I had the pleasure of meeting Brennen Bryarly a couple years back at a show at Norad Dance Bar in Denver and knew from the moment we met that he was insanely passionate about the music scene here in Denver. The way he talked about house music within the community was inspiring and I could tell that he was going to make big things happen in the city. Since then, we have become great friends, taco aficionados, and have seen the house music in Denver grow to something special and unique.
As well as a promoter, Brennen produces music under the stage name Option4 and has played shows all over the country. It gives him a great first-hand knowledge of the scene and how to maneuver through the daily struggles of producer to promoter relationships. I sat down with Brennen over some tacos, burritos, and sopapillas to talk about our amazing city and the music scene that's found here. Check out some of Brennen's music on his Soundcloud like this remix of Anthony & Cleopatra's 'Take Me'.
Tell me about how you got started in music promotion in Denver.
BB: I was working a job that had me traveling all over the country to cities like Chicago, Nashville, Kansas City, etc. I started flying into Denver once a month for a party at the Snakepit to play with some of my friends and just have a good time and meet like minded people in the Denver music scene. The third month came around and I showed up to play with Pirate Signal and Pictureplane and the doors were locked. The place had been shut down. Thats when I started thinking about what I wanted in the music scene in Denver and how I wanted to change things here. I began a residency for Lipgloss in Denver after that and learned a lot from the creator of the weekly event, Michael Trundle aka DJ Hollow. I learned the rights and, more importantly, the wrongs of how to grow the music scene in Denver into something special.
You are the creator of the Hundred Denver, a front runner in the promotion of great house music within the Mile High City. What is your vision behind this group and how do you see it growing in the future?
BB: It all started in 2011. I moved to Denver on Thanksgiving of that year and the next week I threw the first Hundred show at Beauty Bar. I jumped right into things and thats what I wanted. The thought behind the Hundred is simply that I wanted to create something that wasn’t present in Denver at the time. A hunger and audience for great house music just wasn’t here and that is something I wanted to change. At the same time, I just wanted to go to shows with all my friends and have an amazing time listening and dancing to great music all night. We came together without a huge company name backing us or a ton of money to book the biggest names possible, but with the same goal of exposing Denver to sounds that were new and innovative in the house scene. Since those initial shows, the electronic and house scenes have grown tremendously and the hunger for sounds that push the envelope have grown with it. Ive had offers to expand the Hundred to other cities, but I’ve always wanted to keep the group exclusive to Denver. Growing to me means booking artists that may not be “mainstream”, but are unique and bring something special to our city. Thats why we have a ton of artist debuts in Denver through the Hundred Presents. I feel like if you’re not pushing music creatively you can become complacent and thats the way things become stagnant and die, especially in the promotional part of music. The Hundred will always mean this to me: Being with the friends you love, enjoying a night together on the dance floor, and cherishing the music that we're all passionate about.
What shows are you working on promoting in Denver at the moment?
BB: We just threw The Superfriends show as a collaboration with the Hundred+Moon Boots on August 1st and that was something special because it was the first time we brought in so many awesome artist and put them under one roof for one night. Matthew Dear, Moon Boots, Justin Jay, T.Williams, Vanilla Ace, Sean Majors, Doug English X Ross Regs, and Denver’s own Wiley Cyrus played an all day/night party on Vinyl’s rooftop and main dance floor indoors. The vibe was amazing from start to finish and being with so many great friends all day and night was such a treat. On august 29th we have the Crew Love party with Soul Clap, Wolf+Lamb, and No Regular Play that is sure to be an all day hot boy rooftop extravaganza. Last, but certainly not least, the Hundred Presents is throwing the 2nd annual Cloak and Dagger Music Festival in Denver on September 19th with Four Tet, Classixx, and Lido headlining. There are also a ton of amazing supporting acts like the Gaslamp Killer, Sweater Beats, and Sam Feldt, not to mention the great local talent like Danny Marin, Black Tuesday, and Azon Classic to make this one of our best parties all year. Two days before the Cloak and Dagger Music Fest we have the Denver debut of one of the biggest DJ names out there, Nicolas Jaar. This is our official pre-party for Cloak and Dagger and is going to be one for the books, trust me!
What are your favorite places to see a show in Denver?
BB: Honestly, I love every single venue in Denver. There are so many unique spots in this city its hard to choose a favorite. Obviously I love the places we throw parties at like Vinyl, Bar Standard, and the 1up but I also think that venues like the Larimer Lounge, the Bluebird and the Fillmore are what make it such a pleasure to see music in Denver. The Fillmore is like Taj Mahal to me, just a gorgeous venue with chandeliers and a long history of amazing shows there. The Bluebird has some of the coolest art deco architecture in the city and has such an intimate feel to everything Ive seen there. The Flight Facilities show there at the beginning of March this year was incredible! The Summit Music Hall has some really great metal and punk shows that roll through every week and I heard that they just upgraded their sound system so Im pretty excited to hear what that place sounds like now. For real, I think there isn't one single place that I dislike here.
In your opinion, what do you think the future of the music scene in Denver will look like?
BB: To me, Denver is one of the best places to see and hear some of the freshest live music in the country. The Hundred alone throws close to 200 shows a year right now and we promote mainly house music. Now think about having dozens more promoters showcasing everything from punk, hip hop, electronic, and on and on every week. It's insane how much music is happening in this city! There is a lot more competition here because of that fact and I love that about Denver. I feel like competition is the driving force behind creativity and always wanting to push the envelope. Denver’s scene will only grow better and stronger because of this. I started the Hundred with a drive and passion to push the house music scene towards the goal of bringing in underground and never-before-heard-of artists and the response has been incredible. That says something to me. It says that Denver and the people here appreciate and crave music that might not be monetarily successful, but successful in the sense that it brings something new and exciting to the scene here, whether it be house music or not. I see every genre of the music scene here in Denver growing stronger and stronger as the city grows with it.
It's been an absolute pleasure and privilege to get to know Brennen Bryarly aka Option4 these last couple years and witness his growth as well as the growth of the house music scene here in Denver. Bigger and better things are on the horizon for both him and this lovely city and I'm so enthralled to be a part of it. Thanks for reading and, as always, Ill see you on the dance floor!