Meet Douglas Vanderveer, this week’s #IDSpotlight!
Name: Douglas VanDerveer
Hometown: Willingboro, NJ
Current City: San Diego, CA
Occupation: Software Engineer
What was your first electronic music event?
My first event was Beyond Wonderland in SoCal last year. Although I’ve been listening to EDM for around ten years and even dabbled in production for some of that, I never thought about attending any events, partially because of my location for most of that span of time (Seattle from 2004 till 2013), and partially because of the lack of peer pressure.
I’ll be honest: Beyond Wonderland was not great for me, though not because of the event itself. I went in unprepared and I tend to also just be awkward as hell whenever I’m experiencing something for the first time, so I was definitely overwhelmed by the entire thing. I almost didn’t go on day two but I decided to stick with it, and even though my awkwardness was still prominent, I had a better time than day one but still wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole scene. A field of loud music and half-naked (or more) people really causes you to question things. Nowadays, it’s weird to look at how many events I’ve been to since then and remember that the very first one almost soured me from ever going to any of those.
What/who influenced you to attend your first event?
My not-at-the-time girlfriend was the catalyst; in what can only be described as “extreme serendipity,” I met her the day I got laid off from my previous job as a game developer at a place I wouldn’t typically go to on a weekday (the arcade, because we’re nerds like that). Through my discussions with her, I discovered that she had been raving for many years, so I expressed interest in attending one myself. Life in Color San Diego was actually the first event I bought a ticket for, but the idea of going to Beyond Wonderland beforehand came up, so I eventually bought a ticket, booked myself a hotel, and went in (mostly) blind. Big mistake, as noted above! But also as noted above, it ultimately worked out in the end. Since she was turning 25 last year she wanted to celebrate by attending a lot of events, so I definitely made up for lost time in the process; including clubbing, I attended 40 events from March through to the end of December!
What is one moment from an event that was special and why?
I’m going to name two moments that share a similar theme, which makes my inability to follow instructions okay.
The first moment was during Above and Beyond at EDC LV last year; at that point, my girlfriend and I had only been together for a month, but we shared a really special moment during Blue Sky Action. It was one of those magical times where the music envelopes your reality — suddenly you find yourself alone with your loved one on an island, away from all cares and distractions, and kiss for what seems like forever. Even though our relationship was just beginning, I knew I had something special with this girl and our feelings were in perfect sync with the music.
The second moment took place at Escape. I’m a Halloween baby and attending Escape was the first time I actually celebrated my birthday in eight years. I was there with my girlfriend and our large group of friends/rave family (shoutouts to the Theta Tau frat!), and, as luck would have it, Above and Beyond was playing the main stage during the transition to my birthday. Not only did I have the joy of listening to such an amazing set — which included one of my favorite newer songs of theirs, Salva Mea 2.0 — but when the clock ticked over to midnight, my rather large group of friends sang Happy Birthday to me. Feeling that kind of love and friendship is amazing, and I wouldn’t have had it if I hadn’t been persistent after that first bad experience. They (my girlfriend and the friends I’ve made because of her) have really shaped the person I am today. I’m bummed that Halloween falls on a Monday this year; I don’t believe in trying to recreate the magic but this year is the big three-oh for me and even though I plan on once again attending Escape, it just won’t be the same.
What is your favorite festival or event?
So far I haven’t had any repeat events — though EDC’s 20th anniversary will change that — but I don’t think I’ve been to a “bad” event yet. Well, minus my phone getting pickpocketed at Ultra Music Festival in Miami this year in the crowd for deadmau5. In the rain. It was a sad day.
Insomniac events are always consistently good, but also consistent to a fault in terms of the repetition of props and such, which I 100% understand when it comes to costs and obviously most people don’t hit the number of events we did in the past year. 🙂 That said, the Dreamstates definitely hold a special place in my heart. LED events are always fun as well; I had a blast at Tramps Like Us and ringing in the new year with friends at OMFG. Even though last year’s Hard Summer got a lot of flak for its sound quality, it was one of my first major events and exposed me to a lot of artists I’d never heard of, so I appreciate it despite its flaws and am looking forward to checking it out at its new venue this year.
Living in SoCal, we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to events, and even though my girlfriend and I are trying to spread our wings and explore events in other locations, it’s nice to know that there’s almost always something good happening nearby, and I rarely walk away from an event in the area feeling like the crowd ruined the mood for me.
What is your favorite electronic song and why?
I already broke the rules once so I’ll stick to just one this time, even though it’s difficult since every song has its place. “Gold” by Adventure Club hits me on several levels; hearing it at Tramps Like Us complete with the lights and lasers was just an incredible experience. I’m so excited that Adventure Club is on the EDC 20th lineup and really hope they play “Gold” there. 🙂
Who are your favorite artists?
I have so many now! In some particular order: Above & Beyond, Adventure Club, Armin van Buuren, Ferry Corsten, Gesaffelstein, Giraffage, Jai Wolf, Kaskade, Knife Party, Paul Van Dyk, Rezz, Sean Tyas, Seven Lions, Slow Magic, Solarstone, Snails, Tchami, Tritonal, Zedd, Zomboy, and many, many more.
What are your favorite genres?
Trance is my first and forever love; when I saw the Dreamstate flyers at EDC last year I knew we had to go. We actually ended up attending both the SoCal and NorCal Dreamstates, and of course we’ll be going again later this year as well.
Aside from that, I have to give the stock boring answer of “I listen to everything,” which actually wasn’t true until I started attending events last year and experiencing new music by way of following friends to the artists they wanted to see. It’s important to push your boundaries and experiment a little; I never thought I’d get into dubstep for example, but these days several dubstep songs adorn my “Thumbs Up” list in Google Music. I think the only genre I’m not really into is trap, and even then there are some artists that are exceptions, like Marshmello.
What do you feel your “Identity” is in the electronic music community?
Thanks to my awesome girlfriend for my spirit hood, I’m a cute red panda! 😀 I think I’ve also fallen into the role of “rave dad” by virtue of being the significant other of a “rave mom,” which I’m okay with. At OMFG, a friend of a friend who’d only just met me that day randomly told me that my presence made him feel safe, which was probably just a nice way of saying I’m old. Apologies if you’re reading this, are older than me, and I made you feel old with that joke.
Outside of events, I’m trying to find ways to involve myself in the community that let me continue developing my skill sets and don’t encroach too heavily on my limited free time and what little of it that isn’t being spent sleeping in preparation for the next event. Right now that includes working on this very website as an editor and mulling over ways to improve the content delivery process for our staff. As I mentioned before, I also did some music production when I was younger, and that’s something I’m gearing up to get back into over the coming months; now that I have a wider music “vocabulary,” a much better understanding of the process, and way more ideas I feel better equipped to tackle it than I was when I was younger. Plus, as a software engineer, I think it’d be cool if I discovered some unfulfilled need in the process and developed my own plugin, but that’s getting ahead of myself.
Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself for the readers?
This is less about me and more for people like me who might be a little shy about attending their first event: If you listen to EDM, you owe it to yourself to check out a couple events at least and experience the music you love in an entirely different way. It’s never too late to start! If you don’t know anyone who goes, head over to Facebook and let people on the event page or a group like ravExchange know that you’re new to events and are looking for a family to adopt you. Obviously a lot of people attend these events and no large group of people is 100% perfect, but by and large the people I’ve met have been awesome and know what it’s like for a first-timer and can accommodate accordingly. Also, make sure you review some “what to bring” checklists.
I look forward to raving into my later years with my girlfriend and saying hi to you all at events!
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