Adam Weiss is causing chaos in Los Angeles. The Chicago native launched HAM On Everything in 2011, and since then he's breathed new life into the L.A. party scene, throwing smoked-out warehouse raves starring the most fun names in rap. His parties are just as infamous for rogue promo tactics: addresses are passed around via word of mouth and phantom RSVPs, and each venue is more random than the last, often booked the day before. He's since hosted a GBE reunion concert, booked countless acts for their first West Coast looks, and made headlines when a swelling crowd outside his Lil B concert last December attracted riot police and evening news vans. We spoke to Adam about how it all started and where its going next.
Were you throwing parties before HAM? I don't have a background in throwing parties. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a rapper. I was doing a bunch of bad shit when I was younger, and in 2009 I got arrested off of some shit and did a little bit of time. When I got out, I was like "Alright, I'm gonna make this rap shit work." I was gonna throw these rap shows in Echo Park and in gallery spaces, and freestyle at the end of each one to get put on. I'm not great at rapping, but I ended up being really good at throwing events, so things evolved from there.
Being on the East Coast, you hear that L.A. is awesome, but the nightlife isn't like New York. Things shut down early and it's not as spontaneous. Your parties seem different than what's expected out there. Yeah, a lot of New York homies say it reminds them of New York. When I first started throwing those rap shows, I was into weird indie bands, noise rock—shit like that. Those shows were fun but in 2010, rap shows were at massive venues and that just wasn't fun. They didn't have the same energy that noise shows had. I'd go to these warehouse parties in L.A. and it was always boring-ass house music—I loved the atmosphere, but I hated the boring-ass music. So I was like, "Man, I'm just gonna do these warehouse parties where we're gonna play rap and have two or three live performers." I wanted to bring the energy of noise shows to rap shows.
When was the first official HAM event? Summer of 2011. I didn't know what I was gonna do with HAM yet—I wasn't doing warehouse parties yet—so Ninjasonik played the Standard rooftop with a bunch of randoms. I did a couple of shows at the Echo and at this strip club Crazy Girls, and in December 2011 I found this warehouse space where I went to a party called The Villa, which is this two-story house with nothing in it. In January 2012, I did a party there every Wednesday, and that's what built our momentum. We had Danny Brown, Alexander Spit, Speakz, CBG—a bunch of people I still fuck with now.
Why don't you guys list the address of the parties? They're not really legal parties, so don't really want the address out there for everyone to see, you know? Also, a lot of times I'll book a party and not even have a warehouse booked yet.
Sounds very DIY. Yeah, it's not like I'm trying to be exclusive or anything—it's just that we don't have the shit together until the last minute. But it works out for us. We just did this GBE show with Chief Keef and Lil Reese and Fredo—I announced it the day of, and it was crazy. Fredo hit me up at 3 in the morning the night before on DM and he was like "Yo man, let's do a GBE show, Lil Reese is here!" and I was like "Yeah! Let's fuckin' do it!"
#theRegent #dtla #rightnow #trashtalk #LilB #lapd
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You threw a Lil B show in December, and the crowd outside got so crazy that riot police swarmed and it ended up on the news. What happened that night? We were gonna do that at a different venue—I really wasn't getting paid much off of that party, I was really just doing it out of love. So I moved it to this venue called The Regent because it's a professional venue—they have their own production, so I wouldn't have to do as much. I tried to warn them that it was gonna be crazy and I don't think they believed me. They didn't have enough security. The line was good until 9:30, when I got a text and went outside and saw there was no more line—just hella people in front of the doors, and the SWAT team's there. The news was saying we invited 2,000 people to a show that was 400-450 cap—the cap there is 1136. So I don't know where the news got the number 400. Crazy. They made me sound like an asshole.
How was it inside? The venue tripped out so they only let me get to 70% capacity, so probably only like 500 kids got to see it. They got scared, closed the doors, and wouldn't open back up.
At some point this all probably has to go legit, right? Yeah, I mean, even the GBE show was at a legit venue. I prefer rundown clubs rather than like the fuckin' Nokia or the Henry Fonda or some shit. I just like it to feel underground. I wanna throw a festival where I can have two stages, or two different rooms. A big part of HAM is that we do rap shows, but we also do a lot of underground club stuff too. So we want to have two rooms—one that focuses on the clubby music we play, and one that focuses on the rap performances. I'm gonna try to do it this year.
What feedback are you getting from kids who come out? Oh, they love it. It's crazy because when we first started, even back then everybody would come through—fuckin' Kreayshawn, Lil Debbie, Earl Sweatshirt, all these random L.A. characters. That was when we were first getting our shit cracking. I don't think there's any other party like it out here in L.A., so it has its own wave. At this point it's not even a party, it's like its own scene. The kids on Twitter that go all become friends, and I know they're all friends through HAM. It's a little community.