The Professional Raver
The Professional Raver
In middle or high school, I hated music. I was the kid who was always reading, studying, and avoiding anything out of my comfort zone of schoolwork. If I ever listened to music it was always classical music in the background as I was working on an assignment. Hopefully someone would walk into study hall to see me studiously working away while listening to Bach or Beethoven. I didn’t even like classical music and thought that it should only be played at churches or for crowds of people over 65 years in age. I dressed like a professor and played the part.
Honestly, I did not have an appreciation for music or the unique culture associated with each genre. This deep-seated indifference or even opposition to music may have stemmed from my on inability to possess any musical talent. I failed at learning the piano. I failed at learning the flute. I failed at learning the violin. Failure was an unknown feeling as a straight “A” student that won academic decathlons and took night enrichment courses instead of socializing with friends or family.
Beyond my own musical shortcomings, I was judgmental of others that had an appreciation for music. Country fans were hillbillies. Pop fans liked Michael Jackson. Metal gave me a headache. Slipknot was for haunted houses and masochists. Rap music’s poetic nature was always supplemented by expletives and artists like DMX whose frightening lyrics made me want to avoid inner cities. And then of course, Electronic music was trash from Europe and/or recreational drug users. I fed into ever musical stereotype and remained ignorant to the unique appreciations to each genre of music. Truthfully, I had never listened to most genres of music or Slipknot or DMX.
I did hear a lot of Michael Jackson songs on TV commercials, but beyond the short soundclip and jingle on TV, I never encountered music. I was far removed from music, which was not my outlet or form of relaxation. In fact, I really didn’t have an outlet. I was so focused on getting into a good college and working in a great career that I had no time for music, sports, or anything fun. I wanted to succeed and watch others having fun fail.
Nothing really changed in college. I listened to some music at a few parties here and there, but mainly worked and went to class, always on time and most often early. I did ease up on my opposition to music and listened to a wide variety of music. I did not have an epiphany one day where I really loved music, but I gradually gained an interest over time. My priority remained school and my career, but an outlet and oasis from work was beginning to form. I finished college in two and a half years and was off to Washington, DC for graduate school. I quickly got a job, worked during the day, and went to class in the evening usually getting back to my apartment around 10pm most days of the week. I needed an outlet once again to get me through the constant research and writing.
“The Ingredient to Success is Two Parts Bass and One Part Treble”
Some people cannot listen to music, watch tv, or have any distraction while reading or writing, but I could blast music and continue write page after page. House, Trap, Hip-Hop and all the others would get me through working without feeling exhausted. I would wake up excited to go to work to listen to the next mix from a festival or a new release on Spinnin. Two parts bass and one part treble was my new secret ingredient to professional success.
Growing up in a very small city in Pennsylvania, I did not have venues like Echostage, XS, Pacha, or the Mid in my backyard. Moving to Washington, DC added a whole new element to the mix. Now, I went to shows and clubs on weekends and could hear my favorite DJs mix songs from the radio and the underground. My first concert was a David Guetta show that was packed with people, loud, and filled with lights. Colleagues, friends, and family thought I was crazy. Without a doubt I was swept up by the EDM movement and found a much needed outlet. Of course, I bought the DJ equipment to go along with my new hobby and started venturing to festivals during my vacations.
Currently, I work professionally in politics in the nation’s capitol and am a 24 year old adjunct professor and remain deeply focused on professional development. However, I represent the diversity of EDM enthusiasts and culture. I am happy that I can go meet with Members of Congress and a Major Lazer show on the same day. My story represents debunking the stereotypes associated with EDM. The same stereotypes that I had only a few years ago. EDM as a cultural phenomenon is about inclusion, happiness, and serving as an outlet for those that feel the stresses of life. School and work are important, but we all need to get away from it from time to time so that we are refreshed and ready for the next set of challenges. I take pride in being a professional raver.