As COVID restrictions began to ease in spring 2021, DerteeDisco planned a spur-of-the-moment trip to Denver. Little did he know that the outing would mark a pivotal moment in his dance music career.
Not long after touching down, DerteeDisco (real name Kree Iraldo) ended up at My Homies Spin Records founder Nulif3 aka Mondo’s party with a mutual friend. “He had given a DJ a prime-time slot at 2:00 AM, and he was too intoxicated to play. I took his spot and it was supposed to be an hour,” Kree told Party Guru Press over a recent video chat. “After the hour was said and done, everyone was vibing and they just wanted me to keep going. One hour turned to six to eight hours.”
Mondo found himself spellbound by Kree’s set. “I literally heard his set and went, ‘Yo, you’re fucking killing it,'” Mondo told Party Guru Press at Kree’s recent 1134 gig. “‘Who are you?!'”
Well, Who is DerteeDisco?
While Kree Iraldo had yet to make his rounds in the Denver scene, that 2021 trip was far from his first foray into the deep and soulful depths of dance culture. Music is in his blood. He had the uncommon sort of upbringing needed to paved the way for what was to come.
Everyone in Kree’s family was musical in their own way. His grandmother enjoyed classic rock, but also played R&B and disco records around their house in SoCal. His mother loved hip-hop and dance choreography. In fact, she met his father thanks to his involvement in hip-hop and R&B.
“I definitely didn’t catch the disco bug from those two,” Kree said. “But they’ve still always encouraged me to pursue music.”
Kree learned to play the cello at an early age. He used his resulting understanding of music theory while playing guitar, drums and even singing for bands as a teenager. While he “put the pieces and the layering together to figure out what makes a song,” he initially had no designs on working dance music.
That changed shortly before he graduated high school. “I first started learning to DJ while promoting and doing parties. I must have been 16 or 17,” Kree says. “I was doing all these promotions for parties at 16. I had a mentor for promoting underground shows in Los Angeles at a club that’s no longer there, Club 333. It was an underground venue that would be rented out for all these theme parties and special events.”
He continued: “My mentor was Ray Guthrie, who still does Resurrect LA parties and works on Social Desert parties out in the desert. He taught me on a Pioneer mixer, but with the CDJ top thing that was still a full vinyl platter. That’s where my beat matching and versatility comes from.”
Soon enough, Kree needed a stage name. “DerteeDisco must have come when I was about 19 or so,” he said. “I was planning random house parties and afters, gaining more notoriety in that realm and developing my own taste. Some of these were eight-hour sets at parties. It was all about going into the deep end to establish my voice, knowing what was hot in dance music and disco.”
Some of Kree’s earliest professional gigs came courtesy of House of Blues. He performed at all of the chain’s SoCal locations, getting carte blanche on what to play during any given set. Parallel to that, he landed on lineups at clubs like AVALON Hollywood and Exchange LA.
The bright lights of Los Angeles didn’t illuminate a clear path ahead for DerteeDisco, however. He started working to carve out his lane around the same time as a whole new generation of DJs were doing the same. This meant trying to compete in an oversaturated market.
“It was just hard to be in that environment without spending an abnormal amount of time at those clubs to meet the right people,” Kree said. “Even though those places had their own identity, it wasn’t really before Insomniac became bigger that there were more curated nights. There would just be eight names on the lineup because it wasn’t really a dialed-in thing. I just didn’t know where I fit in, or where the music I was playing at the time would work.”
As time passed, chances to play what he wanted grew fewer and farther between. “There were a lot of DJs in my position who did the whole trap movement for a while and were into early American dubstep,” he recounted. “I didn’t know how I could mix that in with disco, but it was getting me booked, and it was good for those environments. I liked it, but I felt like a cog in the machine versus being an artist.”
During a period in which he felt like calling it quits, Kree found new inspiration at sea. He attended the 2015 sailing of Gary Richards’ Holy Ship! It was more than just a party. The cruise ship festival opened Kree’s eyes to the abundance of opportunities available to artists who didn’t conform to the status quo.
Among other new friends, he met Subset aka Mark Martinez. Although best known for playing long after hours sets and renegade raves, the Brooklyn DJ landed a Holy Ship! billing thanks to standout performances during his residency at Webster Hall and while curating BASSment Saturdays at the venue. Mark did more than simply inspire Kree. He also introduced him to new contacts in LA, San Francisco, and, of course, Denver.
The pandemic gave Kree ample opportunity to reset his intention for DerteeDisco. Then came his trip to the Mile High City. “It was a year or more into COVID when I started traveling again. Denver had the best numbers for COVID and I wanted to make sure I was doing the safe thing,” Kree recounts. “My friend Natalie said, ‘Just come out here and take a break.’ She could tell I was really frustrated, because two bars had closed and I didn’t really have residencies anymore, and she knew I was really passionate about music.”
My Homies Spin Records
The rest is history, and Kree didn’t leave Mondo’s party once he finally wrapped up his set. “After that, we had an early morning talk about business, and he said he really needed someone to take My Homies Spin Records from an idea to more of a concrete label and collective,” Kree remembers. “He asked if I’d be willing to work with him, and I said I would.”
We know what you’re thinking — and yes, we agree, after party business deals tend to foster dubious outcomes. In the case of My Homies Spin Records, however, the two forged a rock-solid partnership. After flying back and forth between LA and Denver, Kree permanently relocated to the latter on January 1st, 2022. Thanks in part to the help of people like CoClubs promoter Alex Frick and frequent Red Rocks performer Aaron Bordas, his career has trended upward ever since.
“I wanted a collective that was less focused on the politics and show of it, and more focused on curating great music, having a good homie vibe, and showcasing people in the Denver scene,” he said, “It sounded great. His vision was exactly what I needed to hear.”
My Homies Spin Records actively supports each of its members and Kree’s own activity stands as testament to the efficacy of this approach. In addition to venues like Kulture Music Hall and Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, the name DerteeDisco has appeared on lineups for festivals like the Westword Music Showcase and Underground Music Showcase. He’s also performed at clubs like Bar Standard, The Church Nightclub, and Temple Denver, with many more debuts to be announced.
But perhaps the clearest sign of how far Kree’s come is his first booking of 2024. In a true full-circle moment, DerteeDisco is officially billed to play Friendship — the second cruise ship festival founded by Gary Richards after his ousting from HARD — which sets sail from Miami to Belize on January 6th-11th. Joining him on the lineup are artists like Bob Moses, Chris Lake, Skrillex, and Mary Droppinz. It’s a milestone to say the least. Kree deserves every moment of it.
In the meantime, DerteeDisco and My Homies Spin Records keep working to create environments where everyone can flourish together. “Whether you’re looking for circuit music, underground music, or anything else, we try to have something for everybody,” Kree says.