Editor’s Note: This will be my last article as an editor for Your EDM. In this last year I have watched Your EDM grow from Elliot Sachs’ passionate project to the United States’ largest EDM website with a staff of over 30 amazing individuals. Sadly, my time with YEDM is ending and I will be transitioning into a guest writer spot. But this couldn’t be a more fitting article for me to go out on. Your EDM has given me a perfect platform to voice my opinions and views on a scene I love dearly. Before I begin, I want to thank each and everyone of you for reading and voicing your opinions (even when they are brutal). I want to begin with this disclaimer: I like to write funny articles, but this is not one of them. Just kidding, this is totally one of them.
The word industry has a legitimizing aura coupled with its use. The very term is linked with a vision of creation and progress. An industry is supposed to build the gleaming skyscrapers we live in, not burn them to the ground. When we think of captains of industry, figures such as John D. Rockefeller and Warren Buffet are the first to come to mind. By all standards we could consider Pablo Escobar and Osiel Cardenas Guillen among some of the most successful businessmen of all time.
The only separation between the Escobars and the Rockefellers of the world is the imaginary line in the sand we apes like to call the law. With the recent deaths this Summer in the world of EDM, it’s time to examine our industry’s darkest side. One that I sadly have witnessed first hand and in a sense been complicit with. This is of course the industry’s shadowy involvement with MDMA.
The article posted on Brojackson was the first in the dance blogosphere to really seriously explore the subject of the industry’s complacency towards and at times a facilitation of, a culture of drug use. For those of you who haven’t read it, (which you should have), the article essentially gives a first person account into the industry of Molly as well as “exposing” several unnamed promoters complicity and even directly involvement with it. It’s spot on, but I think he says it better than I ever could, so again I encourage you to read the articles.
I won’t try to judge the use of drugs much, I think that subject has been well explored across the Internet in these last few weeks. What’s more, is that my own experiences with Molly were largely positive and when they began to become negative, I stopped. I never came close to overdosing, I never even felt at risk, not once. For me, MDMA entered my life during a very dark, low, time and helped me regain a sense of ‘balance’. But then overindulgence turned Molly into a problem, which even at the worst moment, was easy to turn away from and never look back.
I think a lot of EDM fans are having this sort of moment or at very least wanting it. Whether the industry can survive such a break or whether it can survive without it is looking at least for the moment, incredibly unclear. It’s pretty simple to make the case that use of Molly isn’t the danger facing EDM right now. It’s the unbreakable link between EDM and a drug culture. Bro Jackson does point out a very real truth with EDM, there is a lot of tacit and implicit consent for the distribution and consumption of drugs. At the same time, there is somewhat of a taboo around mentioning its existence. It’s the elephant in the room; and one of the unspoken rules is that unless you’re the elephant in the room, don’t talk about the elephant in the room.
It doesn’t take a whole lot of digging or even thinking to put two and two together. If you’ve just had every inch of you frisked down by a pissed off security guard with incredibly exploratory hands, you kind of begin to wonder how so many people managed to get enough drugs in to ask you four separate times over seven hours if you are ‘looking for molly’, inside. In most cases you can’t even get an open pack of cigarettes in, because you got bored waiting in line and needed a smoke even though you knew you probably shouldn’t. So, what sort of criminal mastermind then would be able to sneak in a hefty stash? Judging by the types of people that try to sell you drugs at a show, there’s probably in many cases something else going on. So that means people who are slinging at shows either A. know someone, who knows someone or B. you’ve just ingested…
Let’s be real for a moment, buying drugs especially ones that can land you serious jail time is typically a pretty sketchy affair. I think that the PLUR-tastic EDM community up until just recently has remained a very ‘cushy’ place for clandestine deals. But as the size of the community grew and grew the drug industry scaled up to meet demand. This had the unfortunate effect of linking EDM with the very nasty, very real big leagues of the drug trade. A few years back, I remember getting offered ‘Juarez Brown’ at a festival. First off, Juarez Brown sounds like the closest thing to pure and concentrated agony humanity has ever whipped up, but secondly, it reeks of cartels.
As much as I’d like to think the Zetas and Juarez Cartel had the rave’s best interest in mind, selflessly slaving away to make the best, purest, and safest amphetamines known to middle class white kids, it’s just not true. It’s terrifying that the demand of the EDM drug culture has caught the notice of groups that have no qualms about killing thousands of people and leaving their heads in the street. But what could we expect? They’re in a way very similar to the investors that EDM’s popularity has attracted. Both groups want a piece of the EDM pie and are willing to take some pretty substantial risks for the chance of big returns.
The industry is in the throes of an identity crisis. EDM is not quite sure where it stands, is it the alcohol, drugs, overdrive, noise, neon lights, revolution, rave is king- hedonist escape? Or is it a commercial, high-dollar, nascent industry supplying trend parties? I think anymore it’s a bit of both. But it seems that this is a dangerous dynamic, we can’t have our molly and eat it too.
This brings me to a little bit of a story. I was graciously invited by Insomniac to attend EDMbiz, the experience of which totally blew me away. Saw some of the richest men in the United States- perhaps ranked globally- sit in front of me and admit that essentially they had no idea what to do about EDM, they didn’t understand it. They told us, whether it was the flat-out truth or not, that they basically didn’t know how to handle EDM. I know now that this goes both ways. I believe strongly that the majority of the industry does not know how to as a whole handle its own success.
See, the thing is without legitimate investors we can’t have nice things like EDC Vegas and Ultra. I mean, unless you’re Walter f’n White you aren’t going to have the capital to set up a thirty million dollar stage, try crowd-sourcing that shit! But in the off chance you’re still not seeing the picture here, I’ll spell it out for you: People dying at EDM events with tons of incredibly open drug use and high numbers of arrests and hospitalizations are really bad things for investor confidence, among other things.
This is where the industry stands now, at a fork in the road. Each path has its own pitfalls and compromises, but neither gives a 100% guarantee of success. Does the industry as a whole have what it takes serve molly the paperwork for divorce? Or is it destined to retreat back into the underground from which it emerged. I don’t think this writer has the absolute answer. The capital from investors has the potential to remove the get rich quick appeal of drug money. But if this were to happen, the PLUR, more underground elements of the scene (which to be fair have become an appeal and staple of EDM in and of themselves) would be obviously at risk. The next year will be crucial to EDM, but getting an entire industry onboard and sailing in the same direction is a gargantuan task. For now though, all we can do is be the change we want to see in EDM. Be sober, rave safe. I’m out.
Good read: Brojackson