March is a big month for Phoria Events as the San Francisco team gears up to celebrate their third anniversary on Friday, the 10th. Legendary trance DJ John Askew will be headlining the triple-header event at Ruby Skye with supporting acts from ReOrder in his SF debut and Indecent Noise with a “Hard Trance Classics” set. Bay Area native DJ Blurr will be providing the local support.
We have seen some changes in the trance scene since the launch of Phoria. So, I got a chance to ask Niko Zografos (the head honcho) some questions about the evolving scene and where he see Phoria’s place as a premier name for fans to trust.
Since starting the company three years ago, did you expect Phoria to gain the acknowledgment and success it has now? Just about how many members are on the team?
It’s definitely been awesome to see Phoria grow. The San Francisco trance fans have always been passionate. The growth has definitely been exciting. We have about 15 promoters and DJs. It’s a small, close-knit group.
When you first started Phoria, how did you think your company would compare to TFSF? Can you describe your relationship with TFSF?
Well, I work very closely with TFSF, and I think it’s really awesome our end goal is the same: growing SF’s trance scene. We’ve done quite a few of events together over the past and alway fully support each other’s events.
Do you feel that your bookings requirement have changed within the last three years? Would you ever consider booking a DJ that is a little more house than trance? Or, maybe a trap DJ? Just kidding.
Haha, I think my booking ideas have been pretty consistent over the past three years. I want to bring the best trance possible. This includes new artists that have never or rarely played SF. I love progressive, techno, and psy, so you’ll definitely see that influence in the artists we bring out and support.
Have fans ever expressed negative feelings or comments on some of the bookings at shows? How should fans voice their opinions for future bookings or their opinions for Phoria?
I’d like to think there isn’t much negativity overall. I definitely feel it’s important to have a variety of different styles of trance so appease different fan bases. Any fans should definitely reach out and speak out with their opinions, good and bad, because we do this for them!
Have your feelings for trance music change since being in the business? Or, how do you feel the industry is now, considering what you know from working in the industry?
My feelings and passion for trance have grown. I love what I have learned thus far. The behind-the-scene stuff is definitely where a lot of the magic happens. The industry is always evolving and growing. It’s important to stay smart and on top of everything that is happening in the world of trance.
Trance has recently entered more of a mainstream light. DJs who have left the scene are returning. How do you feel about the trance scene now? Will Phoria take that into consideration when booking them? Who do you want to return to take the stage again at Phoria?
This seems to be a question asked a lot lately, and I feel that it’s great more people are getting into trance. This (the scene) is all about sharing music and having a good time. I’m excited to hear about some of the names returning to trance. Good music is good music, and I’m always on the hunt for that. I’m definitely open to booking any artist I think will help create a great experience for trance fans and of course has some great and exciting new music.
What are some of your most fun/favorite memories working at Phoria?
So many great memories! A few that definitely stand out are Open Up 100 with Simon Patterson & Jordan Suckley, Markus Schulz Open To Close, Ferry Corsten on a few occasions, our first event at Slide with Ilan Bluestone, then, of course, our first event at Ruby with him and Jerome Isma-ae and more. Slide was a great start for intimate shows for us, so there was definitely some special times there along with, of course, now countless special times at Ruby, with a few notable ones like FSOE Night at Verso.
What is one of the most difficult challenges you have faced while running Phoria? Did you have any fears?
Definitely, the most difficult challenge has been balancing Phoria Events with my music career. Not really many fears but at the same time, I always want to strive for each event to be as successful as possible.
How do you know when to perform at one of the Phoria nights? Is there a line that separates you as a promoter and DJ?
There is definitely a line that separates me from a promoter and a DJ. I don’t want to play often for two reasons; one is that I’m not a local openers/support act anymore so, two is it has to be the right night. For example, a good time for me to play was FSOE Club Night.
When would you say was the moment that made you realized that Phoria became a name people recognized and looked to for trance events?
Tough to say really because I feel like we’d had success from the start, but at the same time there have been some struggles in the beginning, too. I think it’s important to always be better than you were the day before. And if you aren’t doing that, you have a bigger chance of losing your success.
When fans leave a Phoria event, what is the one thing you want them to take away from their experience?
It’s all about the music! I want fans to have their passion for trance growing or for new fans to begin their journey into trance because of their experience at our events.
Do you have any words for EDM fans out there who are hesitant about attending a Phoria show?
Give Trance a chance! 😉
Do you feel like you have reached some of your original goals for Phoria? What are some goals you still wish to achieve? Any big news we should know from the Phoria team? Maybe we will see a Phoria festival or something?
We definitely have reached some of our goals, and I’m definitely proud that! I think it’s important we grow our events as much as possible and to make them more special each time.
Well, there you have it, folks, words from the man himself. The night should be an intense one, as most birthday celebrations are. Make sure you join the dance party and future parties by Phoria that have left many breathless with their trance-pants soaked with sweat! To find out more information about Phoria Events, check out their Facebook Page.
PS, here are some Soundcloud links for the three headlining DJs: