We got the chance to chat with TJ Petracca of Emo Nite, your favorite emo dance party.

For those who might not know, Emo Nite is an event that started in LA where emo fans can listen to very best throwbacks of the genre, from All American Rejects and My Chemical Romance to Fall Out Boy and Alkaline Trio. Since its inception, Emo Nite has grown, spread, and evolved to become the phenomenon it is today. Here in San Diego, you can catch them once in a blue moon blasting your favorite hits in a packed-out Casbah, typically with a line wrapped around the block.

Photo by Grizzlee Martin


Hi! To start off, where did the inspiration behind Emo Nite come from?

TJ Petracca: We’ve just always loved this kind of music. Babs and I met at a mutual friends birthday party where we sang Dashboard Confessional together – we instantly became best friends. After that we thought it would be really fun if we could go to a bar and listen/sing along to music we really like. There was no place like that for us so we decided to make it.


What was the initial response to Emo Nite like when it first began?

TP: There was a line around the block for our first emo nite at a small dive bar in echo park. It was raining and cold, but people still came because apparently there were alot of other people who wanted to get together to appreciate this genre.

In less than three years, Emo Nite has brought this very special experience to some of the biggest cities in the country, from LA to NYC, and has been featured in major publications such as Rolling Stone. How has it been overseeing the rather rapid success of Emo Nite? 
TP: It’s been really wild, we never actually believed it would become as big as it has, but we just keep trying to make the events fun for ourselves and for the people who attend by planning new surprises and trying new creative things (like hiring a mariachi band to play blink-182 songs, or having a clown [Puddles Pity Party] come sing My Chem songs). We’re having a lot of fun with everything that we do!


Do you have a favorite city for Emo Nite? Why, if so?

TP: San Diego is amazing. The casbah is perfect for emo night, its small and sweaty and everyone just goes wild.


Some major faces in the music scene have given guest appearances and headlined at Emo Nite, such as 3OH!3 in Denver and the momentary reunion of From First to Last. Who is an artist you’d love to see make an appearance? 

TP: The My Chem reunion would be the dream.


Can you tell me a bit about Ride or Cry?

TP: Ride or Cry is our other company that the three of us started. It’s a creative services company, largely focused on the music industry. We do digital strategy, social media, branding, music videos, web development, and creative marketing.


Who are some your favorite artists that are played at Emo Nite?

TP: For me one highlight will always be when Chris Carrabba from Dashboard Confessional came and performed acoustic at our one year anniversary show. That was so special and magical. I also really loved working with Tyson from The All-American Rejects. We gathered up a group of musicians who play with the LA philharmonic to form a string quartet and arrange some rejects songs. Tyson performed with the quartet at emo nite, and he took on the role of Kramer in our Seinfeld intro video.


Are there any upcoming bands that you think we should have our eye on?

TP: One of our favorite up and coming bands in Movements. They’ve performed at Emo Nite multiple times and Ride Or Cry just directed a music video for them. They are amazing!


What do you see coming next for Emo Nite? Is there anything exciting in the works we can know about? 

TP: In December we are teaming up with Goldenvoice to throw our largest event yet, its called Emo Nite Day. Its going to be at the Shrine Expo Hall on December 3rd and will have multiple stages featuring DJ’s and live bands, art installations, carnival rides, and more.


Huge thank you to TJ Petracca and the whole Emo Nite team for keeping our inner emo kids alive and well. Check out Emo Nite at the Casbah tonight and don’t forget to swipe for their sweet merch here!

For more info on Emo Nite Day on December 3rd, you can find information and tickets here, but act quick: this will be sure to sell out.


Interview by: Christine Heyne
Photos Courtesy of: Emo Nite/ Grizzlee Martin