I felt it was about time to post this. I wrote a post a while back on a PLUR profile on Dirty Cat Designs.
After wearing these masks out to shows, I was getting a lot of heat for paying for them because they were considered ‘kandi’ and should have been traded. I wanted to address why I am ok with paying Dirty for such unique and high quality creations.
For more on Dirty, visit http://www.dirtycatdesigns.com
PLUR Profile: Dirty Cat Designs
Starting today, I am going to be launching a little series called the ‘PLUR Profile’ which will highlight small businesses, individuals, performer/producers, or other notable members of the community who excel in their craft, give back to others, or who have shown excellence in their dedication to their customers.
It brings me great pleasure to kick of this series with none other than the infamous Dirty Cat herself,
the pony bead maestro behind some of the most daringly different kandi masks you will see on the festival circuit.
Gaining recognition initially for her original Cheshire mask, Dirty began designing unique and complex patterns as well as hand-cutting her own signature teeth. A highly flexible artist, Dirty has even created new patterns to accommodate discerning patrons who seek a more custom experience, often making the original piece A standalone design after the pattern has joined the available options. Although users must pay for Dirty’s services, the investment is justified once you consider that these masks are her sole source of income, and much of what she makes is funneled back into her high-quality faux fur, crystals, and EL wire used to make these
Dirty has made many creative dreams come true, and even repairs customers masks for free should they encounter any extensive damage. She works around the clock to execute shockingly magical designs, offers her unique teeth as a separate purchase, and even creates custom teeth and accents on request… all while planning her own wedding.
Normally, I don’t contribute to ‘send me to EDC’ requests because in my experience they are used as PR stunts, are improperly executed, and lead to resentment. However, I am asking my followers & friends one very conservative request: because Dirty is looking to secure funds for both her wedding AND EDC this year, I would like to ask anyone that is willing, to give her a bit of a hand. When Dirty opens again for commissions, I am asking that anyone who orders please leave a small tip to help her reach her goal of 2 tickets to EDC for herself and her fiancee.
Anyone who would like to
make a more immediate impact can donate directly to Dirty by setting up a payment by visiting her website.
Dirty’s masks are incredible pieces that leave a lasting impression, and are also built to last. Sadly, Dirty is only on Instagram, but I’m sure she would love a follow and maybe a shout.
If you think you know a person, small business, performer/producer who you think should be profiled, give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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?
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!’
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.
It’s not often that the people around you surprise you. I’ve been fairly new to this scene, and have even been shocked by how open and accepting the EDM community and PLUR believers have been to me; it’s genuinely shocking in this day and age.
Where those around me in other walks of life are still jaded with the negativity of what our society has aggressively forced us to accept as ‘realism’, the vibrant kandi-mask clad faces of my Twitter followers and newly made friends remind me that there is a generation that has managed to break free of this perpetuated defeatist nonsense.
Some may knock on familiar faces in the scene like Lady Casa for trying to break out and use EDM to platform ideals that are more complex than just feeling the music and embracing the scene, but in her creed of ‘namaste’ and unity of spirituality I see a glimmer of hope in the scene.
The stigma perpetuated by mainstream media would have us believe that raves, festivals, underground DJ sets, and DJs who do not occupy the top 40 on most radio stations preach a creed of drug addiction and social deviancy. Perhaps we need the ultra-spiritual faces of Lady Casa to combat this negative stereotype.
This will come off ranty and I apologize, but I think its high-time we took a moment to analyze what specifically about our scene makes it so deviant to the outside world.
- Is it the costumes? They are simply a free expression of who we are in that moment.
- Is it the kandi? These have been banned at some venues, but what is the harm?
- Is it the glovers? Though they are often there to entertain the eyes of those rolling, no everyone who asks for a lightshow is on drugs.
- Is it the drugs? Weed can be found at nearly all concerts, and molly has begun to appear at rap venues and even some rock venues as well; and even then, it’s not exclusive to edm…and edm does not exclusively promote it, nor should it be defined solely on one aspect.
- Is it the message? Tell me, would you rather a message of ‘express yourself’ and ‘free your mind’ or a message of ‘fuck lots of women’ and ‘spend your money lavishly and foolishly’? The message behind most EDM songs are not extensively about degrading women and abusing alcohol.
As we move forward as one united family of like-minded individuals, I just wish we had more voices for this message of acceptance, and more receptive ears to combat the negative stigma prolifically injuring the EDM scene.
Im am not Lady Casa, nor would I ever dream to compare myself to her, but as RageHound I want to express my love for a scene that has chosen to love me, and my gratitude at their acceptance. I just wish this acceptance was more recognized by the masses.
Recently, Ken Oshima released his remix of the popular Calvin Harris track ‘I Need Your Love’ featuring the vocals of Ellie Goulding.
The track is consistent with Oshima’s previous remixes of previous top tracks such as his ‘I Could Be the One’ by Nicky Romero and ‘You’re Gonna Love Again’ by NERVO (I am choosing to ignore the remix of ‘Scream & Shout‘…though admittedly he fixed its many flaws). His remix delivers strong electro sensibilities and is a solid danceable track (not that I would know, I’m no expert). Alongside his original work, this remix feels right at home and very approachable to new inductees to the EDM scene and ‘techno’ veterans alike. With his new track ‘Thunderbolt’ now available on Beatport, I’m very excited to see what he does next.
`The Hound ❤
A while back, someone who knew me from my dayjob (and not my nightlife) gave me their opinion and viewpoint as what they called the ‘typical kandi kids’.
They called them drug addicts, they called them deadbeats destined to wash up, and they called PLUR their way of ‘coping’ or perhaps even ‘legitimizing’ their ‘pointless’ lifestyle and unnecessary expenses. This someone said that his main reason for going to shows was just to hear the music, and that the crowd didn’t matter.
Unaware that I’ve coming to feel a resonance with the PLUR-practicing ‘kandi kids’, this person probably assumed (like most people) that I was the typical neon crop-top wearing 20-something who listened to David Guetta and Afrojack, went to festivals with a group of well-groomed bankers in tanks and pastel Dockers, and maybe had one or two ‘bracelets’ because I didn’t understand how trading worked or bought them from Claire’s or Hot Topic.
But, That’s Not Me
But to me, this demonstrates a fundamentally skewed and highly inaccurate portrayal of the scene. The fact of the matter is, yes some of us do drugs…but so do some of the banker-types in their neon frat-wear. Yes, some of the kandi-kids work ‘deadbeat’ jobs to make ends meet…but under some of the beaded masks, under the spirithoods, and wearing some of the LED gloves you also find PR professionals, artists, medical professionals, and yes, even some bankers. Similarly, some of the ‘well-to-do’ types that fist-pump and yell “RAAAGE!” randomly throughout DJ sets are also sometimes working deadbeat jobs, donning the frattier attire to attempt to blend in the more affluent banker-types. And that’s no reason to think of them as any less or better than the rest of the people enjoying the scene.
What PLUR Actually Is
One of the biggest reasons I love the PLUR-practicing community is, you can be that kandi-laden raver with FX contacts, body paint, fluffies, gloves…or just be some guy in a polo shirt and khaki shorts…and you will be treated with equal respect. Similarly, if you’ve only ever heard of David Guetta, and are at a festival to expand your understanding of the scene…the PLUR community will be all too excited to guide you to a stage playing Trance, or Trap, or anything that they think you might like. Hell, they’ll even let you listen to their iPod to help you figure it out sometimes. PLUR isn’t some generic cult that shoves molly down their throat to have a good time…and even those of us that do enjoy a roll here and there aren’t trying to ‘cope’ or ‘legitimizing’ our feelings for the music. In fact, some of us just add Molly sometimes…because we just want an extra kick, not unlike the fratty times that ‘pregame’ with gallons of dehydrating beer: at least we remember the experience we had, unlike the fratty mishaps that get wasted and carried off in stretchers at Festivals (though if that’s how you want to spend a festival, that is entirely your choice).
PLUR, is at its simplest core:
- Peace; the peace of mind of being amongst like-minds. The peaceful vibes you get as you experience the lights, music, and raw energy of the crowd. The peace that comes as you lay your head to sleep after a good show and relive the memories in your dreams.
- Love; a unified love of the music, of the crowd, of what is around you and who you can be for that moment in time. Love of who you are, and love of other people who are there for the same reason you are.
- Unity; quite simply the unity you feel in that moment where you let the music move you. Where you can express yourself not as one person, but as one excited and tangible unit of people aligned in the same emotions.
- Respect; the respect of those around you: if you need water, they will help you. If you need support, they will support you. In some cases, if you can’t see, they will lift you up so you can get a glimpse of your favorite DJ. They understand why you are here, and you respect the reasons they are there with you.
So perhaps if this person knew that I go to these shows wearing a bandana mask, trading kandi, and feeling a mutual love of those around me, they might think differently. But it’s not entirely their fault: if your sole reason for going to shows is to stand still and listen to the music, then stream it live from home or buy a VIP ticket. If you are so far-removed from the crowd and do no wish to interact with the ‘kandi kids’ because you find their unique expression juvenile or take joy in mocking it…just buy a VIP ticket and enjoy your VIP air-conditioned bathroom safely away from them.
But if you do nothing else, realize that the mainstream ‘stereotype’ you are associating with these individuals is inaccurate and unjustified. But because I believe in PLUR and I align with its message, instead of being mad that him for thinking this way, I will simply love and respect him, as I do all my friends.
Sorry for the mega-rant guys!
So last night I saw Dillon Francis at Webster Hall in New York, and admittedly…I feel that the venue may have flavor some of my opinions of the show.
Starting off strong, Dillon’s set was very well-rounded and the set list was engaging…but it did feel like something was missing. Whether it was the crowded room, the more mixed crowd of fratties and kandi kids (albeit there were less than im used to seeing), or maybe even the stage set up….this show felt less about fans than it did about record promotion.
Also….there were girls recording video on ipads….
And I’m sorry, I love a good witty DJ as much as the next person…and don’t get me wrong, I love Dillon Francis….but it just felt less intimate…and less personal. That being said, I have been to big venues and seen more ‘for the fans’ productions: NERVO and Krewella at Electric Zoo for example put on performances that felt more personalized for the fans that had come out to see them…whereas last night…I guess I just felt like it could have been any DJ spinning Dillon Francis tracks.
Now despite all that, I had a total blast because intimate or not, Dillon puts on a phenomenal show. I was senselessly booty-bouncing with strangers, pawing at people like a lunatic, and overall just getting wild (only happens for certain DJs). I got to meet some of my Twitter followers and even got some new kandi, and overall I had a total blast.
I will be posting up some soundcloud tracks for some artists that you should check out pretty soon, so stay tuned!
Naturally, I’m off to dance in my underwear at Webster Hall with Dillon Francis, but before I leave you with some music to prep for the night, a quick recap on Dash Berlin at Soundgarden Hall:
Probably one of my favorite DJs I’ve gotten to see, Dash was incredible and you could tell that he loves every minute of every set he plays. From the ‘peek-a-boo’ jump at the drop in ‘Silence in Your Heart’ to his constant crowd participation he proved he was more than just a ‘good DJ’ but a true entertainer. Soundgarden Hall was a great venue, (and apart from the occasional overly-bro kid that would shove you away from the front row or stand directly in front of you) it made for a great performance. Dash not only handed out waters, traded kandi, he even took the time to look everyone in the front row in the eye.