Every Space Is a Safe Space With EDM’s Bass-Bumping, Bar-Spitting Pop Star, Wreckno

Everyone is welcome to a Wreckno show, so long as you are welcoming everyone.

Enter a Wreckno concert and you will see posters reading, “This is a Safe Space, We do not tolerate: Racism, Sexism, Anti-Semitism, Ableism, Homophobia, Transphobia, Xenophobia, Body Shaming.” In other words: don’t be an asshole."

That is not a coincidence. It's by design. Venues are required to put up these posters for Wreckno's shows. 

"I would think of the things I didn't see when I would go to many of the mostly straight men's shows," Wreckno tells EDM.com. "I spent a long time going from a teenager at Electric Forest to someone on the main stage curating a vibe, and then getting to headline shows. I was like, 'How can we make it known to everybody around us that it's like, 'Hey, we stand for the good and we won't deal with the bad?' Maybe someday in the future or put it up on the screen or something like that."

"If I was walking inside that venue as a queer person or as a woman, it would probably be something that helps me feel better, at least about the environment I'm going into. I think it was just a way to make people feel safe."

It is a conscious and calculated effort to foster inclusive environments that weren't always offered to Wreckno as a consumer.

"The first group of dudes that I went to shows with were secretly super homophobic behind my back," Wreckno says. "I have had a mixture where I've had a great group of people now that I just trust and feel protected by. It's like any scene: there are going to be shitheads, there are going to be people that don't respect you and are rude secretly behind your back, whatever. But with EDM in general, the rave scene, I will say the vibe in a crowd… it's a complete 180 from mainstream crowds."

The exuberance of Wreckno is a dialed-up extension of Brandon Wisniski: a lover of performance art in many permutations. Wreckno sonically fuses thumping EDM with braggadocious hip-hop, adopts the energy of Lady Gaga and sources philosophies from the curious world of professional wrestling.

"How I always think about it is like a quote among wrestlers. They say that your gimmick is just you turned up to 11," Wreckno says. "I think Wreckno has always been me. It's just a huge part of me. I've always wanted to perform, always wanted to be having these moments where I'm able to express myself to an extreme."

Hatching from the cocoon did not come entirely naturally to Wreckno. It was a conversation with "Medusa" collaborator GRiZ that encouraged them to better practice what they preach. Wreckno told GRiZ that they wanted to be like a "gay white Lizzo," but the latter noticed the former did not embody that desire on a personal level.

"That moment of him saying, 'You want to be that?' but he could see that I wasn't there mentally," Wreckno explains. "He could see that I had the vision. I think it just really helped me as a person to walk the walk and talk the talk rather than just being like, 'Oh, this is my vibe.' Really trying to take the time to like look at myself in the mirror and be like, 'You are beautiful. You deserve the world' versus just trying to portray that vibe online."

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"I think onstage it's helped a ton once I started expressing my gender identity," they continue. "All of that went hand-in-hand and I felt like I was really actually able to start feeling myself in that way."

Empowered by an unwavering support system of friends and colleagues, Wreckno is suplexing the music scene. An even deeper support system—family—remains Wreckno's lifeblood, pumping away as it always has. Growing up in small-town Manistee, Michigan (a population of approximately 6,000), queer people were not universally treated with respect. Fortunately, the Wisniski family was involved and supportive of the creative endeavors that served as the building blocks of Wreckno.

"It's probably one of the main reasons I ever felt confident in pursuing music," Wreckno says. "If I didn't have my mom and my family members coming to talent shows, it might not have felt like a viable opportunity. But, thankfully, I always had those people around me."

"My mother and brother are always singing and creating in their own ways too. Having those immediately with me fostered a creative bubble for us… It definitely without a doubt shaped me into the person I am now."

Wreckno's continued rise in the music industry mirrors their personal growth. It's a journey of self-discovery as much as it is one of discovering sounds. It is an encouraging sentiment that Wreckno would share with a young Wisniski if possible.

"Don't worry about what you don't know and what other people make you feel bad for," Wreckno says. "I also would probably tell you, 'Don't worry about not being a part of the boys club.' I think for a while I was very much feeling misunderstood because of the scene that I was coming up in. I think now we're at a point where I'm like, 'You're going to be okay.'"

"The people that want to vibe with you are going to find you and you're going to be alright."


Facebook: facebook.com/wrecknosound
Twitter: twitter.com/wrekno
Instagram: instagram.com/wrekno
Spotify: spoti.fi/343gTkH

Tagsterms:GRiZInterviewWrecknoLGBTQBy Shakiel MahjouriFollow Shak_Fu

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