Decades of hard work, new moves from Renaissance Disco
Renaissance Disco kicks off the Yuletide season with its Christmas party, which is to be held at Mas Camp in Kingston on December 22. By reputation, it should be one of the events to remember this Christmas as it features the likes of Bishop Escobar, Coppershot, Chromatic, DJ Tyler, and Third Dimension.
That reputation did not come overnight for Renaissance Disco. It has come from three decades of hard work, groundbreaking moves, and incredible innovation that has seen the sound system become a formidable force in local and international dancehall and the music-production scene.
The brand came into existence in 1989 as a local house-party and sweet-sixteen party sound and has evolved into a large conglomerate with presence in Jamaica, the United States, and Canada that has also featured on international events and productions from Asia to the United Kingdom.
It has been able to evolve into this major force because of what it has built its foundation on.
"Renaissance is known for musical innovation, something our patrons have looked forward to and have grown to directly anticipate when they party with us," said founder Delano Thomas, better known as DJ Delano. "What is DJ Delano and Renaissance crew going to come with next?
"From producing billboard hits, to promoting career changing tours, to creating massive party productions, even the way we selected music at a Renaissance party was different - teases, innovative remixes, and beat matches. No one was matching hip-hop beats with dancehall anthems, especially on the "uptown" scene. It wasn't a thing that was done. But we did it. And the people loved it. Partygoers across the board would rave about our events long after the event. We have been trailblazers in these regards."
He speaks a truth that has been echoed by fans of the sound system for decades. There is a certain kind of magic that occurs at a Renaissance party. "A magic that we can't take all the credit for, though," Thomas said. "It definitely has something to do with our patrons, guest DJs, and celebrities that would honor us with their presence at our events. They have been real party people who are never satisfied with the ordinary. Renaissance is just
This, Thomas revealed, has been their vision from the get-go and has become their mission over the years. He said that through the years, there is one thing that has been a constant for Renaissance.
"As a team, we have shared a common mindset that anyone who believes that something cannot be done in our industry will generally be interrupted by someone who decided to do it. Renaissance aims to be that 'someone'," he said.
"This mission has been adopted by DJs that have graced our team over the last almost three decades regardless of their professional origins and generation.
"Our team is diverse, just like our patrons. We mirror our loyal partygoers' enthusiasm and commitment to having a good time. Our new generation DJs bring their own unique flavour while staying true to the brand mission. We are open to like-minded DJs joining our esteemed team and are not averse to developing young and less-experienced talents who share our vision."
While their impact internationally continues to grow, Thomas believes that there is still more ground to cover, new territory to conquer, more room to grow the still burgeoning brand.
"We have recognised the size of the US market, with a growing demand for exposure to Jamaican music and culture overall," Thomas explained during conversation with The Sunday Gleaner from their US base.
"While we have infiltrated the market, we know there is more work that can be done here, and we are eager, and like some of our talented and dedicated counterparts in the business, we are out here doing it. From our current and historic musical geniuses and sportsmen and women. We recognise the international market's craving for our culture in all its forms, but bigger than the Renaissance brand is the brand Jamaica."
He reveals that there are plans to broach uncharted territory. Those US markets that have not been 'requesting' exposure to Jamaican dancehall are those that don't understand it or don't know it exists, he explained. "We are determined to school them appropriately and to blaze a trail in those areas, too."
The growth of the sound system has been organic. It now has a sister brand appropriately named Silent Noise by Thomas that provides Silent disco parties - headphone rental, DJs, music delivery hardware, staff, and logistics or any combination of these services.
In the last few years, silent parties have been a growing phenomenon and Renaissance has managed to secure a place on the forefront of this change in party style.
They are also planning to establish a highly visible and consistent presence on the carnival scene, something they have done on a smaller and inconsistent scale in the past. All that is about to change.
"This coming year, we are invested in Trini Carnival, and, in fact, will be bringing one authentic Trini Carnival Party to Carnival in Jamaica. Soca diehards will love that treat. As usual, we will be bringing our unique flavour to complement these events. It's just what Renaissance does," Thomas said.
"We are also looking into more large-scale event productions in Jamaica and abroad, as well as new music and music video production projects. We are scheduled and looking forward to the opportunity to collaborate
with some new and not so
But as much as they plan to grow, Renaissance will not depart too far from its roots.
"Equally important is that as we push the dancehall agenda internationally, we are also committed to keeping it on the home base. Renaissance is
currently committed to projects geared at enhancing the impact of dancehall and Jamaican entertainment styles within our tourist locations here at home," Thomas said.
"It is an exciting time for us, and we are glad to be ambassadors of our craft."