Six years into the life of Wynn’s largest nightclub, Jesse Waits considers the effect strong relationships have on DJ rosters

Avicii, who will perform at XS’s six-year anniversary party, and

Avicii who will perform at XS’s six-year anniversary party. | Photo by Danny Mahoney

XS Nightclub is coming up on its sixth anniversary, which is a huge milestone as far as Las Vegas nightlife is concerned. Its bookings include names from among the most famous DJs in electronic dance music. Those, paired with extensive production elements and exceptional hospitality standards, are what have kept the club going for so long. XS managing partner Jesse Waits took a few moments to reflect on his relationships with such superstar DJs as Avicii, who will be playing the anniversary party March 28.

Jesse Waits at the club’s two-year annivesary. | Photo by Erik Kabik

Jesse Waits at the club’s two-year annivesary. | Photo by Erik Kabik

Did you specifically select Avicii to play the anniversary party, or was it just convenient scheduling?

It was chosen. The second-year anniversary, we used Deadmau5. Third year was Skrillex, fourth was David Guetta, fifth Kaskade. We have different artists [each year]. Avicii and I are very close, and he wanted to do something special with us, so it was a good fit.

How have these personal relationships impacted the business side of things for you?

With the politics of [the nightlife industry], having relationships with the artists helps secure where they want to be. When we’re putting offers in [to book DJs], it’s blind. We don’t know what the other clubs are offering. The DJs, they’ll say, “Hey, I want to stay with you. I don’t care what these others offer me.” That happens a lot.

How have you’ve become so close with these guys?

A lot of these kids had the same story when I first met them: They were quiet and young, and maybe insecure. They were leaving home for the first time, traveling the world, and not having any support or family, [other than] a tour manager. And they were coming to a city where they haven’t been before. [I was] somebody who would take them under my wing and give them some security and safety, and at the same time, they’d have fun. They’re looking forward to doing fun things they’ve never experienced before. That was part of the whole bonding experience for us, and it cultivated my relationships and loyalties with a lot of these guys.

What kinds of things do you do with the DJs when you’re just hanging out?

I show ’em around, race cars at the racetrack and shoot guns in the desert. Or we just go to my house and have barbecues—regular things.

Zedd performing at XS. | Photo by Danny Mahoney

Zedd performing at XS. | Photo by Danny Mahoney

Who was your first close DJ friend?

Tiësto [Tijs Verwest]. He came into town a lot, and we traveled together. This is when it was Tryst only—XS didn’t exist. Tijs and I pal’d around; we flew to Miami. I had a place in Hollywood at The W, and he’d stay with me when he was in L.A. He basically lived with me.

And you guys still keep in touch?

It’s funny, last night he sent me a WhatsApp [message] saying that he was reminiscing about the time when I first met Avicii. It was through him. I had come home from the beach, and Tiësto had a party at my house. There was this person in my bed, and I went into Tijs’ room and I was like, “Yo, Tijs, who’s in my bedroom?” And he’s like, “Oh, it’s some kid. Don’t worry about it. He’s a friend of mine.” So I go in there and there’s, like, beer cans and cigarette butts and tobacco all over the bed. And I’m pissed off. I’m like, “Get out of my room!”

A month later, I’m with Tijs again, and we’re in Miami seeing this kid DJ at a club. I look over and he recognizes me. He’s goes pale as a ghost and says, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” He was the kid that was in my bed, chewing tobacco. It was Avicii! And since then, he became a good friend.

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