When I was 10 my parents gave me a little black AM/FM radio.
No CD deck, no cassette player, just a simple black radio with two tuning wheels, half an antenna and a Nokia phone-like ability to survive being flung across the room. For most kids, such a gift would be put away and forgotten. However, I was not most kids. A relative outsider, I had my run-in with bullying, depression and other such things that ate away at my self-esteem. The first night I recall having trouble sleeping was due to a rather nasty day of school I had just endured. I spent a great deal of time fiddling the FM knob trying to find something to fall asleep to. It was late in the night, or early in the morning depending on what kind of person you are, when I stumbled across the University of New Hampshire's radio station, 91.3WUNH.
That night changed me.
As I clung to my radio, a soft synth floated out from the speakers. Slowly it was joined by a piano, a female vocal track and some bouncy bass. It rose and fell like waves crashing onto the beach one early morning. In that moment, as the song wound itself around my eardrums and my spirits began to rise with each influx of sound, I became introduced to Orbital and, in turn, to the world of Electronic music. From then on my life changed. Each week I tuned in and discovered more and more artists; Tiesto
, as well as numerous Eurotrance groups and local experimental tracks. The list goes on. I would arrive lost and fall asleep found.
I didn't realize just how great the impact would be until years later.
My love for the music would grow as the years went on; however, it took a backseat to my attempts to fit in. Throughout high school I focused on the groups and bands my friends liked in the futile hope that maybe I wouldn't feel like such an outsider. I would still look forward to those nights, but they became less frequent as I became more, and more depressed. After graduation, I shipped off to college where I began to re-discover my love for EDM. Everything from chiptune to early acid house, psy-trance to garage; I would pour over my schoolwork, fueled by the 4/4, the breakdown, the journey.
During that time I managed to experience a taste of the culture outside my headphones. One of the most memorable outings was when a good friend took me to Rhode Island's infamous Therapy. There, amongst the cigarette smoke and lasers, I found my people. There was no judgment, only a desire to express the soul through the flailing of limbs. I danced, laughed, and talked with strangers like we had known each other all our lives. It was an inspiring moment where I could be myself without apprehension. From our arrival until our departure at 6am, the concept of an outside world was lost to me. I was completely wrapped up in the music and the atmosphere. I was able to let go and be comfortable in my skin. The depressive state was beginning to dissolve and I voraciously consumed anything that could fall under the EDM umbrella.
Changing My Priorities
Once I graduated college, I threw myself into the scene. I followed the wrong path and really messed up. I began raving for all the wrong reasons, forgetting why I had fallen in love with the music. Music and drugs have been around since the first shamans put their villages under a trance, urging them to experience new states of consciousness. While I initially discovered that to be true, I stopped going for the music, doing a large disservice to the artists who moved me. Their life's work was becoming a nothing but a soundtrack to my wild nights. I was getting high, and while it is a time I am not entirely proud to admit, I don't look back on those memories in poor light.
If this culture of love has taught me anything, it is that in those moments you are convalescing into something greater than yourself: joining your hearts and minds and creating memories. My only lament is that I couldn't remember everything. So many moments slipped through my mind like a sieve. The things I do recall were blurry at best, like a vine video, cutting to the point, but removing the story. I don't regret the nights I barely remember, but they taught me to appreciate every memory you create, good or bad. I could regret all my poor choices, but in doing so I would regret all the amazing people I met and the times my friends were there for me, sharing their happiness and love. I can go back and recall the smiles on my friends' faces, singing at the top of my lungs, trading Kandi and stories. So many good things were given to me...but what had I given in return?
"If this culture of love has taught me anything, it is that in those moments you are convalescing into something greater than yourself: joining your hearts and minds and creating memories. My only lament is that I couldn't remember everything. "
My issue is not with the fact that I went to events out of my mind, but that I rarely went with a clear head. I was once told, “If you can't rave sober, why are you really here?"
That statement stuck with me. A little indulgence never hurt anyone, but constant emphasis on getting high was only hurting the big picture. I felt as though I had been taking so much from the scene and I made myself a promise to give back. Shows were no longer an outlet to escape myself, but to embrace my light and shine with the others around me. I would share my space, my love, and my time. In doing so I got to meet some really amazing people. We helped each other have the night of our lives, each time we went out, by sharing the love of the music that brought us together. In trying my hardest to ensure those around me had and awesome night, I had found myself giving back in the best way.
I remember the time when I realized raving for the music got me higher than any drug. It was during Madeon's set at the now defunct outdoor venue, Ocean Club at Marina Bay in Boston. As "Raise Your Weapon" was reaching its peak, I looked over to my friends and put my weapon in the air. As I followed my hand to the sky, a shooting star streaked across the sky. "One word, and it's over", the crowd sang as a single voice. My entire being lit up and I could feel the energy from the crowd, from Madeon, from the entire existence of this world. I never went harder in my life. Had I been in a stupor, I would have missed such a defining and awakening moment.
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The author (left) with friends at a show[/caption]
My story is like so many others.
Many people face depression; they feel lost in the big scheme of things. When they step on the floor and the music starts, they are found among the sound, among the crowd. And that is what makes this community so great.
I've seen my journey reflected in some way, in almost everyone I have met. We all have a thread that connects us in ways we never thought. The power of electronic music moves us, together as one. So laugh, live, love with everyone you see.
You are an element of all you have come across. Never forget to take time and remember that.
By: Janessa Demeule