October 14, 2013 Share


Continuing with a 1200Dreams tradition, on this Columbus Day we honor a DJ from the lands history tells us he discovered. It’s our own small way of rebelling against the status quo, our way of pushing back against the lies the history books have rammed down our throats, our way of reminding the world, if not simply ourselves, that we have always been here, no one discovered us, and we will always be here. Now, let’s discover an awesome DJ, producer, and more.

This year we have chosen DNGR GRDN from San Juan, Puerto Rico a DJ that we are proud to say is not only a cool Latin brother, but is also an incredibly talented one. Born Joel Pierluisi on March 4, 1986, he’s a young buck still, but that has never been something to hold Pierluisi back.

Pierluisi had already been playing the bongos for six years when at age 10 he performed a live solo in front of 12,000 people at the famed Roberto Clemente stadium in his hometown of San Juan for Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine. Soon after tasting the limelight that performing for Gloria Estefan and the 12k in attendance afforded him, Pierluisi would go on to take his island home by storm.

Over the next few years he would add drums, percussion, bass, piano, guitar, and singing to his repertoire, he started his own Reggae band named Umoja and would go on to release a hit single by the name of ‘No Puedo Olvidarte’ in 2003. For over six years, Umoja would perform throughout the island at local festivals all the while sharing the stage with local Reggae acts such as Jarabe de Palo and Cultura Profética and international greats such as Burning Spear, Sean Paul, Steel Pulse, and more. He also became an in demand percussionist called upon by local Reggeaton superstars such as Zion & Lennox, Vico C, Tego Calderon and others, all who knew they could count on the young percussionist to lite up the crowd.

But Pierluisi’s energetic performances were not to be contained only to Puerto Rico for long. Daddy Yankee was one of the first to come calling whisking him away to perform in Orlando, Florida, but it was when Wisin Y Yandel came knocking that he really hit the road. The super Reggaeton duo hired him as their official drummer and took him to far flung spots all over South America such as Venezuela, México, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, and more before jumping the pond to Europe to hit up Paris, Barcelona, Milan, and Rome, among others.

As much as Pierluisi loved percussion, he had his sights set on bigger and grander goals. Which is why, despite the fact that he was already scoring side gigs producing music for commercials and the like, and he was already using the time between stops to begin producing his own works, he still went ahead and enrolled at the University of Puerto Rico. Yeah, that’s right. Mufuggin college. Talk about commitment.

by: © — with Philippe Alexander Pagan at The Pool Bar at Rincon.

by: ©

In 2007, Pierluisi was approached by another incredibly talented islander and musician by the name of Sebastián Foglia, who wanted Pierluisi to record and produce his first solo album. Released in 2008 and titled ‘Foglia: Lounge House Sound’ the album would go on to win the Paoli Award for best jazz/electronic album of the year. They followed that up with another album “Foglia: Spread the News” in 2010 which spawned the hit ‘Dime Que Hay.’ So comfortable they were with each other, Pierluisi and Foglia joined forces. Soon after the duo was electrifying crowds as the opening act for 30 Seconds to Mars at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico and for Cut Copy and Panda at the Coors Light Indie Fest in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico as well as crowds in Miami, with their energetic incorporation of live DJing on top of the various instruments each would play. In 2012, Pierluisi and Sebastián went their separate journeys; Foglia would go to expand into a full band and Pierluisi went on to the next stage in his development, what we have come to know as Danger Garden.

Danger Garden, stylistically shortened to DNGR GRDN, is Pierluisi’s way of of knocking down the boundaries imposed upon him by his career as a for hire musician. Don’t get it twisted, he is still performing for others, most recently opening for Bruno Mars, but when it comes to producing, he is calling the shots now. Under the DNGR GRDN monkier he can bring all his influences to bare, how he sees fit, in whichever direction he wants -and he can go in many.

If, for obvious reasons, you think DNGR GRDN is all about percussion heavy afro-rhythms or anything that even remotely reminds you of the island or any island, you would be grossly mistaken. Just listen to any of his latest productions and you’ll instantly realize he is not what you’d expect. Of course percussion play a part, but DNGR GRDN is so much more than that. His percussionist roots are there and you’ll get more than a hint of his Reggae influences and his adoration for House and electronic music, but there is also an 80’S New Wave influence, as well as ambient and indy rock. Fact is, with DNGR GRDN, much like his live shows in which he improvises throughout never playing a song the same way twice, there is no telling what Pierluisi will unleash on the world. One thing we are certain about though, is that whatever he unleashes, we’ll be there to discover it. You can bet on that.