Beats & Bullets: A US Army Soldier’s Journey into EDM
Everyone has a story. Everyone has feelings. The majority of our lives we are separated into categories to make us seem different and then forced into others to seem the same.
Part of this is society’s natural way of control and order and some is to our own doing. Without going down the rabbit hole too much. My natural calling from the age of which I first had dreams, was to serve in the Army. Perhaps it stemmed from one to many episodes of the history channel praising the heroism of soldiers in world war II and other conflicts overseas, or perhaps other movies and books I read in my early years of development advocating selfless service, courage, and the concept that we as a people will never be perfect but we can live and fight and defend a set of ideals that is as close too perfect in nature as we believe possible polarizing around freedom and equal rights.
When I first began my military service out of high school I was not yet a man in any true sense of the term, but holding a weapon sure made me feel like one. I had a sense of pride and was fueled by an aggression largely in part from an inability to play sports (which had just dominated the last four years of my life) that mostly got channeled into working out but ultimately led to years of making misguided choices. Not necessarily bad but just lost.
As I matured, I rose through the ranks of the military and completed my college education, taking on a leadership role. Though education I discovered in great detail that the world was not necessarily a military battle of good vs evil. Consequently, many personal questions arose about my service. A service that I had built my life around and taken the lives of more friends then I care to recall.
At a point in my life when I truly was facing a crossroads. EDM helped me through some of the deepest moments of my life. In silence it was often too much to comprehend. My life’s very foundation had been built on values, beliefs, and ideals of doing what I felt is right regardless of the consequences. These ideals reinforced by family, friends, and the military itself preached respect, selfless service, personal courage, and integrity at all costs. Had I been wrong all along? was the right thing for me to stop serving?
As a soldier I always stayed silent in respect for the uniform not expressing opinions on politics, conspiracy theories, and practices by the government and its allies as a whole.
Personally, I was able to find peace about something I felt like I couldn’t talk with really anyone about. So many people were one-sided it was hard to discuss with how much I had vested in the situation.
I understand many speak in phrases such as “if no one joins the military there would be no wars” unfortunately we are a little past that with drones, missiles, and all the technologies available.
I was able to find ultimate peace with my current situation. My place is here, currently deployed overseas.
I dislike the idea of war as much as anyone. But I feel like if someone has to be here it might as well be me. Not out of sorrow but out of purpose, service, hope, and love.
It was at a music festival when I had lost my family (festival family). I went for a stroll and sat by a lake. With the help of some supplements, I realized that I needed to stay in the military for the reminder of my contract. I did not look forward to my upcoming deployment at that time. I had questions of the overall purpose of the conflict. I wanted to have a family and I didn’t want to put my life at unnecessary risk. (Don’t get me wrong there are many things I am willing to die for but conflict for profit is not one of them, among other potential practices, not saying we are, just in theory.)
“I don’t have to save the world. But I should do everything I can to make it better.”
But EDM met me in a place of turmoil and helped show me the purpose in everything. The most amazing parts of life are the ones that are the most challenging for the mind. It brings us back to our simple roots. I don’t have to save the world. But I should do everything I can to make it better. And I do. I actually enjoy doing that. That’s why I’m here. It might be a flawed journey but there is a reason I’m here and I’m making a difference in ways that are unlike what I ever imagined my service being like. After a stressful day of middle eastern heat, I pop in my tunes and close my eyes and remember days at Okeechobee, EDC Orlando, Sunset music festival, Tomorrowworld, Hulaween, and Purple Hatters Ball.
Music takes me somewhere different. I feel as if I’m there with all the people, as hopeful as I, that this moment is perfect and tomorrow will be even better. I tune into Odesza, one of my favorites. The instrumental fusion into EDM, is like a self-prescribed therapy. Intricate & complicated, it soothes me into a mellow joy only Odesza can bring.
“How’s early morning PT in the Middle East?” you ask; many of my peers will provide different responses, but I’d say an absolute delight. Only because sets like Slander and RL Grime feed me the intense rush to fuel my mornings, just like a coach or personal trainer would do back in my athletic days. You can say I’m insane, but I look forward to those early morning workouts as long as my two favorite personal trainers are there to motivate me.
No matter how stressful the day, Kygo and Sam Feldt have my back to be ever so calming and peaceful. I’ll lay back on a plot of sand and envision myself on a beach, watching the stars all night appreciating life.
A few other favorites are Tritonal and Flux, as I can’t stay from a good with high energy. Or one of my newest favorites Marshmello, that’s definitely had me dancing all night, whether at a festival, or my tent alike.
“EDM brought me together to a group of people and music, that brought balance to what seemed like a shaking tightrope of a life.”
Now, I’m a leader overseas, living a dream that I almost lost. Serving in a way that gives me more of a sense of purpose than I dreamed of as a kid. I see young men just like me when I first joined with more energy and emotion then they know how to handle. And with the internet and social media I am sure they are personally facing the same challenges I did in regards to sense of purpose, sense of morality, and sense of life.
I feel as though in my personal experiences, EDM is not discussed much in the military due to its close ties with illegal drug use. But I see fellow soldiers at festivals, knowing their background due to tattoos and camelbacks. To the fellow soldiers listening to EDM and reading this. We can be the change this world needs. The military is a powerful and for the large part broken organization. Just like this world. It is our duty to be the positive change in it however small the effect.
To each man his own, but for me I’m going to serve out the remainder of my contract. As a proud American soldier. Rave on. Responsibly of course. I am proud of my service and country. It is easy to be upset with situations and people. But it feels a lot better to be involved in the world then simple wishing it got better. For now, i’ll make the very best of the camels & desert that surrounds me. See you guys at the shows when I get back.
“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love.” (because life is to short, not to have fun)