Ahead of their sell-out dance party in the Parklands, we spoke with Housing Boom to chart the collective's rise from rambunctious club night to polished events company.
Why Housing Boom won’t go bust
The minds behind Housing Boom – Phil Pirone, Dave Kamenair and Yani Tsapaliaris – say the brand’s first foray into the world of public events didn’t go according to plan. Far from it, in fact.
“It was Biggies at Bertram in 2018,” Phil says.
“This guy comes down the street and goes straight through the door, but obviously didn’t see the staircase, and fell down the stairs,” Dave says.
“We freak out going, ‘Oh my goodness, what have we done. That wasn’t meant to happen’.”
“It was pretty traumatic,” Yani adds, “and we were unsure if he would be okay.”
He was ok, and so was the Housing Boom brand.
Three years later, Housing Boom is synonymous with well-run events, house music and glossy production that’s not exclusively limited to nightclubs.
Their most recent open-air gig at the Adelaide Gaol, near Karrawirra Parri River Torrens in March this year, included elaborate staging and lighting, plus frenzied dancers, with more than nine DJs spinning records for over 12 hours. The online allocation of tickets sold out within days.
This weekend’s Tulya Wodli Bonython Park affair, which is double the capacity and has Melbourne DJ Partyboi69 headlining, also exhausted tickets sales within days.
We wanted to know how Housing Boom morphed from a club night specialising in house heaters to hosting one of postcode 5000’s most exclusive public events. We asked to meet for a chat.
— Yani Tsapaliaris.
Housing Boom was founded when friends Phil, Dave Kamenair and Yani noticed a gap in the Adelaide clubosphere.
Yani says there were a lot of nightclubs catering to techno and disco sounds, but they were absent of “light-hearted, fun house music.”
The plucky home-DJs pitched the idea of Housing Boom to Paul Crozier, owner of Biggies, hoping to add a sweaty four-to-the-floor party to the venue’s roster. It took off.
“After the first one we got really excited [and] just wanted to keep going,” Yani says.
“We started making friends, but it was an eye-opening experience.”
Biggies only had analogue turntables, which meant all three had to master mixing vinyl. And because they had hopes to book interstate DJs, they also had to quickly learn the etiquette of the late-night economy.
“I remember in the early days, we sent out a few pleb emails,” Phil says.
“I think we offended a few people with some low offers,” Dave says. “We started to realise you should pay people more than that.”
“We just didn’t understand,” Yani says. “Then it’s like, ‘Oh, you have to pay for their accommodation and their flights? Oh ok. This is how it works.'”
The next major milestone came when the trio landed New York DJs Mood II Swing for a show at Morphett Street cocktail bar Lotus Lounge in June 2018, roughly six months after their first party.
Lotus Lounge became Housing Boom’s home for a couple of months, Yani says, and then the gang then migrated to Sugar Nightclub on Rundle Street, after being poached by one of the co-owners.
They say Sugar’s co-owner and stalwart DJ Driller Armstrong helped them become more fluent in booking prospective DJs.
But even as the collective was learning the behind-the-scenes processes, their gigs always had an edge, Yani says.
“We recognised people would be into it. They just needed to be exposed to it,” he says.
Two years into this rapid rise, the pandemic hit. Clubs were shut and Housing Boom was put on hold.
While brand dabbled with live-streaming sets publically, behind closed doors they coreographed their inevitable comeback onto the club scene.
“We were always scheming: ‘What are we going to do next?’ We really wanted to do something bigger,” Phil says.
This is when planning for March’s 350-pax party at the Adelaide Gaol began.
“I remember at the [Adelaide] Gaol, we all went inside to do something and then it was like, ‘This is sick. Everyone here is having a good time. Everyone’s so nice. This is exactly what we envisaged,’” Dave says.
Building on the momentum of their return, Housing Boom immediately got to work on another, levelled up open-air event – this time in the Tulya Wodli Bonython Park.
Almost double the capacity of their last gig (600-pax), the event is happening this Saturday. Food truck Gang Gang will be posted-up supplying burgers, and Adelaide wine producers Delinquente Wine Co will slinging booze.
As we mentioned, the gig sold out within days of tickets going live.
Dave believes this support shows Housing Boom events “are unique and something that’s not your standard club night”, while Phil reckons people are hungry for experiences after “quite a boring time through the pandemic”.
Yani says it’s the acts: “The bookings that we did were quite attractive.”
Before we finish our interview, CityMag asks the party planners some advice, should any up-and-coming events companies or DJs be interested in selling out events at a similar rate.
“If you fall over and fail, you’re just gonna keep going,” Yani says.
“When we were trying to figure out how to do bookings, we had no idea, offended some people in the process, looked like absolute idiots. But if we hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t have figured out where to go.”