On April 3, 2009, 20-year-old Rafael Marino was afflicted by a tragic motorcycle accident.  While he was bed-ridden for several months, he had a life-changing epiphany.  Instead of just laying in bed for the next several months as his parents and doctors instructed, he chose to take a leap of faith and venture to the Electric Daisy Carnival in Los Angeles (specifically to experience Groove Armada live for the first time).  Despite the physical exhaustion after the festival, Marino had realized he just made one of the best decisions of his life.  As a result, Marino packed up his bags from school in Santa Barbara, CA and moved back to Los Angeles, where he began the next chapter in his life: Altered States Productions.

From day one of living in LA – the mecca of the music and entertainment industry, Marino was ready to further his career in the music industry, which he officially started in January 2008.  He began promoting for several nightclubs in the area, including Avalon Hollywood.  While working at Avalon, he learned how to handle a team of promoters, and learned how to build a solid network and establish a brand.  Now, fast-forward to 2013 where he began hosting his own underground events in LA.  In addition, he began producing extremely successful after-parties for major festivals…this was the real beginning of Altered States Productions.

Altered States, which officially launched in January 2011, soon partnered with Dim Mak Studios to host remarkable events including: Mantis, Kicks&Licks, Sadhu (first show in U.S.), and Maor Levi to name a few.  One of the goals behind Altered States is to book the artists that other event production companies in the LA area are not booking and to have a different repertoire.  As you can see, they have done a successful job.  Due to the hiatus of Dim Mak Studios, Altered States has been on the search for a new home.  Currently they are partnered with another company and are hosting an event series called Basis, with a focus on tech and house music.  In addition, this summer they will be hosting a monthly rooftop party dubbed Submerge at The Standard Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.  Marino describes Submerge as “an 8-hour day filled with sexy house.”

While Marino is one of the founders at Altered States and is in charge of a lot of tasks, he has a solid team of close friends behind him to fill the voids, in which Marino cannot always get to himself.  The Altered States team consists of six extremely creative full-time employees and roughly 15 volunteers (depending on the size of the event).  While this number may seem small in literal terms, this team covers all ground and is figuratively “huge”.  One way Marino shows his appreciation and gives back to his team is by running services outside of hosting his own events to gain some financial benefits for each employee.  The team at Altered States really prides themselves on working hard and constantly growing.  Their goal is to create quality events and unique experiences.  They produce events out of joy, not necessity.  Needless to say the Altered States team has a strong future ahead.

While the entire Altered States team is beyond inspiring, its founder, 25-year-old Rafael Marino is an exceptional and extremely unique individual. Some people say that social media does not represent someone’s identity.  While I believe that is true, I do think it shows something about our character.  So what does it say about Marino’s character?  We can sum it up in six words: positivity is the key to success.

Marino lives by one phrase: “Live the life you love.  Love the life you live, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  Even though Marino works over 70 hours a week, he loves it and wouldn’t have it any other way.  With a 70-hour/week schedule, sleep is almost non-existent.  However, Marino is a machine and enjoys the fact that he never lets his mind shut off and is constantly working or talking.  In fact, you will often see from his Facebook that he is not afraid to speak his mind.  He firmly believes that everything is up for debate and seeks to challenge everyone and their beliefs.  He refuses to be a sheep and follow the crowd; instead, he wants to separate from the pack and start his own movement.  It’s his vision to start something new and to become a liaison for change for the music industry.

If you take a look at one of his biggest inspirations, Richard Branson (founder of Virgin America, Virgin Mobile, etc), you will see just how serious Marino is about creating an empire of change.  One day Marino hopes to take a page out of Branson’s story.  His other inspiration – his high school counselor, has shown him that he has the power to positively impact at least one individual throughout his lifetime.  There is one thing that he hopes to accomplish in life: to become a better person than he was yesterday.  He knows that he is not always right, but he can only hope to fix and learn from his mistakes.  I think many of us can learn from this mindset.  While a lot of society focuses on becoming rich in material things, he strives to become a wealthy human being overall.

No matter where you come from in life – rich or poor…if you work for it, you can make it.  Rafael Marino is a living testimony of exactly that.  Just as he strives to become a better person everyday, he will never have closure with Altered States and will always work to grow the brand because to him this is a lifelong project.  Anyone can make a difference in this world.  Join Rafael in this movement to become a liaison for change.