On Friday nights, notorious Hollywood hot spot Avalon continues to be the dance-music mecca for the wild, electro-addicted, 19-and-over crowd. And in a world crammed with revelers in need of a fix, Ryan Jaso–the man behind WhiteLite Productions and its weekly staple, CONTROL Fridays–is a major supplier. Two weeks ago, CONTROL celebrated its fourth anniversary with a huge performance by U.K.'s Jack Beats, alongside trap master Carnage and resident DJ as well as partner Whiiite.
The turnout garnered the kind of attendance most clubs would die for, with a line around the corner. Inside, celebrity-guest DJs in attendance included Borgore, Dillion Francis and 12th Planet, all of whom came ready to party and even hop on the decks. Naturally, the ability to conjure this kind of a scene on a weekly basis is quickly turning Jaso's residency and the artists under his Technique Management roster into very hot commodities. Not bad for a guy who used to hand out club fliers outside parties such as this.
Jaso began his career as an underling for the Social Group (the masterminds behind the club Sutra) in Newport Beach when he was only 18. The Huntington Beach native threw his first show at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa, a monthly titled Made You Look. "It was a ghost town at first–just me and 40 of my friends, even when we had artists such as Treasure Fingers," he says.
But times weren't always full of struggle. When he booked Steve Aoki, it was the highest-selling night for Detroit Bar at the time. At the same time, he booked a party in LA called Plus + Sundays at Play and a Monday all-house-music night at the SBE nightclub Area. Though these weren't the most profitable, for a guy eager to learn the business, the free weekly bar tab was payment enough.
Eventually, CONTROL Fridays became a vital component of the EDM scene in Los Angeles, solidifying bass music in it after Rusko headlined the main stage for the first time. "No one did dubstep that big at the time," Jaso says. Since then, CONTROL has been partially responsible for breaking artists as big as Skrillex ,who had his first big-room show there and frequently shows up to do surprise sets.
WhiteLite Productions and CONTROL continue to be at the forefront of EDM trends by holding all-trap shows with heavy hitters such as Baauer and Flosstradamus.
Sets from CONTROL are now streamed on iHeartRadio's Evolution online-radio show, as well as its flagship terrestrial station in Boston–with more stations in large cities to come. Jaso is also in talks about taking CONTROL nationwide. "Fifteen-hundred-capacity rooms the size of CONTROL, legit production in every city, with probably the last day at Avalon to take it to the next level," he says. This includes always searching for new talent for his Technique Management group, which already includes such artists as PeaceTreaty, Cold Blank, Mak J and Chris James, all of whom are all killing it in the game.(Recently, Chris James garnered a Grammy nomination for his vocals on Deadmau5's "The Veldt.")
Jaso's career was built around the grimy showrooms of big bass-heavy parties and the electro house artists he has rallied behind. In an effort to expand his brand, he took his background as a marketing director with Cardboard Robot and opened Lobby, a cool clothing store at the LAB in Costa Mesa. As a buyer, he brings high-end hipster threads from Wild Fox, Knomadik and Unif to his shelves.
As always, his ability to provide the product to get people hooked is his No. 1 talent. "For me, it's continuing to evolve and push for new things, whether it be for the store, my artist or my shows," Jaso says.
And this is only the beginning for a man who skipped out on college for something he was passionate about. "I still enjoy the music," he says. "I'm a fan first. I love what I do."
CONTROL Fridays at Avalon, 1735 Vine St., Los Angeles, (323) 462-8900; www.avalonhollywood.com. Every Fri., 9 p.m. Call for ticket prices. 19+.