Interview: Barbara “Babs” Szabo (co-founder of Emo Night)


Barbara Szabo took some time out of her day to answer some questions about Emo Night. Check out the interview below for info on how the event came about, the process to get DJs, and more!

When did you first get the idea for Emo Night? 

TJ and I sang Dashboard Confessional karaoke at a friend’s birthday in Palm Springs, and the next day decided we should start an emo night together. We had just met shortly before then, but I feel like that experience bonded us immediately. A few months later, we ended up working together, and in the same office as Morgan. One day the three of us sat down and talked about how we have to make an emo night happen, and within a month the whole thing became a reality. 

Do the three of you handle specific parts of planning the events? Or is it a fully collaborative effort?

It’s very collaborative. I’d say Morgan focuses more on the creative side, like our fliers and artwork, as well as influencer marketing; TJ handles the social media, logistics and always thinking ahead of what we should do next; I handle most of the artist relations/ booking talent, as well as handling all things merch – table displays, restocking, organizing, etc. But overall we do a little bit of everything, especially night-of the events when we just run around like chickens with our heads cut off making sure everything is in place.

How long did it take before you realized how big of an event this would become?

I think after our first event we realized there was definitely a need to cultivate this culture in LA. Then we began to realize that was the case for other cities as well, which is why we decided to take it on the road. 

Now that Emo Night has expanded, how do you go about handling the logistics for the different cities and events?

We try to mirror what we do in LA in each city that we visit as best as we can. Obviously each crowd is different, so we have to kind of feel out what people want to hear. We do this by checking requests on our Facebook event pages, as well as taking requests IRL. Most of the logistics carry over, while some we just figure out as we go. It’s a fake it til’ you make it kind of situation. 

What’s the process for finding DJs and keeping it interesting for every event? 

Finding DJs is always a different process. Sometimes we cold e-mail managers, and other times we get connected through friends. We’ve DMed artists on Twitter and Instagram. We basically find any way to reach an artist who we’d like to have at emo night, and try all avenues to make it happen. At times it’s an 8 month process, and once in a while it miraculously comes together in a week’s time. I think the main reason it stays interesting each month is because of the community of people who attend the event, not necessarily just the guest DJs. Which is why we never announce the guests. We want people to come for the party, and just have a great time singing and dancing together. 

Are there plans to do any nights other than Tuesdays in LA? Maybe some on weekends?

We’ve cemented our event dates when we came up with the name Taking Back Tuesday. Tuesday is the new Saturday, to be honest.

Any upcoming guest DJs you can tell us about? You’ll just have to show up and find out!

Thanks for your time! Where can our readers find more information on Emo Night?

emonightla.com Thank you!

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