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?
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.
So we’ve covered the essentials for creating amazing eye-looks…so what else do you need? How about gear to wear? Some trends (for both women and men) involve lots of neon, dayglo, brightly colored fur, beads…you name it, it exists. So what should you wear at a bare minimum? Here are some suggestions:
For Men : Wear a light-weight shirt! Cannot emphasize how helpful this will be if you are in the middle of the crowd and sweating it up. Some great ideas? Check these easy and fun looks below:
Or you could just go shirtless.
For Women: Opt for breathability…in my opinion, I would avoid the dreaded pasties. Why? While having your boobies free to bounce might be fun, it’s better to be safe than sorry: if you let the girls out to play, your are that much more vulnerable to unwelcome stares and groping (unless that what you want). Some safer options? Go for a loose crop top, a tank, or a bikini top. I’d avoid sleeves, as you’re just going to sweat through those anyway:
For Men: I mean, for the love of all that is holy and sacred, please wear shorts. Speedos are just a bit too tight, and you’re not going to be a happy camper when you see what the girls are wearing. For that sake of others, no banana hammocks. Shorts will cover you enough and keep you cool. You should already own these.
For Women: Pretty much your bottom half is a free-for-all, and feel free to rock just about anything: skirts, shorts, booty shorts, bikini bottoms, brazilian bikini bottoms, tutus…and actually anything that physically covers your tush is fair game. The more conservative you go should be in line with your comfort level: if you’re going to brandish a thong and a tutu…be prepared for some outright brutal eye-fucking from those around you.
I hope this has been helpful! For more fashion options for the season, check out my Polyvore ❤
Festival Essentials: Eyes
As the great festivals of summer creep every closer, I felt it might be helpful to review a few key items you’re going to need (or strongly want) to complete your look. Unlike the bullshit products that traditional clothing lines try to shove at us, claiming to be ‘perfect for festivals’ I thought it would be much more worth your time to review items I have actually tested and can swear by. Additionally, I want to help steer you away from the misguided claims of boutique-y bogus brands that despite their best efforts, don’t make the cute. Here are some essential make-up must haves.
Eyeliner: The good, the bad, the ugly-after-5-minutes
- Good: Maybelline NY Master Precise by Eye Studio Eyeliner, Ink Pen
($6)- I can solid, solemnly, and otherwise swear that this stuff won’t budge. Not an inch. I have used this highly durable liquid liner everywhere from New Year’s Eve Dadaland to Deniz Koyu Generation Wild to the occasional night I can’t remember a moment of. The only not-so-great thing about it is it is furiously difficult to remove. Get thee the strongest eye makeup remover on the market and scrub like a fiend….or just use a cotton ball and some remover to dab at the occasional drip and wear it everyday of the festival; whatever works.
- Bad: Prestige liquid Eyeliner ($6)- Now this isn’t the absolute worst liner ever. The worst liner ever does argueably probably live on the shelf of a CVS or Rite Aid next to it (*cough*Wet ‘n Wild*cough*), but this thin running crap comes pretty close. The only positive of this, is it has fantastic colors…which will run all over your face in minutes. For a brand that has some pretty solid eye shadows… their liquid liner is little more than a sick joke. It will most likely last you a solid half of the first set, which may seem amiable…but so will any cheapo liner (except the next one). For the price you’d be shelling out, you’d be better to drop dollars on a cheap marker-style liner or the one listed above.
- Ugly: Sephora Pantone Universe Liquid Liner in Emerald ($14.99)- When I first got this eyeliner I was extremely excited! I have happily sworn by the glitter liner and was more than excited to give this freebie handout a try. Initially, the color payout is HUGE: you get a very bold emerald color and it glides on easily…albeit a bit thin and sloppy. Now what wasn’t clear, was whether this liner was waterproof or not. That being said, I took care not to wear this stuff in the rain and didn’t think I got all that sweaty when I dared to take it to Zedd at Webster Hall. Within less than 5 minutes into the concert, I felt an awful stinging in my eye only to find that the stuff had melted down my face, into my eyes…and gave the effect of Aiden drinking werewolf blood on Being Human (that bad).
Mascara: The ‘yes’ and the ‘hell-fucking-no’
- Yes: Rimmel Sexy Curves Waterproof Mascara ($7) – This stuff comes in a little purple bottle and more than pulls its weight. Though it promises to give you ‘big curls’, you will soon learn that this is sort of a practical joke: it will make your lashes long and jet-black….and that’s it. Since I have massive mongo-big eyelashes, ‘big and curly’ isn’t really a priority. That being said, it will stay put for three straight days without quitting (I Electric Zoo tested it ). You can probably withstand a bit of water spraying and heavy sweating without much of a problem, just don’t expect big Tommorrowland lashes. It will do its best for you.
- HELL NO: Sephora Collection Outrageous Volume($15) – Ignoring for a second that the container for this is gaudy as all fuck…this mascara is BOMB if you need porn-star lashes for a short period of time. Where it succeeds is volume, curl, and length: this shit will make Jenna Jameson jealous. However, this stuff doesn’t put up much of a fight against sweat or water. One shot of a CO2 cannon and you’re down for the count (and will be a raccoon instantly). It would seem most standard Sephora products lack basic sweatproofing….so maybe avoid Sephora entirely for festivals (leave it to the girls who just go to hear Levels).
Now, I would suggest palettes and color sets…but honestly, most of what I use is from amazon and ebay buyers from weird locations….so if you are going to pick up just one shadow set in-person at a CVS or a Sephora…here’s what you should snatch up and sneer at:
- Snatch up: Kat von D – If you’re looking for the smoothest and most durable eyeshadow, snatch this! It’s pricey, and not all of the palettes lend themselves to raves…but these colors will hold their own in the middle of the crowd. Look for the True Romance,Candelabra, and Everlasting Love palette for the most rave-ready colors.
- Snatch up: Urban Decay – If you are the kind of girl that claws her way to the front row and loves getting hit with a CO2 cannon, Urban Decay is YOUR SHIT. It won’t budge, it won’t dull, and best of all the payout in the neon shades is UNBEATABLE. Turn to the Ammo, Vice, & Book of Shadows,palette for the best shades to mix and match.
- Sneer at: Claire’s – Unless you plan on hiding behind the back of the crowd,…or if you got VIP tickets just so you could sit around and take selfies…avoid this. Though the colors may seem more ‘obvious’ for the venue, the durability will die out faster than Will.i.am’s credibility. There is weak color payout, abhorrent durability…and worst of all, Claire’s sells kandi…SELLS. But then, if you are wearing crap from Claire’s you probably bought kandi and are wearing their stupid fake rave gear too.
I hope this helps going into festival season! You should melt faces, not makeup!
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!