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Option4: Godfather of Denver’s House Music Scene Talks Newfound Inspiration

House music may be a mainstream entity today, but twenty years ago, the genre was almost entirely absent from radio airwaves, and very few promoters booked house acts outside of Chicago, Detroit, and New York. In the early 2000s, a proper community for house music fans was seemingly absent in Denver, Colorado. But Brennen Bryarly, a promoter and producer known as Option4, was determined to change that.

“When I was a teenager, I discovered new music at the record store. We all did,” Bryarly said in an exclusive interview with MP3 MAG. “The first time I heard house music was at a record store. I fell in love immediately.”

Unfortunately, in the early 2000s, house music was still far removed from mainstream culture, which made finding proper house shows a difficult task. But Bryarly was determined; that’s why he began promoting his own parties called “The Hundred.” His first show sold out. So did every show for the next year and a half. Denver finally had a proper house music community.

Bryarly learned an important lesson during his inaugural years as a promoter: Building a community means much more than selling tickets; it’s about creating experiences. According to Bryarly, “Building a community is about interacting with fans, and making them feel like they’re a part of something that’s much bigger than going to a concert.”

Option4 Press Photo
All photos courtesy of Option4.

But how exactly does someone do that? Well, if you’re a promoter, try letting fans have a direct say on what artists you book; that’s what Bryarly did when he was starting out — he let fans vote on what artists they wanted to see, and acted accordingly. Turns out, these music fans had a pretty solid compass for future superstars; many of the artists fans voted for turned into industry powerhouses and viral sensations, including Justin Jay.

READ: A Colorful History of Justin Jay’s Fantastic Voyage Label

If you’re unfamiliar, Justin Jay is a Denver-based producer with a distinct approach to music production and live performance who went viral this summer for hosting “Bangers Only” afterparties with legendary artists like Skrillex and John Summit. His approach is simple: ALL genres are welcome, but bangers only. Well, Justin Jay and Option4 released a collab EP in June titled I’m In Love. It’s the first music Option4 has released since 2021, and it’s definitely a banger.

I’m In Love is Bryarly’s grand reopening of the Option4 project which, aside from the “Make Em Say” single in 2020 and the “123” collaboration with Born Dirty in 2021, has been dormant since 2018. For years, Bryarly remained largely uninspired, and perhaps uninterested, in releasing music under the Option4 alias. For a brief moment, he wasn’t sure he’d ever release music again. Thankfully, Justin Jay wouldn’t take no for an answer.

“Last year, Justin kept bugging me to make music with him,” Bryarly said. “He pretty much forced me to get back in the studio. But once we started working, I remembered how fun making music is. Justin helped me find inspiration again. The floodgates are finally open, and I’m writing records all the time now. It’s like I fell in love with producing all over again.”

Option4 is back and better than ever, which makes his annual return to The Friendship Festival something to be excited about. “Friendship is like a reunion,” Bryarly said. “It’s a super communal experience, which is why artists return to play year after year. People make core memories on that ship. It’s magical, really.”

READ: MP3 PREP — 5 Can’t Miss Activities Onboard Friendship 2024

This winter, Bryarly plans to spend the majority of his free time in the studio, writing “as many records as I can.” But his newfound inspiration also signals an expanded sound for the Option4 project; currently, he’s bringing jazz musicians into the studio to record live instruments and vocals, something he’s never done before. If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get a sneak peek of these new tracks on The Friendship 2024. And if not, Option4 is planning a tour next summer, where this new material will be on full display.




A recent Denver transplant, Logan is a passionate writer, occasional promoter, and lover of all things outdoors (most recently, his years spent surfing the East Coast have developed into snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains). More than anything, though, Logan is an avid music fan. When he's not dancing at the disco, he can almost always be found with a good book or a guitar in his hands.