Music News

Dose Up: El Brian Castillo Starts Potent New Record Label

In Denver's muggy dance halls and dingy rock clubs, standing amid the billowing veils of local music history, stands one man. El Brian Castillo could be found in nearly every venue and music sub-scene, from rock and metal to dance and hip-hop, over the past decade, and now he's working to further develop and promote a diverse catalog of music from Denver and beyond. 

El Brian Castillo, member of the Sprinkle Wizards, has a substantial résumé, which includes making and performing original music, establishing popular events and residencies, releasing mixtapes, and holding affiliations with some of Colorado’s most notable musical acts. Now he can add running a music label to the list. El Brian is centered on releasing solid music from competent bands and continuing to strengthen the Denver music scene.

An employee of Wax Trax for over ten years, El Brian has a vast musical knowledge, which encompasses nearly every genre without discrimination. Over the years, he has held many occupations in the Denver music scene, from being the main DJ for FM magazine's parties, to being the resident DJ with fellow Sprinkle Wizard Deftron at the notorious Rock Bar.
For the past three years he has remained hard at work, stringing together a robust roster of musical groups for his record label, Heavy Dose. The label started as a monthly event, originally located at Beauty Bar before moving to the hi-dive, and featured El Brian and Matthew Novak hosting an evening of psych, metal, punk and rock played strictly on vinyl.

After attending Burger Records' Burgerama festival in California, El Brian had an epiphany. What if he booked the bands he played on record to play live instead at the Heavy Dose event? This way, he could support the bar, the residency and the bands he believes in.

For his first attempt, he brought out Ghost Box Orchestra from Boston. From there, the idea mutated. El Brian envisioned Heavy Dose as a record label and took the necessary steps to make his idea a reality. For the past year, El Brian has put together a deep roster of bands, some of which are from Denver, while others are spread out across the map.

Over the next year he will release a handful of LPs and seven-inch records from artist like Thee Commons, Colfax Speed Queen, Night Shapes, Homebody, American Culture, Mac Blackout, Modern Convenience, Emerald Siam and Bummers Eve. This Friday, April 1, at Club Scum, El Brian will host a release party for The Commons' first 45 on Heavy Dose.

As with any attempt to release an exceptional product in the music industry, El Brian has run into a handful of hurdles, the latest being a bad shipment of 45s. He received the shipment last week, and to his dismay, nearly all of them were warped. Since then, he has sent out for a new shipment but unfortunately they will not arrive in time for the already-scheduled release show. El Brian managed to salvage thirty to forty of the original shipment of 45s, which makes the first pressing very rare, so be forewarned if you are interested in purchasing them. There will also be shirts, buttons and stickers for sale. 

In spite of the setback, the show promises to be lively, with sets by Los Retro 45, Poison Rites, Colfax Speed Queen, Panaderia (aka Pizza Time) and Thee Commons. Doors open at 8 p.m.

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Alex Warzel