The Semester in Review

Man oh man, what an interesting semester it has been. I’m not going to lie, I was absolutely dreading taking this class. I hate writing and the course title was “Advanced Composition- Media Writing” so you can see where I’m coming from. However, this has been one of my favorite classes that I’ve taken at Graceland. I got to deeper explore something that I love and share it with a class full of people. My topic at the beginning of the year was music, more specifically Electronic Dance Music or EDM.  We did a lot of different assignments dealing with multiple social media platforms. The first one we started was the blogs and I think that those were my favorite out of all of the assignments we did. My first blog talked about why people would want to go to an edm show. This blog talked about my personal experiences and why I think people need to go to shows more often. I discussed the impact of meeting all sorts of people at shows and festivals alike. The community within the edm scene is something I’ve never really experienced before until I went to my first show. Interacting with all the different people really opened my eyes and showed me how accepting and caring most people are in this scene. My next blog was a little different as it talked about what to do and not to do at shows. This blog was fun to write because I got to talk about the social norms that go on in these venues. For example, offering water to a stranger is very common and acceptable in the edm scene, however I’ve never seen it happen at non-edm concerts I attend. The don’t list was more fun to make because I finally got to write out and vent about all of the shitty things people do at shows. My third and final blog was about social media’s influence on edm. Social media has allowed fans to connect all across the world and build friendships online. It has also allowed for artists to spread their music across the globe which has encouraged people to start producing. Because of this more and more people are making electronic music.

Up next in the class were the twitter essays. The twitter essays were slightly challenging because you only had 140 characters to get a point across. The first twitter essay I wrote was about how the edm scene grew from underground warehouse raves to giant festivals that bring in upwards of 100,000 people. I also tweeted about how the creativity that goes into the fashion aspect of festivals as well as the PLUR lifestyle. The following two essays weren’t related to edm but rather about That 70’s Show and a micro essay on social media as a whole. I also did an Instagram essay that is on my storify along with my twitter essays and I really enjoyed that project. I kept with my theme of community and took 20 original pictures that I have taken over the past couple of years and combined them all to show community instead of just talking about it. By using pictures I was able to really show what I meant when I talked about community because a lot of the pictures were ones with people I had met at shows, festivals or online. While it was a difficult assignment, I really enjoyed how it turned out. The last big assignment I did was a podcast with Corey. In our podcast we discussed the similarities and differences between edm and classical music. Through this podcast I learned a lot about classical music, more than I think I’ll ever need to know. We were able to discuss how people make money in their respective genres, concert etiquette and the way to become a popular artist.

Throughout the semester I’ve learned a great deal about all different kinds of music, but especially edm since it was my topic I chose. When looking for sources I had to constantly scour the web looking for articles that would fit into my blogs. Since I read so many articles trying to find the perfect one I learned new things about the genre. I also read a lot of personal stories because I wanted to relate them back to my very personal first blog entry. In doing so, I kept reinforcing the accepting and loving community because every post I read had a very similar story to mine. Almost all of the posts went something like this; they were nervous about their first show, they then met people at a show or online, they started branching out and now they are as deeply connected to the music as I am. Over the course of this semester these assignments have actually instilled a little more courage in me to interact more over social media. I now follow and talk to a lot more people online as well as in person and I think that’s awesome that a media writing class actually did something for me in real life.

The best part about this class overall is that we didn’t have to write a traditional term paper which I loved. As I said in the beginning I hate writing and writing papers is the best way to make me cry. However with this class we got to explore the different ways writing is used to communicate that isn’t traditional in any sense. The blogs allowed me to open up and talk about things that I thought were important, not what academia finds important. While traditional papers are important, so is learning how to write something not as formal. The world is changing faster than ever and who know, maybe in 20 years traditional papers will be a thing of the past and people are going to be taught how to blog instead. Another thing that I liked about the way this class was set up was the fact that we actually got to examine the ways of using twitter in a professional manner. The twitter essays were difficult to do but they were very useful. I always knew that twitter was used by select few to actually talk about things other than cat memes, but the essays allowed me to actually use them in a way that talked about real topics in the educational world.

I really enjoyed this class and the various things I’ve learned throughout the semester. I know now how to communicate efficiently with others over social media as well as make a statement in what I’m writing. The blogs were fun to write because I got to talk about something I enjoyed and in turn it made me work harder on them than I would on a conventional essay. The twitter essays taught me how to condense what I’m saying to only what is needed and the Instagram essay showed me that pictures can be just as if not more effective in telling a story than writing is. Lastly, the podcast showed me how much more difficult it is to do than it seems because of all the background work you need to do in order to make one. Overall, I’m very happy I ended up taking this class as I really enjoyed and learned a lot from it.

Below are links to all of my assignments throughout the semester excluding the podcast because I don’t have it on my computer.

 

Instagram Essay 

Micro Essay

Live Tweets

First Twitter Essay

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Social Media’s Influence On EDM

Social media and edm sort of go hand in hand now a days. Back in the days before social media you had to actually go out and talk to people face to face if you wanted to become friends (ugh). Now, thanks to Twitter and Facebook, we can do it all online! *insert happy cat gif*

Social media has helped create a community that hasn’t really been there before. Sure, there was definitely a community before social media, but it has grown huge thanks to Twitter and Facebook. Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s if you wanted to meet people you had to talk to them in person, which is kinda hard when you’ve got music blasting so loud you can feel it in your chest. So, the communities back then were much smaller. Now, we have social media that is changing the game. For example, if you search ‘ravechasers‘ on twitter you’ll come back with one of the main twitter accounts for the rave chasing community.  What is rave chasing? It’s basically people that go to a shit ton of raves. They’ll drive wherever as long as there’s good music and good vibes. This ravechasers account is the head account, with a bunch of other accounts connected to it, like local rave chasing and edm families. For example, I live in Kansas City so I follow, ravechasers, kc_ravechasers, iowaedmfam and a lot more but you get the point. The purpose of these accounts are to get more people involved in the edm community. Each show that the owners of these accounts go to they hold a “meet up”. They tweet out when and where at the venue this meet up will occur and people show up. I’ve met a bunch of cool people at these meet ups, including people that I go to raves with now. The picture below is from a Kc_ravechasers meet up at NGHTMRE (I’m in the blue on the left).

kc rave chasers

Other than just getting local’s to meet up at shows, social media gave us the ability to connect with people from far away. There’s a group on facebook called “NGHTMRE’s trap fiends” and it is basically a group that posts about NGHTMRE’s music and shows and where you can meet up with others in the group. This group allows people from California and New York to interact and share stories about their favorite shows, sets and songs.

Another interesting thing on twitter is the #PLURFollowTrain (PLUR stands for peace, love, unity and respect, a big thing in edm culture). Basically, people tweet that hashtag and they follow everyone who likes/retweets that tweet. This way people from all over the world can follow each other and essentially gain friends over the internet.

Social media allows people to connect like never before. I’ll give you a real life example that happened to me that made me start actually talking to fellow ravers over twitter. A few months ago I found a girl on twitter named Julie who is from Chicago. She followed me because I tweeted about bassnectar, her favorite artist. And since she followed me, it was only right that I followed back. We would occasionally tweet back and forth if one of us tweeted a dope song, or about a show or festival we were attending but that was pretty much the extent of the conversations. In January, I posted a picture of how my house caught fire and I lost almost everything I had. She saw that post, and immediately DM’d me asking for my address. I assumed she was going to send me a sticker or something but what I got was so much more. She ended up sending me a bassnectar shirt, 2 hat pins, car decals, and a bunch of artist temporary tattoos along with a 4 page letter. I had never had a conversation with her in real life, but the bond we had over music was something so much stronger than I had originally thought. Literally, I met her though twitter and she did something for me that was so unbelievably nice that I couldn’t help but get emotional over it. It’s crazy to think that tweeting someone on twitter that likes the same music as you could have such an impact in my life. Since then, we talk much more frequently and I plan on meeting up with her and her boyfriend (who I also follow on twitter) at Electric Forest this year.

Group meetup at Electric Forest 2015

Other than the community building aspect, social media has allowed the music that used to be underground to surface in the mainstream. People are posting  about edm more than ever, according to this article. And because of the increase in posts, more and more people are learning about edm and actually starting to listen to it. This different article also talks about how the average EDM fan tweets on average 11 times a day, unlike the regular twitter user who only posts 1.8 times a day. That’s a crazy big difference and you can see how much impact social media has had on the growth of the genre. It’s weird to think how raves used to under ground (literally) and now they’re growing huge into festivals of 100,000 people. Festivals such as EDC or Ultra are big names in the game, with Ultra trending all of last weekend because of their live stream. People on twitter would watch the stream and tweet #UltraLive and those tweets would be shown live on the screen as they were coming in.

So as you can tell, social media has done amazing things for the edm scene. It has grown its community immensely and has pushed an underground genre to the mainstream. I’m curious as to where social media will take this culture next. But for now we can only imagine what is to come.

 

 

 

 

 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Shows

With electronic music rising in popularity there is a ton of new people to the scene. While growing the scene is always a plus, this also means that there’s gonna be stuff done at shows that isn’t cool. So follow along and lets learn how to enjoy the music and also not ruin the experience for yourself or others around you.

Don’t

Don’t wait until the last minute to buy tickets

This is often one that most people don’t think about. The scene is growing and that means more  and more people are going to shows, however the venues are still staying the same size. If you see a show you want to go to BUY TICKETS ASAP. Countless times I see people complaining about tickets to their “favorite dj” being sold out a couple days before the show. DON’T WAIT, tickets are selling out faster than ever so if you want to go see a dj, buy the tickets as soon as you can. This way you know you’re going to go and don’t have to fight with the dreaded scalpers selling a $20 ticket for $80 (true story).

Don’t shove through the crowd to get up front

As a person who shows up to shows when the doors open, this is the most frustrating thing to deal with. If you want to be up close, show up early. It’s common sense really but some people just do not understand this. Don’t shove other ravers while trying to get a good spot on the rail. When people try to shove their way to the front it just creates one big clusterfuck where people get jammed together and this is where overheating and injuries occur. If you don’t show up early, don’t jam up front. Plain and simple.

forgetting-sarah-marshall-you-shall-not-pass

Don’t get too fucked up

This is the most important tip of all and it is the one that can have serious consequences. We get it, it’s a blast to get drunk and go to a show. It’s also fun to take drugs and go to a show. BUT it’s also fun to remember the night/actually live. The edm scene is notorious for drugs and is constantly getting a bad reputation because people don’t know their limits and end up OD’ing and sometimes even dying. It’s gotten so bad that some cities are threatening to ban all edm shows in general. This is a big issue and is something that has the potential to ruin shows for everyone. So if you plan on drinking/doing drugs, please be careful and know your limits. Have friends with you that can help you out if something goes wrong, but god damn please be careful and don’t end up like this guy.

Don’t let anyone bring you down

Shows are all about having fun, so have fun! There’s always going to be a few people that are being idiots and put a damper on things but you’ve just got to shake it off. Music is such a great thing, it can do so many things for so many different people. Being at a live show is one of the best feelings in the world because for four or so hours you don’t have to think about the real world and you can just dance and let the music take control. There’s a surreal feeling when you’re surrounded by your friends (or soon to be friends) in the middle of the crowd just vibing off one another. It’s a feeling that I’ve fallen in love with and it’s something that everyone should experience. So next show you’re at, just have fun, it’s really that simple (and easy).

oprah-screaming-gif

(Bitch) Don’t kill my vibe

Sorry, I just had to say it. Every time I hear the word don’t I always think of “don’t kill my vibe”, thanks Kendrick. But yeah, don’t kill anyone’s vibe at shows. If they’re having fun, let them.

Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe

Do’s

Do save up money

Ticket prices are increasing more and more, which means you need to start saving if you want to go to more than one a month. It’s an expensive hobby being a rave chaser but it’s something that I love doing and will continue to do regardless of the cost. Besides ticket prices you also have to factor in the cost of gas, food, drinks, and merch you might buy. It adds up pretty quickly, so in order to save yourself from going flat broke, save up in advance. Also if you can, buy tickets when the presale comes out. This is the cheapest price you can get tickets for and after presale sells out the prices rise. Do yourself a favor and act quick and your bank account will thank you. There’s also a lot of other ways to save money on tickets, this article gives more advice so check it out if you want to lessen your spending.

Do talk to people

I can’t stress this point enough! I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve made by talking to the people around me at shows. It’s so easy because you already have one thing in common and that’s music. If you need to break the ice, talk about the dj you’re about to see or maybe the opener. Doing this is how I met two of my friends, Mallory and Korrine at Electric Forest. While watching Bassnectar’s set my friends Kyle and Christian and I got to talking with the two of them and we ended up becoming friends in that short period of time (Pic on the right). So much so that we already have plans to meet up at this years EF. Or if you want an easier, fail proof method of making friends you can offer the person next to you some water if you have some and I guarantee you will become best friends with them.

raveef group

Do show love for your favorite dj without fear of judgement

Show your love for your favorite artists in creative ways. Make customized outfits, make kandi, make a cool sign or banner, carry around a life-size cut out of your favorite artist, whatever. One of my favorite parts about the edm scene is the creativity of everyone that goes to shows. I’m always amazed when I see the outfits that people spend weeks on in preparation to see their favorite djs. Another great thing is the lack of judgement there is. You can do/wear/dance/sing anyway you want and people will vibe with you instead of judging you for your passion. This is something that I really enjoy because I am the world’s worst dancer and yet I dance my heart out without the fear of judgement and I absolutely love how free I feel.

dancing awkward rave edm funny face

Do bring water

Water is  essential in you having a great time. After hours of dancing and singing water will be your lifesaver. Make sure you bring water with you in the crowd because there is nothing worse than being up front for your favorite artist and then having to leave the crowd to get a drink because you’re about to pass out. This not only sucks for you, but also for your friends because once you leave your spot it’s almost impossible to get back to it. Also like I said earlier, water can make you friends so easy. If you see someone that looks like they’re struggling, offer them some water. You’ll get good karma, help out a fellow raver, and most likely make a friend in the process.

DO YOU

Whatever you do, do you! Have fun! Sing your lungs out, dance your heart out and just live. Shows are were you have so much freedom so use it to have the best time of your life. If you just do you, you’ll see why people love this scene so much 🙂

party rave edm plur electric zoo


			

Why would you ever go to an “EDM” show?

“It’s not even real music” “Its literally the same sound over and over again” “Everyone just goes to get fucked up” and the list goes on an on. The deeper I dive into the electronic music scene, the more people I find that are against it. But why? Is it the stereotypes surrounding the scene? Is it the way people dress at shows (which I’ll admit, is kind of crazy)? Or what could it be? Before I knew what electronic dance music was, I was a hater of it. I thought it was just a drug/alcohol fueled mess with the same repetitive beats over and over again with a bunch of weirdos jumping around for a guy behind a table. That’s it. I never would have imaged in a million years that I would turn into one of those weirdos jumping around.

3 years ago I came to Graceland University and all I listened to was rap, indie and alternative music. That’s literally it. If someone were to show me a new song and it didn’t fit into those categories I would instantly shrug it off and dislike it. Thankfully, my blind eyes were opened to the electronic music world, and not by my choice. The friends I made here at school really enjoyed edm and whenever I was around them I was always forced to listen to it. Of course me being me, I resisted at first. And then suddenly it was like something in me popped and bam, I liked the music I was listening to. I slowly started branching out and started out looking up the popular artists at the time such as Skrillex, Bassnectar, The Chainsmokers, and many more and gradually I fell in love. Whenever I listened to a song I got lost in it. It was a great feeling that continued to grow into what it is now, a complete and utter love for the whole scene.

I’ll never forget my first show, or festival I should say. Electric Forest, a 4 day electronic music festival held in the Sherwood Forest in Rothbury, Michigan. To say it was the best time of my life was an understatement. It changed my life. Literally. I’ve struggled with depression since I began high school and it has been a big part of my life ever since, but those 4 days I felt so much happiness that I didn’t even know what to do with myself. There’s honestly nothing like being surrounded by 10’s of thousands of people, all moving together to a song completely immersed in everything going on. Everyone I met during that festival impacted my life in one way or another. It was amazing. I took all the love I felt at EF and transferred it to my real life. After I went back home, I decided that I just couldn’t wait until the next festival so I started going to shows in KC (where I’m originally from). At these shows I’ve met people that have become good friends of mine. Every time I make the almost 2 hour back to KC from Graceland for a show, I always run into a friend that I’ve made at previous shows and it makes the night that much better. The best part about these shows is that for 5 or so hours I got to escape to a world in my head to where I felt nothing but happiness and joy. Every  drop in a song lit a fire in me that could only be contained by movement. For the entire show I’m constantly moving, jumping, dancing and most importantly, smiling. There’s nothing like having a stressful day and ending it with great vibes and music that I love. Live shows are what I live for.

A huge part of the edm scene is obviously the live shows. Nothing compares to the feeling of being at a live show with the bass booming so hard that you can feel it vibrate through your whole body. It’s an indescribable feeling, really. I’ve been to so many concerts that I can’t even count them. I’ve seen Machine Gun Kelly three times, AWOLnation twice, imagine dragons twice, twenty one pilots four times, and a LOT of edm shows and nothing compares to the edm ones. Of course, all of the other concerts I went to were a blast, but the community you are surrounded in at electronic shows is out of this world. Some of the nicest people I’ve met were in the middle of the dance floor helping out a random person who has collapsed from the heat or some other reason. At rap shows I’ve seen people pass out left and right and their friends just get them out of the crowd to the medical booth and hop right back in the crowd without a care for their fallen comrade. It’s a complete 360 when you go to a Bassnectar (one of my favorite’s) show. If someone goes down for any reason everyone and I mean EVERYONE around them pick them back up and take them to where they can get help. And most of the time the people that take the fallen concert goer usually stay with them until they are either okay or someone has an eye on them. Another thing that I tend to see a lot at these shows is that people share everything. For example, this blog that I read has a guy talking about his first Bassnectar show and how great the community aspect of it was.

The crowd for Bassnectar at Electric Forest 2015

While I was at Electric Forest over the past summer I was surrounded by 45,000 people. On the way there I had no idea what to expect. Having never been to even an electronic show yet, I was a nervous on what I got myself into. But as soon as I passed under the
Electric Forest sign, all my worries instantly disappeared . We arrived at the festival at 11 pm on Wednesday night (the gates were supposed to be open at 10 am Thursday, but we wanted a close camping spot) and the line was backed out to the free way ramp so the workers had no choice but to start allowing all the festival goers in. My friends Kyle and Christian were with me and when we finally got through the line and got our tent set up it was already 5 am. Right off the bat we made a connection with our tent neighbors Pam and Anthony (Unrelated, Anthony is an aspiring producer by the name of Extrax, feel free to check him out). These two people were awesome and drove all the way from New York to attend this festival. We spent a lot of the four days checking out sets with them and hanging out at our campsite just having a good time and soaking up all of the good vibes. The four days went by so quickly and on the last day it was emotional leaving all of our new found friends and leaving such a life changing place. It’s almost been a year since I’ve last seen either of them, but we still talk occasionally through Facebook and twitter. My story is not unusual though, most people have similar experiences in the Sherwood Forest. Madi, a fellow forester, wrote a great article that talks more in depth about her experience at EF and how it had an impact on her own personal life as well. It’s a little lengthy but it is awesome to see another persons perspective from the event. All in all, I feel like I can’t reiterate enough how amazing it is being surrounded by people who love the same thing as you do. Going to electronic shows and festivals are the most fun I’ve ever had in my 21 years of life and I wish everyone could experience them at least once before they die.

edm

“Why would you ever go to an “EDM” show?” is a question that I get a lot, and each time I get it I can add a new reason to my ever growing list of why I go. Whether it’s the bump of the music, the friends that I make at every show, the vibes from everyone around me or a chance to escape from the real world for a bit, it is happiness that drives it all.

 

P.S. In case you didn’t believe me on how fucking cool Electric Forest was, just watch this or this  and you’ll get it. Or if you want to see my poor quality snaps (sorry I’m not good at making videos) you can also check out my short video I put on my Facebook.