Emo Night L.A. brings out the scene nostalgia in all of its attendees, especially its regular DJ crew, Captain Cuts. The trio of Ben Berger, Ryan McMahon and Ryan Rabin spend the majority of their time writing for pop artists like Halsey and Walk the Moon, but since they’ve become involved with Emo Night (a.k.a. Taking Back Tuesday), Captain Cuts have gone back to their high school roots and are now releasing their debut emo mixtape, If You’re Listening It’s Never Too Late. Stream the mixtape below and download it for free here.
Berger, McMahon and Rabin grew up together in Los Angeles but officially formed as Captain Cuts not long after graduating college five years ago. As teens, the trio loved a mixture of pop-punk and emo acts, from Blink-182 to Brand New, and after attending one of the first Taking Back Tuesday parties at the end of 2014, they were brought back to that era. “We couldn’t believe it tapped into our 15-year-old selves,” Berger recalls, noting that they immediately reached out to Emo Night’s organizers after that first night. “It brought us back to being a part of that scene when we were younger.”
Since the trio’s history with the scene came from being avid listeners rather than in emo or pop-punk bands, Captain Cuts decided to bring their unique background to their sets. “The big draw of the other DJs is that they were in an emo band growing up,” McMahon states. “It was Mark Hoppus the night we went, and the All Time Low guys perform often.”
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As heard on the mixtape, Captain Cuts mash up pop hits with emo classics. On one track, they mix Drake’s “Hotline Bling” with Say Anything’s “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too,” while later, Jack Ü’s “Where Are Ü Now” blends with All-American Rejects’ “Swing, Swing.”
Currently, crafting these mixes for their DJ sets — and now for fans to download — is just a side project on top of their regular work. Most recently, the trio had a hit with Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance,” which they co-wrote, and contributed to Halsey’s debut album with the track “Roman Holiday.”
“People who were teenagers at the time that this music took off are hitting a place where the nostalgia factor is really high,” Berger says. “We were having so much fun making these and we felt that we would be bummed not letting everybody else have them and have the same nostalgia feeling we have.”