It’s always a good sign for a night out when your Uber drops you outside the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The journey through the old converted brewery can only be made on foot, sparking the adolescent exhilaration of trespassing private property to get to a secret kickback. With nothing but the escalating beat of electronic dance music to lead the way, concert-goers were guided to a waterfront warehouse that, upon entering, revealed where the ravers of New York City had all disappeared to on a crisp March Friday night.
The sold-out Peggy Gou show, brought to life by Teksupport, revealed just how many different subcultures can be reached by such a nightlife collaboration. Weaving through the crowd to the front, we passed by the grunge Tripp-wearing crowd, then the Kandi Kids, the shufflers and headbangers, before being swallowed whole by the queer ravers who’d come in packs of 20 or more.
A pulsating LED light show, spanning the length of the entire warehouse, created an immersive visual experience to thoroughly complement the sounds everyone had come for. PAPER spoke with Teksupport’s founder, Rob Toma — a Brooklynite who’s been throwing parties since high school and who has since graduated on to produce events for the likes of Virgil Abloh, Kid Cudi and Philipp Plein — about his mission to converge fashion, music and technology throughout his career.
How has the underground NYC nightlife scene evolved since you began throwing parties as a high schooler in Brooklyn?
Back in the day, the underground NYC nightlife scene was largely centered around illegal warehouse parties. Nowadays, the house and techno genres of music that we produce events for are a lot more accepted and popular. In North America, these have widely become accepted in mainstream culture, especially coming out of the pandemic. During isolation, people were watching music live streams and becoming exposed to these new genres, and now there’s a lot more curiosity about them as a result. We’ve noticed that the scene is growing quickly and is now more connected than ever with the rest of the music world.
Why Peggy Gou x Teksupport? What’s shared here?
Peggy Gou bridges the gap between music, art and fashion, which brings an amazingly diverse crowd, something we also prioritize at Teksupport. Peggy has played for Teksupport quite a few times as a headliner during our peak events, such as CircoLoco Halloween and Time Warp, so we felt it was time for Peggy to headline her own warehouse show here. We were proud to have sold out two shows in one weekend, each with a 5,000-person capacity. It was definitely a major level reached for both Peggy and Teksupport and it's why this partnership continues to make sense.
What distinguishes a Teksupport event from other NYC underground nightlife?
In New York, there aren’t many warehouse parties that happen as frequently as Teksupport events. We take pride in curating the elements that go into producing one-off events and large-scale warehouse parties; these are experiences impossible to replicate. Other consistent distinguishing factors are the tier of talent we bring, as well as the high level of production, and top-tier sound system. We are official partners with D&B, which makes the best sound system for non-permanent locations.
Was there a specific moment when you realized technology would be a way of enhancing an intimate music experience?
I started to realize this during the pandemic, when the only way to experience music events was through livestreams. Coming out of the pandemic, the way a customer purchased tickets completely shifted towards app platforms. We started using direct-to-user functions, through our ticketing partner DICE, and we’ve been able to increase event awareness and communication beyond the traditional social media method.
In terms of production, the traditional moving headlight technology is also shifting towards being LED-based, offering endless capabilities and an enhanced experience with more pixel capacity. Our recent partnership with ArtsDistrict Brooklyn is the first of its kind to see electronic music shows in a hybrid venue, using immersive visuals on this scale.
What are Teksupport’s core values? What’s your mission in the nightlife scene?
We never compromise on production and are determined to keep the quality of our artists as consistently incredible as possible. My end goal is not only to continue creating amazing shows that distinguish Teksupport events from others but to make New York City a hub for house and techno music on a global level.
The intersection of technology, community and nightlife was appropriately encapsulated when, at the end of the night, we experienced a group of perfect strangers banding together to return a lost phone to a long-gone concert-goer, and after an hour of coordination, managed to reunite them, receiving as a thank you a $6 bottle of water and special baggy of raver substance. What generosity compelled the listeners to part with an active Peggy Gou set, I don’t know, but safe to say it doesn’t get more “Tech”Support than that.
Photos by Off Brand Project
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