Like with all live entertainment, the pandemic put a hard stop to the heart-thumping crowd-drawing business of in-person electronic dance music events.
With the cancellation of Ultra, Electric Daisy Carnival and Tomorrowland, those craving the high-energy experience of mind-numbing sets turned to the web to relive previous multi-day festivals and take in new livestreams where DJs spun from their living rooms — some under the glow of disco balls and darting laser lights.
When the news hit that gay EDM artist Wreckno — born Brandon Wisniski — was playing in Colorado, fans jumped online to secure tickets. With an initial show selling out in under two minutes, the decision to offer additional nights of glitchy bass and pop mashups was made.
Nederland-based DJ Godlazer will open for Wreckno at Boulder Theater’s Thursday show. Some ticket options for the Boulder dates remain up for grabs, as the venue released additional tickets due to the high demand.
Wisniski grew up in Michigan and as a teen attended Electric Forest in Rothbury. Inspired by the festival’s stunning artistic visuals, hypnotic beats and overall vibe, he purchased some gear and began DJing. What started as a hobby has spiraled into a full-on career.
The rising star — who promotes the power of self-love and acceptance — used to travel coast to coast to attend Bassnectar shows and has now shared the stage with the renowned purveyor of dubstep.
In 2020, a year where clubs remained closed and dance floors empty, he and fellow Michigan-born electronic gay artist GRiZ, who now resides in Denver, dropped “Medusa” — a head-nodding tune that has become an anthem of sorts for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The infectious track — in which Wreckno shows off his rapping and vocal chops — charted No. 1 in TikTok’s Pride category, followed by Donna Summer and Madonna. It has clocked well over 3 million plays on Spotify since its release.
We caught up with the charismatic 25 year old, ahead of his four-night run, to find out about the backstory behind his name, who he looked up to musically growing up and how it feels to be considered a role model by other LGBTQ+ youth searching for queer voices and representation within the scene.
Daily Camera: What are you most looking forward to about your return to Colorado and four nights of in-person live shows? I imagine it’s refreshing to once again be on stage in front of people.
Brandon Wisniski: Most definitely looking forward to just having the opportunity to express myself on stage again. All I’ve ever wanted to do in life is perform, so I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to do it again, especially in Colorado — my favorite.
DC: Your song “Medusa” that you collaborated with GRiZ on has become such an anthem for the LGBTQ+ community. Do you and Grant Kwiecinski have plans to release any more collabs in 2021 or perhaps tour together?
BW: At the moment there is nothing else in the works, but he has said he would work with me again. I’m still beyond honored to have been part of “Medusa,” so whenever G needs me, I’ll be stoked to do whatever needed.
DC: What’s the inspiration and backstory behind the name Wreckno? Curious about how you landed on that moniker.
BW: In high school, a friend of mine and I had this performance art type thing planned for a talent show and we were really trying to find a name for our duo. I remember she said “Wreckno” and I just immediately was like “ohhhh.” It ended up just being me dancing in the talent show — to a bunch of Lady Gaga, duh — and afterwards I started using it as my handle online. Now here we are.
DC: Would you say you have diverse taste in music? Who are some artists, outside of the EDM genre, that fans would be surprised to hear you listen to?
BW: I definitely have a diverse taste in music. I guess if I’m thinking of artists I listen to that would genuinely surprise people…hmm. I still go crazy for Rob Zombie. I am going to see him live someday. But, yeah, my taste is all over the board. I’ll listen to Charli XCX, Rob Zombie, Young The Giant, Missy Elliot, SOPHIE, SZA, sometimes all in the same hour. I just adore music that makes me feel any type of way.
DC: As a gay teen growing up in a small Michigan town, who did you identify with and admire in the music industry?
BW: I definitely identified the most with Gaga, always. I learned all of her choreography so quickly and it got me into dance, so she was really the artist that brought me out of my shell. She’s the reason I wanted to be a performer. Outside of Gaga, and more in the queer realm though, Mykki Blanco and Brooke Candy were two of the badass LGBTQIA+ artists that made me think “wow, I can actually do this” for the first time.
DC: What’s it like to be admired by queer kids and teens that now see a bit of themselves represented in the EDM genre?
BW: Wow, it honestly feels so crazy even being asked that. When I got immersed in the electronic scene there was really nobody to look to as a queer person to feel represented by. I think it’s amazing that since more artists have embraced their sexuality that’s not the case anymore. We still have a long way to go, but I’m beyond proud to be pushing for that inclusivity in a scene I care so much about.