» I Rave and You Shouldn't Care

Before I get this started, let me introduce myself.

Hi, I work as an assistant on Parliament Hill.

It’s nice to meet you, I’m a second-year, French-Immersion student at uOttawa majoring in Communications and minoring in English.

How’s it going? I’m the VP of Sponsorship for the online magazine HerCampus uOttawa Events and Marketing Team.

I have a black belt in Taekwondo.

I’ve been playing the piano for more than ten years. 

I write poetry, I eat McChickens like it’s my job, I love reading graphic novels and

I go to raves.

Scratch that, Ilovegoing to raves and I listen to Electronic Dance Music. I will even go so far as to say that I listen to EDM when I’m on the bus to class (that’s right, I’ve booty-shaked and raved like a psycho to the same song I’m placidly listening to on the 5 to St Laurent).

Now you don’t need to know half of those things since they wouldn’t have anything to do with whatever the hell we chose to talk about if we ever met. In fact, I’m sure I would have told you how lovely you looked today (I’d be returning the favour, of course) before mentioning any of the above.

And yet, due to our instinctual human nature to judge that which we are unfamilar with, depending on which one of those things I told you first, you would have an entirely different impression of me – all very awesome impressions, but vastly different nonetheless.  

Let me tell you why this matters:

In a recent article published on HerCampus uOttawa, Megan Drake (who wrote the quintessential “30 Signs You Go To Uottawa”) presented us with her take on EDM and the rave scene. Frequent illegal substance abuse, the talentless effort it takes to produce the mundane, repetitive music and sweat (because sweating while at a live show fordance music where people aredancing is newsworthy) are all alluded to.

It’s almost like we’re talking about Rock and Roll in the sixties.

Or Rap in the late-eighties.

It’s almost as though, when a genre establishes itself in the mainstream and expands its audience to a hoard of rich kids with money and producers who know how to get these kids to spend their money, there will be shitty artists and shitty songs and overpriced shows and an overall and sudden explosion ofshit.

What I’m saying is that Megan didn’t write about EDM or the rave scene. She wrote about apartof it.The part of it that many fans of EDM and raves aren’t too fond of themselves.

That’s right, we are not all sweaty-furry-boot-wearing-cradle-robbers who listen to shitty music. I don’t have the legs to rock those boots, I don’t think I look enough like Mila Kunis for a seventeen-year-old boy to want to throw me on his shoulders (she is the one all the kids are into nowadays, right?), and I don’t listen to Justin Bieber or One Direction while I’m out dancing: I save that for the pre-drink.

As HerCampus reader Miranda Merry put it, those of us who have been to an EDM event in Ottawa at ERA nightclub dress like everyone else that’s out in the market on a Friday night.

But until I went to my first rave on Halloween weekend, I laughed at all the kids in their pseudo-hippie costumes going to Veld (still do) and had no interest in going to a rave and melting my brain with what I thought sounded like strangled cats running through a synthesizer.

Then I went to the show and I couldn’t get over the fact that an intimatidating girl in a revealing cheetah costume and thigh-high heels complimented my best friend and I on our matching giraffe-onesies. I had to remind myself that the shirtless guy I had a dance-off with wasn’t trying to hit on me because he was too busydancing. And when I saw a girl in short-shorts walk by a group of bros, they continued to groove to the music rather than holler at her.

It didn’t matter who you were, what you were into or why you were there because everyone was too happy doing their own thing to care. Merry explains this phenomenon through a mentality shared by some ravers: “PLUR, which stands for Peace, Love, Unity and Respect. Kaskade, a popular DJ in EDM, has said that “as far as music culture goes, EDM is the one who will accept the kids on the outliers, the ones who get bullied, the ones who feel like they may not quite fit in. This community is exceptional in its ability to bond all types together, and I am not exaggerating when I say it saves lives.””

A friend of mine found solace from the personal issues she faced in elementary and high school through EDM. It provided her with a space where she was free to be herself, connect to the music and meet other people who shared her passions and struggles. Although Megan described EDM as “nothing more than stupid music to pop some pills and get fucked up to”, my friend – probably by the divine intervention of the anti-drug gods – never considered getting “fucked up” as a part of EDM culture. At the moment, she’s finishing up her second-year studying Cognitive Science with a minor in Classics at McGill University. In her own words, “correlation is not causation.”

Nonetheless, you’re going to be exposed to what producers, labels and some artists consider moneymakers: what will please the masses without much effort or originality. These artists, the shows that they play and the people that go to them are the only ones that people like Megan associate EDM and raving to. This applies to all genres of music – there are people who hate Drake and Nicki Minaj because much of their fan-base is made up of upper-middle class suburbanites who think YMCMB is the name of a real gang (like me).

In Merry’s words, “if you take the time to listen to different DJs within each genre of EDM, you would hear clear differences in the tracks. This is why some people who listen to EDM love house and hate dubstep.” Want proof? Check out the posts on the Toronto Rave Community Facebook group. People who are into different genres of EDM tear each other apart.*

I didn’t write this article to guilt you into giving everything a chance. As humans we feel passion at the core of our being and it’s through this core that we identify ourselves, it’s through this core that we understand the world and it’s through this core that we judge everything else. We’re supposed to have first impressions so that we can interpret the new and the unknown things that we’re confronted with regularly. They’re supposed to and they will stick with us until our best friend tells us that we’re being a narrow-minded prick and should listen to this one track because I swear all rock/jazz/pop/country/reggae/hip-hop/EDM songsdon’t sound the same.

And if you’re someone who can naturally identify and act against this reflex, your kindness is disconcerting, you freak me out and you make me feel like a bad person.

Now, back to that introduction I promised you at the beginning of this mess:

Hi, I’m Mariam. And that’s all you need to know.    

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Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow , for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.

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