I first met Stephanie Quiambao, another blog writer for Studio 240, at Tomorrowworld in Georgia last year, when all hell was breaking loose with mud and rain at the time. The second you meet her, you know you have met a raver with a philosophy. Someone that not only attends raves occasionally for the music and good vibes, but someone who takes complete ownership of the role as a raver, from look to attitude to treatment of others. For anyone who keeps tabs on ravers in the scene who are going to lead others in the PLUR example, she is one to keep your eye on. She certainly caught my attention and the attention of hundreds of other ravers that follow her instagram @dudezomgsteph where you can catch her latest and greatest kandi creations and rave outfits as well as fun pics with DJ celebrities such as Laidback Luke.
Contrary to belief, Stephanie was not born the raver she is now. She too, like millions of others, after discovering EDM had it completely transform her life from grey to technicolor forever. I had the pleasure of getting the inside scoop on her inner transformation and specifically how EDM made profound healing effects on her psyche.
Before discovering a genre that helped her release stress, Stephanie found daily life difficult to cope:
“For pretty much my whole life I was always worried about what others thought of me: my parents wanted me to always study, my friends expected me to stay innocent, and I wanted to seem like a good person to strangers who passed by me. My mind and soul was weighted down with so much disappointment, anger, and frustration as to why I couldn’t impress those that mattered to me and it even boiled down to my family disowning me because they disapproved of me dumping my high school boyfriend that they loved so much. To sum it up I was plain unhappy with my life and it felt like nothing would change.”
Ironically, rather than finding freedom through pleasing others, she found quite the opposite at her first rave:
“Then “I Love This City” in 2012 came around and I attended my first event; I watched as others had the courage to act, dress, and dance the way they wanted to and I began to think, “If they can do it, why can’t I?!” From then on I began to break free from the weighted expectations that everyone had on me and thought about my well-being. I’ve always loved dancing, but never knew what kind of dancing I wanted to commit to, but after raving I realized that I didn’t need a name to the type of dancing I’m doing at raves. I just dance and don’t care what others think!”
Dancing like no one is watching is perhaps the most liberating experience on planet earth. Her experience of dancing points to a facet of EDM that draws millions into the same therapeutic effects—it not only induces a rush of feel good endorphins but it’s a genre that promotes interaction between dancers. Recall the last time you were at a rave and saw a shuffling circle—everybody is a headliner.
EDM fosters community, as Stephanie realized for herself years ago, and hasn’t felt quite the same heavy weight of separation ever since:
“Another great thing about raves: you discover new things about yourself that others find in you. The more I attended raves the happier and sillier I was and then I had another realization: so why can’t I show that to everyone else in the real world? I became more open with family and it allowed us to have a more transparent connection with one another, therefore happier since we had a deeper understanding of one another.”
EDM helps fans stay grounded to their true selves and their need for a balanced life between the oppressive demands of reality and playtime:
“I know there are times where I need to be serious (like at work) where the silliness needs to be toned down to zero, but that’s why I rave: to let the silly out to 100%! I can’t let work or anything else keep me down, there’s so much more to me than a working body in an office. EDM and dancing relieves the tension that I have in the real world and reminds me that I need to let loose and have fun once in a while! There’s nowhere I’d rather be than at an event dancing to music that I love!”
There is a biological explanation for the relief of stress Stephanie felt at “I Love This City”. Numerous research studies have shown how music can be a powerful antidote for many of the difficult emotions many of us struggle with such as stress, anger, and depression. When we hear music, our brains release the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine which foster a rush of energy and a euphoric like sense of well being. Dancing to music gets you out of your head and into your body and into the present moment. If not for the love of EDM, I’d have never met Stephanie. That is the power of a musical movement that connects people even better than talking can. Music is the universal language of love we all understand. Stephanie’s transformation story is only a drop in an ocean of other ravers’ stories of how EDM changed their lives by taking away stress and rebuilding connections. Speaking of connections, here is a raver match made in heaven for Stephanie and her boyfriend Nick, who bonded over their shared love of raves!
I’ll summarize with a quote and the live track from the Tommy Trash & Sebastian Ingrosso classic:
“And when you feel out of place, You don’t have to be afraid”