88 Ways to Say Goodbye

Bree DeLano is returning to her L.A. roots, but Pop-Up will live on

Bree DeLano. Photo: Krystal RamirezKrystal Ramirez | Vegas Seven

Bree DeLano. Photo: Krystal Ramirez

If you know local music, then you know Bree DeLano. Whether it’s through her eclectic DJ sets at bars, nightclubs or lounges as DJ88, or behind the scenes as an event coordinator and talent curator via her independent music-direction and production company 88 Ways, DeLano has made a lasting mark on the Las Vegas music scene. Her Pop-Up and Pop-Up Live party series have given local artists such as Brittany Rose and Cameron Calloway a chance to shine, while bringing in burgeoning talent such as Anderson .Paak. Nonetheless, DeLano is taking her talents to another city next year, but fear not: The events will go on. Before decamping to Los Angeles, DeLano bade farewell at the one-year anniversary of Pop-Up with performances by Rose, The American Weather, The First Sun and more on November 18 at the Sand Dollar Lounge—a celebration DeLano has called “almost overwhelming.”

Why are you leaving Las Vegas for Los Angeles? 

In short: I came, I saw, I humbly conquered. I’m very, very appreciative of everything I’ve learned, the opportunities I’ve afforded myself and the wonderful people I’ve met through connections. But when it comes down to it, I’m a hyperactive creative who has realized that Vegas is limiting when it comes to a certain point in one’s career. I’ve done everything I can possibly do here. It’s time for me to take this tiny empire I’ve built and cultivate it to the next level.

Also, I’m going home! I used to live in L.A., and I felt like it’s necessary for me to bring the series and my skills back there. Twelve years in Vegas is a long run, but this is going to be the 5.0 version of me. I’m taking everything I’ve done here and [will be] doing it out there. It’s going to be tough because I’m extending my brand in 15 different directions. I’m excited to be able to grow [in L.A.] again. I feel like I kind of kicked through the glass ceiling as a woman, and I hope to serve as an example. I’m not just a DJ; that’s just one of the many things I do. Vegas is a great city for DJs, but even that is challenging and complicated at times. I need to be somewhere where I can focus on everything that I can do.

Will you bring your Pop-Up event series to Los Angeles? 

Yes. I’m keeping the branding and extending it to L.A. It’s still going to be true in its essence—it won’t be confined to a weekly or monthly engagement, hence the term “pop-up.” That’s the beauty of it.

How did you select the host venue and entertainment for Pop-Up’s one-year anniversary?

Since it was the final one of 2016, I wanted to bring in a nice wave of different elements [that are] indicative of the series: for music lovers, by music lovers. … [Pop-Up] rotated musical genres through several different venues throughout the city, which sort of carries the torch of what I wanted to do at Insert Coin(s) as the music director there. The Sand Dollar [Lounge] is an incredible place that has a storied history. For the anniversary, we wanted to have it in an intimate venue that’s approachable to everyone, and we wanted it to have a house-party vibe with affordable drinks and amazing talent. The focus is recognition and introduction for both the bands and the venues. Brittany Rose actually performed at the first Pop-Up series when we had it at Ghostbar a year ago, and Crykit and myself spun as well. This time, though, Brittany [was] joined by The American Weather and The First Sun—not just a traditional set, either; I asked them to play covers by artists who’ve inspired them.

You’ve worked with artists on all levels, from local DJs to rapper Anderson .Paak. What has been your most memorable Pop-Up moment? 

The first event is an obvious highlight because it was my baby. There were so many magical elements that night—from launching the experience to bringing music lovers together in one room. We had Brittany and Cameron Calloway perform at Ghostbar, and it was a treat to see two locals take over a space where nationally known acts perform. And Anderson [.Paak] … that was something else. You can’t top his energy. That concert [in July at House of Blues] was the launch of the Pop-Up Live events, and it was amazing. Unforgettable.

Where are you in relation to your goals for the series? 

The most important thing I wanted to accomplish was to bring diversity—in terms of music—to the city. I wanted to bring it back to what nightclubs, DJs and artists are supposed to do: open you up to new music and form a community around it and just get you to dance! The dance-music community is so segregated and separated in Las Vegas; if you go into a nightclub, you’ll find that there’s no dancing, no connection and no engagement between people. I wanted Pop-Up to break down those walls.

What do you have planned for the future?

Now that I have the ammunition of a portfolio built in Vegas, I’m about to build a small empire in L.A. I want to launch something that city, in all its forward-thinking, doesn’t have. Vegas is a well-oiled machine, architecturally built to cater to the general population, and working here has forced me to perfect what I’ve created. I’m going to keep doing what I do: discovering new talent and putting people onto talent. I love being the first to put my fingerprint on things. But I’ve been bored for a while. It’s time for me to re-root, regroup and set new goals.