Before becoming the Columbus nightlife fixture and Short North boutique denizen Bruni, Croatian-born Bruno Dragicevic was a star point guard/shooting guard at Northland High School. He racked up memories on the court — “a few buzzer beaters, a few ankle breakers,” he recalled earlier this week over drinks — but what happened after games is what stuck with him.
“In high school, when everyone would go to these little high school parties, I would always find myself wanting to control the music, so I would plug in my iPod or burn a CD,” Bruni said. “I kind of always controlled the party, and people always liked it.”
Senior year, he bought some DJ equipment, started practicing and scored his first club gig before graduation. Six years later, he’s a veteran party-rocker with a side gig as rapper P. Blackk’s DJ.
“There was a certain point when every time there was a big party, I was always getting contacted to do it,” Bruni said. “When initial shows started coming through, they all started coming in bunches.”
As DJs do, Bruni eventually developed a taste for producing music of his own. Hanging around Iyeball from Fly Union helped light that flame.
“The first time I ever went to the studio and watched him work, that’s when my production intrigue kicked in,” Bruni said. “Whatever I’m working on, I always say to myself, ‘Is this something you’d let Iyeball listen to?’ And if no, then you just don’t play it for anybody else then.”
The latest single to pass that test is “Summer 94,” a playful tweak of LEN’s “Steal My Sunshine” inspired in part by Bruni’s ’94 BMW. He’ll release the song Saturday, the day between two big gigs. Friday, he’s playing the God Damn Dope! party at Ace of Cups with Envelope, P. Blackk, Zero Star, Detox and Pos 2. Then, Sunday afternoon, he’ll DJ a rooftop party at Callahan’s.
The big weekend is Bruni’s way of going out with a bang before a 35-day trip to Europe. He’ll go home to Croatia, hang out in Barcelona and maybe zip over to Paris, all the while preparing his Girls at the Gym EP — named for its target audience — due for release in August. He predicts the music will be as all-over-the-map as his summer travel plans: “I don’t really have a lane.”
Photo by Meghan Ralston