Your Musical Origin Story


How did you first find electronic music? raves? clubbing? djing? production?

Tell your origin story, the tale of how you learned to love this music.

Possible examples include:

  • Your first albums
  • Your first big night out / festival / rave
  • Your first gear / software / drum machine
  • Your mate’s older brother waking you up with Rammstein’s Du Hast blasting at 7am for a week as a teenager until you realized you fucking loved it and then went to a forest rave ate 3 pills and found your people.


My first tape was a happy hardcore LA tape from about 96/97 my cousin gave to me. She told us about raves and candy kids and at the time I was about 10 and it sounded amazing. I instantly told all the kids at summer camp and they all teased me mercilessly. Except for one camp counselor who I now realize was raving balls every weekend and rocked a candy bracelet on the low when he was off work.

I saw a movie called The Saint starring Val Kilmer and was at a record store the next week. Back then my little tagger hooligan friends and I stole lots of stuff, including CDs. We grabbed a bunch of singles and one was from that movie, a song by a group called Orbital. I fell in love with that single and would sit in my room aged 12 practicing graffiti burning nag champa looping it endlessly.

That year a song called Around The World by Daft Punk was a huge hit on the radio. I dug it, especially the video. I went out and stole their album, Homework. Deeper into the rabbit hole. Later albums we stole included Goldie’s Rings of Saturn (mostly because of the trippy sci fi spaceship looking thing on the cover) and Orbital’s Snivlization (cover art was also bonkers). Before we would go out bombing for the night we would listen to these hyped up songs in between gangster rap to get in our zone. We were fucking 13 hahaha breaking out the side window at our parent’s house to go paint the BART tracks or a local business’ wall. One of our friends smoked meth for the first time. We smoked weed for the first time.

For the next years of my life my love of electronic music was fully in the closet. I was afraid of being called gay by the other kids in class for liking it. So I was an underground hip hop head graffiti writer skateboarder through middle and high school, and a secret techno lover. My friends and I would sleep over at each other’s houses in a tent in the backyard and record this radio show called Subsonic on Saturday nights on Live 105. The host was a guy called Aaron Axelson and that was the first place I heard The Chemical Brothers, Propellerheads, The Crystal Method, The Orb, and lots more. We’d record comedy skits, freestyle raps over beatboxing, and techno. What I wouldn’t give to find those tapes…

My closeted time as a techno/drum n bass/house freak ended at my first rave, Electric Daisy Carnival in 2003. AK 1200 Planet of the Drums fucking blew my mind. I went for the Hip Hop stage and stayed all night for the Drum n Bass. My friend bought Ketamine then rolled her ticket stub up and put it into the baggie. Snooooooorrrttttt and she was slurring drunken teenage putty for the rest of the night. We took turns taking care of her and giving her water, then went and learned what light shows, bongos in the corners and massage trains were all about. Finally, my first rave after hearing about them for 7 years! She was 15, I was 17. I kept raving for years.

In college I veered more to the reggae / indie rock / electro pop spectrum but kept going to full moon drumming parties in the Santa Cruz mountains. My first renegade was a rave/show in the middle of a hay bale maze just up hwy 1 north of Santa Cruz. A burner crew called Nexus set up a drum n bass stage in one center of the maze and an indie rock stage in the other center. All throughout the maze were art installations, weird things like a toast bar you could make your own toast and add butter, jam or other toppings to, a phone that would connect you to another phone on the opposite side of the maze where hopefully someone would pick up, a fingerpainting wall…shit like that. I ate molly for the first time, fed my buddies acid for the first time, and two years later found myself at Burning Man. And kept going for the next four years…

From the Burn i started going to afterparties in SF, then clubs in Portland, then eventually Seattle New York and Berlin when I travelled out there. I fell in love with clubbing and my inner gay house freak in my late 20s. Also warehouse rent parties with legit sound put on by a solid crew…that can get spiritual. And now I like it all and dig relentlessly and tell stories on forums about it. And that’s my musical orgin story.


forgive me this is quick and dirty as i’m full of brain fog rn

Born in '91. Bought my very first CD which was a So Fresh compilation at a very tender age. Next up was Avril Lavigne’s sk8rboy & a Weird Al album. next was Linkin Park. then korn/manson/bizkit/system/emoshit. then rammenstein DU HAST! > combi christ > played midnight club 2 on my fat xbox and was blown away by the repetive nature of those beats - lot’s of underground resistance tracks on there. then came along NIN’s discography. GTAIV came along at a point and i fell in love with the electronic radio station - Justice/Electro bangers which were so hot in 2006/7/8. that was the turning point. i started hunting down stuff like that. i was a part of this forum that shared electronic music (not funkysouls, can’t remember its name) and there were some users sharing stuff from labels such as Kompakt and whatnot. I didn’t understand it but i downloaded it anyway because i’m open like that. the more i listened the more i warmed to the more minimal dancy and lengthened nature of these tracks. i saw it as some kind of meditation type thing and slowly moved away from anything Electroclash. Ostgut Ton/Circus Company/Dial were where i was at. now as i’m older and my head is heavier, ambient or soothing music will be my go to.

as far as clubbing goes, where i live it’s total shit. full of townrats who come to spend their centrelink on a night out dancing to some 8 year old aviici track


ever go to a bush doof?


nah no untzing in the bushes. i really should socialise a bit more around the music and find some likeminds. when i go back to study i;ll arrange to live in melbs - the cultural hub of aus where everything keeps turning.


Love that movie. One day ill feel the power of the doof in the bush, Oz is too damn expensive for me these days. Heard good things about Melbourne too.


funny how video games were the gateway for lots of kids too

i used to raaaave to wipeout xl

i’d be hella in the zone chewing gum super focused bobbing my head


a CRT and a rudimentary 2.1 system pretending to be a proper 5.1 surround blasting subpar Knights of the Jaguar and you bet i was lapping it up in midnight club

revisiting this track now, oh the memories of me or friends gathered and racing

missed the boat on wipeout


Hahaha awesome. Those rockstar folks put me on to some damn good tunes over the years…


Anyone else care to share?


boomer parents so basically born into a massive record collection containing essentially three decades’ worth of pop music – folk, rock, soul, jazz, world music, etc. plenty of staples; a few oddities, even. Mom was a folkie (Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, John Fahey) and Dad was into it all – Blood on the Tracks and Abbey Road but also sterile smooth jazz, big-voiced divas, bossa nova. they met in the middle with MTV and the adult-contemporary hits of the day (Billy Joel, Phil Collins, Sting, Petty). oldies from the Fifties and Sixties locked on the car stereo always. tapes were huge, too, and they’d get stuff from friends and family…big-rig trucker country, French chansons, soundtracks and Broadway tunes, no telling what would make its way our hi-bias Dolby dual tape deck. my favorite records as a child were the Big Chill soundtrack with all the old soul tunes and a record by Earl Klugh that had a Ferrari on the cover (obvi). first concert was Bob Dylan.

age 10 I started studying percussion with an old jazzer who used to play tympani and mallets with the local Philharmonic. first tune I learned was “Axel F” which he hand-transcribed on notation paper and gave be a dubbed tape to play along with (which, looking back, was possibly my first brush with “electronic” music). probably didn’t realize it at the time but I definitely think that, by hipping me to unsung timekeepers like Bernard Purdie and Joe Morello, my instructor subconsciously taught me how to look past the standard album details and parse liner notes for producers, labels, and notable personnel.

from there, honestly, there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by that I haven’t been fully invested in the discovery, appreciation, advocacy, and creation of music. I consider myself very lucky to have come up in the Eighties and Nineties and Naughties, just literally drowning in media. we had great radio before the big corporate buyouts – alternative and college stations played whatever and you could call the DJs if you missed the track announcement; magazines with real budgets, real coverage, real journalism, real design – Spin, AP, Raygun, Urb, XLR8R, Stress, The Source, XXL, all the British imports like The Wire or even big floppy tabloids like NME, zines GALORE; MTV aired actual videos and we copped Slash’s iconic stance when we played air guitar or goofed into an imaginary fisheye lens like the Beastie Boys (not to mention the utterly massive influence of Matt Pinfield and 120 Minutes on our own burgeoning record collections); sneaking into older siblings’ bedrooms to secretly dub off their Pixies or NWA discs; we had chatrooms, we had Napster (and LimeWire and Kazaa and Bearshare and SOULSEEK); we agonized over dial-up connections and failed file transfers, we made playlists on WinAmp and, in the absence of mp3 players or car CD players, dubbed cassettes off the 128kbps audio routed from the laptop headphone jack to the aux inputs on a boombox – the influence of early internet peer-to-peer file-sharing and online communities is not to be understated. spent literally I-don’t-know-how-many-hours in my town’s numerous record stores after school and on weekends – Rainbow Records across from my (arts magnet) high school (think Fame) was run by an old, mean-ass dude who hated kids and wrote liner notes for obscure contemporary jazz releases and reissues but the clerks were getting all the dope garage/noise/psych 7”s and were stocking LPs from all the Midwestern post-rock/math/indie heavyweights; DJ Ed’s OneTribe across from my house was supplying gritty white-label imports and domestics (house/electro/d’n’b/hip-hop) to local upstarts and wannabes, Tony Aco’s record shop next to the Wreck Room (where he was a resident) in the gay district off 39th had all the New York-style house/hard house (Nervous, etc.) plus discount bins of old disco, funk, and jazz fusion in the back. Tony mixed off a real old Rane rotary mixer built into the sales counter. Music Dimensions and Green Flash records had all the gutter punk 7”s, hardcore, metal, ska, goth, and psychobilly shit. also, Music D (along with Bowl66 – yes, a bowling alley, yes on Route 66) hosted the wildest, drunkest, punkest local shows (think: Wesley Willis, Bob Log III) and was where a lot of bands (including my own) got their start. CD Zone in Norman was an incredible store and so was Thing1 in Tulsa. we had a huge rave scene (EDM, Star7, 310, and countless other fly-by-night clubs) that brought in all kinds of national touring DJs (kids in our town liked it hard and fast…Richard “Humpty” Vission, mixing on four decks or something ridiculous, and DJ Irene made regular appearances). break crews were big, too, with all the Vietnamese-Americans coming out in their Type Rs to shame other crews with their insane headspins and flares…

obviously, yes to all the references to Goldie, Daft Punk, Chems, WipeoutXL, those were massive, watershed records…but also can’t overstate the impact that some of the big US distros (Caroline/Astralwerks/TVT/WaxTrax/Nothing, etc.) had on early electronic listenership…being able to walk into a big box store in flyover country and cop Mo’ Wax, Warp, whatever, felt incredible back then (and oddly quaint in the era of streaming).

my origin is more like a continuing evolution. I hope I never get sick of checking new shit. I really feel lucky. the hands-on way I experienced underground culture in my youth meant that you just put your entire existence into it. I’m very grateful for that and truly believe that appreciation enhances the way I listen to and create music to this day.


Oh man, this is a pretty fun thread idea and a topic I think about a lot as I grew up in a place (rural Ohio) where electronic music was just not on the menu. There was a solid rave scene in the late 90s/early 00s, but I just missed it. For me, I owe my father a lot of the credit as he had me dancing to Talking Heads before I could even walk and that was the first music that really blew my mind (as a toddler, haha). I feel most of my life, I’ve been chasing after the types of transcendent grooves you’d hear in songs like “Crosseyed and Painless,” although that interest took me into some not great places (namely, a short spell as a Phish fan in my early adolescence, though I soon realized I was far more interested in the more groove-focused jams than the shitty songwriting;) Like @criminiminal, I started studying percussion around fourth and fifth grade and that definitely helped shape a lifelong love for rhythm. Also, the Big Chill soundtrack was huuuuuuge in my house:)

Another crucial early moment was hearing Daft Punk’s Homework when it came out in 1996, which to my twelve year-old ears, sounded like my favorite parts of Talking Heads records. The following year, I was in my dad’s truck with the radio station turned to college radio when I heard Bjork’s “5 Years” off of Homogenic, which just blew my mind to shreds. To this day, that song just wrecks me. I was someone who was really curious by all the mentions of “electronica” that were floating around magazines like Spin in the summer of 1997 and picked up some prime curios from that period, like the Spawn soundtrack (which fused the burgeoning nu metal movement with electronic producers). Unfortunately, despite getting off to an early start with electronic music, by the time I got into high school, I found myself selling a lot of the above-mentioned CDs in exchange for Pink Floyd and bad jamband records.

From there, it took all of high school and the start of college until I worked my way back to electronic music, falling in love with the likes of Oval, early Tim Hecker, Loscil, and many others. Funny enough, I was way into dance punk and saw bands like The Rapture and !!! in Cleveland in 2002 and 2003, that early Talking Heads influence coming full circle. It wasn’t until I spent a semester studying philosophy in Leuven, Belgium in 2005 that I lived somewhere with a 4x4 pulse always in the background and when I came back, that long-gestating interest in electronic/dance music fully blossomed and I’ve spent the subsequent fourteen years obsessed with the music and culture. So yeah, reallllly can’t downplay the influence of Bjork’s Homogenic album, that shit changed my life.


oh yes, definitely Bjork. what would we have done without her…


forreal. my mom bought me a sugarcubes cd when i was about 11. game changer.


Chemical Brothers and Crystal Method were also big early ones for me as well, @nickecks…and I had to laugh that you also mentioned Propellerheads as I had an album of theirs on CD as well. I was ALL about those block-rocking beats;) Still am!


Big Beat was the thing! I had all those records…Fatboy Slim, Propellerheads, Bentley Rhythm Ace, Boom Boom Satellites, Luke Vibert…nobody beats the Bros, though…Dig Your Own Hole still slams to this day.


i also should add that skateboarding culture really changed my musical tastes for the better - watching skate videos circa 1998-2008 over and over and over really allowed songs that i would never have given time to normally to embed deep. Stuff ranging from GG Allen to Modest Mouse to Frank Black to The Moody Blues…there isnt much electronic stuff in those vids but the way it shaped my ear for melody and matching energy with fashion and skate ability (tech vs hesh) left an impression for sure


yep, I would say the majority of kids I knew received the majority of their early musical education through skate vids.


i already explained this a bit to @zurkonic in pm so ill just paste what i wrote there to start:

i got into this stuff in about 2009 as a preteen in long beach california, when bloghaus rlly started to morph into what we would now call edm. my friend was showing me this new musician he found about who made these bleeps and bloops in a rodent mask, and i guess there were these two french robots before them, and i fell in love p quickly. im thinking back now on how fucking slow but massive these changes where, and how i think they def changed some things in wider culture for better. but then ya kno, it fell apart. not to say it didnt go away. like a actual bubble popping, it left its soapy mess everywhere, and i guess we havent cleaned it up yet (think mr marshmellow man and mr What Is AAVE?) i think def someone’s gotta write a whole journalistic trilogy of books about the american dance music scene from electroclash (book 1) thru the bloghaus years (book 2) and ending with edm (book 3). ive already got the titles for them:

  1. Frank Sinatra Is Dead: The Rise, Walk, & Trip of Electroclash, 1997-2004
  2. You’ll Never Be Alone Again: How House Returned To America, 2003-2009
  3. You Just Kill Me (Could You At Least Do That?): When Dance Music Became “EDM”, 2008-2014

but yeah uh, like in late 2013 skrillex became friends with this weird 40 dude with a blond emo haircut. i thought he was dumb and boring until i listened to the music he did in the 90s as plastikman, and that’s where it rlly started :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: (perfect timing too as the bubble was just about to burst and i rightly saw the rise of martin garrix and oversaturation of big room as the beginning of the end)

ill add more to it tommorow when after i have a good sleepie :sleeping_bed:


bumping in the hopes of other folks adding.