Prowling the Airwaves and the Underground for the best in EDM

Posts tagged “electronic

Dreams are wishes the soul makes: This is mine.

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I’ve only ever told a few people about my goals, my dreams, and where exactly I want to go in this life. Most commonly, this has been because I didn’t rightfully know what I wanted to do. Sure, I had ‘big ideas’ and I’ve had plenty of ideas for inventions and events here and there…but never a real sense of purpose or a ‘yellow brick road’ leading to an awe-inspiring goal.

I have many idols. There are women like Lady Casa, a shining light of the concept of PLUR and starter of ‘oPLURation: Dance For Dooby‘. There are women like Cindy Gallop, an unabashed brazen media badass that dared to challenge how we discuss sex and porn…by saying ‘cum on my face’ point-blank to a stunned audience at TED and starting Make Love Not Porn. There are many people whose steadfast commitment and dedication to their brand, their ideals, and their final goal I have greatly admired.

I never started my twitter with the intention of amassing followers (though later on, I tried to challenge myself to set and meet goals of how many I had), and had never really viewed my account or ‘voice’ as a springboard for chasing a dream…but as I’ve just passed my ‘anniversary’ of joining twitter as an anon..I want to share a dream that I want to come true.

I have always had a passion for trying to take what I know and utilize it to help others succeed: I’ve photoshopped countless posters, re-touched I don’t know how many headshots, helped explain the basics of effective social media, and really done my best to go above and beyond for as many people as I can.

However my dream is to take all that I’ve learned and pour it into one concerted effort: My dream is to start my very own marketing agency.

I want to take local talent that might not be the best at social media, self-marketing, or even have the budget for expensive creative shops and put them in a position to succeed. I want to put on a showcase event taking female DJ’s that kick ass and celebrate their talents for one night separate from their male counterparts. I want to help DJ’s (both male, female, and gender neutral) understand the money behind social promotions and exactly what they can do (paid and unpaid) to put the right foot forward and succeed.

I haven’t set any of this in motion of course, and many of these ideas are still in the planning stages. But just as I embark on my new dream, remember to chase your own!

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Perception and Music

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 🙂  


Where I Stand on The Electric Zoo Victims; An Apology

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.
For example, why these two were not immediately ejected from the premises for endorsing illegal drug use is FAR beyond me (found by @RJM_PLUR)

For example, why these two were not immediately ejected from the premises for endorsing illegal drug use is FAR beyond me (found by @RJM_PLUR)

 

  • 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?


Kandi Kids vs. Club Scene: What Real Ravers Are

Something that has been irritating me for a considerable amount of time is the concept that all EDM events are ‘raves’, that all that listen to EDM as ‘ravers’, and that ‘PLUR’ can be mindlessly spewed and even defecated on with alterations like ‘PLURNT’ and ‘PLUR Bitch!’

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I’m sorry, but Kandi kids aren’t necessarily the club crowd and the club crowd isn’t necessarily the ‘kandi-kid’ crowd that is celebrated on instagram. EDMsnob wrote a fantastic piece explaining the rich history of those wearing kandi, so I don’t feel the need to go into depth (especially since I’m a much newer face in that arena). But I will say is this:

Of the many people I’ve come across that tweet things tagged with ‘#PLUR’ and initiate projects that claim to be  ‘PLUR’ and hock product with the false pretense that they are truly ‘ravers’, I have found that a startling few are who they claim to be. Very seldom do you meet someone whose Twitter handle or association precedes them, and find a genuine representation of what ‘ravers’ truly are.

After spending a night unwinding with some of the very first people to ever recognize me as ‘Ragehound’, I took a minute to look back on all the hard work I’ve put into taking the time to connect with anyone who has every reached out to me. Some have been incredible: they have accepted me with open arms, made me feel like a family member, and given me a sense of acceptance that no one ever could previously in my life. Some have taken time out of their day to come and meet with me, to teach me how to use a perler board, how to make a cuff, even gotten me a water and helped me to the front row my first time seeing a certain DJ. Some have held my hand and sung along to my favorite lyrics and cried with me when ‘that moment’ of a festival when it ends and the ‘comedown’ effect sets in full force. Some have stayed with me when I’ve stupidly tested my limits with drugs and alcohol and gotten too out of control and made sure I got home safe.

These kandi-clad people have been more of a family to me than my own at times, and that is why I get livid when their lifestyle is equated to a joke.

I view those who hock PLUR as a marketing tool as a joke. I also look at those who have begged and pleaded me to tweet their crap, promote their shitty venues, and support their jaded causes which wind up just being another marketing tool as jokers as well. Nonetheless I tweeted, I facebooked, I supported and championed them because that’s the person I am. I suppose what irked me in some cases, was when it came time when I needed that same favor, some magically found it ‘not feasible’ or suddenly ‘just didn’t have the time’.

What I largely discovered, was that these were the people who didn’t arrive at festivals with kandi they’d spent hours and hours making especially for people they knew and loved. These were not the people who sometimes went as far as to coordinate with their friends to match costumes, made sure everyone was hydrated, or took the time to explain subtleties of the music to newcomers who had seen a trailer for a festival on Youtube and yearned to experience an EDM festival for themselves. Instead, these were the people who wrote condescending articles in response to kandi kids, who scoffed and laughed at articles like my own explaining the connection between PLUR and charity, and who would leave comments like this on pictures of girls dressed for raves:

 

And these people are largely the ‘club’ crowd: the crowd that goes to ‘fine establishments’ to enjoy bottle service, listen to a carefully curated selection of ‘techno’ that they feel is far superior to the ‘drop heavy’ sets one hears at festivals (which I can respect), and views the ‘raver’ crowd as a mass of drug-addicted youngsters too jaded to understand what real music is. These are the people who will belittle you for the music you listen to, the clothes you wear, and wave their smug sense of entitlement about like a magic wand. They will tell you the ‘kandi kids’ are awful, tell you how they yearn for when no one knew about Tiesto or Hardwell, and when EDC wasn’t a neon parade of girls in underwear. They probably won’t let you get to the front of the stage, or offer you water. They may instead sneer at you with your parched mouth, thinking you ‘popped a molly and you are sweating’, and as a result think of you as some colorful insect pestering them.

So when individuals such as this tweet about ‘PLUR’ and wave their smug sense of self-importance at others while trying to call themselves ‘ravers’, I get frustrated. These were the individuals  pouring beers from the VIP balcony onto shuffling ravers below at Pacha during Tyler Sherritt’s set (oh don’t worry, I saw you bunch of fools and I’ll return the favor). These were the assholes who elbowed a girl in the face next to me at Zedd when she tried to edge in front of a taller person to see.

These people aren’t ‘ravers’. They don’t preach ‘PLUR’, and probably can’t tell you where it originated. Don’t call them ravers; it’s an insult to those of us who are.

Thank you,

~The Hound


Preview: Tyler Sherritt at Rumor 8/23

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After an eclectic set at Pacha, New York’s rising vocalist / producer / DJ will be taking his talents to Rumor Philly on August 23. With his track ‘Petrichord‘ to release later in the year, Tyler’s live sets offer a diverse and upbeat mixed bag of favorites and aggressive sound.

Starting his career as a singer / songwriter, many of Tyler’s musical choices rely on captivating choices of vocal-driven tracks paired with heavy bass and deep house sound.

What can someone expect at one of Tyler’s shows? High-energy, smooth transitions, and intelligent track choices from start to finish.

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For more on Tyler Sherritt:

Website Soundcloud Facebook Twitter

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Interview with Excerpt

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Jordan, aka ‘Excerpt‘ is a progressive house producer from Indianapolis, IN, a growing scene with an increase in dance music events, one of the biggest being Identity Festival. With his most recent EP ‘Beta’ accepted to Pandora, and available on iTunes and Beatport as of July 1, I was very excited to get a chance to speak to him! Before taking to the computer, Jordan was a member of a local rock band. However in the past three years he has begun experimenting with mid-tempo electronic and electro sounds to produce a more ‘energetic’ sound. Getting his first taste of techno through established names such as Daft Punk, and later delving into Wolfgang Gartner and Deadmau5, much of Jordan’s earlier work is ‘mellow’ and more down-tempo than his more recent additions.

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The Unicorn Project: Rewarding True PLUR

Sorry for the big fat lag in posts (OOPS!) anyways the last project I wanted to start does appear to have some kinks that I need to work out (video conferencing is rather tricky). However, I’m not letting that stop me, and I have one project I want to launch specifically for Electric Zoo participants!

I’m calling it ‘The Unicorn Project“, and here’s why I’m launching it: ‘PLUR‘ as a buzzword has been largely skewed since its inception. I’ve mentioned plenty of times where its true origins come from (but if you need a refresher, click here), and its inception came at a crucial moment when there needed to be a shift in the scene. With drugs references damning the scene and god only knows how many inaccurate protrayals of the scene as a whole, I felt I should at least try to offset it as best as I can. Icons who are already ‘battling’ these negative stereotypes like Lady Casa (changing form Molly Casa, to cleanse herself of the possible drug connotation) have made an impact, but I feel there needs to be a more tangible impact on a experiential level.

What It Really Means

PLUR when demonstrated doesn’t mean winning free stuff, getting discounts, rolling face on drugs, or even dressing up; on a more basic level the truest demonstrations of the concept are when a someone (even a complete stranger) gives you that last sip of water, helps you get to the font of the stage, or even helps you get home safely. It’s not about ‘partying with sluts’ or ‘freeing molly’…its truest manifestation is in the uncommon kindness of like-minded souls you may have never even met before.

Phase 1

The first phase of The Unicorn Project will be small-scale, very simple, and is intended to be a ‘test-run’ to see how people respond. My ‘testing ground’ will be Electric Zoo. What I wanted to do, was to create an undisclosed number of temporary tattoos with the specified design to be given to those (and only those) individuals that demonstrate what I personally feel to be true acts of what PLUR embodies. However, I realize that EZoo ends up confiscating anything they deem ‘promo material’…so that’s kind of out. Instead, what I will offer to do is draw the specific design onto anyone’s shirt/hat/butt/boobs/etc that wants it. I can draw in puff-paint leading up to the event per request for NYC residents (or anyone in the city before the event), and will (hopefully) be able to bring a sharpie or other drawing apparatus in the day of.

 I’m not asking for money, I’m not asking for sponsorship or recognition: I am just asking people to be decent to one another, for which they will get a pretty doodly design. That’s it. It’s not some big crazy contest, it’s just a small token of recognition. Down the road, I’d like to expand this little project to be more in-depth and cohesive, but on a small budget and a big dream, this is what I can do for now.

The Design

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I wanted to create something that had significance to me, and unicorns have always been a favorite subject for me to draw; they may not truly exist in our lives but their elegance and grace has captured the hearts and minds of poets, artists, and many others for centuries. The particular unicorn I’ve chosen isn’t a pretty rainbow-and-butterfly design; It’s an undead unicorn, a stark skull with a crooked horn and a tattered mane. This is intentional, as I feel it represents the ways that this concept of PLUR has been misused, defiled, and desecrated. But skulls have always held a special place in my heart: they are beautiful in their own simple way, and serve symbolically as a basis for a fresh start (or fresh slate if you will) on which we can reclaim and refurbish the ideology behind PLUR. I didn’t want to simply write ‘PLUR’ on the design, it would be a disservice to the design on the whole. So instead, I chose a personal mantra that I live by daily, “True compassion never dies”. On my own tank, which bears the unicorn, I do not have these words, as they have already been internalized, but I’d be happy to add them to yours. To those who show compassion, spread peace, nurture love, foster unity, and show respect towards fellow ravers and first-timers alike, this will symbol (doodled as best as humanly possible on whatever you wish) be your small token of my gratitude.


A Word on Those Who “Preach PLUR” and Practice Hate

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I’ve noticed an increase in negativity on Twitter; whether it be in reaction to the cancellation of Moonrise (warranted, what happened was a shock and a disrespect to the artists who were signed up to perform) or the outright vicious attack of others, there seems to be an increase in hypocrisy surrounding those who claim to ‘preach PLUR’ and then so adamantly drop the veil of acceptance to berate and humiliate others. Truthfully, it makes me sad to see that so many have turned against the true ideals they stand for in favor of petty argument and bickering. Not only that, but I’ve even seen a truly disgusting increase in outright muckraking by twitter handles that claim to represent blogs. I know I have been known to criticize producers such as Paris Hilton, Will.i.am, and Pauly D…but there is a fundamental difference in disagreeing with the musical styles they perpetuate and an all-out assault on them personally.

I understand that twitter is a platform built on conversation, and that not all conversations will be positive, but outright bullying of anyone within the EDM scene is fundamentally un-PLUR, and if you are viciously attacking anyone be it a DJ, Anon, or personal handle, you are not preaching PLUR. To be honest, anyone who knows the original origin of the saying that coined the phenomena remembers that the initial mention was in a threatening manner:

“You better start showing some Peace, Love and Unity, or I will break your $%^ing faces”

Initially yelled by at a rave where a fight broke out, this moment of clarity would inspire our neon-laden comrades to later on don the expressive and vibrant decor they wear now, and their mission to spread love and acceptance of everyone in the scene. I’m not saying I’m going to break your fucking face if you continue to berate others while “going through the motions” of PLUR, but I think its time someone informed you that you are perpetuating a blasphemy, a charade, and not truly embracing the Peace, Love, Unity, or Respect idolized by this generation.

PLUR is being the difference, not the opposition.


Songs That Need A Break This Season

As we march steadily onward into full-blown festival season I feel that now more than ever we need to have a moment of intervention with DJs who will be gracing us with our presence.

From the house DJs to the trance legends, to the trap superstars and beyond (beyond being Major Lazer most likely) it is time to have an honest conversation about a topic near and dear to our hearts: songs that are overplayed and need a break.

 

We get it: that one club banger makes the girls wet, the bros chest-bump, and everyone go utterly batshit (or according to GQ, ‘apeshit’)….but I think its high time we gave some of these tracks a chance to catch their breath. From the classic tracks, to the new powerhouses, clear through to the ‘easy favorites’ (the Don’t Stop Believing of the EDM world) these are beloved songs that are becoming overused and painfully repeated. Remember when we loved Gangnam Style and Harlem Shake? Past tense: Loved.

Here is my list of ‘bangers and mash’ (club bangers, classic, and mashups) that need to go on vacation this season:

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A Word on Attire, and Raver Girls

**Apologies, most people were probably expecting a light-hearted writeup about tracks that need to stop being routinely dropped in sets. I promise I will post it, but this post in my mind took precedence.**

Recently, I had the displeasure of overhearing two males discussing why they attended festivals. To put this into context, I was not at my usual venue of choice. I was on the fence about mentioning this in my Borgata post, and opted against it. But truthfully, I should have made mention of it. Since I did not mention it then, I am now.

Allow me to get very real with you right now. I know this is more realness than you've come to expect. Bare with me.

Allow me to get very real with you right now. I know this is more realness than you’ve come to expect. Bare with me.

As I remember, both suit-clad (perhaps VIP status) men were talking about what women wear when attending festivals. One described enjoying all the ‘ravebooty’ hanging out, and I couldn’t help but smile; I am one of many that proudly shows our ravebooty when in attendance. The other mentioned how skimpy the clothes were, and how ‘fuckable’ most of the girls were. Though I found this understandable, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something intrinsically wrong this view. And then I over heard this:

I had to clamp my jaw as the first elaborated, “I’m hoping to get one drunk enough to fuck the shit out of.”

His comrade let out a laugh, and answered back, “Cheaper than hooker, am I right?”

I understand that recently the media has been infatuated with the topic of ‘rape culture’, and that there have been numerous fiery rants about the way society views the human body, but as a raver (and a scantily clad one) I feel a need to speak up. With strong female figures such as Molly Casa, the iconic fantasy GoGos of EDC, and female ravers everywhere allowing their unique looks to define themselves, I feel its insulting to the entire PLUR society when someone assumes ease of sexuality is reflected by amount of skin showing. I’ve even heard things such as “well you look like a stripper”, “with that outfit she’s asking for it”, and even witnessed an unruly cattiness among female ravers for outfit choices. A girl in pasties should have every right to a safe festival as a girl in a long-sleeved t-shirt; no excuses.

This is a very common clothing choice at raves, and should be viewed as expression, not an invitation.

However what needs to be sorely addressed is a fundamental difference between expression and sexual conquest; If a girl at a rave is clad in fluffies, a tutu, and pasties, she is not inherently ‘asking for the D’, she is not exuding her body as a toy to be played with….fuck she might not even give a crap about you or any men in attendance; most girls do (shocking, I know) go for the music and the non-sexual kinship. And this speaks to a greater need to re-educate both sexes on this problem; teach men the true meaning behind PLUR (the ‘R’ is not for ‘roofie’ or ‘rape’) and teach women that ‘unity’ and ‘respect’ are needed more now than ever. Raver girls are not toys, and what we should be preaching is to teach men not to rape, not to assume a woman’s body is a rite of conquest. Furthermore, what we should preach is the very core principles that define our unified community:

Peace: Everyone clad in anything has the right to a peaceful coexistence at raves

Love: Love is a thing that is won, earned, and consented to fairly. Not taken.

Unity: We must unify to ensure the safety of fellow ravers; if you see a boy or girl (man, woman, or gender non-specific person) in trouble, get help.

Respect: Above all, respect all that are around you; you are all human beings and thereby you are all created equal in each others eyes. Respect feelings, respect boundaries, respect bodies and our right to conceal and reveal them.

We are expressive, and you know what, maybe we do want the D…but that’s for us to decide, not you.

So as we approach festival season, I would like to ask that everyone respect one another; treat even the barest ravers with respect, and remember that we are here for the music just like you.