It was one year ago when I spoke with Brennen Bryarly about his idea: to top into 100 personally chosen tastemakers in Denver to be a part of a monthly community event that brought renowned dance music to the people. That first night on November 19, 2011 at Beauty Bar featured Damon Allen, along with Brennan, otherwise known as Option4, locals Mike D. and Peter Black.
It was an intimate but vibrant gathering of dance fanatics who would soon begin to become fast friends over the course of each party, month over month. With each act that popped on the bill, from Fred Falke and Moon Boots, to Gigamesh and Todd Edwards, excitement and popularity for The Hundred grew while retaining that level of community that became extinct long ago in most cities and dance culture, overtaken by 'massives' and large clubs.
Brennen, through his vision-turned-reality, has taken community-oriented dance culture back to its roots, putting the music itself and the passionate dance-heads at the center while pushing aside the dress-to-impress, bottle service, go-go dancer, twenty-bucks a head commercialized era of EDM that began over ten years ago.
"Early on when I realized that this was real; that this was something serious, that it was something legitimate, was when we threw our second party," Brennen recalled as we sat in the back room of the Marquis in the early hours following Kitsune Club Night, which featured The Twelves and Option4.
It was the second party for The Hundred that took place after Christmas in 2011. Brennen had booked San Francisco DJ Mike Hill, and as with any professional promoter, he needed to estimate what a given DJ would 'pull' here in Denver. While that pull may not be as strong here as say, in Los Angeles or Chicago, he has is an instinct for what works and how to make it work.
The Hundred promotion wheels turned, pushing one of Mike Hill's new singles through the month leading up to the night of the party. Brennen explains the conversation he had with Hill after he picked him up from the airport, letting the SF DJ know what he'd been promoting for weeks. "[Hill] said, 'You know what? Maybe I'll drop the unreleased B-side [of the single] that never got out.' So I was like, yeah dude play it!"
As the night went on things were ramping up, getting hot and sweaty, when Hill dropped that B-side, a track that no one had ever heard. Because crowd were more than familiar with the original track, there was instant, instinctive recognition of Hill's new material by all the kids on the dance floor.
"Because the crowd knew what we'd been pushing all month, you see this uproar from the crowd singing the B-side. As an artist that's the most magical feeling in the world, when you play a song out that's yours, and you see the crowd and people already know it, and they sing the words, they vibe and they connect with it. To see people do that on something that [they hadn't] actually heard, 'cause it was unreleased, that's when I knew that we had a direct connection with these people. So when we push something, everybody gets involved. They're excited for the same reason. They're excited for the experience. They're excited for the music.
That was the first time I was like, 'Wow. This is Legitimate.' We can take somebody that doesn't have a lot of pull in Denver, promote the nonsense out of it, and then everybody's excited. They can't wait to see it 'cause its good quality music. And when it happens, people attach themselves to that. That was probably one of the best moments of the year for me…outside of Jacques Renault."
The private Hundred party that night surpassed Brennan's wildest dreams. Having already been a Renault fan, Brennen was more than excited to have the renowned DJ in Denver for his intimate event. He also kept the headliner a secret. And he made it free. Because all The Hundred peeps had the faith, there were two hundred or so boys and girls in attendance.
I knew he was super sick with a cold, but there he was smiling and dancing as if he was in tip-top shape. Because he was. "That was one of the most special moments of my life. It was a Sunday night. We put two hundred people in this building going ape wild crazy. Jacques was playing; he was having the time of his life. When the stage flooded, when 'Beat Me Up' went on…I'm looking at all these people. I know them all by name. 'Oh my god this is happening for free. This is what we spent our profit on.'"
In addition to solidifying his place and The Hundred's loyalty base here in Denver, as Option4, he's also been a busy guy, releasing an E.P., "Into The Night," in August of this year that went to number 6 it's first week on Beatport. In the last year Brennen's also given up his day job, which allows him to focus on music on a full-time basis, continue as the resident DJ at Lipgloss every Friday (at Beauty Bar), while also doing producing work for other artists and getting out on the road to tour.
With all this and more coming out from Brennen aka Option4, it was no surprise that his latest track is called "Do Work." If there's two things that Brennan knows well, it's music and hard work.
The Hundred Anniversary party takes place Saturday, November 24 at Beauty Bar, with Jerome LOL, Option4, Lust (Holy Underground), Narky Stares (Damn Gurl), ENSO (San Francisco), starting at 9pm and going until the morning hours. Cover is only $7. See you there.