Your Mysterious One-Night Stand at Swedish House Mafia's Masquerade Motel
However, here's another (admittedly fictional) way: In the middle of the night, you make a phone call to an anonymous reservation hotline. Some British dude answers, asks for your credit card information, and confirms the availability of a standard suite. You book it. And within an hour, a private black limo with dark, tinted windows pulls up outside your apartment, the doors unlock, and you climb into the back seat.
You're alone. But some invisible butler's already poured six ounces of straight, ice-cold vodka into a lowball glass. You finish the drink, pour another, and finish that one too. And then at some point during the 20-minute ride between the pickup point and tonight's final, undisclosed destination, you fall asleep.
When you wake up, you're already on your feet, standing in the iridescent shadow of some giant white tent set up on the sands of South Beach. You recognize the spot from the glowing lime green, hot pink, and electric blue of the signs out on Ocean Drive. Suddenly, you're face-to-face with a female model in a cheap plastic carnevale mask. She hands you a black skeleton key and points you toward a secret side entrance.
OK, so maybe the average guest's trip to Masquerade Motel isn't some mysterious pseudo-noir narrative. But that's the fantasy. And everything about Mafia members Axwell, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso's collective vision is carefully calculated to feed the idea of a strange, supersaturated party experience. The marketing is cryptic. The details are sketchy. And the VIP list may as well be written in hieroglyphics.
First staged in June 2010 on that infamous island called Ibiza at that equally infamous club called Pacha, this dance music throwdown has always dabbled in the arcane, especially when it comes to the unholy art of branding. "The first year we did a concert called the Dark Forest," explains Swedish House Mafia's manager Amy Thomson. "And the second year we decided to call it the Masquerade Motel," drawing inspiration from the "flashing neon of the motels up and down Sunset [Boulevard]" in Angello's adopted hometown of Los Angeles. And then there was the Motel's first Miami tour stop back in October 2010, which slyly coincided with Halloween.
|The Mafia: Angello, Ingrosso, and Axwell.|
"When you put a mask on, you feel quite anonymous. You feel a little bit mischievous and it allows you to just let loose that little bit more," says Thomson, explaining the appeal of partying incognito. "And that's the kind of energy that we want at the Masquerade Motel."