As an unapologetic party girl who never plans to reform, no one can reach the highest levels of my respect and admiration more so than a club promoter. Except club promoters tend to be sleazy douche bags. So imagine my delight when I latently stumbled across the Comeback Season Kids and their unique approach to not only throwing club nights but also art based events and branding.
My first encounter with the CBS Kids came when I attended one of their famous Häus parties where A$AP Yams and Tommy Kruise were special guests. Located in the Entertainment District’s Product Nightclub, the once frequent haunt of mines had been transformed into an inviting, unpretentious atmosphere filled with some of this city’s most engaging and noteworthy Millennials. The sign by the door read “Sometimes a nightclub can be intimidating, pretentious and uninviting. That’s not us.”
It was so obvious that Bad Perm had to reach out for an interview. When Ronnice and Xander agreed, they invited me to their offices at INK Entertainment, a pristine, white headquarters with gold accents and glass doors and I began to understand the environment that fostered this level of productivity. Looking more like an office space from a film set, INK Entertainment was buzzing with energy that ensured that their work would never be short of exciting.
I came prepared with 10 questions and expected to stay no more than 30 minutes. What I got was a full summary of the history of CBS complete with hilarious anecdotes that are very telling of the great relationship Ronnice and Xander have. So I hope you can join us in the following conversation;
Bad Perm: How did you come up with the Comeback Season Kids? What was the initial vision and how did you put that plan into motion?
Ronnice: Initially when we started, it was just a catchphrase that we wrote on Facebook and we started filming promo videos of our dodgeball games and we’d add the catchphrase at the end of it. Slowly but surely everyone kept asking “Can I be a part of Comeback Season?”
That was before we knew what that was.
Xander: I wasn’t around for dodgeball.
Ronnice: Yeah, he [Xander] wasn’t around for dodgeball. That was in ’09. I met Xander randomly on the street, on Queen Street and he was like “Hey…”
[Turns to Xander] What did you say to me?
Xander: “Hey man, I seen you before, you got some sick gear!” [Laughing]
“You’ve got a perm one day and you dress like a homeless guy another day and then you dress like a fancy guy another day…,” something like that.
And then I was like “You wanna skate?”
And he was so shit at skateboarding back then.
Ronnice: I wasn’t that shit, man.
Xander: You were O.K. But then we met this other dude…and then we just started making fun of him and I was like ‘I guess Ron is alright.’
Ronnice: We spent the whole day bonding and making fun of someone else which is probably awful.
Xander: I don’t wanna say anything…it’ll suck if they remember any of this. He’ll probably be like ‘No way! That’s what they were saying?!’
Ronnice: After that he [Xander] mentioned to me that he DJs, my best friend Conrad and I had this beach party so we got him to DJ. And it was a crazy party, there were about 600 people and it wasn’t even meant to be a party, we were just going to have a barbecue. He came super late but when he did he had this huge Louis bag and brought a bunch of Forest Hill looking kids and he just played the best tracks we’d ever heard in our lives and everyone was going crazy. We titled it Comeback Season’s Life’s A Beach. We’d been using that catchphrase for so long, just to motivate us all the time and that was technically the first party we’d had.
BP: I know you guys were with Embrace initially and now you’re with INK Entertainment…
Xander: Not initially.
BP: No? The Hoxton?
Xander: No. That was like, a year and a half after we’d done bars…
Ronnice: The following year was my best friend Conrad’s birthday. He just wanted a low key loft party, with like 6 friends and everyone didn’t want that. So we secretly planned to have a huge party and rented all this super sound system from MOOG because he [Xander] worked there and Conrad was like “Hey man that’s a lot of speakers for a few people.”
Luckily, Conrad got super drunk and passed out early in the night so we got on our phones and messaged everyone. The party was a success. The place was ruined, his credit card was on the condo; we had to clean it all up before he woke up. To this day he still has no clue.
That was all 2011, February. We weren’t even thinking about parties until about summer – June. June 28th to be exact.
BP: What was June 28th?
Ronnice: 2011, we had this thing called Patio Nights. But prior to that our friend Roly who was in this band Ain’t No Love, he let us do it in addition to his weekly party on Thursday at 751 called Grow Young.
Xander: He didn’t believe us at first, remember that?
Ronnice: He didn’t believe us at first. I asked him literally for like three weeks then the fourth time I asked he was like “Ok fine, you guys do it.”
Smashed it. Place was packed as fuck. The police had to come because there was too much people, the streetcar couldn’t move – you know how 751 is. People started bringing ladders to climb the back so that they could get in. Then July 5th we did the Patio Nights at this place called KOS in Kensington. I don’t know if its still there. It holds like 50 people, we packed it with like 400. Swat team came and shut down the party and everyone hopped the fence at the pool at the Scadding Courts Community Centre.
Fast forward in the same year, 2011, November, jacflash, one of our close friends, she asked us if we wanted to do a party with her and we called it 11:11:11 because that was the date and it was this really cool fashion party with her, jacflash, Comeback Season and Sam Edelman – also a success.
Following that, it was his [Xander’s] birthday. [Turns to Xander] Did we want to do the party at The Hoxton?
Xander: We just wanted a space anywhere. My parents are friends with Kenny Hotz – you know, of Kenny vs. Spenny – and he’s a part owner so he told the other two owners ‘Hey, you need to meet with this kid. He wants to throw his birthday.’ Jesse and Richard, I know these guys were thinking ‘What the fuck? It’s just some stupid kid’s birthday party.’
And we’re telling these guys that 700-1100 people were gonna come and they didn’t believe us. So they understaffed.
Ronnice: Yeah, they asked us how we were gonna promote and we were like “Uh, Facebook” and they were like “Really? Do you think you’re going to get over a 600 people?”
And I said “Yeah, I think so.”
Xander: So we did it and it was like 1200 people, literally in that space.
Ronnice: The party was called Winter Jam, DJ Whoo Kid and Deadmau5 showed up. Did Abel [The Weeknd] show up?
Xander: [Laughing] His friends came and his right-hand-man and close friend of ours, LamarXO was like “Abel’s gonna get swarmed by fans.”
So he didn’t end up going. [This is when House of Balloons had just dropped].
Ronnice: That’s what enabled us to do events on a professional level. That was the first time we met Ryan Burton from Embrace. Ryan was always very nice. After that party he was always checking up to see if we were O.K. – if we liked our time at The Hoxton.
We wanted to take the parties to another playing field, so Ryan sat us down and had a meeting and asked us if we wanted to be more involved. So it started from there.
Xander: In 2012 we did all of Embrace’s stuff.
Ronnice: I think Embrace taught us about other aspects of events – shows, parties, everything. Flosstradamus, Dillon Francis, Digital Dreams, [Mad Decent] Block Party, RiFF RAFF, Action Bronson, Diplo, Major Lazer. I remember one time, Adam Gill introduced us to the whole Major Lazer crew, brought us backstage and was like “These are the Comeback Season Kids.”
They were super cool, they were super nice guys. They’ve always showed us a lot of love and we’ve always showed them love.
Xander: They [Embrace] let us a see a lot of things so that we could learn and understand how shows and concerts and all that stuff works. Once you’re in the inside of all of that you kind of get a good idea of how to run your own business. I’m not saying we have our own business yet – its still super fucking small but it’s a great start.
Ronnice: Without Embrace we wouldn’t have gotten to this. It would still be local Queen Street shit. But not to say we didn’t take what they gave us and ran with it, it was a collaboration in many ways. If they gave someone else the opportunity, it’s not guaranteed that the outcome would still be the same. Embrace does crazy shit and we just back it up, 100%.
*image has been taken from the Comeback Season Kid’s Facebook page.