I remember the first time I heard electronic music. I was drinking a Mickey’s 40oz in my college boyfriend’s house with his roommates and a few other people. We all listened to a variety of music, mainly rock, some hip-hop, and the occasional top 40’s track made its way onto the screen at times. However, this night was going to be very different. My friend Sami cut the music.  She leaned just around the corner, and peeked into the kitchen.  “You guys have to hear this... It’ll blow your mind. No, no I’m serious. Listen.”  What came next can only be described as earth-shaking. It was bizarre. It was intense. It was this deep, gritty bass that seemed to crawl its way inside my chest, a resounding sound like nothing I’d heard before. It was late December of 2010, and yes, Sami was correct. I had definitely had my mind blown by Bassnectar’s Timestretch.

As the week went on, I passed it off as a phase, some kind of strange space-machine music that had descended upon this small college town in Laramie, Wyoming. “It isn’t going to pick up,” I thought. “It’s too weird for all the cowboys out here; it’s kind of a shame.” And to my utter shock (and happiness) it did take off.  I started hearing that bass at house parties, played on the jukebox in the bars, and noticed that even the top 40’s list on the radio started to sound a little… dubby.  Gone were the days of R&B during beer pong. Gone were the days of nineties rock blaring over loudspeakers in the stores in malls. Gone were the days of… pretty much everything else.  Electronic Dance Music (EDM) had landed in my life, and nothing would be the same again.

I’m sure we all know that time we first heard Bassnectar, or any number of artists, and were surprised by the utter rawness of it's sound. I’d never listened to any kind of electronic music, but one thing I do know is I’ll never forget it, and I’ll never go back. I still listen to a variety of genres and music when the mood strikes, but now there’s a place in my heart for EDM that no other genre can quite fill. It’s a hole in my chest that can only be filled by the sheer size of the music, the breadth of time and space it spans, and the wild eccentricity of its lovers.

Not everyone can boast to having “been there when it all began,” or to have lived in Europe in the early nineties as electronica took off. I know I certainly wasn’t.  But in the long run, that doesn’t really matter, does it? That’s the beauty of it… it’s an ever-growing family centered on being a part of something bigger than each of us could individually be. Ravers want to spill out of themselves and feel the music create neurotransmitters between the people around them. At the most basic human center, they want to simply connect.  Boasting Plur, sharing kandi, performing light shows for friends, wearing the craziest outfits we can find and jamming to some of the best new-age music with a rage stick held high… A rave is a place of unadulterated bonding between humans, and unshakable connection to music. If this is your first time exploring raves and what it means to be a part of the EDM family, don’t feel bad.  Embrace the novelty of it while you can. Embrace the people you meet, the sounds you’ll experience, and the lights that shine in ways you’ve never experienced. And if you find yourself in need of a friend, that’s what we’re all here for: as family.

Welcome home.