprieve from the high-end snobbery of Fashion Week shit where you can come to this dirty-ass, smelly warehouse and just totally let go, which is exactly what happened.
And then the Jenners showed up…
Lady is friends with big celebrities, but it's not my thing. I don't tweet or Instagram it. I don't give a shit.
And finally, what are your tips for getting in to your parties?
Zero. On purpose, Shade is open to everyone and it's democratic. Lowbrow is a whole other thing, that one is probably impossible to get in to.
Text Clarke Rudick
Photography Christelle de Castro