It’s 11:55pm on a Friday night and Exchange LA is already teeming with people, I am looking for Mario the mastermind behind So Cal Edm Events and the man who has invited me to join his table for the evening. Although I’m short and the club is packed, it is easy to spot him; his phone looms high above the crowd with the familiar snapchat screen open and recording. He is now 300 seconds into what will become a 1000 second story (translation: over 16 minutes of video recorded 10 seconds at a time). The club is hot and as he dabs at the beads of sweat off his brow, he hands me a cup and yells “DRINK” over the booming bass. Before I have a chance to thank him he is back to recording, lost in the crowd his arm extended high over his head. Watching him is enough to tire you out, his phone lighting up with varying notifications ranging from Instagram, to Facebook, and text messages from the many people who call him a friend, and all of whom are trying to meet up with him tonight. Every video taken and some photos will eventually end up posted to his Instagram and Facebook because, whether you love it or hate it, SCEE is going to do everything it can to bring the party to you via social media.
At its inception SCEE was just a place for Mario to post about the next event he and his close knit group of friends would be attending, then over time posts shifted to covering more than just club events and festivals. After spending several months working to build a solid community of followers, Mario was approached by Shmitty, a Team Manager for Create Nightclub, about joining their promotions team. The decision to accept this partnership would forever change the future of SCEE. The page is now close to hitting the 30k followers mark and has a slew of clubs on their promotions roster including Exchange LA, Avalon, Sutra OC, Ruby Skye, Foxtail in Vegas and growing. If you ask him what his motivation was when he started this journey two years ago he will casually shrug his shoulders and say “for fun?” The quizzical tone is punctuated by a loud laugh and then an explanation that in the end he just wanted to help people. If he heard of a show happening first, he figured why not post about it and help spread the word. Over time people began to trust his page as a reliable source for on sale dates and show announcements, seemingly always being the first to post and in turn helping his followers score the earliest and often lowest priced tier of tickets. What was once only for fun is now a full time job (which is technically his second given that he does have a 9-5) with posts being added hourly and with the first appearing only an hour after he wakes up in the morning and the last a half hour before he goes to sleep. This totals to more than 12 hours spent on the daily upkeep of the page and website. Given that he seems to live a pretty busy life as is, one might wonder why Mario would continue to add to his already full plate, but watching him seamlessly transition from Mario regular music fan to Mr. SCEE and back it’s easy to see that this is exactly how he likes his life; constantly moving and constantly growing. And it has been this same mantra that has seen So Cal Edm Events grow so exponentially in the last two years.
Since he didn’t start SCEE with any clear intention Mario has spent the last year working on all the finer details of his creation. His most recent venture is Discovery Sessions, where he highlights unknown or lesser known DJ’s. He explains that he wants to keep building the community by investing in all of its members, known or unknown. Additionally earlier this year he started a weekly Monday fan spotlight he titled Social Monday’s. His aim is to highlight his followers and what makes them happy. He doesn’t limit the posts to the past weekends events but instead to whatever his followers feel like sharing. He looks at it as building a deeper connection with a community of people he loves so much. So as SCEE rolls up to its two year anniversary, I asked Mario what the future holds for not only himself, but also SCEE. His response was simple, “Life is short; do what you love, laugh, and always move forward.” I ask him to be more specific and he smiles that almost trademark smile and explains that there isn’t a set plan for SCEE, he is following its growth organically and isn’t trying to box himself in just yet. As the night comes to a close, someone taps him on the shoulder and asks, “You’re SoCal right?”, Mario seems surprised to be recognized but answers affirmatively and smiles. The gentlemen comes closer and says over the music, “Dope man, I follow you good job!” And in the end this is what matters most to Mario, and he best sums it up by saying, “SCEE exists to make life easier for its followers, to find information easier and to share the memories they make with others. I find that very rewarding and I suppose in the end that is my motivation.”
Photography and words by Helen (@Gotophotography)