Gregory Paulus and Nicholas DeBruyn, a duo better known as No Regular Play, first visited Cuba when they were high school students at Saint Paul Academy in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Their Spanish teacher, Rolando Castellanos, took some students every year as part of a cultural exchange program.
Paulus, a classically trained musician, brought his trumpet along and remembers getting heckled on his walk to play at La Zorra Y El Cuervo. It’s a popular jazz club in Havana known for its legendary brass and its entrance disguised as a British phone booth. A teenager at the time, Paulus played for three hours with some serious players and earned his stripes. The club’s management there still refer to him today as “Señor Greg.”
It's not your typical DJ origin story.
Paulus and DeBruyn have been friends since they were eight, but No Regular Play took off in 2006 when they moved to Brooklyn and dug into the underground dance music scene there. The group’s name stems from a random conversation about BDSM, a community in which there are different styles of sexual “play.” The two thought it was funny, and it became the stage name for their crossover live music/DJ act. Paulus sings and plays the trumpet, and DeBruyn does the mixing. They will make their twelfth live appearance at Electric Pickle on Saturday.
Their sophomore album, Can’t You See, dropped last week on Crew Love Records and follows their acclaimed debut album, Endangered Species. The sophomore album slump is all too common, but No Regular
“Can’t You See is a nostalgic record,” Paulus tells us. “The second track on the album, 'Lake Gilmore,' is based on my late father and his trademark chords and styles. He passed in 2014 but won a Grammy for best contemporary classical composition earlier this year. My mom, brother, and I accepted on his behalf. My brother still runs his publishing company today. I was messing around on my dad’s piano and got the idea to try and make a techno house chord. We recorded the track on his piano. It was one of the last things we did before selling the house and everything inside, his piano included.”
Endangered Species was released in 2012. Since then, they've been on the road touring. When it came time for Can't You See, they got back in the studio with their good friend Alex “Hammer”
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
“We’ve always had similar tastes in music," DeBruyn says of his partner Paulus. "We grew up listening to A Tribe Called Quest and other hip-hop and jazz. As kids, we were old men. We would always look at the CD insert to see who the artist sampled. I still love to do that today in bars."
In Brooklyn, Paulus and DeBruyn spend a good chunk of their time searching for the next meal. They enjoy doing the same in Miami and look forward to visiting Versailles, Yardbird, and hanging out poolside at the Standard. This time around, they’re going to extend their trip and spend a few extra days with their friend Ryan, who lives in what they describe as “some shitty part of Miami.” Probably Brickell.