Beta Nightclub crew reflects on bringing the best EDM to Denver for five years
Ferdinand Arsell Villadiego
Since first opening its doors in 2008, Beta Nightclub has been at the top of numerous "best of" lists, and it currently holds the top spot for clubs in North America. In commemoration of the club's fifth anniversary, being celebrated this week, we caught up with the folks behind Beta to get their thoughts on what it's been like watching the venue grow into the premier spot for A-list EDM DJs and producers.
Brad Roulier (right) with his Manufactured Superstar cohort Shawn Sabo.
Brad Roulier, founder
What are your thoughts on being a part of the number-one club in North America?
Beta is a great club with an amazing DJ booth, sound system, Kryo [Kryogenifex fog] system, performers and staff. The most important part of our club is the EDM audience in Denver for all genres. This is what it's about. It's the best feeling. I am so grateful to our whole team, but most grateful to the fans.
Catherine Nguyen (foreground) with husband John Le (aka DJ Dragon).
Catherine Nguyen Le, executive director of entertainment and marketing
Catherine, you've been with Beta for five years: What has it been like, watching this club grow to be the best nightclub in North America?
It's been incredible! I feel like that word doesn't even do it justice. It is such an incredible feeling to start something from scratch -- to really leave an impression on dance music. What's unique with Beta is that everyone involved has a strong passion for dance music. That's what sets us apart from other venues who have been head-hunted from other genres. At Beta, everyone involved has their own drive for dance music.
I started raving in the '90s; it's something that's all in our blood. With Brad, he started in the mid-'90s with throwing parties, so it all started with this passion that we were all excited about. We, or I, never thought this would be a career, but we all work with our friends. Ha Hau is one of our best friends -- he does our Thursday -- he started with John Le with Triad Dragons, and that's the same crew we are running with today. I feel fortunate to have been gathered with these people who share the enthusiasm for dance music, and we are still with the same group of people.
Are there any nights that really stick out to you?
There have been many nights like that, but the first one with that experience was Memorial Day weekend in 2008: It was that Sunday, and it was Danny Tenaglia. Why that sticks out is because up until that point, I was focused on getting opened, and we just opened two months previously. We called [Memorial Day] our grand opening. We had a Sunday-afternoon kickoff that day, and then Danny Tenaglia played from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. -- a five-hour set!
Brad and I had been trying to get Danny Tenaglia in Denver for a while, and Brad was trying to get him out, but it never worked; he didn't want to travel. It was his first Colorado experience, and I remember I was so tired -- I don't even recall how tired I really was -- I was on the dance floor. I got on the sweet spot and had the best acoustic and dancing time throughout his set for a good hour, and I was like, "This is my job!?" It's amazing... just curating a lineup, and one that I really enjoy.
A couple of other times that I had the same feeling was one year later, for 2009 Memorial Day, for Armin van Buuren. We had to block off the doors because we got so much shit from our neighbors because it was so loud. They would hear it all the way down to 17th and Wazee -- the bass just bounces off the concrete. We closed off all those doors. We really exercised the thought of club culture evolving. With the challenges we had, we gracefully evolved for ourselves and our customers. Not to mention having the number-one DJ in the world at your club.
The last moment was in 2011, when we had the Kryo installed, and the first night we blew it off. We built this hype around it, or anything new we do, and then make the customers come out and experience what we want to give them. We didn't say anything about it, and Fedde Le Grand was headlining that night.
The track he dropped was Madonna's "Music," and he had the vocals a cappella -- you know, "Music...makes the people...come together..." -- and right when the bass hit, the Cryo [hit], and people went fucking nuts. It was electrifying. It is another moment that personifies our commitment to evolution within the club, whether structural or production.