At the Motor City’s Micro-Movement event this past Memorial Day, it took me about 30 seconds on the dancefloor to spot the profound entity that is Brandon Wisniski aka Wreckno.
Towering above the crowd in a furry cowboy hat, a matching fur coat, and a rainbow fringe face mask, this
larger-than-life figure – jolly, sassy, and absolutely spectacular – was a glowing orb of positive energy on the dancefloor.
Much like the luminosity Wreckno brings to any room, he’s casting a similar light on the bass music scene. At just 25-years old, Wreckno is flipping the script on what it means to be a bass artist, mixing up production by MCing live on his tracks, throwing down bangers while cat-calling the crowd, and paving the way for the LGBTAQ+ community to express itself – and do so unapologetically. (In fact, from various releases and live events, Wreckno has contributed/donated mightily to various related causes like the Trans Justice Funding Project.)
After releasing the mega-collab, “Medusa,” with GRiZ in June 2020, Wreckno’s popularity has continued to rise. He followed up his provocative “Pansy” EP (with fave cuts like “Honey Drip”) with a slew of shows and other strong releases like “Porn Stache” (with Nu Strut) and “Blade (with Level Up). Funky, groovy and plenty sleazy, these booming tracks put a very new spin on the often bro-centric scene. We caught up with Wreckno recently for DJ LIFE.
DJ Times: How did you come up with your sound?
Wreckno: I’m very influenced by trappy bass music like Sumthin. I love G Jones. In the electronic side of things, I really love artists in that realm. But then, as just myself, I’m like a huge lover of pop music. I’m addicted to Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj and female rappers. I am also influenced by queer rappers I grew up listening to – like Brooke Candy and Mykki Blanco. All of these people, who are LGBTQ artists, are more obscure because there wasn’t really anybody at that time breaking really hard into the mainstream. So, it’s been kind of an infusion of all those things into one. I’ve been going to music festivals since I was 15 and loving bass and electronic music, and then seeing that there are no queer acts really getting booked with that kind of bad-ass energy around it. I really wanted to tie those things together once I started working in music.
DJ Times: What is your creative process in the studio?
Wreckno: My studio is in my room, so it’s like my nest and it’s a lot of just using my mic, playing with my voice a lot. I have a full notebook that’s pretty much filled to the brim with random ideas, but it’s usually whatever I’m feeling or like wanting to write about. I think of little phrases here and there and then expand – it flows off of
DJ Times: What about collabs?
Wreckno: When it comes to collaborating, it’s a lot easier if one of my friends who’s really advanced in production just has a spot for vocals already, and they’re like, “Hey, write something for this – here’s some keywords.” Sometimes, it’s that easy, and then other times I’m just by myself making the whole beat and making the
whole idea. The track “Fuck Me Cuz I’m Hot” was one of those, where I had it in mind for the two girls that are on the track. I like to be very free with it, and when I get to the point where I don’t feel like I’m having fun creatively because I’m doing it for work, I just stop and then wait for it to come back.
DJ Times: What else inspires you?
Wreckno: Women, in general. Powerful women. I’ve always looked up to powerful women role models. Powerful queer people, in general. I guess what inspires me the most is just really defying norms. Since I was a teenager, I’ve always been like that – the rebellious kid who was very androgynous when I was 16. In small-town northern Manistee, Mich., walking through the K-Mart in high heels and fishnets and very much with my middle fingers out all the time. What inspires me the most is staying true to that energy that I have in my life and being able to put it into a scene that I care about. I think there’s a lot of queer people that are paying attention to it, but don’t always feel represented – even though there are other queer artists. Sometimes it’s almost like watered down because you’re worried about straying away from the mainstream audience and I want to avoid that at all costs and stay true to myself and who I
am as a person.
DJ Times: What are your aspirations for queer representation in the bass scene?
Wreckno: My aspirations are just to make it a completely normal thing, obviously. I know it already has because people have told me their stories of how I’ve helped in a way of them feeling more comfortable. I was literally just in the woods and got Virtual DJ and started learning how to mash-up songs and mix. I was just super-passionate and like saw a spot for myself and worked really hard and got there. I hope that if people see that I did it that, if they feel maybe they’re in like a marginal, or like a small area or they are a minority… If there’s something that’s holding them back in this thing that’s kind of sis-hetero and white-dominated – I just know that it’s not impossible. I hope that that would be kind of part of what people are getting from what I’m doing.
DJ Times: You are becoming known for collabs, especially since your mega-track with GRiZ, “Medusa” last summer. How do you continue to make these collabs happen?
Wreckno: The energy you put out helps. With Grant [GRiZ], it happened naturally, just as friends. I think that some people just see what I’m doing and are, like, “Hey, want to work on this song?” I’ve been really lucky to get a lot of bad-ass collabs in a very short period of time. Some of them aren’t even released yet. I’m blessed, but I think it’s partially the vibe I’m putting out and me being me on the Internet. “Medusa” really helped put me on the map – it gave me this other level of credibility, especially with my vocal work.
DJ Times: How do you market yourself?
Wreckno: By being myself, but it’s probably just turned up a little bit more. I’m being my authentic self online, so people can relate with me… because I think that’s a key ingredient. A lot of artists in the scene are insanely talented and technically gifted, but they are, like, “Why is this working more than mine, when I’m technically better at this?” And maybe their music is more technically sound, but fans need to have something to really connect to and feel like they want to be behind as well.
DJ Times: You were able to increase your visibility during COVID – how’d you do it?
Wreckno: “Medusa,” working on collabs. Just continuing to make great relationships with artists, big and small. Curating friendships and focusing on that and whatever cool music comes from it. It’s crazy because I look back on this last year and it’s so bad, obviously, but it was on paper the best year I’ve had.
DJ Times: How do you balance being a DJ and an MC in your live production?
Wreckno: Right now, we’re at a very pivotal crossroads where I finally have my first live-mic set-up, that I want to start touring and taking with me everywhere. I’m hoping by the fall to have all the quirks and stuff figured out. What I’m dealing with as a performer is that most places I’m playing are expecting all DJs to come play these DJ sets. I come in and I’m also MCing and it’s been a lot of learning on the fly. I know how to perform with my voice, but each technical set-up at each venue is different.
DJ Times: What is your DAW? What else are you using in the studio?
Wreckno: I am on FL Studio 20. Then I have Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 interface and I plug it into my JBL monitors – it’s a very basic set-up. I also have this mic isolator – it’s called a Kaotica Eyeball Isolator, which ill.Gates recommended to me. It’s this little orb that goes around your microphone… I can immediately record clear, isolated takes.
DJ Times: Any preferred sample packs that you use?
Wreckno: I like “Beats from the Depths” – SOPHIE, her one big sample pack is my shit. Milano sample packs are amazing. I also get a lot of sample packs from this
guy named Smith, who is a crazy, awesome dubstep producer.
DJ Times: Your recent music is quite eclectic. You’re really switching the script on what people expect from you.
Wreckno: I appreciate that so much. People who are watching me in bass-music spaces came for a certain thing and then they see something else as it’s happening.
I am hoping that this [newer music] gives some people who are just kind of unsure of what I’m doing a little bit more of a clear perspective of where I’m trying to go.
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