Pasquale Rotella On 25 Years of Insomniac: ‘I Did Imagine It Would Get This Big, But It Was Never About That’

5/2/2019 by Kat Bein

In 1991, Pasquale Rotella walked into a party. It wasn’t just any party. It was a warehouse rave, back in the days when such things were low budget, off-the-grid affairs.

There weren’t any clown-painted stilt-walkers or LED-laced stages covered in waterfalls shooting fire. It was just a big room full of bodies bumping to the same beat. It didn’t need expensive gimmicks to get Rotella’s attention. The joyous atmosphere and kind cast of dancing characters was all it took.

“From day one, I knew I would be in this for the long haul,” Rotella says. “I was a lifer from the minute I walked [in].”

A year later, Rotella threw his first party in his Los Angeles, and a year after that, he threw a rave called “Insomniac.” It was held in a South Central warehouse off Slauson and Crenshaw. He promoted it himself with flyers that bore a phone number, the voicemail for which gave the address and the message “come in peace or don’t come at all.”

About 300 people attended Insomniac that night, but the name stuck around, and in 2019, Insomniac is an international brand celebrating 25 years of Technicolored insanity. It goes well beyond throwing parties, with offshoots into records, radio, fashion, talent development and bookings, media, art, production and decor, theatrics, experience, and more. It does still throw parties, though — Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas being the biggest and most famous of all, which returns to the city’s Motor Speedway May 17 to 19.

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