Home Forums The DJ Booth Recreational Drugs and EDM

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  • #2082
    D-Jam
    Participant

    I’ve been accused in the past of being a “party pooper” or some other derogatory because I don’t take narcotics and have voiced my opinions on them. My main concern really wasn’t for those on drugs, but for now “amateurs” on drugs ruin things for everyone.

    It’s the usual story, a rave scene grows from those “in the know” to getting weekend warriors who normally hit up college bars and high school dances. These new people have no clue how to take drugs and especially how to take care of themselves while high. They do too much, OD, end up in the hospital, and then on the news when one dies.

    Suddenly the parents, acting all shocked, want the raves ended and the DJs and promoters punished. Now as a DJ I have to worry not only about the event getting busted, but getting fined something like $10,000 just because I DJed there. It’s why I’ll not have gear/music on me when I am not playing…so I can pretend to be just a patron.

    I’ve heard “drugs are a part of the scene” many times, and I agree with it. I look at the music that came out of the late 80s and early 90s, and know it was fueled very much by the drugs, despite that the Pioneers of house music were not on drugs. Such is life, but I still say the scene needs to police itself so we’re not dealing with the authorities punishing us for throwing a party.

    I think a lot of the music didn’t need drugs to start, but the drugs are what evolved them. They were taking LSD in the 60s, speed in the early 70s (Northern Soul), coke in the late 70s and into the 80s, E and acid in the late 80s and early 90s, and so on. Even now coke is still massive in the club scene with the bottle service. It’s just a fact of life that patrons want to come out, get trashed, possibly get laid, and have a wild night of debauchery. That’s for almost any scene…mainstream or underground.

    #2198
    Phil Morse
    Keymaster

    Like many others, I had my wild days when I started going clubbing… but about 18 months in, when I realised the downside of every weekend “on it”, I thanked my stars that although I’d fallen out of love with that side of things, I still loved the music more than ever. 20 years on, I feel exactly the same way.

    #1000745
    Rob Francis
    Member

    I first got into dance music when I was about 13 years old and I didn’t go clubbing to take anything until 19. Although I was always into the music, taking an E really brought it all together. It kind of “joined the dots” and I understood why dance music is the way it is.
    Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise dance music is 100% influenced by illegal drugs – mostly E. Just ask Oakenfold, Rampling and Holloway; they are largely responsible for bringing the acid house scene to the UK when they discovered it in Ibiza. And guess what? They were taking E.
    Despite this, you CAN enjoy dance music without drugs – absolutely – but in terms of influence they are very closely linked.

    #1000754
    Matt Challands
    Participant

    Rob Francis, post: 2198 wrote: I first got into dance music when I was about 13 years old and I didn’t go clubbing to take anything until 19. Although I was always into the music, taking an E really brought it all together. It kind of “joined the dots” and I understood why dance music is the way it is.
    Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise dance music is 100% influenced by illegal drugs – mostly E. Just ask Oakenfold, Rampling and Holloway; they are largely responsible for bringing the acid house scene to the UK when they discovered it in Ibiza. And guess what? They were taking E.
    Despite this, you CAN enjoy dance music without drugs – absolutely – but in terms of influence they are very closely linked.

    Bang on.

    Dance music is E at its very core or vice versa. Anyone who was around clubbing in the 90s knows that that it formed the fabric of it.

    Try telling that to the likes of Pitbull and the new electro/hip hop guys in the US though. Actually don’t bother.

    #2288
    Michael M. Hughes
    Participant

    I may actually write about this topic more extensively at some point, but I’ll try to be brief here.

    EDM, and its precursors going all the way back to 70s disco (and rock, too, but that’s a different subject), has always had a strong association with drugs. Why? Because the human desire to experience altered states of consciousness is hardwired in our physiology (in many people, but certainly not all). Dancing by itself can lead to a highly altered state, which is why human societies going back to the dawn of time have embraced ritual dancing. Shamanic societies, in particular, often use dancing along with psychoactive plants.

    What we witnessed with the birth of the acid house scene was really just a new take on a very old phenomenon. It was, in fact, a rebirth of shamanic dance on a global scale, albeit with modern electronic and pharmaceutical tools rather than plant concoctions and goat skin drums. I’d go so far as to say that many of our current styles of dance music (especially trance and most definitely psytrance) wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for the fortuitous collision of MDMA (Ecstasy) and house music.

    And MDMA is finally being taken seriously as a medicine by mainstream science… because it is medicinal, when used properly. The chemist who popularized it among therapists in the 80s, Sasha Shulgin, called it “penicillin for the soul.” And that’s an apt description. Current studies have shown that it is extremely helpful for people who have suffered psychologically—rape victims, soldiers with PTSD, and the like—far better, in fact, than any other form of therapy. Before it became criminalized, it was widely used by therapists to help couples with problems to become closer. Why? Because it breaks down psychological defenses, promotes a sense of well-being and insight, and creates warmth and empathy between people. Sounds great, right?

    Well, yes. And combined with a group of people (also on E) and incredible music and dancing, the experience can be transformative—which is why it swept the globe. But the problem is, as with all substances, people can misuse or abuse them. Instead of taking E once in a while for special occasions, clubbers started taking it multiple times over a weekend, chasing the ever-elusive good feeling. And then taking it multiple times *every* weekend, for weeks at a time. Rinse and repeat. And that’s a recipe for serotonin-depleted E-hangovers and depression during the week. Just like having an occasional night of drinking can be fun and relatively harmless, but an all-out bender can wreck your life, it’s a matter of being intelligent and responsible and balancing yourself with necessary sobriety. Then came impure E created by unscrupulous chemists or non-E peddled as E adulterated with all sorts of crap, and the scene, in many places, fell apart.

    But here’s the bright spot: those deliciously blissed-out, empathic altered states are still possible to obtain, even without drugs. Especially for those who have previously experienced pharmaceutically-enhanced dance euphoria, the proper setting—good lights and visuals, great beats, an amped dance floor—can reawaken that feeling. I know I can play or dance to certain tracks from my past and feel that rush—it’s imprinted in my consciousness and in my cells. I can feel it.

    I’ve been throwing parties for older crowds, many of whom were early ravers but for whatever reason don’t touch anything heavier than alcohol. In my main party gig we don’t even sell alcohol. But those folks are reaching that mind-melting plateau where they’re jumping and screaming with pure joy, pumped full of natural endorphins. It’s no different than 4,000 years ago in a primitive tribe somewhere deep in a rainforest.

    TL;DR: Drugs were crucial to the formation and spread of EDM as we now know it. There’s nothing wrong with intelligent and responsible use of psychoactives (except illegality, of course) and they can definitely enhance the music/dance experience in novel ways—hence the popularity of the synergistic combination. But they’re also not necessary by any means and the same ectastic states sought by drug users are accessible without drugs.

    #1000764
    DJ Toto
    Member

    Funny you should ask. I went to see Tiësto and Feed Me last night here in Quebec City. Some may think it’s sad, but I appreciate music a lot more when I’m high. I’ve never done a professional gig when I was, but I DJed for 15-20 of my friends at a house party the other day under the influence and they told me my performance was absolutely stellar.

    That being said, I prefer staying sober when I do pro gigs because I would definitely freak out if the slightest thing goes wrong, either hardware or software related. I’m far from being a big shot and I wouldn’t want promoters to think I’m a junkie or unreliable and so when I do professional gigs I stay professional.

    On a side note, I do a little producing on the side and I think that’s where drugs and EDM go best together. I’ve never taken anything other than marijuana and definitely don’t do it on a regular basis, but man does that stuff boost your creativity. Only problem is, it’s a bit harder to concentrate and put your ideas on paper (Logic file) :p

    The last time I played in a club, around closing time, there was only a handful of people on the dancefloor still partying very hard and one of my friends came up to me to advise me they were on E. I kind of felt helpless because I didn’t know how they were feeling and didn’t know what they would want me to play. What it all comes down to is a DJ should be able to read a crowd and know what they want very efficiently, so I definitely think DJs should know how to party.

    #1000765
    D-Jam
    Participant

    I actually would love to see another acid or E scene pop up…just to shake up the whole industry out of these glam bottle service fake-people clubs.

    I only wish the scene itself would work more to police itself so it’s the ravers tossing out the shadey dealers and pushing the weekend warriors who do too much to go home…as opposed to the parental groups coming down on us.

    #2299
    U31
    Member

    ^^^ That’s how our promoter mates are running the nights we do…
    since i joined them in 2007 the only ounce of trouble i can recall in all that time was a bunch of students trying to get in without paying

    https://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=19153397536

    #2302
    Michael M. Hughes
    Participant

    All it takes is the panicked realization that “Oh, shit, my eyes are jiggling so much I can’t read the words on my screen!” to create a sober DJ.

    #1000771
    Jona Menasso
    Member

    @Dj Toto

    Same Thing for me… i am like you.

    The intelligent use of “Pharmaceutic Tools” (Loved that expression xD) can be a good thing… and people shouldn’t judge each others because one does “drugs” and the other doesn’t, specially when they don’t do and they never tried “drugs”.

    Thoug i enjoy very much listening to techno and those sort of genres under the “influence” of marijuana (only, never tried anything else) i can also enjoy it almost the same way without using anything… if i did needed drug to listen to music i would have to be constantly high.

    You also have to remember : MUSIC IS A DRUG!!!
    And the best (in my point of view) legal or illegal one. (NO hangover, healthy addiction, NO OverDose, NO physical damage when “properly listened”)

    by the way… Great Thread

    #2333
    Rob Francis
    Member

    Wow, what a great post Michael! I thought going back to Rampling, Oakenfold and Holloway was a stretch but you went all shamanic on us! Great post though. 😎

    #2336
    Michael M. Hughes
    Participant

    D-Jam, post: 2282 wrote: I actually would love to see another acid or E scene pop up…just to shake up the whole industry out of these glam bottle service fake-people clubs.

    Ever been to Burning Man? 😎

    #1000782
    D-Jam
    Participant

    Yeah…but I don’t consider it the hard EDM kind of event we would really need.

    I’m more just talking about when people go get sorted and party all night in a “come as you are” mode. Where dancing becomes more important than booths and bottles and fashion.

    #2373
    DJ GRE
    Member

    Nice to see what other peoples thoughts are on this topic! 🙂 I tend to find that if I do know the crowd is on E in particular they usually like pretty bass heavy stuff to ‘feel’ the music. Now, in my head, there is a definite correlation between EDM and drugs only because in the Philippines when a bunch of my friends were getting into EDM it was mostly because they were taking copious amounts of E and liked the way the two went together; had they never taken E who knows how long it would have been before I got into EDM.

Viewing 14 posts - 16 through 29 (of 29 total)
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