No GMOs!

READ: FDA Approves Genetically Engineered Potatoes, Apples as Safe

This is very upsetting news to me. I can’t emphasize enough that GMOs are not meant to be! If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right?

This seems like a ploy for agra-business to make a quick buck.

But there are repercussions to these things. Maybe according to the FDA, everything’s up to par with these GMO potatoes and apples, maybe everything is okay according to their standards. But what about long term effects? How can one possibly calculate that in such a short amount of time? What happens when the body digests these potatoes and apples? When I go out to eat am I going to have to ask my waiter or waitress whether the restaurant uses GMOs or not? I’m already lactose-intolerant and wheat-sensitive. What else am I going to have to worry about? (Not to mention, I have a theory this upsurge in lactose and gluten intolerance is due to years of GMO ingestion.)

It frightens me a little. Because now these apples and potatoes will soon be produced on a large scale, made available to millions who don’t know the potentially harmful effects of GMOs.

Food is supposed to go bad. That’s what’s naturally supposed to happen. I want my apples to brown. I want to have to peel and cut bruises off the potatoes I buy!

Founder of a British Columbia-based company participating in this ridiculousness (Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.), Neal Carter said, “‘We know that in a convenience-driven world, a whole apple is too big of a commitment.'” When has a whole apple been to big of a commitment?! If you don’t want the whole thing, throw it away! At least they’re naturally biodegradable!

I hate to say it, but I can’t trust the FDA. As much as they’re a necessary organization within the government and as much good as they’ve done, take a look at all the other things they’ve approved that had to be reversed. What about bad meat or produce that got approved at first, and then had to be recalled?

I applaud McDonalds and ConAgra for their resistance to use these products (And honestly if these two are refusing, it makes one wonder, right?) and I hope at the very least that if the FDA can approve these GMOs, then they can at least label them so we can avoid them.

Taylor, What-What-What Are You Doing?

Taylor Swift has one foot in Country, the other in Pop – Okay, maybe both feet in Pop and is in the midst of closing the door on Country. Betraying your roots: First mistake. Although I have to say, I’ve never personally held that against her. Just seems like a natural progression of things once you’ve been in Top40 for awhile. It’s where the money is. And trust me, Taylor Swift is definitely getting a big piece of the pie. When an artist is in Country or Pop (or in her case both), you don’t really need to worry about where the money’s coming from. Your tours will sell out, people will buy your album on iTunes and/or CD, people buy merch, etc. You’ll probably recoup all, if not most of your costs. Why Taylor Swift pulled all of her material from Spotify is beyond me (especially when it was recently announced she would have earned 6 million dollars in a year based on Spotify streams alone?!). Plenty of bands out there touring year-round, making little to nothing have their music on Spotify. Why you gotta be so narrow-minded?

I can’t help but feel I’ve been marginalized by an pretentious, elite 1% prevented to listening and absorbing music through my favorite and most convenient/economical method of doing so – Second mistake. You’ll lose fans and followers that way. She’s pretty much lost me and been a huge fan for about 4 years.

Coincidentally, I actually had planned to listen to 1989 the day she pulled everything. And here I am saying, “she”. Ha! I bet this was all headed up and encouraged by her label, big business, etc. Now I have no plans to listen to it. Guess I’ll never know what it sounds like, Taylor. And I’m not gonna hunt for it on YouTube. What am I, 10?

For such a wonderful young woman, singer-songwriter, musician, and lyricist she sure seems to have the ideals of a white-haired old man (Dare I say, outdated record executive?).

I’m a huge proponent of music subscription streaming sites. I think they’re a great thing that really curbed a lot of illegal downloading and ended up turning a profit for artists who were originally seeing nothing, and brought profits up for artists whose income was on a steady decline. I used to download music illegally – because it was TOO EASY. How could you not? Especially in your teen years when every musical realm was just opening themselves up to you. Boot up Frostwire, Limewire and voila! How else would I have discovered The Beatles, Paul McCartney, Saves The Day, 2Pac, Biggie, etc? I heard a song, liked it, and went to find more. I hunted to complete album tracklistings. I’m a broke teenager. I can’t just buy all the albums that I want to check out. I needed to test the waters first, which is exactly what I can do on Spotify now, legally; I’m sure there’re hundreds of teenagers who are just like my teenage self – searching for more, hungry for another tune to strum on their heartstrings. And Spotify (maybe Pandora and YouTube too) is how they find it.

Let me breakdown two ways where music subscription streaming sites can be beneficial for artists (even if users aren’t paying a cent). These are things I have experienced and wholeheartedly believe:

  1. New discovery can happen within seconds – I was listening to a Spotify curated playlist and ended up listening to this track by DJ named Wax Tailor. I immediately fell in love with it, prompting me to check out his entire discography – which I thoroughly enjoyed. 
  2. Discovery does not have to be restricted to to the Spotify realm, but can result in Facebook likes, Twitter follows, concert attendance, and the eventual purchase of the physical album – This summer I fell in love with an album by band called Weatherbox (a discovery prompted by chatter via other blogs I follow). The record had such a profound impact on me that I bought a ticket to see them live AND THEN bought the vinyl record at the show. 

So maybe it in the future I’ll look for some Weatherbox merch when I have some money to spend. Or maybe if Wax Tailor comes to the States, I’ll be more likely to buy a ticket. This is how to business works now. If the music doesn’t grab me (the consumer), I move on. Why should I commit and invest in a body of work when I don’t even know if I’ll like it? Time and money are more precious now more than ever.

When I like the music or the artist and overwhelming amount, then I will buy the physical copy. If it doesn’t move me, I’ll stream it from time to time, wash my hands, and that’s that.

And Taylor, Spotify is not like stealing a piece of art! Get over yourself! Spotify is like being able to view a work of art that is in a museum, on the Internet. You can still see the painting or the sculpture without having to leave your house or spend a dime, but to experience it – well, you have to go the museum, pay the ticket price, get out of your house. Maybe if it moves you enough, you’ll buy a replica of the piece.

If I were to go to the Met Museum, I would be smart to maybe glance at a few exhibits online and make plans with the intentions to go to that exhibit – because it would be insane for me to peruse the entire museum, hoping something will grab me. There’s too many things there! Like Spotify! Too many artists, too many tracks, not enough time.

Taylor Swift may think she can be an exception because of her elite, A-list status but she just made the worst career move of her life, especially when taking into account her young fanbase. Spotify is the way. iTunes will eventually become near to obsolete and everyone (young and old) is gravitating towards these sites.

Here’s the thing Taylor: I’m not gonna buy your album. And I have 0 plans of seeing you on tour any time soon. When you remove all your music from Spotify like a grump, that’s a turn off. How greedy and self-centered are you? You have enough money as it is. Also, Spotify is not some “grand experiment”; It is a revolutionary tool that is on the road to compensating artists appropriately. The proper wages aren’t there yet. That much is clear. But the more subscribers, the more profit potential there will be in the future. The old model is dead. Stop pretending like it still exists just because you said so.

USA Today: Spotify CEO to Taylor Swift: Isn’t $6 million enough? –

Stereogum: Taylor Swift Discusses Spotify Stance, Swiftamine Sketch –

Involuntary Secondhand Smoke

Smoking is an addicting lifestyle choice. I get it. I have friends who smoke and though it’s not my cup of tea, they’re pretty respectful about it (i.e. won’t blow smoke in my face, open the car windows if they do decide to smoke whilst driving, etc).

I’ve never smoked cigarettes. What can I say? I guess the D.A.R.E. assemblies got to me. And probably because of that, it never seemed worth it.

There’s also the story my dad’s told me a hundred times (that I never get tired of hearing): He and my mom were dating for a while and when he popped the question, she said she would only marry him if he quit smoking. He called over the waiter (they were out to dinner at the time), crumbled up his carton of cigs, and asked him to take them away. She said yes, they married, and I am here in this moment typing to you. The epilogue to that story is when he would get cravings, especially at work, he would leave his office and go for a run. And he would hack and hack, unable to breathe, the wind completely taken from his lungs. His cravings stopped then, when he came face-to-face with what the cigarettes were doing to his body.

He’s hasn’t smoked since.

Every day I try to go for a walk. My schedule doesn’t always allow it; Sometimes it rains, I wake up late, forget, get preoccupied, but I do try. I had a busy morning today, so after dinner I made a shotgun decision to go to the track (which I’m a short walk away from) and just do it (Nike style).

I try to go for about 45 minutes, break a sweat, breathe in some fresh air, take in the sky. The track’s the only place I can really dream and visualize the Cosmos – Earth as a big blue marble spinning and rotating around the Sun and all that. It all makes sense to me there.

So anyway, I’m on my second to last lap when I notice two people (a man and woman who appeared to be younger than me) blowing out smoke while walking around the track. And when I get closer, lo and behold they actually are smoking cigarettes while walking around the track. Really careless about it, disrespectful, making fun of a man in front of them who’s lifting his arms while walking. Also, the track is packed with people, especially elderly people trying to get in some physical fitness to maybe extend their lifespan. There’s also larger people there, trying to be active to maybe decrease that chance of heart attack or stroke. And here are these careless individuals holding hands, smoking cigarettes, and making fun of the nightly regulars while they exercise. It made me really upset.

I hustled past them. I thought about saying something but didn’t. What would I say? What would change? If it became a repeat occurrence, I think I could see myself calling them out…I don’t know. It’s just not right. Go smoke near the swing set, the bleachers, but not the track. People are trying to be healthy there. They could have literally walked anywhere else.

Humans are despicable sometimes. Don’t make us suffer with you. I wanna breathe in the fresh night air, not your pitiful secondhand smoke. Keep it in the car next time.

Joyce Manor vs. Stage Diving

Read: Alt Press – Joyce Manor shame stage-diver at show

Read: Alt Press – Joyce Manor frontman calls out another stage-diver during show

I’m curious what people think about this.

Is this not similar to what Kathleen Hanna did calling girls to the front?

I happen to think it is.

A lot of people are giving Joyce Manor a lot of shit for being “anti-stage diving” saying things like, “it’s part of the scene and you can’t take it out”, “don’t be in a band if you don’t want this shit to happen” and “JM sucks anyway” – Blah, blah, blah.

But you know what? They’re the band. And they make the rules when they’re on stage. It is a matter of respect (to the band and your fellow concert mates) and personal responsibility. People get hurt and it’s not pretty.

A few years ago, I saw Bayside at Irving Plaza. My friend and I were talking to a girl before their set. She might’ve been 4″10′ and a 100 lbs wet. But she was a huge fan of the band and wanted to see them up close. Once they began, we lost her in the pit and didn’t see her again. That is, until after the show by the stage door. Turns out she dislocated her knee and had to call an ambulance because she couldn’t fucking walk.

Even though it’s unpopular, I give Joyce Manor a lot of credit because not only is it about time someone said something about this, but they’re sticking up for something they believe it despite the status quo or giving in to what everyone else thinks. 9 times out of 10, I guarantee a lot of fans who end up getting hurt in the pit are women – which then discourages them to get up close and be involved in the show. I know because it’s happened to me.

I almost died in a pit about 4 years ago. And this is no exaggeration. I really thought I was going to die. I was probably in the middle of the crowd (not even up close – which now I come to realize that’s probably the safest place you can be: either all the way in the back or all the way up front, on the barricade), I had just turned 20, and I’m short. I think I’m about 5″1′. But my favorite band (Saves The Day) was playing and I felt absolutely compelled to get in there with a bunch of other die-hard fans and be a part of it – so I jumped in. I was fine until a couple songs in and the band picked up the tempo to an older track of theirs that everybody loved. I was pushed back with such force I couldn’t stop it, or get out. I immediately fell backwards and it was worse than a rip current. It wasn’t water I was in, it was people, and my limbs were flailing everywhere beyond my control, bending; I was being crushed. Over the music I screamed for help and held up my hands, hoping someone would pull me out. Lucky for me, someone did. I profusely thanked this angel for saving me, took a deep breath, and after the song ended, I squeezed my way out. I didn’t go in a pit for about 3 years after that happened – out of fear.

I’ve also seen people get hurt crowd surfing. I saw a show at Six Flags my freshman year of high school. Some guy was crowd surfing towards the front and there must have been some miscommunication or something, and he got dropped – hard. Probably from about 5 feet up. It was a hard fall. And I watched him just lay there, unable to do anything. Because what do you do? You can’t reach him, you can’t talk to him or help him get out. I’ve been kicked in the face, pushed and shoved at shows. And yeah, you can say it’s part of the scene and that this shit happens all the time – because it does. But what about the women (and non-“macho” guys) that want to get up close and see their favorite bands? What happens to them? Should they just not come? Sit out and feel non-included their whole life just because of their size? What kind of scene is that where the community you’re part of doesn’t give a shit about your well-being? We should be more friendly, supportive, check on each other and make sure we’re okay.

I’ve also been to shows where the pit/crowd surfing/stage diving experience has been great and not a problem namely, Motion City Soundtrack and The Julie Ruin. The vibe was different. I didn’t feel like I was fighting for air just to stand.

Joyce Manor isn’t even a band I would imagine stage-diving to (at least when it comes to Never Hungover Again). They’re a great band with good music, but the vibe is just not there for that kind of thing. This is a conversation that needs to be had and admire Joyce Manor for sticking to their guns and addressing this issue.

When the band you’re seeing is asking you to do something, whether it’s clapping your hands or requesting you not stage-dive, you should oblige – Especially when it’s something positive and potentially helpful to the show and/or the rest of the audience.

But what do I know? You be the judge.


01109818.interactive.aI’m calling it. Well, I’ve been calling it. Probably close to 4 years now.

Mark my words, EDM will soon go the way of Disco. And thus is the cyclical nature of the music beast.

Don’t worry, it’s normal. Death and rebirth – A absolute truth in the foundation of all things.

Like Rock n’ Roll, what was once an underground phenomenon emerged into the mainstream becoming Pop, fell subject to assimilation from just about every Top40 act not associated with the movement at all, and sold out – as everything/everyone often does.

There’s a rainstorm coming; A cleansing of the pop culture landscape, if you will. And the first few drops have already begun to fall.

Let me paint you a timeline of how these events have already started to unfold:

  • September 3, 2013 – A lengthy article entitled, Finding Molly: Drugs, dancing, and death is published on the dangers of MDMA or “Molly” and the behind-the-scenes goings on of the EDM Festival world. It goes viral.

mollyThis was a eye-opening read to me, to hear the unabashed perspective of someone who witnessed full-on the shadiness of the MDMA/Molly scene and its connection with the EDM culture: Molly could be any drug and you’d have no way of knowing, easy to sneak, smuggle, and deal; risk of overdose always imminent, venues and security in cahoots with the promoters receiving cuts as incentives for their silence:

The agents win because their shows have…inflated attendance numbers, due to the false attendance reporting. This allows them to command higher guarantees. The promoters win because they collect…a percentage of the Molly sold in the venue. The extra money they get allows them to buy better talent in the future and boost their profit margins. The security wins because any “non-promoter-approved” Molly dealer is thrown out and/or arrested, so they keep appearances…The drug dealers win because their product is sold in a monopolized environment, free of competition, where they are free to set the price. The venue wins because they can…feign ignorance. The artists win because they’re playing to packed houses full of young people losing their minds and dancing on drugs.

Of course I was aware of that this all was potentially happening but to hear it confirmed in such grave detail put a shock to my system. We oftentimes forget of how prevalent death is within EDM culture, which is naturally connected to the MDMA/Molly culture. How long must one go through the ritual to suddenly grow tired of it and reconsider the mere temporary escape it has to offer?Outkast: Big Boi and Andre 3000

  • April 16, 2014 – Tim Hirsch publishes an article on entitled, Why It’s EDM’s Fault Outkast Flopped [at Coachella] and gets a shout out from Bob Lefsetz.

I did a little writeup myself on this one. Hirsch basically explains the obvious: Our senses have been practically blow to smithereens by light shows, pyrotechnics, drugs, and big beats we can practically reach out and touch that lyrical Hip-hop just doesn’t have the same appeal it once used to; It doesn’t fufill the need anymore! The audience feels bored and expects to be taken on a mind-altering experience, expects the 3 sense assault. By now we expect:

stratospheric production values, insane light shows, and flawless control of crowd energy: in summary, an opportunity to lose your fucking mind. You can plop down hundreds of dollars without knowing a single artist and still know you’re going to have a blast. The needle has slowly shifted away from “music,” towards “party”.

The artists on the bill used to determine the success of a festival. Now no one cares. A festival like Coachella, Bonnaroo, Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra; They have a reputation of a good time. It doesn’t matter who’s playing anymore. Your face will get melted off no matter what so you buy tickets and go – for the experience.

  •  June 2, 2014 – The lovingly-termed ‘Grandfather of ecstasy’, Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin dies.

shulgin_alexander9_medDeveloping a new synthesis method for MDMA in 1976, this was the man who devoted his life to scientific research solely within the psychedelic realm. The former Dow Chemical employee, “synthesized and self-tested hundreds of psychoactive chemicals, including MDMA”. Shulgin made the exploration and scientific documentation of psychedelics his life’s work. Based on the article linked above and a 20 minute interview I watched (also included in the link), Shulgin seemed respectable, brave, and intelligent man. Not a scientist-turned-hippie trying to get high, but rather a curious individual privileged enough to have studied MDMA, LSD, and amphetamines (along with several other drugs) up close having himself serve as guinea pig to subjectively document their effects. Shulgin even admitted that once he was done studying a drug, he never went back to it. Meaning, he was not a recreational user. When asked how many times he had used MDMA in this lifetime Shulgin responded:

Not that many…Once I find the activity of a drug, [I] go on to something else. So I’ve pretty much avoided…repeated experiments once I know the activity.

MDMA has always been a huge part of club/dance culture, reaching its first high point (pun not intended) during the 80s and has made a huge comeback within the past few years with the rise of EDM in the mainstream, accompanied by a barrage of festivals promising mind-blowing assaults of the ears, eyes, and senses. We can interpret Shulgin’s death as a real-life metaphor, signaling the beginning of the end of EDM and its surrounding drug culture. To his fanbase and community, he is considered very much a genius of incredible stature and an irreplaceable mind in the field of psychedelic science.

  • June 13, 2014 – Deadmau5 announces EDM is dying and denounces music festivals and assures his involvement in them has come to an end…Not counting his own independent production for his solo tour, of course.AN_45604789-(Read-Only)

Deadmau5 is notoriously known for being outspoken and brazen. Some might even say honest to a fault. I think Joel Zimmerman calls ’em like he sees ’em. In his exclusive interview with the London Evening Standard, he spats at his disdain for what these huge EDM festivals have become, similarly in the same vein as what Tim Hirsch described:

It’s another thing I can’t fuckin’ stand, you know? Festivals are being branded bigger than the acts, which is totally backwards in my head. It’s ’cause of those acts that you’re a festival! Who wins? The promoter. The guy who’s throwing this festival that’s branded bigger than you, that you think you’re awesome for headlining. It’s a shame, so that’s why I’m pulling out.

According to Stereogum, Deadmau5 has also, “developed contempt for the build-drop model he helped pioneer and is moving away from the genre”. If EDM isn’t on its way to the grave, there is most definitely a transformation underway. But who’s to say that’s not death in disguise? We must follow the breadcrumbs to see where it all leads.

Like anything else, EDM has become an enormous money-making business; A cash cow for drug dealers, promoters, even electronic gear and software companies: Digital turntables, DJ and music production software, speakers, subwoofers, amplifiers, keyboards, samplers, etc. Think of all the kids who aspire to be like Girl Talk, David Guetta, Deadmau5, Daft Punk, Zedd, Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris, Avicii. You get the picture.

To those questioning my somewhat eager writing tone, I suppose I don’t have anything against EDM personally. It just never struck me much to begin with. And I’m not a fan of sheep; Blind followers who are the first to volunteer themselves to be consumed by the tendrils of assimilation without a shred of resistance or questioning. I’ll be glad when it goes.

On Molly-fueled, music-filled journeys to the Promised Land of unauthentic bliss, with eyes wide and pupils dilated, fans writhe and shout to the 4-on-the-floor stomp of electric static, rhythmically moving to the buildup and beat drop, to the minor key to be reused (albeit, with a different timbre) at their own forgotten funerals. Whether of the mind, body, or of the Self is no object. A death will occur – Perhaps fully permanent, with no phoenix tears shed to resurrect the mere possibility of its return.

So stomp upon the fresh earth of the almost filled grave and the mirror that lay atop it. Stick the largest shard in the soil as a makeshift headstone and in blood you will see the words painted:

EDM Lived Here