England’s Defected Records launches a showcase series at Discopussy in Las Vegas

Harry Romero

U.K. house music label Defected Records has been strategically dancing its way across the pond for nearly five years now, programming stateside events and releases in major club scene destinations like New York City, Miami, Chicago, and most recently, at Detroit’s renowned Movement Festival in May.

The time is right for the brand to land in Las Vegas, says head of talent and events Deniz Hilmi, and that’s what happened last weekend at Downtown’s Discopussy. Defected Las Vegas made its debut June 17 with established English DJs Sam Divine and Riva Starr.

“It’s a unique territory for us and we’re very excited,” Hilmi says. “For America in general, we’ve been planning and developing how to take Defected [there] for so many years now, but we’ve never done Vegas, and we feel like the fruit is there to be picked. We’re ready.”

Another house harvest is set for June 24, implemented by influential artist Low Steppa (currently releasing on his own Simma Black imprint) and American DJ and producer Harry “Choo-Choo” Romero, who earlier this year released a 30-track House Masters compilation on Defected.

The new party series falls perfectly in line with the sizzling direction Discopussy is headed in, having recently hosted sets by Alix Perez, Black V Neck and Goldie, among other multi-genre names. And the Vegas invasion is another link in the chain for Defected, which has continued to grow post-pandemic under new CEO Wez Saunders, as the company has inducted three new labels and also launched a virtual festival series in recent years.

“Over the last few years we’ve seen some of those big residencies and events in Vegas … shift more toward house music and our club culture, and that’s really good for us,” Hilmi says. “It always depends who’s there, but Vegas is a very tourist town and you never know who you’re going to get [in the audience].

“But the stuff they’ve been booking over the last year [at Discopussy] is amazing and one of the reasons we wanted to launch there, and it’s a combination of the venue really putting itself on the map and it being the right spot because it’s more cutting-edge. This is not just the casino [club] faithful, this is for people who have that appetite for house music.”

Hilmi won’t go into deep details for future plans, but it’s clear this Downtown series is only the first step. And Las Vegas could play into the company’s massive plans to celebrate its 25th anniversary next year in the biggest way possible.

“We have an amazing calendar of stuff we’re already locking in, and I’m not going to give away too much, but the USA is one of our main focuses,” he says. “This is literally dipping our toes in the water. Watch this space.”

DEFECTED LAS VEGAS With Harry Romero & Low Steppa. June 24, 10 p.m., $20. Discopussy, tixr.com.

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Tags: Nightlife
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Brock Radke

Brock Radke is an award-winning writer and columnist who currently occupies the role of editor-at-large at Las Vegas Weekly magazine. ...

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