Here is a snippet from an exclusive piece i did for EDMNewsUpdates:
I’ve been asked often why I very rarely write track reviews. As a younger blogger in the field, I feel that in each piece I write, I subconsciously leave a small trace of myself. Music to me is very much akin to religion: people unite behind it, defend it, and decry it just as often as any gospel verse. In religion, you are taught a strict regimen and core ideology which enable you to make informed decisions. Certain religions offer varying leeway in the way you are expected to interpret scripture and doctrine. There are atheists who dispose these teachings on the whole, and varying degrees of faithful who either interpret for themselves or follow faithfully to the verbatim interpretations fed to them by authority.
Music is not so different: ‘experts’ analyze tracks piece by piece and offer their opinion as bloggers, as musicians, or as tastemakers (some of whom have little to no music experience). As someone who isn’t a DJ, isn’t a recognized singer (though I do sing), and does not produce, I often feel discomfort assuming the role of ‘expert’. I can’t walk up to a set of equipment and produce what I’ve just heard, nor can I imagine the specific choreographed patterns uniquely designed into each individual layer of a track. I am of the school of thought that music is a personal experience, and that how we analyze music should come from within. One set of ears may hear the beautiful melodic warbling in an Above & Beyond track, where another may find the experience dissatisfying and gravitate more towards the brute aggression of Destroid.
I personally cannot stand Avicii’s new track, ‘Wake Me Up’, and I recognize that my sole opinion is unfairly coloring another’s perception of an otherwise solidly produced piece of music. Similarly, some of the music I love may appear ‘under produced’ or ‘too commercial’ for others. No matter what genre takes you on an emotional journey, what I will have to say about it will inevitably be meaningless: it is your experience, not mine.
To read the full piece, visit EDMNewsUpdates and stuff.
“You want to hear a funny joke? Women’s rights.”
Chances are, this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this joke. Chances are you, like me (if you are female) have been told to ‘develop a stronger stomach’ for sexism across industries. In traditional workplaces you may have experienced the ‘Boy’s Club’ with situations where men are put ahead of you because of their connections, the perception that they are ‘more qualified’,or simply because society on the whole is more accustomed to seeing a male figure.
“Oh it’s that time of the month? Looks like its blowjob week.”
Or sometimes the guy is just more qualified than you are. Sometimes the fact that you are a woman has nothing to do with the way you are treated. Sometimes it has everything to do with it. Being a woman in any industry today is a tricky balance of knowing when your gender is being exploited and when it isn’t.
“Why did the woman cross the street? Better question: why did the woman leave the kitchen?”
However when sexist humor is thrown around, that is when you can be certain that your gender is being ridiculed. As ‘harmless’ as it may seem to men to suggest a woman ‘get back in the kitchen’ it is perpetuating a negative stereotype that a woman’s sole role in life is that of a homemaker. And while yes, some women accept the role of 1950’s wife with glee, when you tell a woman to ‘get back in the kitchen’ you are essentially telling her that her life’s ambitions are a joke.
So why am I bringing this up? Some of you might have seen me exploding in rage when Spinnin’ Records posted a picture of a CD-J ‘for women’ on both Facebook and Twitter. In case you missed that particular gem, here it is again:
Essentially a veiled indication that female DJ’s should ‘get back in the kitchen’, this image sparked anger from several fans both female and male.
And even after outrage poured in, all Spinnin’ managed to say was this:
Paraphrase: “Of course: we didn’t mean to offend you to by telling you to get back in the kitchen…but get back in the kitchen.”
This isn’t the first time female DJ’s have endured sexism, and it surely will not be the last. Call women on the whole ‘sensitive’ or ‘reactionary’ if you will, but that image to many women is a dismissive treatment of the female DJ’s we know and love. For an industry where some female artists are even asked ‘who makes their music’ (as if a woman were incapable of producing music), and festival line-ups are filled with predominantly male acts, It has become an increasingly hostile environment for female acts.
The Jane Doze, a New York-based DJ duo addressed the hateful image posted by Spinnin on their Tumblr, while countless other female DJ’s fired back, upset that a ‘professional’ record label would stoop so low simply to boost engagement rates. Even social media provocateur Cindy Gallop left her two-cents:
The way we view DJ’s of all genders should be from a place of critical analysis: I would rather hear that a female DJ was genuinely bad in their performance because of inexperience, than that the inexperience was exclusive to the fact that she was female. Similarly, I openly welcome others to suggest a male DJ earned his spot on a lineup based solely on his merits as a performer, not because he was a ‘boys club’ nominee that openly disrespects women.
Last I checked, DJing equipment was not operated by use of the penis, so to suggest that having one be a prerequisite for being a talented DJ is not only archaic, it is absurd.
Want to discover some kick-ass ladies who spin? Check out Flavorwire’s top 10 list, and some of my personal favorites from Soundcloud below:
Got a favorite power femme you don’t see on this list? PLEASE leave suggestions in the comments.
When a blogger, any blogger chooses to put a piece of themselves into an editorial piece, you open yourself up to a plethora of opinions.
A while back, one of my pieces addressing a small demographic found within the ‘club-goer’ community received a split reaction: Some applauded the article for what it was, while others vehemently retaliated. As a blogger, I understand that what I write will incite a reaction; I’d rather you douse me in emotional gasoline and set me ablaze then say nothing.
One acquaintance messaged me privately on Facebook to discuss the dirge of negativity I was met with one fine Saturday morning…weeks if not months after said article was posted:
“U just seem a lil upset about twitter attacks & feeling the need to defend urself. Addressing “scene” type subject matter makes any handle extremely susceptible to twitter haters.”- I am choosing not to disclose this person’s name.
He told me to ignore haters and spent more energy developing my craft and let the talk die down. Many called my article a ‘pack of lies’ and that I was uneducated, inexperienced, and some even called me dumb. Emails sent to my account called me a ‘dirty drug addict’ and a ‘whore’, while massively long tweets called me out for being misinformed for sharing my opinion.
“…editorials & scene stuff makes one more susceptible to personal attacks. Sticking to music not as much. It’s just up to u whether u wanna weather that storm. I certainly don’t but that’s why I don’t write.”- I am choosing not to disclose this person’s name.
However, despite all the brute negativity, that opinion I shared rang true with many, and I began seeing an influx of ‘thank you’ and ‘I agree’ messages flowing in. It was a rough morning to be snarled and hissed at for the duration of a day, but when the sun had set and I cracked myself a beer…my little firestorm of a post had generated nearly 300 views. Three. Hundred. In a day.
What I have to say might not always resonate with others, but I’ve decided I’d rather weather a monsoon of hatred if it means what I write strikes others in an emotional and tangible way. This may have been my first ‘Twitter war’ where what I had to say left me vulnerable to countless declarations of both hate and love, but it will most assuredly not be my last!
I wanted to gather my thoughts and take time to fully address this post’s subject matter before officially releasing the statements I am about to make.
As you may know, in the past my posts have mentioned drug usage and how ‘wild’ I party. I don’t deny that I have used substances in the past, and may choose to use substances in the future (and yes, I count alcohol as a controlled substance).
In the past, I have started light-hearted, but in retrospect hurtful hashtags such as ‘#mollyslutting’ that have added to the problem; I will not in the future. Whether is be a metamorphosis or a mass retraction, I am shortly approaching the anniversary of the day I started @Ragehound. The first tweet. The first bandana. The first event where I was someone new, and could take refuge by an identity I constructed.
And as part of this ‘anniversary’ I have taken time to reflect on the music I love and the people within the ‘scene’ that I adore. And upon reflection I have decided to issue an ultimatum to DJ’s, to Apparel companies, and to other anons I associate with.
In the days after the cancellation of Electric Zoo 2013 discussions centralized around the tragedies of the two deceased patrons where media outlets flocked like moths to the funeral pyre of EDM’s public reputation, shedding a dark light on the industry and vastly overlooking some positive outcomes of festivals like Electric Zoo.
I’m here to report on one such positive outcome largely overlooked by the mainstream media.
Amid a sea of more than 110,000 people, two individuals shared a unique moment they will remember for the rest of their lives. Known on Twitter as ‘DJ Boyfriend’ and ‘DJ Girlfriend’, Chris and Ashley have been lovers of music ever since they met at the State College of New York’s Albany campus. Ever since their first date at Webster Hall, the pair felt a strong connection to dance music, and felt a strong connection to their fellow patrons who they affectionately refer to as their ‘family’.
I’ve been pretty vocal lately: about the impact Electric Zoo’s cancellation and the effect that mass ‘molly-scare’ is having on our scene and on our community. But I thought today it might be pertinent to touch on something I rarely bring up in editorials: perception.
I’ve been incredibly blessed to have met several of my favorite DJ’s and producers face-to-face, often making incredible connections and in some rare cases even staying close friends. Without naming any names, some have even come up to me and instantly recognized me at show (yes, ME, a tiny little twittersona in a mask).
While musicality is most of what draws me to a performer, and stage presence often affects how I enjoy the bulk of a performance, interacting directly with a musician of any kind often has a strong lasting effect on how I enjoy their music.
For example, I was very much still in the discovery period when I first met ‘crunkstep’ DJ Crizzly on my birthday. Having only taken a quick glance at his Soundcloud and curious to hear what it would translate to live, meeting him and his hype man Cool simply added a new dimension to their understanding of their music. Chris himself, though boasting a big sound, is refreshingly down-to-earth and comes somewhat quiet; whereas Cool is brilliantly intellectual, fills a room with energy, and while larger-than-life on stage is incredibly humble off-stage.
Similarly, meeting some of the New York local DJ’s has proved an incredible experience: having met Tyler Sherritt, Hyperbits, and 1/2 of Live City has added a more personal connection to their sound whenever one of their tracks pops up in their playlist: I understand a bit better how their individuality comes across in their production and arrangement choices.
Even HUGE inspirational DJ/producers whose tracks have been my support system and my anthems in times of need have managed to add dimension to the tracks I so dearly love. After winning a ticket to see Dash Berlin after EDC NY I somehow managed to see him face-to-face and shake his hand. Though very few words were spoken, and he now wears my ‘Silence in Your Heart’ kandi…I feel that whenever that track comes on, I am even more in love with it and him than ever before.
In rare cases where I met performers whose shows I attended as a discovery experience, I was met with incredible acceptance and kindness: Dirtyphonics stayed behind to sign a poster from their Irreverence tour and took a moment to meet me and thank me for coming. Le Castlevania was even kind enough to offer me water: though his music is aggressive and wholly immersive, the man himself is incredibly shy, yet down to earth.
If you ever have the chance to attend a meet and greet, or even score the rare opportunity to meet the maker of your personal anthem, DO IT. It can add such a rich dimension to your appreciation of their work.
What DJ/Producers have you been blessed to meet? Tell me in the comments 🙂
Within the first few seconds of receiving news that Sunday of Electric Zoo was cancelled, I was devastated. Distraught initially because I would once again be missing Armin and would not be seeing Vicetone. And like many, I took my fury to Twitter, lashing out angrily to every corner of the internet, blaming irresponsible people for single-handedly ruining my weekend.
That was incredibly selfish, and I’m sorry.
There were multiple factors in the cancellation of Electric Zoo, the most prominent and most reported being the two deaths due to drug overdoses. However these were not the only problems present at the festival itself. As I go on to list these issues I want to make it VERY VERY CLEAR that I am of the opinion that it was in NO WAY Made Event of the Electric Zoo 2013 officials’ fault for these problems:
- Security was not sufficient.
- Medical staff, while available did not check surrounding areas for fallen ravers.
- Certain volunteers / staff not only endorsed frequent ‘molly’ use, there was an incidence of a ‘we want molly’ tip sign at one water station.
- Certain ‘rented’ security staff was not only discourteous, they made unwanted flirtatious advances on female ravers such as myself.
- Apparel promoting drugs use was permitted at the event, only contributing to the ‘hype’ of drug use.
- Excessive shoving and general misconduct from attendees exacerbated already dehydrated ravers, only adding tension to already negative situations of crowding and overheating.
- Songs about ‘Molly’ including Tyga’s ‘Molly’ and Cedric Gervais’ hit song were dropped, only adding to unnecessary hype of the drug
Again, none of these are Made Event of Electric Zoo’s fault. It is important to note that in 2012 Electric Zoo had no deaths. As pop stars and rappers have begun to bolster the hype of drug use and wild partying, our festivals are getting inundated with unsafe expectations that tons of drugs and drinking are required to make the EDM scene enjoyable…encouraging newcomers to create their own ‘Project X‘ at shows like EDC and EZOO instead of simply coming to enjoy the music.
Spoiler Alert; You Don’t Need Drugs To Enjoy EDM
DJ’s such as Bassnectar and Brillz have released official statements about the situation, pleading with their fanbase to be safe and take accountability for their actions. Videos such as the the vimeo clip featuring major acts like Kaskade, Tommie Sunshine, Steve Aoki, and A-Trak have been circulated begging those who do partake in substances to be extremely careful of their actions.
Actions such as taking “6 hits of molly”, leaving a friend by themselves if you know that they are intoxicated or impaired, and buying illegal substances from someone you’ve never met without testing it are just a few examples of unnecessary risks that were taken and contributed to the deaths of these two young individuals. Preventable actions.
While some have made the argument that shutting down the zoo because the poor decisions of 6 people should not affect thousands who have shelled out hundreds of dollars to enjoy their favorite musicians, its important to understand that the decision was ultimately Mayor Bloomberg‘s. While it angered many, like myself it was a wake-up call: if we do not tackle this problem head-on more and more EDM events will be cancelled, banned, and characterized as ‘death fests’, ‘drug sprees’, and ravers like you and me will be labelled ‘drug addicts’. While you can’t convince major news networks to undo the damage they are doing by stigmatizing us with each and every false depiction of all ravers being drug abusers who yell ‘popped a molly I’m sweating’ every 2.5 seconds, what you can do it this:
- Don’t buy anything endorsing ‘molly’, ‘mdma’, or drugs of any kind
- Demand that your favorite DJ’s stop the endorsement of drug usage of any kind
- Demand tracks promoting ‘molly’ and other hard drugs be removed from their set lists; Heck, even walk out as soon as they come on
- Demand harsher security that ACTUALLY checks for drugs THOROUGHLY
If purging molly from our shows means we can continue to have our major festivals and enjoy our favorite acts free of stigma and death, I say let’s do it. Who’s with me?