Miami's nightlife scene is moribund. It's hard to argue otherwise, especially if you witnessed its growth during the past decade. Originality and vitality have been replaced by velvet ropes and bottle service.
But longtime local promotion crews Poplife and Off the Radar are hoping to change that sad fact. The two entities have united for a new Saturday-night party called His & Hers at Grand Central's upstairs party spot, the Garret, which, according to Poplife's Aramis Lorie, promises to return to the good ol' days of parties as vehicles for patrons to discover new music.
"It's going back to my roots and where we started," Lorie explains. "Obviously, the music has changed, but there are still a lot of great emerging artists that people are not being exposed to. Today, with clubs competing, everyone is just mimicking each other. If you go to the Beach, you know what to expect, and in downtown too. There is no real focus on the actual music and pushing new emerging artists here locally."
His & Hers also marks a reunion of sorts for Lorie and Off the Radar's Ray Milian, who together with Barbara Basti and Paula Milian started Poplife in 1999 at a café in Coral Gables. Ray would leave the collective a few years later, while Lorie and Basti continued to grow the fledgling enterprise into a Miami nightlife empire.
"The reason Poplife clicked years ago was because we were both music heads," Lorie says of himself and Ray Milian. "We were very dedicated to reaching what we wanted to achieve, which was bringing people together to have a good time while also educating them in the new sounds and emerging acts. Over the years, we've worked sporadically with each other, but this is sort of a commitment again.
"[Ray's] blog, Off the Radar, has gotten really popular, and the blog is all about pushing new artists that are starting to make noise. Most people in Miami won't know them. But two or three years down the line, some of them will become the next big thing."
Lorie describes the market for clubgoers who want to discover new music (and not have to listen to Avicii for the millionth time) as "niche." However, he says he isn't in it for the money.
"We are doing it to have a good time and play new music."