Your Story: How Electronic Music Changed My Life
All my life I struggled to find my purpose, my individuality, I was just a kid that blended in with society. I was content and thought I was happy; having good family and friends as my backbone, not trying to sound cliché, but I did not know I could feel the way I feel now.
On October 31, 2016 I attended my first electronic music event in Chicago, driving in from Cleveland to attend a single day of Freaky Deaky. Typically, I don’t stray far from my comfort zone, and this was way outside my comfort zone. Before attending the event I had always watched videos on YouTube of EDCLV and Tomorrowland, dreaming of one day attending. When I decided to stop thinking and just go for it, it was the best leap I could have taken.
That day I walked away from Freaky Deaky knowing that my life will change. I didn’t know how it would unfold, just something inside me said, “This is your purpose”. Before Freaky Deaky, I had no knowledge of electronic music, that day I danced to Kill Frenzy, Claptone and Dubfire.
When I arrived back in Cleveland I only wanted to learn more about electronic music, in doing so, I found my love for Techno and House. At this point, I had no clue what this music was going to do, who it was going to connect me with or where it was going to take me but I loved it. The friends I had made at Freaky Deaky were already deep into the music scene and persuaded me to come to Detroit to see Billy Kenny & Maximono at The Grasshopper Underground.
Detroit sparked something in me and is now my favorite city I have ever been to. The culture, the people and the music make me feel at home in the Motor City. Over the next month and half I went to Detroit three times and was able to explore everything Detroit had to offer in terms of venue. I caught sets from Golf Clap, Richie Hawtin, Get Real and a few local DJs and producers. In this six week period I fell more in love with electronic music. I was now on the hunt for my first real, festival experience.
A few of my friends from Freaky Deaky were talking about Holy Ship. So, I did a bit of research on the festival and knew this was the one. I bought my cabin from a shipper that could no longer attend and was rooming with someone I had never met before, Duane Kennedy. Some people think I am crazy for just jumping into my first festival and rooming with someone I had only exchanged a few words with on Facebook, but I would not have traded it for anything else.
I learned a valuable lesson in making this decision; to embrace the unknown and go without a plan and just let things happen.
A few months later January 2017 rolls around and it was time to head to Orlando and meet all these people I had been connecting with on Facebook over the past month. I flew into Orlando three days before boarding for the pre-parties that were going on in Cocoa Beach. I stayed at the Palms with my roommate and his two friends, little did I know ShipFam was going to take over this entire hotel for the next three days.
It was incredible, having a pool party one day to a Strip Club Crawl, I met so many people I just “clicked” with it was hard to keep track of all the new faces. Next came the ShipFam Invasion party, it was our final get together before we were scheduled to set sail. Partygoers gave me some insight on who I shouldn’t miss aboard and I finally got to meet Mama and Papa B, the two that helped organize all the pre-parties.
Boarding day, this was my first cruise let alone my first festival I attended, so I was a little anxious but radiating happiness. I got aboard and ran into a friend, so we went and got dinner not knowing what to do while I was waiting on my bag to be delivered. Next came the music, this was a night I won’t ever forget, at Spice H2O came Claude Von Stroke, Griz, Justin Martin, Gorgon City, Mija and Hot Since 82. I have never danced so hard in my life, rocking along to the motion of the ocean. I remember stopping just randomly on the top of the stairs, looking around seeing everyone just expressing themselves as they want to be and having fun doing it. I loved it.
The next morning I woke up after only sleeping a few hours to find out we could not stop at the Great Stirrup Cay for our Island Party due to weather. That did not stop us we made an Island Party of our own on the pool deck, I danced the whole time just living in a fantasy. I stayed up all night, it was time to no longer be a virgin and experience the sunrise sermon presented by Destructo. I was looking forward to this not just because I knew it would be magical, but because my best friend in the scene was going to be getting married after the sermon on stage. Mama & Papa B were able to get me into the VIP area on the side of the stage so I could support Jason and Candice, all while doing this in a Charmander onesie.
After the sermon and ceremony concluded I stuck around to be with Jason then, Destructo, would be so kind to invite us up to the artist lounge. Here Justin Martin bought me a few shots of tequila, MIJA played a set and we got to do wake up calls with Justin Martin and everyone. I also met someone who has had an immense impact on me. Stephen Hauptfuhr aka Mr. Koolaid, the original creator of Electric Daisy Carnival. Stephen and I have been working together ever since we disembarked with big plans coming for the future.
The next two days flew by, meeting more incredible people, then came the morning we got off the boat. I made the mistake of just waking up early and hurrying off the boat not saying bye to any of my new friends, but it was okay I knew I would see them again soon.
Since I have disembarked from Holy Ship; I have been to MMW/Ultra, Movement and Spring Awakening, getting to experience over 60+ artists. This scene has made me realize that you need to care and respect each other, care about the planet, smile and most importantly care about yourself. Before I came into this scene I had a horrible attitude. I think that is the reason I felt so empty before, but since then I have been representing PLUR.
I have also been on a non-stop hustle to continue in the next chapter of my life, wanting to make a career within electronic music. I have no idea what it is exactly what I still want to do, but I’m figuring it out and just loving my life as I continue on this journey.
To end this I want to quote one of the most inspirational humans to me, Steve Jobs: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”