Ray Diaz has been involved with dance music and club culture since he was at the forefront of the early “rave” scene in America. As general manager of USC’s KSCR radio station, he received significant press attention when he controversially switched the station's programming from alternative rock to the nation's first electronica/techno format in 1991, predating the launch of the area's 103.1 MARS-FM, which would be the country's first commercial electronica format. Ray then went on from 1992 onward to produce some of the biggest rave events in Los Angeles, including the largest warehouse rave in the USA up to that point, plus the first rave ever held on the University of Southern California campus, along with events at the legendary Hollywood Palladium, Arena, Icehouse and other major venues, helping to establish Southern California as the epicenter of America’s burgeoning rave scene. Ray’s events featured the biggest DJs in electronic music, many of whom are still active today (including Doc Martin, DJ Dan, Steve Loria, Ron D Core, Tony Largo, Mark Lewis and Richard Vission), along with performances by the top techno and dance artists of that era, including 2 Unlimited, N-Joi, Rozalla, Psychic TV, Dead or Alive and Human Resource. Ray was also hired by Knott’s Berry Farm to serve as their official expert consultant on K-Rave, the only rave ever held at the amusement park. To this day, the events Ray was involved in are still mentioned in many histories and news stories about the American rave scene.
Ray then returned back to his first love of broadcasting and in 1993 launched the dance/techno-formatted RENEGADE RADIO at KWIZ 96.7FM bringing dance radio back to the Los Angeles and Orange county airwaves, and loyal listeners from that time still call him by his on-air name “DJ Racer.” Renegade Radio included guest mixers and interviews with major dance artists like Moby, Rupaul, Stereo MCs, Ultra Nate and Bronski Beat. Ray also gave former MARS-FM music director Swedish Egil's still-running syndicated Groove Radio program an L.A. home as part of Renegade Radio’s programming. Ray's accomplishments in pioneering the dance radio genre are acknowledged in several Wikipedia articles on the subject. Ray's additional experience in the music industry includes stints doing research at Westwood One's KQLZ Pirate Radio 100.3FM in Los Angeles and working in the radio promotions department at Capitol Records.
Since then, Ray has remained an active part of Southern California’s dance culture. He was the national retail division manager for the Don’t Panic! specialty retailer chain, introducing a vibrant and popular DJ mix CD and dance music selection to the stores’ offerings, and serving as the chain’s music buyer, where he dealt regularly with the leading talents in the gay circuit dance scene. In 1999, Ray went on to launch ClubThings.com, which became the leading online club gear and party toy superstore, providing clubgoers with the latest glow toys and rave accessories for 15 years.
Ray joined the team throwing the Reflex after hours events at club Ultra Suede in West Hollywood early in 2011, offering his experience and business skills to the after hours events. Ray’s life partner, Dante, also joined the team, initially to help provide the visuals and decor for events and then becoming increasingly involved in all aspects of event production. In Fall of 2011, Ray and Dante became event producers in their own right, working with Reflex's founder to launch Ascend, the first trance and progressive house after hours event in West Hollywood, that October. Ascend returned twice more as an occasional special event series.
In 2012, Ray and Dante started the monthly "Primetime" event series, presenting world-class circuit and tribal house DJs at Hollywood's legendary Circus Disco. During the year, Ray and Dante also produced or co-produced additional events at such venues at The Factory, Exchange LA, Ultra Suede and Forbidden Lounge to add to the vibrant nightlife options available to the Los Angeles area LGBT community and all of Southern California's dance music fans. The duo ended 2012 with a special New Year's Eve After Hours event "Breaking Dawn" held at the historic Crocker Club in downtown LA.
Ray and Dante along with new production partners 360haus kicked off 2013 with the launch of "Momentum," a larger-scale monthly event series utilizing the big room of the newly revamped superclub Circus Disco, featuring the biggest superstar DJs in the circuit and tribal genre. Ray & Dante also co-produced a second "Breaking Dawn" event and an opening party for LA Pride. In July 2013, the Momentum name was transformed from an event name into a brand mark for presenting their new elaborate fully-themed monthly events featuring extensive festival-level themed production and decor. To end the summer, they teamed up with one of America's top circuit event brands, Masterbeat, to present a Labor Day LA weekend event series. In the Fall, together with Reflex, they produced a second edition of "Blackout," a massive dual-nightclub multi-room event they co-launched the previous year, and in October, Ray & Dante held a special Friday event, "Detention" to reintroduce the gay community to the renovated Los Globos in Silverlake, which was originally LA's first gay nightclub. They ended 2013 with a packed "Tribal Bitch: New Year's Weekend" event at the magnificent Belasco mega-club in downtown LA.
Momentum continued throughout 2014 and was selected by the clubgoing community as the 2014 JustCircuit Awards winner for "Best New Circuit Event" beating out other esteemed contenders from around the world. On July 4th weekend 2014, Ray and Dante and partners 360haus produced a groundbreaking new festival event: The 1Life Festival, held at the famed National Orange Show (NOS) Fairgrounds in San Bernardino, CA, a suburb of Los Angeles. This was billed as America's First EDM Celebration of Equality and Diversity - the nation's first large scale multiple stage electronic dance music festival focusing on the gay and lesbian audience. Their Momentum brand also continued to present special themed events, and in November, 2014, Momentum moved to its new home at downtown Los Angeles mega-club 333 Live, formerly owned by pop star Prince. The year was ended with a pre-New Year's Weekend pair of events, including the return of "Tribal Bitch" for a second edition at Belasco.
2015 saw Ray & Dante continue to work with partners 360haus in producing more themed Momentum events held at both Belasco and 333 Live. The spring and early summer were spent preparing for the second 1LIFE Festival for Independence Day Weekend, which would now expand its reach by involving producers from the "straight" EDM world to create an event designed to appeal to a broader range of dance music fans regardless of sexual orientation. The main 1LIFE event that year was moved to the more centrally located Belasco mega-club in downtown LA, utilizing 5 different event spaces within the massive venue; and for the first time, the event was now 18 & over. After the great success and increased attendance of this second 1LIFE Festival, the team produced its second annual massive celebratory 1LIFE Thank You Party, then joined with Masterbeat to produce the 9th edition of Masterbeat's famed Labor Day weekend event "Hard Labor." This was followed by Momemtum's return to Circus Disco for the first time in well over a year to produce a special Goodbye to Circus Disco event as the historic venue closed after 40+ years of serving LA's nightlife community. This would prove to be Momentum's most-attended event ever held at Circus, fitting for a sendoff of such a treasured venue.
In 2016, the Momentum and 1LIFE brands built on their past success with a special Easter edition of their popular "Down the Rabbit Hole" themed parties, a third edition of 1LIFE Festival, featuring 35 artists on 4 stages across 2 nights, plus partnering again with MasterBeat to produce the 10th annual "Basic Training" Memorial Day Weekend event series as well as the "Hard Labor" Labor Day Weekend event series.
1LIFE continued its mission of uniting the EDM and circuit worlds for a 4th and 5th year with Independence Day weekend events in 2017 and 2018, which proved so popular that the brand was expanded to include a Spring announcement party, plus a Thank You party that was so popular, it spawned a new yearly follow-up called "1LIFE Encore." 2018 also saw the launch of a new monthly limited big-room event series, "D-Compress" featuring major producers from the gay circuit scene.
For 2019, Ray & Dante brought back one of their first-ever party themes to produce The Red Party as their final event at the Belasco mega-club. The 1LIFE event was then put into hiatus for 2019 due to World Pride, and again in in 2020 due to the global coronavirus situation.
Ray & Dante will return in the future with new surprises and innovative events for the LGBTQ community. Stay tuned!