On a Saturday evening earlier this month, I met up with the host of Lari Pati at Quality Boutique on Mass Ave. and had a conversation about the intent behind the party. I went to my first Lari Pati party August 17, 2018, and had a blast, but I didn’t really know the history behind the event. It wasn’t until I started seeing tweets from the @pitchforpennies Twitter account that I knew that Lari Pati was bigger than a party. Therefore, I had to sit down with the man behind the party himself and gain an understanding of his mission.
The interview was super chill and I left excited for the next party and thrilled to support such an amazing cause. If you haven’t heard about the event, we’re telling you all about it below.
Q. What is Lari Pati?
A. Lari Pati is Haitian for “street party”. The party is centered around breaking new music, exposing new DJs, and giving the people of Indianapolis a place where they can come and be themselves. There is no dress codes, no sections, and no bottle service. It is really about taking it back to the basics…the music and the people. Lari Pati benefits the people first! It’s about making Indianapolis a place that’s respected for breaking new music and birthing trends. It’s about showing the influence of Indianapolis and making the best of it. The party itself is a mix of what’s new, hot, and timeless. It is something for everybody! As far as genres, it’s a mix of rap, r&b, house, dancehall, and reggae. Those are the genres that get people moving, dancing, and singing along. Lari Pati is a dance party for the people by the people.
Q. When did you start Lari Pati?
A. It started in 2014 as a playlist on Sound Cloud. I had my own online retail store and when re-building the website and during a rebrand, I wanted to add a music component to the site. I thought about the kind of music I wanted to hear at a store and those genres (r&b, rap, house, dancehall) came to mind. I wanted something that made me feel good and got me moving. So it became a weekly playlist that we have. In 2017, I woke up and was like I just want to do my own party. The idea started as an aux cord party where you can literally come in, plug in your phone, play whatever you’re into, and rock out. I’ve seen it in other cities, but it was more of an influencer type of thing. I wanted to take the influencer out and make it about regular people. Down the line, somebody else did the aux cord party, so I scrapped the idea and went back to the drawing board to come up with something different. I thought of keeping the same name, same concept but instead of doing an aux cord party keeping the playlist so we could archive them on the blog. By keeping the playlist on the blog, no matter how long we do this, people can go back and see who contributed. This is a community brand about bringing people together and empowering people creatively, whether that’s photography, videography, graphic design, blogging, etc. I want to help. I want to make this a thing that helps the people here more than it helps us. For me, it’s about a legacy. If I can turn 30 and know we helped 25, 50, 60, 100 people with this whole thing than I’ll know we did something good. We accomplished something nobody was trying to do. It takes sacrifice in the short term for the long term. When it comes to parties people don’t think like that. They want to get there money now. With us, we’re going to take care of the people first. If we take care of the people first…in the long term they’ll take care of us because we helped them and we continue to help them. They’ll know it wasn’t a one-time thing or a gimmick. We’re a family! Once you work with us you can ask us for anything. If someone comes to the city and they want to know, “Who’s the go-to guy?” or “Who’s in touch with the culture here?”, I want to be that person to help.
Q. What’s the formula to a successful party?
A. The formula is just really taking care of the people! From the DJs to the people that come out to enjoy themselves, the goal is to make sure everyone has everything they need and that they’re enjoying themselves throughout the night without any problems. Success for me is making sure we get the idea across about what we’re doing. It’s not necessarily about the money. As long as we get the idea across and people believe in what we’re doing and they like the music and the idea behind it than the money is going to come. I want to get the point across that we’re doing something no one else is doing by breaking new music for a fair price.
Q. Where would you like to see Lari Pati in the next 5-10 years?
A. In five years, I want to have an annual block party in one of the cultural districts including vendors and everyone we’ve worked with. It’ll be a one day or two-day thing. A good time. In five years, I’d also like to have legit shows and have the resources to begin booking talent here that wouldn’t necessarily come here. I would love to get people here before they work with Live Nation and open at Old National. Our mission is being first! As long as I keep improving my taste level and being knowledgeable on what’s going on then we can execute. I would like to have a sustainable system that will allow us to market creatives and help not only bring awareness but build a business around what they’re doing. That’s extremely important to me. Branding is everything so I would like to teach them how to build and leverage that. I’m building a brand now with the parties. Once you build a brand you trust, it’s about helping the generations after and providing them with the confidence to work off of it. In 10 years, I probably would want to have a talent agency or a management company because having created something before, I understand what they go through with giving your all. I’m pretty savvy enough to leverage what the work is and I like to think I’m a pretty solid dude and I won’t screw you over.
Q. You tweeted, “We got a decent amount of Rap groups out. We need more R&B groups.” If you could put together the perfect R&B group, who would it consist of?
A. Five artists is obsessive so I’ll stick to three. I’d say Arin Ray, Tobi Lou, and YE Ali.
Q. Would you ever expand and travel outside of Indianapolis to do Lari Pati?
A. That’s the plan! I’ve talked to the DJs and its within our three-year plan. At the end of the day, we still have to execute the idea. By 2019, we’d like to do a college tour. We’d hit up the IU’s, ISU’s, Notre Dame’s, and Ball State’s. In 2020, if not 2021, we’d hit the major markets (NY, LA, Chicago, ATL, Miami) because we know DJs there and do a five-city tour. Nothing crazy! We’re definitely looking to expand in order to bring Indianapolis to the world. That’s really important, especially with us being the champions and advocates of Indianapolis through a party form. We’d want to ensure our merch, lingo, and everything reflects Indianapolis. Therefore when we travel to these cities, they’ll see what we’re about. A piece of it is about being cognizant of what’s going on whether it’s on the east side, west side, north side, south side, downtown, or wherever it is. I have to make sure I’m there and packaging it in a way aesthetically that’s on that level with anything going on in the world. That’s another thing that was missing here – paying attention to the aesthetics and how you promote. It’s about paying attention to different fonts and how you lay things out. I want to show people this is the way you do it, not saying we’re the best but I feel like we do it better than most. The taste level for how we throw a party and how we market it visually has to be high because taste level is often an afterthought. Through curation, design, everything we do…taste is everything. It makes us different, makes us unique, and it’s something you can’t buy. I’m constantly educating myself on what’s going on across the world because I want Indianapolis to be recognized across the world. So, it’s important to understand what’s going on and how things are being marketed design-wise in places like Tokyo, Rome, Paris, London, Brazil, Canada, and Russia. I want to know what’s the pattern and what’s different about each area and add Indianapolis flavor to it. Also, I’m from D.C. so I’m adding my D.C. feel to it.
Q. So you’re from D.C. Why Indy?
A. A lot of people talk down on Indy. For me, I’m not from here, so I’m not jaded. I don’t take it for granted and I’m able to look at things from an outside perspective. Showing people how cool the city really is made me excited because nobody’s doing that. Nobody is trying to really champion it. They’ll quickly go somewhere else and talk about where they’re from. I couldn’t ever look down on D.C. because I was born and raised there so a lot of it made me who I am and a lot of it made you who you are. You have a culture of your own. You just don’t want to look at it. For me, it’s about really showing people this is what is going on so they’ll see that they do have something to offer culture nationally, if not on a global scale. I always think about how ill it would be to have a kid from Paris start saying our lingo because that’s what they do with Atlanta or New York lingo. You see people from all across the world saying “No Cap” or something like that. Why can’t Indianapolis be the same way? I don’t think about what’s not possible. I often think about what is possible. That’s what makes all this stuff happen. If I thought about what’s not possible, I wouldn’t even do half of this. So it’s really showing people you can if you just think it and believe it. It’s all about perception.
Q. What should people know about the man behind Lari Pati?
A. I’m just me. I’m from D.C. I’ve been here forever but I guess what people should know is, I care. I care more about not only the city but the creatives, and the people that go out and want to go out. I care a lot about that and I stress about it with every party. I stress about making sure we’re doing everything we possibly can to give the people that come out their money’s worth, if not more than what they paid for. I want to give them something they can feel proud of. So they can say, “this is Indianapolis and this is our thing”, as opposed to having a Grits and Biscuits come here. I want us to have our own thing on that level and of that caliber but bigger. However, it’s so much bigger than parties. It’s about changing how people treat creatives here. For me, it is about really caring about the next generation as much as I’m caring about the people now. There was nobody when I was selling clothes and had my own retailer that I could intern for or turn to and learn about the business of fashion. So, it’s about me being the person I needed back then and if I can be that person maybe I’ll be able to inspire someone else who may have a similar story to what I have. We have to help people understand that we have as many opportunities as we can, but there are ways to do it on your own and not go through trial and error. I feel like you shouldn’t have to go through trial and error if I already went through it and I know the information. Why wouldn’t I give you the information? I’m not going to try and hold it. I think sometimes people think, “oh if I give you the information, it takes away from me”. That means you’re just not that good at what you do. What people need to know is I’m a dude just trying to look out for everybody and help as many people as I can. I’m willing to give up equity or something to help in the short term because for me it is all about the long term. I treat people like family and I have to look at it long term so when I bring people on, they’ll understand what we can do and that I’m able and willing to promote your stuff. That’s the least I can do if I can’t pay you the full rate. Sometimes you gotta take a cut for an opportunity that could give you more exposure to another opportunity. You gotta think further ahead if you want to make a business out of it and that’s what I want for people that are creatives. If I’m working with you, it’s not about me. I’m going to get mine 5-10 years down the line. Now, these next 3-5 years is about helping get you guys awareness and opportunities.
Q. What’s one song you think if everybody listened to it could change the world?
A. It’s going to be left field but “Step in the Name of Love”. I feel like that song could change the world because it’s such a fun upbeat song. It’s a song you can play anywhere and you just feel good like you want to dance, smile, be happy, and it’s smooth. It hits on so many points. It’s the song that can really change the world if people took the song for what it is. The song itself is a beautiful song.
Q. Top 5 albums of the year so far? (no order)
A. Daytona – Pusha T
777 – Key and Kenny beats
Astroworld – Travis Scott
Isolation – Kali Uchis
Whack World – Tierra Whack
Lari Pati is October 19, 2018, from 9pm – 2am at Pioneer.
If you haven’t already purchased tickets to the next Lari Pati, you are able to purchase tickets for $5 until September 30, 2018. After, they will be $10 up until the day of the event. You are able to purchase by visiting: http://laripati.splashthat.com.
Add on Instagram and Twitter @pitchforpennies and you can access all Lari Pati playlists on Apple Music.