“Experiences and Journies are essential to finding yourself…”
Here at EDM DAYCARE, we are all about experiences and journeys far and wide. As ravers, that’s something truly transcending. Here’s Karen’s story: My Self Discovery With Above & Beyond.
Okay, so picture this…
Picture this. Music festivals in New York were all ages, Snapchat barely existed, and PLUR was an unknown acronym. (Until taught). I was 15 at the time and barely legal to drive yet. We had just celebrated my friend’s 16th birthday. Her brother was a self-made DJ. His music taste was on point. He told us about this music festival called Electric Zoo in NYC. So when my friend brought up the idea of going to this music festival, I jumped on the offer. Of course, I had to ask my mom for some money because I never worked a day in my life yet. I did not really know what to expect but I knew I had to rock a flower crown. I mean, I been to teen nights throughout Long Island. How different can this be?
I’ve heard of Afrojack. “Take Over Control” played everywhere! Swedish House Mafia and their song “Save the World.” I knew every single word. I guess you can say I was prepared for the festival. We only went one day because I was 15 at the time. Also, that’s all my mom allowed.
The Road To Going To Electric Zoo
Convincing my mom to get my ticket was a complete experience. I said the word festival and she interpreted. She said: “DRUGS, DON’T DO IT.” “DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS.” Just some background information, I’m Salvadorian. You already know my mom was not so thrilled about my new found interest. Every night I would go to teen night, she’d have a heart attack every time and come back home at 11. She was also protective. I guess you can say I was a rebellious teenager. But in all seriousness, if my mom didn’t agree to get me that ticket that day, I probably wouldn’t be writing this right now.
It’s finally rave day! And for once, New York weather was in our favor. It was a perfect sunny day with a cool breeze. I had an idea of what to wear. According to the Tumblr Girls, you wore a flower crown, DIY crop top, and high waisted jean shorts. So, I followed that look to be safe. I was always creative. You already know, I added some accessories! I didn’t want to come off as a newbie. So, I got the following:
• Neon gloves with holes on them.
• A light-up pacifier. (I had no idea what the purpose was for at the time).
• Flower print sunglasses.
I made my own choker with shoelace & a clip-on zebra print bow. Yes, there was a lot of flower print that day. It made sense because it went with the Electric Zoo theme. I was the human form of a raver’s first-day starter pack. Not going to lie, I looked adorable. Please check out the #tbt photos.
It’s Electric Zoo Time…
My other friend’s brother was into the EDM World at the time. He recommended some names. In all honesty, we barely heard of any of the artists performing. If it wasn’t Tiesto or Avicii, it was all a mystery from there. He dropped a few names & comment if any ring a bell. The names were Dada Life, Bingo Players, Steve Aoki and ultimately Above & Beyond (The reason I’m writing to you all today).
What Made Me Fall In Love With EDM…
I remember walking through the EDM world and just being so overwhelmed. Being at Electric Zoo, everyone was so happy and carefree. It was beautiful because I never knew what living in the moment was until Electric Zoo. I remember first seeing DJ Blend, who had some crazy Chucky the doll visuals. Also, I saw a duo named White Panda, who wore panda LED masks. Did they start the trend of DJs wearing masks? Or was that Marshmello? Noo, just kidding, that was definitely Daft Punk.
All the sets were amazing. I could not stop smiling. I barely knew the songs, which made an even more intense experience. Hearing everything for the first time, I was trying to remember lyrics so I can download it on my Blackberry later on. I attempted to record a few videos to remember these moments. I was not really a good videographer that day. It was me constantly jumping featuring Blackberry quality. See for yourself and let me know if you recognize any of the music playing.
Where My Love For Above & Beyond Began
It was finally getting dark out. In all honesty, the light visuals were stunning in the dark. I was sweating off my makeup up and my curls began to fall out. Shout out to the friend who made sure those curls were tight. I didn’t even care how I looked anymore because I was on such a music high (no drugs were involved). I was jumping between sets and I couldn’t stop dancing. It was the closing set and everyone was rushing to the main stage. One of my friends had a sore ankle and was holding up for most of the day. She was barely holding on. At this point, we went in the back of the crowd so she can rest. The rest of us couldn’t stop moving. The music stopped for a few seconds. We were all the way in the back but we had a perfect view of the stage. Out of nowhere, in huge letters, the main stage screen says Above & Beyond.
Everyone was screaming and going crazy for Above & Beyond…
Their set felt different from the rest right off the bat. This was my first time experiencing a trance set. I didn’t even know it was called trance or what it sounded like. All I know is, I sure did feel it. It was slower in some parts but truly beautiful and melodic. I didn’t know the words but their lyrics resonated with 15-year-old me. We all been through it, especially our first heartbreak. Mine happened to be around this time. So you know how insane I went when their most popular song “Sun and Moon” was performed. I barely heard this song before but I felt like they wrote it for me. Me being a dramatic heartbroken teenager, I was singing my heart out. There was another side to trance that Above & Beyond has perfected.
That transition between melodic feels, a heavy-hitting beat, and rhythm compliments well; It matches everyone’s heartbeat. Don’t get me wrong, I love house vibe, and drum and bass vibe but there is something so subtle about trance that makes it so special.
The Perfect Way To Heal…
Above & Beyond do this thing where they type messages to the crowd. You wouldn’t hear their voices but with those messages, we knew exactly the love and message they wanted to share with us. Their music was one of the first few works that I could relate to. The message of self-love, self-doubt, heartbreak, and loving others resonated with me. I get chills going back to these memories. Their music really set up the foundation of my adult life today. 15 year old me barely knew what was coming for her. But here I am 7 years later sharing my story and experience.
So picture this: Present Day. It’s my last show of 2018. Now, events and festivals are no longer all ages. I don’t have to worry now because I’m 22. Snapchat is heavily used to the extent that you can’t take a video without having at least five other phones ruining your shot. PLUR is no longer an unknown. It’s heavily practiced in the festival world and can relate to the real world.
Above & Beyond visited New York before the year ended. Three Above & Beyond experiences later, I was able to see them before 2018 ended. This time, I went alone. When I told people I went by myself, they were shocked. But, deep down I knew I wouldn’t feel alone. I would be in a room filled with people here for the same reason I am. This was also the first show that I’ve recorded my experience. It wasn’t only for documenting on Snapchat but in hope of creating a YouTube video. My goal is so I can reach out to a wider audience.
To me, every Above & Beyond show is a different experience. Each of them I treasure more and more. Now, I know most of the words to every song. I still am in awe of their transitions and how their music emotional moves me. The show was truly incredible. In particular, my favorite part of this show was an astronaut totem that hosted the show. It brought us along in his venture. I was also a huge fan of those who brought out the group therapy ribbons. Remember I said I was recording my experience?
My Vlog On Above and Beyond And Joining The EDM Daycare Team
Unknowingly, I captured a fellow EDM Daycare contributor, Lexi Williams, in the shot. When she looked at my video, she pointed it out. It’s such a small world. We had just started communicating with each other since I recently joined EDM Daycare. I felt like it connected us all. People of all walks of life, backgrounds, and beliefs came together for Above & Beyond. You can imagine that love and human connection being applied in our society today. The world would really be a much better place. If you wanna see Mr. Astronaut and Lexi, check out my video below!
If you read this far, thank you for reading. I really appreciate it! This was a condensed version of my EDM transformation. It explains how it changed me in the festival world and my current adult world. I am so happy to be a part of this community and connecting with you all. Whether it’s through social media or headbanging next to each other in the crowd. Till next time, stay PLUR!