Is Heart Nightclub in Miami Becoming the Marathon-Set Capital of the World?
Miami has long been known as being the one city in the United States known for hosting marathon techno and house sets, especially thanks to Space Club’s iconic terrace and the long list of top-tier acts it has hosted over the years.
Right next door, however, it’s Heart Nightclub that has recently been making headlines as the club leading the charge of marathon sets. In a city where 6-8 hour sets are the norm, Heart has recently featured performances that have stretched past the 13-hour mark and then some. Marco Faraone and Erick Morillo each hit the decks for 13-hours, Hector & David Gtronic played b2b for 13.5, Solomun spun an uninterrupted 14, The Martinez Brothers lasted an impressive 20, and the club’s Art Basel weekend included a breath-taking 40-hours of non-stop music from various DJs, setting the new record in Miami for longest running hours in a night club.
Behind the carefully curated parties is promotion company Humans Alike, who have set the tone for the vibe on the Heart dance floor, following a remodeling of the 20,000 sq ft multi-room club that is also fitted with a German-engineered Dynacord Corba 3 sound system and the very best in visual and audio composition.
Travis Rogers is one of the partners at the helm of Humans Alike, a group formed together with Louis Diaz, John Fortini and Giancarlo Chia. Travis is a promoter with extensive experience in Miami that includes years of work at Club Space just next door. We had the chance to talk to him to discuss the vision behind Heart’s recent focus on marathon sets and what this means for the club as Miami Music Week approaches.
Hi Travis, how is everything going at Heart?
Everything is going great, things keep getting better. Have you been to the club before?
Actually yes, several times during last year’s Miami Music Week.
Oh you need to come check it out now. We remodeled it inside, you wouldn’t recognize the patio, we remodeled the entire thing. We moved the DJ booth, added production. It’s a brand-new room.
I look forward to it! Tell me a little about how you and Humans Alike arrived at Heart.
I was at Space 9 years, and left a year after the old owner of Space sold it in 2012. I was doing parties elsewhere for a while but things were ending there right as Heart was about to launch as a new club. I started at Heart on day one. One of his partners reached out asking what was up to, “What you doing Fridays?” he asked me, ” We bought the old Nocturnal, we need to come up with name and open the club!” It so happened that my parties were ending where I was at so it was perfect timing.
What is your role exactly?
I am the talent buyer, take care of all the bookings and oversee all the marketing for the events.
Is this for all nights at Heart?
Yes! Well no, everything that electronic music. There are two other rooms that play like hip-hop, latin, EDM mainly featuring local acts with a promoter that pushes that crowd. When it comes to times such as Miami Music Week or Art Basel and the programming of the entire club is electronic music then the entire club is under Humans Alike.
How did the marathon set concept begin?
It has always been standard in Miami, we had them at Space and even back in the day when the club was called Nocturnal, but not as extensive as these days. When we first opened Heart we knew this would eventually happen, but we never thought we would have The Martinez Brothers do 20 plus hours, Solomun reach 14, Hector 13, tINI do 11 or Chus + Ceballos only stop at 8 because they had to get on a flight. It’s becoming a standard, and in fact these artists want to jump on this race. Some will text me the day after asking me, “How long did he play? I want to do it!” 10-12 hours is pretty easy, we are doing long sets like that on a regular basis. To do more it takes a combination of the perfect night, perfect crowd, perfect club setting. The time The Martinez Brothers did 2o I left at 2pm thinking it was going to end soon, I took a nap and woke up around 6pm and looked online to find out they were still going strong. They went until 1am of Monday morning!
Do you plan these marathon sets or…?
Nah, they are never planned. We go into a show knowing we may have booked a certain artist that typically plays more than 3-4 hours during a set, maybe they enjoy doing longer 6-8 sets. Anything more than that is just on the spot, the artists are having fun and they keep playing, time goes by so fast for them and at times they don’t even realize they are playing that long!
Can we expect marathon sets during Miami Music Week next month?
Most of our shows during Miami Music Week are showcase related. Label and party showcases with a lot of guys on the bill so it’s harder to play longer sets. You might see 4-6-8 hour sets, not sure… maybe on Sunday for the closing party we could have a surprise impromptu marathon set as there is nothing on the next day. It’s not really a big marathon week, but on Sunday if things fit right it’s possible.
Other than single artist or back-to-back marathon sets you’ve also been throwing marathon parties, like the 40-hour continuous one during Art Basel in December.
That was a semi-planned one, it was the week after The Martinez Brothers did their 20 hrs set. Promoters and everyone involved sat down and discussed doing a 30-36 hr party. We had Morillo planned on Saturday of Art Basel and he comfortably does 8-12, and had residents after. Elliot, a promoter from Ibiza, wanted to do a charity party and the money collected went to charities. He invited 10-15 DJs and we decided to continue at 4pm on Sunday and to let it run into whenever it ran. It turned into a 40 hour party.
We started doing graphics, posting them on social media as the hours passed. The key for those long ones is pumping up the online presence to get people to come back, to pop in a different times if they haven’t been to the club for the party yet and to essentially get multiple waves of crowd coming in to keep the party going..
As a promoter, how do you keep going for these marathon parties?
I get there 1-2 hours before the club opens and honestly by 2pm the next day I am pretty wiped. I have people that work with me, help take care of artists, etc I start at 10pm and another person comes in 6-7am and I leave and I come back after nap. DJs often say that for them time flies by when they are playing these long sets, but we are working so at some point we really do start watching the clock…
Who would you love to book for a marathon set in the future?
I think we’ve booked 80% of the guys we would love to book. Dixon, Maceo Plex, Tale of Us are some of the few big ones that haven’t played the venue yet. We hope one day that it happens, I have feeling it will happen…