EDM Saves Lives – by Rob Reeves
Written by Rob Reeves on February 2, 2018
“As far as a 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.” – Kaskade
No truer words have ever been said about EDM than that. Whether you are a Dubstep fanatic, Trance Addict, House lover, or any other sub-genre, we are a part of something bigger than we may or may not know. I know this because Kaskade’s statement applies to me at a pretty deep level. My story, below.
It was 1999, I was 14. I was a freshman, in band, overweight, and didn’t really have a spot on the “popularity roster” at my high school. I had maybe a few people I could call friends, at best. I was ready to end it all at that point in my life. I felt as if there was no place for me in life. I felt as if I wasn’t going to amount to anything. I broke down and told one of the friends, whom of which I also had a crush on at the time. I told her exactly how I felt. Offering up the few kind words most people do when one opens up, she took things a step further.
Knowing I was only 14, and she was 16, she took it upon herself to ask my parents if she could take me to a “party.” My parents agreed thinking it was a traditional party with cake and ice cream and everyone in bed by 10 (They were wrong, haha.) We leave my parent’s place and end up in downtown Kansas City, MO at a place called Cup & Saucer. She was like, “I want you to go in here and be yourself – be crazy, act a fool if you want, just have a good time.” And she wandered off talking to people. Within 5 minutes of walking in the door, I was handed a pair of glow sticks and told to “make figure 8s.” After a minute or so of that, I was explained the meaning of PLUR and what it means to actually live that lifestyle. (More about that in a later post)
After that, I made my way to the DJ. I don’t remember who exactly was playing, but it was Drum n Bass, he was scratching over it, and it made me want to move. For once in my lonely 14 year old life – I was having fun. I felt as if I belonged there. I felt something that, even to this day – I still feel. After that, I kept coming back. I kept meeting people, learning new glow stick moves, dancing, and having fun. Over a short amount of time, I forgot that not that long ago – I was suicidal and ready to end it.
Fast forward 4 years to 2003, I decide I want to be the DJ making people move. So I partnered up with Ryan Espey and DJ Loo-E – two amazing people whom I never get to see anymore. They mentored me along – and I caught on very quickly, learning how to play breaks on both vinyl and CDJs. I made my first event appearance in 2004 – opening a very small gig at a coffee shop turned venue after 10 PM in the 39th street area of Kansas City, MO. One thing led to another and by 2008 or so, with the help of some key promoters and opportunities, I was playing shows all over the country sharing the bill with the likes of Benny Benassi and such. The rest, as they say, is history.
EDM truly saved my life. When I was 14, I had a plan to end it all, but just that one moment in my life where my friend stepped up – changed everything. Here I am, 19 years later. I wouldn’t give up EDM for anything. It’s a part of me and who I am. I look back only to realize that I am forever grateful that EDM had, and still has that magical welcoming feeling that most other music genres do not have. A lot of arguing goes on over who like what genre the most and why, or who promotes what shows and why, but at the end of the day, we’re all here for one reason – the music. Thank you for reading my story, I’d be pleased to see some of your stories in the comments. Much love all!