(pictured above || Nikita Gale + Wil May)
If you haven’t made it out to Wil May’s parties at the W Midtown at Whiskey Park, then you have seriously been missing out. Eclectic, electric, eccentric and altogether fun, these parties have left attendees grinning from ear to ear. BANG! Got a chance to talk with the man behind it all, Wil May, whose distinct instinct for a good time and ear to the ground have turned these bashes into what they are.
Wil May and the W Midtown | Whiskey Park Parties: #COOL and ~VINTAGE~
BANG!-How did you get into throwing parties? Were you that kid who threw bashes in his parent’s house when they went out of town?
WIL MAY-It came as a result of being a music artist, and there not being a platform or anything to support or market indie, cool guy, stylish culture in ATL like there are in other influential markets. So I wanted to fill that void and market myself as well. Though I was a popular kid, I never really threw many parties growing up, but I was the life of the party. The party started when I arrived. In college, I had promoter roommates (Scooter Braun, Matt Graham, and Daniel Weisman who all also went on to do notable things in the music industry). Though what I do now is beyond the scope of the parties those days, I was exposed to how to get it done.
BANG!-What does ~VINTAGE~ and COOL bring to the table that other parties in Atlanta do not?
WIL MAY-#COOL is about current culture and style; things via music, people, style, community and startups that reflect what is truly cool about now. Not so much faddy, but the good style of now. The other parties in the city at venues of this caliber don't support artists like Azalea Banks, Childish Gambino or Theophilus London. You'll never see support for those artists at Vanquish or Tongue-N-Groove. In addition, other parties don't have a more progressive, danceable, music format like #COOL or a diverse crowd bonded by a taste of great style and sentiment. ~VINTAGE~, an extension of #COOL, is a totally new idea in nightlife. The party stylishly celebrates all things vintage: past and new. Think Adele, RRL, Classic Rock, Americana, Soul, Amy Winehouse, 90s Rap, Disco, Thrifting, etc. For some reason, most venues and promoters feel that if you make something more douche-y and faddy then it will appeal to more folks and make money. I wanted to try the exact opposite. In addition, I hate super electronic music. I need music with a soul. And we're in luck. The world has tons of forgotten-about, highly-danceable music with a soul that was more than cool in its day. They are classics. So I want to revive that music, allow folks to hear great classic music in a high end night club, along with your current pop and indie hits, and encourage folks to show their vintage, indie, DIY, and thrift style.
BANG!-The W is synonymous with upscale soirées and celebrity status, yet your parties draw crowds comprised of all different Atlantans. How do you achieve the variety?
WIL MAY-I know a wide range of folks, I'm into style, art, design, and I know Atlanta on a pretty comprehensive level, from Emory to the AUC, restaurants to strip clubs, Ponce/EAV to Buckhead (unfortunately) - so things that are great or cool about the city I try to incorporate. I don't like to listen to the same music or see the same type of person all night. Its 2012, diversity should be the starting point for everything. I also wanted to give the indie scene or what I call #COOL, Atlanta's version of that culture, a platform outside of a dive bar. The W, as a brand, is also synonymous with young people and coolness. So it was a natural fit. And, Whiskey Park is a great venue for all the above.
BANG!-What’s your favorite drink?
WIL MAY-I go through phases. I enjoy craft beers, crafted cocktails, aperitifs, and digestifs. Right now, I drink a lot of Negroni's, or Jose Cuervo Platino with a splash of agave and lime.
BANG!-You also have had the parties hosted by bands and singers, not by the usual travelling dj (Vintage). Do you think that presence has captured a slightly different following for these events?
WIL MAY-Yeah, if you give me a choice between a hyped DJ and partying with an awesome band, I'm going to pick the band every time. I guess people don't think to honor the musicians when it comes to parties. Not sure why when they're the ones who create it all. In addition, a lot of DJ followings are faddier, entry-level hipster, and bro-y.
BANG!-Regarding Vintage Saturdays-they are all based on themes and eras. Are you worried about running out of inspiration? What is your creative process to come up for the concept of these events on a weekly basis?
WIL MAY-No chance, I don't think I'll ever run out of ideas. Whether, it's making music, throwing parties, selling products, or making movements, they all inspire each other, and I can always come up with something. Thankfully, I have the superpower of being constantly inspired. When I have a hiccup or writer's block, it's not for long, and I don't force it. Something always ends up inspiring me: women, food, style, exercise, drinks, buildings, friends, and/or jokes.
BANG!-In what way would you say your eye for film/photography and your ear for music play a role in your parties?
WIL MAY-1,000,000%. My mind is one big ass endless mixed media universe. I've had synesthesia all my life, and it has allowed me to visualize, sense, and ear the world in my own way. In school, it's the reason I could get good grades without much studying but by merely grasping the larger concepts. Now, I used it for making music, creating awesome visuals and throwing partiessss, fuck yeah. Specifically, I like films from the 60s-80s. I like photo-journalistic and flash photography. Music-wise I like anything with a human soul behind it. All those things definitely play a role in my parties.
BANG!-What demographic would you like to see attend your parties if there is in fact one missing?
WIL MAY-Hmmm, great question. Anyone with a sense of great personal style is who I like to attract. The more awesome people the merrier. Always could have more models, rockers with vintage style, superstars and actresses, film directors, the visual art crowd, notable bloggers, cool Asians, and Eritrean, Latin and Brazilian women.
BANG!-What kind of events do you like to go to?
WIL MAY-I like art shows, watching talented and compelling music artists, amateur sports events, festivals, educational events, professional conferences, foodie events, open bars, and gifting suites.
BANG!-How do you stay relevant and on top of things?
WIL MAY-If you stay interesting yourself, relevance and those sorts of things come to you. In general, I keep learning, take pride in personal style, have fun with everything, and keep a diverse set of talented, good-natured people around.
Well there you have it, intelligent and perpetually in-the-know; Wil May is not playing around about having a good time. Make it out to one of his events and see what the entire celebration is about.
(photos courtesy of Dylan York for Wil May+MAKESHIFT)