Yann Pissenem is the mogul at the helm of creative company The Night League. From Ushuaïa to ANTS to 2017’s momentous Hï Ibiza launch, for more than a decade he and his team have played a pivotal role in shaping Ibiza’s dance music landscape. Prior to his White Isle ventures, Yann made his mark on the Spanish mainland, running a string of success bar and nightlife hotspots across Barcelona as he merged his passion for business with his love for music.
We read that you started your musical journey in Barcelona. What was it about the city, or about the nightlife culture, that inspired you?
My musical journey actually started a little earlier, with raves in France and Belgium, but it’s true that everything really began in Barcelona around 1994. It was just after the Olympics, when the city was bubbling with an exciting new afterparty scene and amazing venues were popping up everywhere. The capital of Catalonia was really wild at that moment, and I saw an amazing business opportunity linked to something I always wanted to do, which was entertainment, and my main passion, which was music.
Let’s talk about The Night League. How does the company operate, and what’s your role?
I’m the owner and CEO of The Night League, Ushuaïa Ibiza, Hï Ibiza and ANTS, amongst others. The Night League is a creative agency, the brain behind all of the venues and brands that we own and operate. We also collaborate with some of the world’s most influential artists, festivals and events to create bespoke concepts and bring their ideas to life. Our aim is to create the best experience possible for our customers, starting with conceptualising events, building brands, selling tickets and operating the events and venues. Meanwhile, in the middle of all of this we’re working on the marketing, the bookings, the design, and every kind of detail you can imagine that it takes to make these events happen.
The Night League was born in 2001 in Barcelona. I was working really hard there, and everything was going well. Just before the Spanish crisis started, I felt, for me, it was like the end of a cycle. I was looking for new business opportunities and I always wanted to have a beach club, so Ibiza was my first and best option to make this happen. The timing felt right, and when I arrived in Ibiza it was something totally different to what I expected. I saw the opportunity to create something in the daytime that would appeal to a different type of client by uniting different generations in one event, which was a game-changer for the Island at the time.
As was Hï Ibiza...!
It was a big bet and a huge responsibility to take over from Pepe Rosello’s legacy with Space, and Carl Cox’s kingdom. I wanted to create something really different for Ibiza, a new experience based on the latest technology, amazing production, a well-balanced line-up which bought a little bit of every type of music to ensure success. Atmosphere-wise, we wanted something that would be able to change every day to give the people a different experience each night. I also believe that delivering great customer service is key, so we aim to treat people in the best way, with the best environment, and ultimately give them the best night of their life.
What’s a typical working day like for you during the summer season?
When you run two venues, both day and night, every day, there is very little time to rest. After leaving Hï Ibiza when it closes, I go home, and I wake up around midday. I’ll then have to read and reply to all of the emails and messages I’ve received whilst I’ve been asleep. Then I’ll have a shower and rush to Ushuaïa. When I get there, I’ll speak to the team. The event usually starts around 5pm and runs until the night. Next, I’ll cross the road to Hï Ibiza and stay until seven or eight in the morning. I’ll get home, feed my dogs and then relax for 20 minutes or so as I can’t get to sleep straight away. I’ll see my wife and my baby. Then repeat for the next 120 days straight!
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who want build a brand like The Night League?
Work hard, believe in yourself and follow your dreams. Be passionate, work hard again, and learn how to monetise – which is important if you want to be able to continue and make a success of your passion. Enjoy what you do – every moment of it – because your work and life are so connected. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, ultimately it’s not worth it.
Find out more about The Night League
Jasmine Kent-Smith is Mixmag's Staff Writer, follow her on Twitter
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