Electronic Music and Drugs – The Real Story

WGlasshouse —  January 30, 2014 — 2 Comments

cuddle puddle

The electronic music industry is getting long in the tooth, and the older generation is reluctantly passing the torch to the youngsters. The overwhelming popularity of the music in general has caused an enormous spike in the number of young people interested in the scene, and it has created quite an interesting situation. On one hand, you have people who understand the foundation that was laid, and the importance of keeping the integrity of the community, and on the other you have the drugged out child who just wants to hear bass. I argue that both are an integral part of the new movement, and not so different if you look a little deeper.

Drugs have played a major role in the growing popularity of electronic music and we have all seen the articles about young people only getting into the music because of drugs. Some of this is true, but it was also true for the past generations, just in a different way… Back in the beginning of the rave scene, there was still plenty of drugs, people just seemed to have a bit more restraint about displaying their public drug use, and if they were to try a substance, it would be in a dark room with peers who understood what was happening. In the current scene, with day-festivals galore, we have a new normal… and that normal is kids chewing their faces off in broad daylight. Sucking pacifiers and smiling for pictures at the same time. The world has learned to equate electronic music with drug use, and it has gotten a bit out of control. Another thing that has changed is the chemistry of the drugs being taken. In the past, drugs were drugs, and while they probably weren’t the cleanest things in the world, they certainly had more of a trust factor than what you see today. Research chemicals from chemists who know very little are hitting the streets in mass quantity these days and getting into the mouths of many young people. Instead of Ecstasy and Acid, it’s Molly and a bunch of stuff that is similar to acid, but not quite the same… These drugs have taken hold because they are cheaper to produce and have more anonymity. So basically people can sell whatever they want to these kids and label it Molly. There is also a big up rise in young people doing harder drugs. My contention is that the combinations of drugs put into these mixtures eventually push some to want a bigger high, because they can’t seem to feel like they did the first time. Heroin has become way more popular than in the past with young people, and it’s something I would like to see go away, far far away. To be honest the drugs may ultimately erode the true potential this generation has for a cultural change, which is what I think the electronic music scene could do with the right mindset. But the drugs will be it’s downfall, probably. The connection of so many people with like mind has the potential to create a real movement in any area that it happens, but dumbing it down with bad drugs just makes it a soul-less money machine, where the only winners are bad people.

I do think the world and humanity in general is striving for connection and desperate for a feeling of community, and this is some of the reason for the drugs. We are so far removed from a communal lifestyle, one in which we actually share our feelings directly though human contact with one and other, that I think somehow sub-consciously the collective youth is taking it upon themselves to regain the connections we once had with one and other through any means necessary. Albeit a hasty, poorly thought out and futile attempt, so it may seem, the use of drugs strikes me as just that… In the times of tribal society people did take substances and communally appreciate their lives, their ancestry, and their ability to express themselves. Kind of like a family rave. They got together with people they loved and dove into what it was to be human and what it was to experience life. This is art, the art of living. I am not saying this is what is happening now, because it isn’t… What I am saying is that I believe there is a tiny piece of our DNA, or our soul, that remembers this ancient ceremony and remembers these connections we used to have with other humans, and it desperately wants to find a way back to it. Now, with all the current methods of distraction and dissociative activities such as social media we have crippled our ability to interact with people on a personal level. Just look at any nightclub in the city that plays pop music, all you see are people staring at their phones. The face to face relationships in the world are eroding and the only supplement that seems to work are these substances, which if only for a moment, remind us of the beautiful existence we are all a part of. They remind us of the connection we have with each and every being in the world, and perhaps mother earth is trying any way she can to get us to wake back up to the power we hold as a community of people who love each other.

This is not to say that these substances and this activity don’t have consequences and can’t go terribly wrong… They can, and often do, and the depressed youth of America are prime examples of this issue. But, nothing another batch of prescription-based drugs can’t fix, eh? But I digress…So yeah, not everything is pure out there in festival world and moderation is almost never taken into account, but next time you see festi-kid in a cuddle puddle, maybe just maybe you will think about this article, and remember that we are all acting out against the consumerist, materialistic, internet-based society, trying desperately to find some community some connection and some acceptance.


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Walter Glasshouse is a DJ, Writer and Promoter from Detroit, Michigan. Follow him on Twitter @DJGlasshouse and at www.facebook.com/walterglasshouse. He runs a monthly at the Grasshopper in Ferndale, and he loves showcasing Detroit's unique talent base. His DJ sets go all the way from house music to trip-hop, and it's all done with soul and turntablism. Walter also performs as an emcee under the name AudioLogical . He's a little busy, but he loves to write and share his love for music here.
January 2014
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2 responses to Electronic Music and Drugs – The Real Story

  1. “We are so far removed from a communal lifestyle, one in which we actually share our feelings directly though human contact with one and other,” I wholeheartedly agree.

    This article reminded me of an experience I had at the Golden Gate Cafe on Woodward. I was in altered states and thus more than usually open to conversations with odd strangers. A gentleman clad in a long coat approached me after a spontaneous dance spell had subsided and I was momentarily still and observant. He told me he was studying what I have since termed “temporary communities”. These communities exist for a moment in time when individuals gather for a common purpose. The man told me that throughout the night as we were to express our individuality through music, dance, and interaction, this venue of individuals would connect so intimately that we would “become one tribe.” In a sense, we attempt to escape the confines of our society by becoming tribal together.

    And now I would like to share a quote by the late great ethnobotanist, philospopher, and writer, Terence McKenna:
    “We have to create culture, don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.’ And then you’re a player, you don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.”

    Through the reflection in another’s eye, we see ourselves truly naked. Our minds exposed and souls lay bare as we dare for others to stare within and see that we truly are beautiful beings in search of a dream to be or just be!

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