When the superclub opens this spring, DJ and producer Calvin Harris will be its first exclusive resident.
After a two-year stint at Wynn Resorts, superstar DJ Calvin Harris has found love in a new place: the MGM Grand’s soon-to-open Hakkasan Las Vegas.
Harris has signed on for an exclusive 20-month residency with the superclub, which will kick off when the full venue (including a restaurant) opens in April. He’ll play 46 dates at Hakkasan itself, as well as 22 additional gigs at the MGM Grand’s “dayclub” Wet Republic.
"I think the most exciting thing about this club is the team behind it,” Harris told Billboard exclusively. “They have been so important in the growth of European dance music back in the U.K. They know clubs, it's the main thing that they've done for so many years. When they came to me and say they're going to build this massive, massive club and [that] it's going be finished in the most incredible way, it was just too good to be true. Being an established brand, you know it’s going to be quality."
Hakkasan Las Vegas marks the luxury dining brand’s first foray into nightlife, and the five-story, 75,000-square foot space will undoubtedly shake up Vegas’ already competitive club market. Adding to Hakkasan’s impact is the Angel Management Group team behind it, helmed by CEO and nightclub veteran Neil Moffitt. They will operate the space in cooperation with the hotel. In the early 2000s Moffitt founded the electronic-focused Godskitchen brand and Global Gathering festival in the U.K.. he also acquired Las Vegas-based Pure Management Group in 2010 and its several Vegas venues.
For Moffitt, Harris was an easy choice of inaugural resident. "It wasn't just about who’s hot and who's not,” he said. It was about looking at things from a longevity standpoint. I've been working with Calvin on and off since he left his full-time job and became a musician. We wanted to partner with people who can remain relevant, who are challenged by what they do and who continually move the goalposts."
Moffitt also spoke of the need to “move the boundaries” in terms of the space itself. "The first thing I felt was that having a food component as part of the facility was important,” he said. “Having the only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant as our food component, what’s better than to try to take that and turn it into a nightlife concept?”
Within the Hakkasan Las Vegas space, Moffitt said, "We have a restaurant, phenomenal private dining with tables overlooking the restaurant, a super high-end mixology lounge, a secondary nightclub and we have a main room nightclub that can be compartmentalized [to] have a third room nightclub."
Harris praised the innovative design of the space as well. “The good thing is there’s more than one room,” he said, “whereas [with] clubs in Vegas, you kind of have a choice of one DJ, and if they’re not good you leave the club and go hear another DJ. So you could go to this club, you can listen to dance music, and if you've had enough of it, you can go listen to hip-hop. It's kind of an attractive prospect, because it'll get more people through the door and will keep them there."
Moffitt agreed, explaining that Hakkasan Las Vegas hopes to cater to the broad demographics the city itself attracts. “I think that some people are put off by the fact that they have to sit in a main room where they can't communicate with their friends,” he said. “On the other side of the coin, some people are put off because people my age at the table next to them. I hope that we've created an environment where, whether someone is 21 or 45, they can find something that appeals to them.”
"It's kind of like playing a festival,” Harris added, “in that you can play to people who know who you are but you also have the opportunity to convert people who either don't know who you are or don't even know they like dance music. They just turn up because they want to be in the club."
"If you come in with mediocrity here [in Las Vegas], you get killed,” said Moffitt. “Hopefully what we're delivering is something unique and special."
Hakkasan expects to announce more exclusive resident DJs in the coming weeks.