DJ Mag talks to Life in Colour Head Honcho Sebastian Solano ahead of the forthcoming Life in Colour Festival in Miami
How did you come up with the concept?
I was in college and we were invited to a paint party called Dayglow. It was a Tallahassee tradition for many years. I had no idea what it was but I went and honestly had one of the best nights of my life. 500 people wearing all white jamming to house music and throwing paint all over each other. I mean when you are in college it doesn’t get any better than that. So after that night myself and my best friends and Co-founders (Lukasz and Patryk Tracz along with Paul Campbell) decided to go on this journey of turning this paint party into one of the biggest dance music events in the world. Literally within 6 months we all dropped out of school and were contacting different cities to see where we could host this party. We started in nightclubs for 800 people in college towns and now today we are in 40 countries and doing shows in stadiums for 40,000 people.
You’ve been promoting parties since college, would you say elements of your story is similar to the main protagonists in last year’s EDM flick ‘We are Your Friends’?
Yes, I would say there are some similar elements of of course. We had a group of friends, that were all waiters at restaurants to pay our way thru college. We had a DJ (David Solano, also my brother) and the promoters - me, and Life in Colour cofounders Lukasz and Patryk Tracz and Paul Campbell. We started throwing the best and biggest parties at Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee until one day we made 1000 dollars each throwing a party, then the next day we were all serving tables at the restaurant really hung over form the event we threw the night before. While at restaurant we said to ourselves “why are we still here we just made 5 times more money last night doing what we love, lets get out of here!” we literally walked up to the manager handed in our aprons and never looked back.
Because its something different unique, and that actually gives the fans the control of the party. They become the show. It’s not just about looking at a stage anymore, but it’s about uniting the crowd in colour and creating an amazing moment of energy that can only be created with the mixtures of our fans and paint to the drop of a beat. Nothing can beat that. And only LIC can create that.
Is it not a logistical nightmare?
It was when we started some 9 years ago. But not anymore we have pretty much mastered the science of paint parties, plus the paint is actually completely harmless and doesn’t stain or damage anything. We drop anywhere from 500 to 50,000 gallons of paint at an event.
The 2015 Tour took you around the globe, how have you managed to program all of this? It must be a monumental task?
Yes, to plan such an epic tour with such a big landscape to cover has been very challenging but it’s a challenge we embrace. We produce our show on the same night in different parts of the world, like literally on the same night we can do Brazil, Korea and USA. And its something that makes us unique. We have a dedicated staff that work with us year round and sacrifice their lives for our company travelling the world the whole year to deliver the LIC experience.
Why a promoter and not a DJ?
Because my brother took the DJ role lol… no just kidding. I’m just more of a business person and have a bigger passion for creating events and experiences for people than to create music.
I suppose the explosion of EDM enabled you to grow as an organisation, without it do you think that Life in Colour would be where it is today?
I think that we were headed on this path regardless. Because we were not going to let the market direction determine our success. We were just so devoted and determined to be successful that even during a terrible economy in 2009 we were having out best year then. Yes, EDM exploding helped but at the same time when we were selling out these college arenas, the majority of the crowd where coming for the experience more than for the music. In those days Dance music wasn’t so big so we were like ambassadors converting our LIC fans into dance music fans by the time they walked out of the event.
Miami Festival is going to be your big event that kicks of the 2016 season, what have you got in store for this?
Miami is a really special show for us, not only is it the biggest one but also its our home town. We plan on doing our best and biggest production yet as always. Cant give away any of the surprises but it will be one not to miss!
Where can you see Life in Colour going in the future? What are your plans for the future?
We have many plans for the future, but in a nutshell LIC will be the dance music brand to sell the most tickets world wide. We are already 2nd or 3rd and we keep expanding at a massive rate. We have the ability to be anywhere in the world that a show can be produced no matter the culture or economic situation. We can also do our show on multiple locations on the same night. So we want to have the biggest global landscape in the world and we will do it.
Catch Life in Colour in the UK at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse January 30th.