Nightlife :: Music

The DJ With the Dragon Tattoo: Bryan Reyes’ Latin-Inflected Beats

by Jim Hauck
Tuesday Jan 24, 2012
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Originally born in Puerto Rico, DJ Bryan Reyes has a Latin beat built into his DNA.

After his family immigrated to Boston, , he became a devotee of Freestyle, the underground sound with a heavy Latin influence that was popular in the 1980s. Hearing this beat-heavy music in local clubs induced Reyes to try to be a DJ. While creating mix tapes and spinning at house parties for his friends, he was creating a sound that was all his own.

Adopting the name DJ Drako, he landed his first gig playing the Aspen Gay Ski Week in 2000. Entering the new millennium, Reyes made the decision to move to Florida. He eventually settled in Fort Lauderdale and adopted his own name as a DJ. It was also in Florida that he met the man who would become his partner, going on eight years.

He secured his first residency at Club Boom from 2001 to 2008 and grabbed the Red Ball Party in Fort Lauderdale in 2001. His first international gig in 2008 was in Mexico City at the gay afterparty during Madonna’s "Sticky and Sweet" tour. Reyes grabbed his first appearance on the West Coast the next year when he DJ’d a New Year’s Eve party called "Friction" at MJs in Los Angeles.

His next big gig was the Original Brazilian Pool Party on New Year’s Eve in Rio. It was around this time that he was also being looked at by GRGR/West’s Real Bad. In 2011, he got the coveted gig for Real Bad XXIII in San Francisco, the party that caps the Folsom Street leather weekend. He regularly plays at the House of Blues in Boston and Epic Saturday.

Reyes finds his inspiration and influence from popular gay DJs like Tony Moran, Ralphi Rosario, and Wayne G. "I like a constantly evolving sound," says Reyes, "and that is what I love about masters like Tony and Wayne. Plus I love innovation and that is something I see in Ralphi." He also loves Trance and cites Matt Darey and ATB (Andre Tanneberger) as key influencers in that genre.

From the DJ Booth to the Studio

All of these influences bear upon the music Reyes plays on the dance floor, and the increasing amount of it that he is creating in the studio. Reyes’s first original track, "Get Wet [In Mexico]," was released on Green Link music.

He discovered that he loved the producing and was thrilled to contribute mixes to various Tony Moran tracks, such as "Could I Love You More" and John LePage’s "Love So Strong." "Creating music for people to dance to is exciting," he says. "It’s a way for me to express my feelings."

Generally, he has preferred working solo, but that appears to be changing. Currently, he’s working on original productions with what he describes as "some new mind-blowing and unexpected material that will really show you what I’ve got." New tracks will be released out soon on Wayne G’s Bennu Records.

DJs like to dance once in a while: Reyes plans to attend the Winter Party in Miami this year when he celebrates his 40th birthday. If you see a hot man with a dragon tattoo on his back, that’s him.

Hear a podcast of Reyes’ work; also on his blog.

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