With the endurance of Artisan’s successful afterhours program comes a natural ebb and flow. As the property’s new director of nightlife Thom Svast sees it, the tide is coming in once again—and it’s bringing rarely seen touring talent.
Brought on in June after previously serving as a resident with his DJ partner Stellar, Svast is aiming to both attract DJs too underground for the tourist corridor and too expensive for Downtown, and expand the draw of Artisan’s Bar & Ultralounge beyond its sun-pushing regulars.
The new crown-jewel promotion of the five-day Artisan schedule is a reimagined monthly Saturday afterhours party launching Labor Day Weekend. Called Violet Reign—see what he did there?—it will feature house and techno names revered among the anti-EDM crowd.
“No one is booking these DJs [in Las Vegas],” Svast says. “There’s a market for this.”
Among those he’s lured: Canadians The Junkies (August 30) and Carlo Lio (November 9); French minimal/tech house practitioner Popof (September 1); and Japan-to-NYC veteran Satoshi Tomiie (October 5). Artisan local residents such as M!KEATTACK, Spacebyrdz and J. Diesel will bookend the parties.
Violet Reign, which will see the Artisan lounge bathed in purple hues, is inspired by the space’s previous dance-till-dawn events sponsored by anti-smoking nightlife organization Sen5es, for whom Svast once served as brand manager (and who you can thank for keeping the bar smoke-free).
“Sen5es brought a higher-end crowd, a different clientele than they usually had,” Svast says. “We’re trying to expand that clientele … [one] that had been lost for so long. People were uncomfortable being [at Artisan] at certain times at night.”
Svast calls it “underground with class” and says Artisan will retain the current Thursday-Sunday underground roster, featuring Las Vegas house/tech slangers like Edgar Reyes, Brett Rubin and BadBeat. The resulting program solidifies Artisan’s position as a median alternative to—and overlap of—Downtown’s expanding indie scene and the Strip’s beat parade.
“We call [Artisan] the Island,” Svast says laughing. “Because we are. We draw from both, and both take away from us. We are that in-between point for people.”