FRISKY Nightlife: Avalon Hollywood & the Los Angeles scene with Riley Warren

Lauren Krieger

TLDR: Riley Warren talks about her residency with Reset LA at Avalon Hollywood & what it’s like being in a DJ in Los Angeles.

Riley Warren is girl with many sides to her. Resident DJ at Reset LA held at the world famous Avalon, Hollywood, Label owner, Producer, she also hosts a show on Frisky called Junk Mail which continues to grow from strength to strength. For her new project – Wulfpack she has enlisted the help of a number of LA’s finest artists, but its her time at Avalon that we are focusing on here.

Hi Riley, its been a while! How have you been? Whats been happening since we last spoke?
Hi!! I’m just back from Burning Man, which was incredible on so many levels, but I avalonrileydon’t need to convince anyone  haha!!  I’ve got a couple more festivals coming up that I am really excited about too.

As far as Avalon, we had a really great run of events on the terrace of Avalon, called Dusk on the Terrace.  We had our resident DJs, as well as international bad asses come through. It was such an amazing vibe! We are taking a little break from that particular space to focus on outdoor events right now.

Tell us about your involvement with Avalon. How did the opportunity arise?
Avalon has always held a place near and dear to my heart. My first time there was in 2005 to see Sander Kleinenberg, so I guess you can say I’m an old schooler, nearly 10 years I’ve been dancing on that dance floor. I’ve always looked up at that stage at Avalon with twinkles in my eyes, hoping to one day be the DJ on the decks, and with lots of hard work, and staying true to my music, I earned myself a spot up there alongside Erick Morillo for his 2013 residency, It was great because he’s a bit more commercial than I am, so that gave me the perfect opportunity to smash it with some of my big prog and tech tunes.

avalonriley2Warm ups are a dying art. So many young DJs seem to want to play the hype tracks with no forethought to the flow of the night as a whole. Who’s been the easiest guest to warm up for?
You know, luckily I don’t hear too many bad warm up DJs these days. Not sure if the kids are finally getting it, or I’m just going to the right parties now haha!! Let’s see, easiest DJ to warm up for… Chus & Ceballos. I got to open for them at Vanguard in Hollywood for one of their first LA performances and it was a blast! The place was packed with 1,500 people before my set was done, and they were LOVING it! I had a blast playing, definitely the easiest warm up ever. It was great!

And the hardest?
Hardest warm up would be at Paul Oakenfold’s party in Vegas, PERFECTO at the Palms. The club holds about 3k-4k.. and management wanted to know my setlist before I played and wanted to approve it. They wanted to make sure I played vocal enough, uplifting enough.. I felt like I was stripped of all credibility. I get it. Vegas. It’s no wonder most DJs play Vegas just for the money. There is no soul in Vegas.  Well, there is now, sort of,  but there wasn’t then.

What have been your favourite memories of the club?
Ruby Skye comes to mind. Danny Tenaglia playing the 8 year anniversary of Ruby Skye.  I just remember when we finally walked out, the sun was up, our legs hurt, and Danny was still slaying it!
Also, the first time I played on the main stage at Avalon. 2000 people ready to rock, and I could make or break the vibe. I think the first time I played with Erick, I played a total of 5 or 6 hours! I opened and closed for him. Killer! He would, in a flash, say, “ready? GO” and I’d have about 3 minutes to plug in and go! 0-100 in 3 minutes!! AHH! It was fire, and I loved it!

avalonIs there anything that makes Avalon unique from the other clubs in LA?
Oh, there is SO much that make it unique. First, it’s what I guess the industry calls a “Super Club”.. meaning, it’s MASSIVE. It has 3 or 4 rooms of music going at any one time, all of them playing house music! Each room has their own thing happening, but people are free to roam the whole place. They bring in top talent like Sasha, Digweed, Prydz, Carl Cox, Markus Schulz, etc. The music these guys play are best heard in a big room. Not many places in LA can handle that, and the other ones that do are all “bottle service first” clubs. No thanks.  haha

What have been some of your personal challenges with keeping a residency at such a high profile venue, and how have you overcome them?
Always stay relevant. There is no time to just sit back and let things happen.

You have to make them happen.  People don’t look for you. You make yourself present and available.

America is awash with the EDM craze. Has its popularity been a burden or a gift to you? How has it changed the shape of the LA underground scene?
You know, there is this craze of “deep house” right now. Which is fine. I’m not sure yet if it’s a good thing. I mean, of course it’s nice to be relevant, but now I hear a lot of “deep” music coming out that’s just crap. Guess there are more fish in the bucket. Just gotta work twice as hard now to stand out. But a little hard work goes a long way.

I’m waiting for the Drum & Bass craze to come back too. It’s a secret love of mine.

Aside from your fellow Wulfpackers, are there any DJs you really rate playing in your town?
Oh yeah. Jimpster is coming next weekend. I am actually playing a festival with him.  I’ve seen him a couple times now. Always impresses me. I always look forward to John Digweed, who will be at Avalon. Lee Burridge swings through a few times a year down here with his All Day I Dream parties, which are easily the best parties of the year for me.  At Halloween Audiofly will be here, but I’ll be at a gig out of town. Bummed about that. I haven’t seen Audiofly in years, and they are bad ass. All in all, Los Angeles is definitely becoming a beacon of stellar underground music, and I’m happy to be along for the ride. I am so impressed with the local DJs right now, I have a great time going to support them too.

Listen Now: Junk Mail hosted by Riley Warren