Features, Print October 14, 2021

Wreckno: B-Queen Drops it Like a Boss

by Gabe Allen

Over the past year, an unlikely icon has burst onto the EDM scene. Brandon Wisniski, known eponymously as Wreckno, creates earth-shaking bass drops, raps about pulling up on your dad and refers to himself as a “FULL TIME BUSSY BOPPER” on Twitter. He may be the biggest, loudest, gayest producer the bass scene has ever seen, and he’s just getting started.

Wreckno – the buzz of the bass scene. Above and cover photos by Matt Charles.

“Medusa,” Wreckno’s breakout collaboration with GRiZ, served as an anthem at pride celebrations across the country in June of 2020. In June of 2021, the young emcee followed it up with PANSY, a six-song EP that reclaims a word long used to oppress queer boys and men. Now, Wisniski is touring hard alongside Clozee and Dirt Monkey. He will make a stop through NoCo to play the Aggie Theater along with fellow DJ and vocalist Megan Hamilton on October 23.

Wisniski’s music melds together the aggression of old-school gangster rap with the manic energy of bass music and the glamour of a drag show. It’s a perfect fit, but it has never really been done before. While there are queer bass producers, like GRiZ, and queer rappers, like the excellent Cakes Da Killa, no one has merged the two genres with the devotion and mastery that Wreckno has. Like most good artists, though, it took a long time for Wisniski to find his voice.

In 2012, Wisniski was a Lady Gaga-obsessed 16-year old in Northern Michigan. Creative expression was important to him already — he learned dance routines from pop music videos step-for-step and tinkered on music production software with his brother, Dakota. That summer, he bought a ticket to Electric Forest, an earthy EDM festival in Rothbury, Michigan. The experience changed the course of his life.

“I didn’t have anybody to be with, but this group of people from Colorado took me in. They could tell I was too young to be there alone,” Wisniski tells BandWagon. “It was my first festival experience, and afterwards I was like ‘I need to fit this into the rest of my life somehow.”

Flip through the entire October issue at BandWagMag.com

It would still be many years, though, before Wreckno graced festival stages. Wisniski soon dropped out of high school and spent his late teens and early twenties “wooking it — being a fucking wook.” He moved in with friends at 17, got deeply into hula hooping and made just enough money to pay rent and get tickets to the next big show.

“We were just having a really great time with no real direction,” he said. “It’s crazy, because it led to half of the connections I have today in the industry.”

Before too long, though, the never-ending EDM circuit took its toll. At 23, Wisniski wasn’t getting anywhere with his music, and he had developed an all-consuming stimulant addiction. He couldn’t afford rehab, so he moved in with his conservative father and stepmother. When he relapsed soon after, they kicked him out of the house. His grandparents were the last people left to take him in. 

“In my head I was like ‘if you don’t make this work you’re going to be one of those people that is just the problem all the time,’” he said. 

In order to stay occupied, Wisniski poured all of his energy into music. Six months after kicking his habit, he was booking shows. Now, two years out, he’s at the top of his game. If you want proof, go watch the double video for “Honey Drip” and “Hieroglyphs,” two of the opening tracks from PANSY. It features Wreckno in chest-length pigtails, black lipstick and a yellow, puffy suit, seated atop a glamorous floral bouquet, with dancers from the Detroit Pistons cheer squad and excessive quantities of, yes, honey.

“I told them I wanted some flowers,” Wisniski said. “They were like, ‘how about a flower throne?’”

One man show – Wreckno, live in concert. Photo by Austin Friedline

But as exciting as Wreckno’s singles, EPs and videos as are, there’s nothing like the real thing. Wreckno’s live show is immersive — goofy, frenetic visuals that sometimes read “error: bussy overload,” stacks of amps and subwoofers and the engaging, enigmatic man himself at the helm. Wisniski dominates the stage with the unmistakable energy of a born performer, making his buzzing fans flock like bees to their queen.

Don’t miss Wreckno live, October 23 at The Aggie Theater with Megan Hamilton, the final show of his Colorado run, including 10.21 in Denver and 10.22 in Boulder. Tickets at aggietheater.com – for everything else Wreckno, visit linktr.ee/wreckno