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noize magazine

As entrepreneur-businessman, party producer and DJ, Brett Henrichsen just may be the hardest-working and most diversified talent on the gay dance scene today.

The founder of Masterbeat's partnership Madrid-based WE Party has resulted in spectacular fun themed parties from San Francisco to New York City. The unsurpassed showmanship of the WE Party organization fits perfectly with Henrichsen's ability to build a night of music. His own Masterbeat parties have bumped up gay parties to a new level of sophistication and superlatives, particularly during New Year's in Los Angeles. Nor does it hurt that the guy is model-handsome, hot as hell, and a damn nice guy. 

It was while Henrichsen was working by day marketing mainframe computer systems for IBM that Henrichsen first discovered a passion for music and technology. He would spend his nights and weekends listening intently to live DJs. In the '90s, the music industry hadn't caught up with the EDM scene. Frustrated at the unavailability of the music he was hearing live, he decided to do something about it. Using a then-new CD burners, he was able to share his favorite remixes with friends.

At the Palm Springs White Party in 1996, a bright banner over a table covered with colorful CD cases proclaimed, “Take home the music!” and Masterbeat was born. The fledgling label became an instant success that helped introduce the new dance music to gay men.

From there, Henrichsen utilized his business and organizational skills to begin producing parties himself. With 1800 people packed inside the club, just as many were turned away, his first party, “Masterbeat: The Club,” at L.A.'s Probe broke attendance records. Realizing that the only way his parties would reflect his musical taste, Henchrichsen entered the DJ booth, and his career took yet another twist.

Impressed with his talent, Jeffrey Sanker, for whom Henrichsen produced a series of "Masterbeat White Party CDs," hired him to spin the pool party at the White Party. He was a sensation. Next thing he knew, he was headlining the massive outdoor post-Pride march Heritage of Pride Pier Dance in New York the year Whitney Houston made a surprise appearance. He showed his darker side spinning an after-hours party during Orlando's Gay Days.

In 2000, he and Sanker electrified L.A. when they transformed a theater into a sound-and-light spectacle for "Masterbeat Millennium." Today, his New Year's parties bring in gay revelers from around the world. 

In 2008, Henrichsen tried to make Masterbeat an online dance-music digital media store, but he, like the rest of the music industry, was engulfed in the wave of illegal downloading. That, along with the recession and a high overhead, forced the closing of Masterbeat as a distributor. But it may have proved a blessing in disguise, as it allowed him to focus entirely on party production and DJing.

A residency at Chelsea's fabled Splash gave Henrichsen a firm footing on both coasts. Today he travels around the world, including coveted gigs in the mega-clubs of Ibiza and Las Vegas. Everywhere he goes, he brings heavily beat-driven mixing but leavened with an infectious musical knowledge that, above all, is tailor made for serious dancing. 

Just as WE Party has led the way to a higher stage of gay nightlife, Henrichsen’s DJing has taken the big room out of the darkness and into a brighter place.