The EDM Identity Team Reflects on Their Roots After Six Years


After six years of discourse on dance music and its community, the EDM Identity team looks internally to reflect on their roots.

Over the past six years, members of the EDM Identity team have worked hard to bring you the best stories in the dance music scene. We’ve shared your stories in ID Spotlights. We’ve traveled the globe, touching down on almost every major continent to cover music stories to share with you. We’ve taught lessons on the history of the culture, the impact of minorities, and scrapped up some good old fashion fun with mixes and playlists along the way.

We’ve also interviewed and exposed young blossoming talents and local industry representatives. We’ve brought some of the biggest names in dance music to your screen for an intimate look at who they are. And we continue to scour the world’s biggest brands, smaller festivals, and regional club nights to breathe the culture to you.

Yet, maybe, you wonder who we are. You might wonder what makes any of us an authority in this industry. You would be right after all – we do not really share much about each of us. You could read the staff biographies of course, but that is such a small glimpse of who we are as lovers of dance music.

In celebrating our sixth anniversary, we wanted to share a deeper glimpse into who we are. In what follows, find the voices of some of our team members, both old and new, as they explore and look back on how they found their love of electronic music, what music brought them to the culture, and what their experience has been like working with us here at EDM Identity.

Grant Gilmore EDM Identity

Grant Gilmore

Music is something that’s always been apart of my life, but it wasn’t until I had a stable internet connection that my exploration truly began. I’ve run the gamut on different genres that have piqued my interest over the past two decades as I listened to everything from pop-rock and hip-hop to big band and electronic music. While my initial experience in dance music was fairly limited to trance and Euro Dance in the 90s and early 00s, I quickly grew a passion for other genres like house, techno, and dubstep along the way.

This led to my search for live shows, and after finally gaining the courage to go to a rave I attended my first massive, Abstract Festival in 2010. Soon after, I found my way to major festivals like Coachella and EDC Las Vegas, and I was hooked. The rest is history. Now, I can’t even imagine a life without electronic music or the festival community, the impact it had on my life is immense.

I always joke that if you told me back before we launched EDM Identity that it would be what it is today, I wouldn’t have believed you. But the past six years have been the best of my life, even during stressful times (or whatever we’re chalking up 2020 as). Whether we were breaking stories, covering events, or shining a light on artists who were on the rise, it’s been quite a wild ride brimming with memories that will last a lifetime.

I wake up every day feeling blessed, in part due to the amazing experiences that EDMID has brought me over the years, but mostly because of the passionate people on our team. I am regularly amazed by the pieces that they write, the photos they’ve taken, and the projects they’ve worked on. EDM Identity wouldn’t be what it is today without these dedicated members of the scene, and I can’t wait to share more stories, music, and more with our community in the future.

Maria Clinton EDM Identity

Maria Clinton

Who is Maria Clinton? I am a daydreamer, who may come off as a little bit awkward, with even a dash of crazy, but deeply loyal and often hilarious. When I am not bartending for survival you can catch me obsessively watching WWE and AEW or medicating with the sounds of techno, house, and trance. Often, you will find me in the sky with my husband of 13 years, chasing down shenanigans at festivals and club events across the country. But, it is my wonderful pack of fur babies (two dogs, a cat, and a ferret) that keep me grounded in my fast-paced existence. 

It was only natural that I would end up writing for a blog as I am a terrible DJ and would have no idea how to even begin to produce a track. Yet, I have always wanted to be proactive in the scene. Turns out, I am not too bad at putting my thoughts onto paper and eventually, fate would bring Grant and EDMID into my life. My first article was published on September 22, 2015, and since then I have submitted over 600 articles while cultivating a relationship with a team who I consider to be my extended family. 

Working with EDM Identity has pushed me to move outside of my comfort zone and blast through social anxiety. The best examples are my face to face interviews with ilan Bluestone and Ruben de Ronde at Dreamstate 2017. Two amazing interactions that boosted my confidence. I have also learned to look past the stage and put on my exploration hat, critically reviewing events like Imagine Music Fest and Dirtybird Campout. But, more than anything, the blog has gifted me a platform to let my imagination run wild, dishing out hot takes on the beats that feed my soul.

Zachary Lefevre

Zachary Lefevre

I’ve had an interesting work-life since graduating from college. I have worked in a variety of industries including retail, sales, environmental sciences, and youth development before finding my passion for live music. I had never covered an event or written about music prior to joining EDM Identity, but looking back, it was the most life-changing opportunity I could have been offered.

At EDM Identity, I was given opportunities to refine my writing while learning new skills in the industry like photography. I remember the first festival I shot, SnowGlobe 2017. It was so fun adventuring around the snow-covered forest in Lake Tahoe attempting to capture the essence of a festival so I could relay it to readers in my review. Using my photos in my articles allowed me to express my sentiments more fully and I grew to love everything about photography. Insane music moments, the pure joy of attendees, the exquisite fashion. A camera was the tool I used to capture it all.

Photography is an art I learned later in life that has shaped what I want to pursue as a passion and career. I started my own photo business that has grown into something I never thought was possible. It may sound cliché, but I really do owe everything I am doing right now to EDM Identity. This platform gave me the confidence to pursue what makes me happy. It has been a support system for me when I feel lost. More importantly, it has given me family and a level of happiness I had never experienced prior to joining.

Raven Wright

Raven Wright

Hi, I’m Raven, like the bird. I’m a Taurus, Leo, Taurus, and I’m addicted to sugar. In my spare time, I like to read people to filth on Twitter or casually research serial killers. I’m big on health and fitness, so you can catch me cooking delicious healthy meals or at SoulCycle. I’ve been raving for basically a decade, and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.

Even though EDM Identity is six, I’ve been on the team for less than a year. Following the death of George Floyd and the lack of support from the community, I wrote an open letter about it. To this day, it’s my most vulnerable piece of work, and I’m so proud of it.

The best thing about EDMID is how passionate we are about the community. We really give a damn. Every person on our team is genuine and their authentic self. We hold each other accountable, and we want nothing but the best for our community. Remember kids, don’t be a jerk on Twitter. I’m watching you.

Sydney Grant

Sydney Grant

As someone who grew up listening to music (my mom raised me on classic rock and my dad is a Broadway fanatic), I’d always been interested in attending festivals. I remember being in middle school and begging my mom to let me go to Coachella and, finally, after weeks of rejection, her reluctantly allowing me to attend only if she came with me.

It was there that I first discovered dance music — thanks to the now famed Sahara Tent. Of course, at the time, it looked nothing like the laser-adorned, beast of a stage that it is today. I remember falling in love with the music, having never really heard anything like it before. Skrillex was just blowing up then and after hearing him live, I downloaded “Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites” onto my iPod and never looked back! Now, my taste gravitates towards more of a house and techno vibe, but Skrillex will always have a special place in my heart as the first EDM artist I heard live.

I’ve now been with EDM Identity for nearly four years, and needless to say, I consider Grant and the entire team a family! No matter what subgenre you’re interested in, there’s always someone to share your excitement about a new album drop or congratulate you on scoring that interview you’ve always wanted. Never in my life did I think that I’d get the chance to write about the events that I love, not to mention attend them as a member of this team.

My favorite festival memories are ones I share with my EDMID fam — from Grant and I interviewing Adventure Club at EDC Las Vegas, to meet-ups at festivals and getting down with members of the team. I’m so thankful to be involved with something so special and with a group of people who share such a passion for music. Thank you EDMID for an amazing four years — cheers to many more!

Matt Schaitel

Matt Schaitel

Diversity is the keys to my musical heritage: The Beatles, The Platters, Fleetwood Mac, Journey, The Eagles, Santana, ABBA, Elton John, & CSNY. I dove through scores from the likes of John Williams, Henri Mancini, and even the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber. My older sister’s tastes added to the mix: TLC, Bush, Boyz II Men, No Doubt, Michael Jackson, and the boy bands from New Kids on the Block to 98 Degrees.

Beyond these, I heard the sounds of Hiroshima, Enya, Enigma, and the wave of New Age music. Rock bands dominated high school: Linkin Park, Hoobastank, Maroon 5, Green Day, The Used, tempered by the Swing revival era. My first musical purchase: The original Lion King Soundtrack on CD, which joined me on the family drive from San Diego to Las Vegas when I was in middle school (a very different era of Las Vegas compared to the current city).

Music and technology were something my parents loved even if none of us played an instrument. My family still has an operating Reel-to-Reel player, an 8-Track, and vinyl phonographs (including one that plays 78 rpm vinyl!). We loved media technology and the doors it opened to new worlds. As I grew up, the deployment of the internet extended my reach to a musical world inaccessible before. Discovery birthed thanks to the first “Net radio” stations. The passion for electronic music and the worldwide culture expanded from these roots. 

As I look back at EDMID on its sixth anniversary and my four years of history on the site, I realize I remain here due to the team’s atmosphere and varied backgrounds. I hope this piece illuminates how diverse and powerful the voices are that talk to you, our audience. I hope you see your voice in our coverage as well, or better yet, you chose to join this team and make it stronger.

James Dutta

James Dutta

Back in 2014, I reluctantly went to Hard Summer. At the time I was strictly listening to hip-hop but was egged on by my friends to go and check it out. I did not regret my decision at all and immediately fell in love with the music and the scene. I remember seeing acts like Jack U, A-Trak, Dillon Francis, and Flosstradamus and being blown away by how energizing the music was. I could not stay away from electronic music from that point on. There were all these new artists rising up along with the entire scene becoming more mature and grander in scale, it was hard not to be excited about it.

I joined EDM Identity in 2016 and it’s provided me an outlet for my love of electronic music and the entire music scene. Along with that, the site has provided me with countless memories with my fellow teammates. Additionally, creating content and unearthing new artists and tunes brings me so much joy and satisfaction to my life. Having the site make it to its sixth year is a tremendous accomplishment! It’s been an awesome journey watching the site grow and get bigger and better opportunities for coverage. I cannot wait for this upcoming year to do more of what I have been doing, which is bringing the latest and greatest electronic music news to you all!

Jared Skolnick EDM Identity

Jared Skolnick

I grew up on the music of The Police and Pink Floyd, with absolutely no inkling of anything relating to dance. Live shows in my teenage years consisted of arena and stadium events, where fans didn’t even stand from their seats, much less move or dance. Then in the ’90s, a friend introduced me to Orbital and electronic music in general.

It’s hard to sit still listening to most electronic music, but I didn’t know how to dance and was embarrassed to even try. Soon I discovered mosh pits and things suddenly snapped into place. Music and movement became one, and a seemingly violent crowd became the most trusted place I knew. But, alas, as responsible adulting became my way of life, I lost touch with music and dance.

In 2016 I was re-introduced to the rave scene, and specifically to Above & Beyond. I was reborn! Three years later I made an epic 18-hour visit to Ibiza and had to share the story. My friend Kris introduced me to EDM Identity and all I wanted was a guest post. But Grant saw something in me that I didn’t – a wellspring of stories to tell about the dance music scene. Instead of a guest post, I became a regular writer and discovered my dedication to PLUR and protecting our scene. I’m incredibly proud and humbled to play my part.

Hannah Roberts EDM Identity

Hannah Roberts

What’s up fam! My name’s Hannah, I’m 23 years young and I’m from San Diego. I’ve been going to shows since 2015, attending events such as Coachella, Life in Color, and Hard Summer. I’ve been fortunate enough to expand into many different Insomniac Events and my personal favorite festival, Electric Forest.

I’m definitely a basshead, but I enjoy all genres of EDM too! I’ve loved seeing the scene grow and evolve over these past few years, and I do my best to keep the PLUR alive in my everyday life. When I’m not at a rave or festival, you can catch me swimming in the ocean, hiking, going on road trips with friends, or relaxing with my Yorkie, Lily.

I’ve been a part of EDM Identity for a year now, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made! We’re a pretty tight-knit team, and I’m proud of all the hard-hitting pieces we’ve put out and differences we’ve made in the scene. I’ve also had opportunities to attend and review concerts and festivals such as ILLENIUM’s Ascend tour, Madeon’s Good Faith tour, and more! It’s been a heck of a ride, especially this year, but we’re pushing through and managing to thrive during this crazy time. Happy birthday, EDM Identity!

Alec Rubman EDM Identity

Alec Rubman

One summer at sleepaway camp, my friend showed me Excision and Nero on an iPod that he snuck in his pillow. I had never heard anything like it before. It wasn’t long before I downloaded those songs on my own iPod and played them over and over. A couple of years later, after obsessing over Flume’s self-titled album for months, I saw him live in New York City.

Two years ago, though, I had an experience unlike any other. I somehow ended front and center for Excision’s closing set at Moonrise 2018 and nothing, including my hearing, has been the same since that night. (Don’t be an idiot like me, wear your earplugs!) 

After going to Electric Forest 2019 and falling even deeper in love with the scene, I wanted to do more for the music I love. Olivia and Jayce got me in touch with Grant, and a few weeks later I wrote my first article for the site. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to start a podcast, make great friends across the scene, and help our community grow through the great work we do here. To Grant and the whole EDM Identity team, thank you for making this such an incredible experience. Here’s to six years, and 60 more. I love you guys.

Natalia Pourazar EDM Identity

Natalia Pourazar

Day by day I live to inspire, teach, influence, and be a friend to those in need. I am a petite, go-getter, music-loving individual filled with passion for electronic dance music, and festival culture. Growing up predominantly in a Persian and Puerto Rican household directed a lifestyle surrounded by the value of music, the importance of diversity, human connection, empathy, and more. I discovered that the EDM community upheld similar values and I redirected passion towards this industry.

I devoted a lot of my free time to attending every possible festival and listened to a variety of bass-fueled and house DJs and producers. I’ll never forget the day I fell in love with Kaskade at a show in 2010 or seeing him throw down a Redux set 10 years later and still feeling the same. 

I understood the impact that this kind of community had on my own life, and I started to focus my career around entertainment and media. I joined the EDM Identity team and it helped develop my journalistic writing skills to another level. My time spent with a team devoted to the culture and lifestyle of the electronic dance community has been rewarding, to say the least.

I’ve spent my time discovering new music, artists, labels, release, and more. I have grown, collaborated, interviewed, and dedicated hours for our magnificent readers all for the same love of music. My time spent with EDM identity has been a gift, and without them, I wouldn’t understand the importance of a core team proudly serving a community. Overall, my admiration centered around the music industry paved the way to be a part of the extraordinary team!


Logan Garrison

Hailing from Aspen, Colorado, the outdoor lifestyle is a dominant force in my life outside of music. With winter quickly approaching, I’m getting super excited to start snowboarding again; there are few things in life more therapeutic than being out on the mountain with your best pals.

In a world pre-COVID, I had been very fortunate to open up for some of my favorite artists at Belly Up here in Aspen: ZHU, Nora En Pure, Chirs Lake, and Phantoms, to name a few. However, with all of our clubs and venues shut indefinitely here in Aspen, it’s allowed me a lot of time to hone my skills and perfect my selections while always searching for the freshest releases. I’ve recently started collecting vinyl records as well, which has been a lot of fun. I think it’s super cool to see the resurgence of vinyl collecting around the country. 

My time with EDM Identity began in the fall of 2018 with a feature on The Glitch Mob. From the very beginning, I knew this site was a special place that was powered by passionate dance music lovers that focused on quality music journalism. Our entire team works cohesively to continually set the standard for what a dance music blogs should be.

I have learned so much about the scene I love so much and myself through writing for EDMID, and it has allowed me to pursue a passion in writing that I’m not sure I’d have an outlet for otherwise. I am so thankful for Grant and our entire team that steadily strives to be the best we can be and deliver quality music news to passionate fans like ourselves. Cheers to many more!

Ali Mooney

Ali Mooney

Hello readers, I am honestly not that great at talking about myself so here it goes. I’m Ali, I am 27 years old and from Santa Cruz, Ca. I am very passionate about music, snowboarding, and doing my best to take care of our environment and all that inhabit it. When COVID first hit, I finally decided it was time to pursue my passions with music. I bought a controller and downloaded Ableton. I have a couple of tracks I am working on right now and I cannot wait till they are finished and I can share my creation with my friends. 

Writing for EDM Identity has been amazing so far. I have been on this incredible team for about a month now and it has been such a humbling and wonderful experience. Getting to write about the music that I love is honestly the coolest thing in the world, especially when artists I have been listening to for years enjoy the pieces I wrote. I also really love having the opportunity to write about more underground artists, all I want is to be able to help others have their music heard and spread their passion. I am eternally grateful for EDM Identity for giving me the opportunity to explore the world of music!

Cyrus Talaeiefar

Cyrus Talaiefar

I have always loved music more than most anything in the world. I have played in several bands, DJ’d, written music, and overall I just love the environment and people that music has brought into my life. There’s no way to fully express just how much music means to me, especially EDM. The shows that I’ve seen, the experiences that I’ve had, and the memories to keep them all together let me know I am part of an incredible community.

My friend and fellow team member Danae Hill is the reason why I’m part of the team today, and I am so appreciative of the ability to join such an amazing group of individuals. As an editor, I get to read through so many awesome stories about musicians and festivals written by some of the best in the blogging community.

Having only started in October of this year, I have seen so much creativity and personality through each article I have looked over, and the feedback I receive is incredibly heartwarming as well. Through EDM Identity, I can finally give something back to the world that has given so much to me, and for that, I am so grateful.

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