One Raver: One Story

Rewind to 1997 and live a day in my life. I was greatly misunderstood and had the social life of a rat. I was typically the quiet one in class with nothing ‘useful’ to say. Topics of the day were dryer than the Nevada Desert. As an antidote to my half-baked life, my headphones went on and listened to Electronic music. Using a 14.4k modem and a BBS, I downloaded music for hours. My hunger for music never ceased; the opposite had occurred.

Looking down the racks of Sam Goody and Wherehouse left my soul disappointed. It was not until I reached West Hollywood at a Virgin record store that I picked up my first double cd album entitled “Freedom: The Sound of Zen”. It was a compilation of a Canadian-based “Electronic Music Fest”. Four artists that stick out from that CD are: Rabbit in the Moon, AK1200, Fat Boy Slim, and Crystal Method.

Going back to my local record store armed with this list of artists still yielded nothing. “Do these artists actually exist?”, I questioned myself. I had other pressing issues at the time, so I did not pursue the matter much.

By early 2000, my music collection received more plays than Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. Searching for techno in an IRC chat server gave me “Never Ending Story”. I loaded this and other songs I had downloaded into my MP3 player and went to school the following day. My headphones were blaring super-loud music when someone asked me where I got that song. I told her that it came from a MP3 server. She began to tell me it was Happy Hardcore. Our conversation went on for about an hour when finally I asked, “where can I get more music like this?”. She told me about the Asian Garden Mall in Little Saigon. I went to the Garden Mall twice and saw their stores littered with what I had thought were club listings. Picking up a few fliers with my CDs gave me an important webpage that I had never seen before:

Fast-forward to November 2000. The Los Angeles Times headlined “Dozens of Arrests at LA Coliseum” - a story detailing Monster Massive. I read the article down to the bottom where the arrests accounted for “narcotics posession” and “auto burglary”. I suspected the LA Times didn’t bother asking anyone but “the authorities” about it, so I asked a friend of mine that went to Monster Massive for a review. My friend gave me an explanation of the party and his involvement, that lasted for about an hour. What made the story so intriguing was the meet-up of 50,000 people coming together to celebrate their very existence.

My search for the next rave had already begun. Since I had no car, I was looking for something nearby. A search on Ravelinks turned up a party located in Los Angeles, at the Proud Bird (only 5 mins away from LAX). The party was called “Happy Go Lucky”, and it drew several thousand people. I wanted to crawl out of my black hole for once in my life. Going to a rave would be the ultimate place (I thought) to do such a thing. I did not distinguish between the forms of electronic music back then. All I knew was there would be a massive speaker rack with DJs spinning the very music I’d been listening to for years.

The Rave: First Experience

Up until the night of Happy Go Lucky, I had always remained at home. I’d never been out in my life… not even to a club, or a friend’s house because I had no friends. The butterflies hit my stomach around 4 o’clock the day of the event. I almost couldn’t take it, but somehow I made it through. Dressed like a sore thumb, I could not relate to anyone, or anything… except the music. I appeared to be an “over-aged gothic” that had no business of attending a rave. What hampered my ability to meet new people was that I was operating out of fear the whole night. Fear of acceptance and fear of rejection were racing through my mind as question after question about myself surfaced.

When I got home, I felt horrible. My life was between two worlds: My pissed off life, and a life of Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. It would take six weeks before I could understand what happened to me during that night. I didn’t know what genre of music I enjoyed the best. I was in the Hardcore room all night during Happy Go Lucky. It was the room I could relate to the most.

Raving: Putting My Life Back Together

Six weeks had gone by before I attempted a rave again. I had gotten a flyer for Together as One and noted it was at the LA Coliseum and Sports Arena. I mapped out a bus route from my house to the venue, and I even tested it two weeks prior to the event. Once all the bugs were worked out, I bought my ticket from Ticketmaster. I made three Candy bracelets for people who really took their time and got to know me. I saw those people at Together as One, and gave the bracelets away.

Taking a look back at my life as it stood, I took action to stop whatever it was that was bugging the heck out of me. I bounced from room to room for two hours after security wished me “Happy New Year”. I heard all the different types of music, yet I found that I still related to Hardcore. Bouncing off the racks expended the anger and energy I had pent up over time. I had to let go somehow.

Midnight was around the corner as I made a “pre meet-up” in the Hardcore room. We whisked our way to the Coliseum at 11:00pm. I chilled at the back of the House room with the others until everyone else came. Like a train, our hands were meshed in each others as we made our way closer to the front stage where none other than Donald Glaude was there, rocking the crowd.
I had a negative psychological attachment to the year 2000 that I was ready, and eager to let go of. Bobbing my head for what seemed to be only a minute, Donald Glaude counts down the seconds to the New Year. The lasers flashed each second while the crowd of 20,000 in the room chanted. I pulled out my cell phone and speed dialed my house, raising it for the celebration of a lifetime.
Just seconds into the New Year revealed a bassline that I’ve never heard before. Moving my feet and throwing my hands in the air was the greatest feeling in the world for me. That, and meeting 30 new friends helped me as well. Twenty minutes later, someone noticed I was still in the House room. He told me “You’re missing out on some good Hardcore back there!” I responded, “Who cares… I like this bassline, I’ll go back soon.” I stayed there until 1:00am, lost in a constant groove. That night was the most memorable in my lifetime.

The Rave: A Growing Experience

Waiting for the bus at 7:00am after Together as One caused me to think. My ears were still ringing from all that bass while listening to Trance three blocks away. Suddenly, an important question came to mind. Why Rave? Then words such as “Music”, “People”, “Vibe”, and others started to flood my mind. I began to write about my rave experience in poetry, as that was all I could do. I still was unable to communicate my feelings with others, because they were very deep and personal.

At Audiotistic 2001, I learned more about myself in one night, than all nights put together. Dancing on the racks allowed me to break free of the “gothic phase” of my life. At some point, I came to the conclusion of “why bother?” No one else was viewing the world in a dark and pissed off manner, why should I?

Soon enough, new thoughts on life emerged. They quickly erased the negative, obsolete thinking during the past four years. Music allowed me to transcend from the worst moment of my life, to the better moments I live now. There is an unknown power associated with our form of music. It quickly sets moods, and allows for an overnight journey unheard of using other forms of music.
Four years ago, I had received something special from electronic music. My musical interest had remained electronically based. I moved from dark ambient/hardcore to trance/happy hardcore. Music changes emotions - that can be swapped by changing that CD in the CD player.