Interview: Beno Lavaud Reveals Details About Tokyo's Most Exclusive Members-Only Party

by Yumi Matsuo · January 24, 2012

Beno Lavaud is a former L'Oreal manager turned DJ who throws exclusive parties every month in Tokyo with his co-founder Cedric Alberge. Their party is the new party to be seen at with it's members-only guest list, comprised of Tokyo's top executives, celebrities and foreigners. CNN has recently coined it the "Facebook of the Tokyo club scene," where friends, and friends of friends are invited. Operating in the cities most luxurious clubs, the dynamic Frenchmen draw in a super trendy crowd to the most sought after, exclusive rave. From how Blacklist evolved, to how to get on the guest list, Beno gives his insight on the Tokyo nightlife.

[Go HERE for more information on BlackList]

[Photo: Beno Lavaud, Cedric Alberge via]

How BlackList Evolved

How did you meet Cedric?

We were friends in Paris when we were students going around to clubs. Then Cedric moved to Tokyo in 1999 to work for Cartier. When I arrived in 2004, he was my only friend in the country.

What did you think of the club scene in Tokyo?

When I arrived, I really didn't like the music in Tokyo clubs which were either 'hard techno' or really Japanese pop... I felt I couldn't survive in Tokyo with this music. Going around with Cedric, we thought, why not create our own party so we can play our own music.

How did you get into DJing?

We were absolutely not professional DJ's. That's why we decided also to play at the same time, so we can have time to adjust between songs. Later this '4 hands' play became quite popular among the Japanese music scene.

Now as more experienced DJ's, do you still play at the same time?

Yes now we enjoy playing at the same time. It's like a ping pong game. We challenge each other live with songs. We do not prepare our sets before the party and we improvise depending on the crowd we have in front of us. It is really a music game between us.

The Guest List

Where did the idea of an exclusive guest list come from?

We were the first ones in Tokyo to create a 'guest list only' party. Parties are all about the people. To have a closed guest list avoids any discussion at the door. Not on the list, no party. On the list? You are our VIP.

What types of people comprise the guest list?

The first party we organized we invited 200 people and 600 came. 6 years later we have about 7,000 member on our list. It is roughly 60% foreigners and 40% Japanese. Many of the Japanese guests are celebrities, singers, and actors.

How would you describe the Tokyo social scene?

I feel like Tokyo is a really friendly city. In the 6 years we have hosted parties we have never had fights, problems at the entrance, or theft. Japanese people are also very humble, so it's not about who is buying the biggest bottle of champagne. This brings a very unique atmosphere to the night life- very stress free.

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Tokyo vs. NYC

Have you ever partied in NYC? Where are some of your favorite places?

I love New York City, but I haven't been there in a while. My favorite places are Hudson Bar, the Soho House to chill out in the afternoon and the Bowery Hotel for an evening drink. But basically when I arrive in NY, I just follow my friends. In NYC, places are opening and closing so quickly! It is trendy one month and not anymore the next.

Who, in your opinion, is the best US based DJ?

Music is based upon your mood. So I have a favorite DJ for each moment of the day. I really like Frankie Knuckles, Eric Morillo, Armand van Helden, Robbie Rivera and Roger Sanchez.

Who parties harder- Japanese or Americans?

Impossible to compare. It is like comparing burgers with sushi. Completely different ingredients, styles, designs, tastes and experiences.

[All Photos via]