Gave Me Shelter

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The swirl of shirtless, sweaty bodies pushed in from all sides. I fidgeted from foot to foot, calves aching. The dull roar of the crowd drowned out any conversation between my friend Patrick and I. Our spirit hoods were slowly accumulating a mixture of water, beer, and human sweat. And I had to piss like a mother.

I had never felt more alive.

As the lights went down on the stage at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, I bellowed and hugged Patrick tight. Porter Robinson and Madeon, touring together for the first and probably only time, and I was gonna see it all.

The music began to swell, and it suddenly dawned on me exactly where I was. These two artists had changed my life when I was depressed as hell and had almost given up. Now I was surrounded by fellow music lovers in an amazing venue, with my best friend, about to witness electronic music history.

The past week has flown by, and the reality of school has set back in. Rather than write papers or study for finals, I’m going to give you a history lesson on Porter and Madeon for shits and gigs. If you make it that far, I’ll tell you the story of how I came to know them.

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Patrick and I being gross

Porteon’s show last weekend was easily the best night of my life. Two of EDM’s future stars playing on the same stage, remixing each other’s tracks into better songs than before. A quick Google search brings up articles talking about how the Shelter tour is earth-shattering and the tour to end all tours. Their collaborative song “Shelter” is perfect and definitely exceeded the hype.

The hype is well deserved. Porter has been described as an “electro house and dubstep wunderkind”. His big break came with the release of his first single, “Language,” in 2012, which quickly reached the #1 position on the iTunes Dance charts. That same year, he worked with and made remixes for Zedd, Avicii, and Lady Gaga.

Madeon, or Hugo Pierre Leclercq, began composing music at the age of 11. He became an Internet sensation with the release of “Pop Culture”, a mashup of 39 different songs created live on a sample pad in 2011. The YouTube video went viral and hit 6 million views in a few days. At age 22 Madeon has “taken the [electronic] music scene by storm”.

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Madeon, age 17

But you probably know all this already. If not, consider yourself learned.

If you can’t tell already, I’m obsessed with Porter and Madeon. Both of their music styles speak to me deeply in different ways. Porter’s brand of anthemic and orchestral, yet often dark, electro house is perfect for either partying or brooding. The bubbly, infectious dancepop that Madeon creates makes me want to, well, dance. I called this collaboration years before it happened because I knew their two sounds would mesh so well. And when “Shelter” dropped I was proven right. The wait was worth it, but the road getting to that day was long and dark.

The first time I listened to either Porter or Madeon, I was in a bad place. I’ve struggled with depression since age 17, usually during the winter months. I’ve fought back that dark tide again and again, but the stress of college almost brought me down. Coming into my sophomore year of college at UC Davis I was ready for anything. I’d just been to TBD Fest in Sacramento (RIP) and had my first real taste of an electronic music-heavy festival. Justice, Empire of the Sun, Dillon Francis… Like most of you, the festival experience recharged and reinvigorated me. That wouldn’t last long.

By the end of winter quarter I was stuck in a rut. I decided to drop out, move back home to Sacramento, and get my mind right. I started working for a family friend doing manual labor at his new mansion, moving shit around, painting, and doing yard work. And on the first day, I queued up “Worlds” for the first time.

The first two notes of “Divinity” hit me like a thunderbolt. If that intro gave (and still gives you) an insane amount of chills/feels, you might find this cool. I listened to that album all day. The following day I put “Adventure” on. The transitions from the intro to “You’re On,” then to “OK” had me dancing while shoveling rat shit in the basement. I made myself a Spotify playlist with those two albums and played it on repeat. I wish I still had it, but my pre-Shelter concert playlist is just as fire.

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Porter Robinson has admitted to struggling with depression himself

Discovering Porter and Madeon kickstarted my recovery. Music has always helped me when life begins to fall apart. I began to listen to more new music, even playing my guitar and piano on occasion. That May I got to see Flume for the first time at the UC Davis Pavilion. Being back in the thick of the crowd, experiencing an incredible electronic act brought back the concert/festival bug. I realized something soon after: I needed to see Porter and Madeon in concert.

My wish came true at Outside Lands in 2015. Porter Robinson’s set was out of this world, and still remains one of my favorite EDM concerts. I saw Porter again at TBD Fest and was front row for Madeon’s performance. The energy that they both put out was electrifying. Their beautiful and empowering music made that one of the best weekends of my life.

Fast forward about a year, and here we are. I’m still reeling from the nirvana I achieved at Porter and Madeon’s show. I’m still obsessed with their music and demand that they release more (all in good time boys). And I still struggle with horrible bouts of depression.

Last winter I came close to dropping out again, but I turned to music to keep me afloat. The music of Porter and Madeon gave me shelter (pun fully intended) from the terrible storm of mental illness. Maybe one day they’ll see this post and know that their music can change lives for the better.

For taking the time to read my sob story, here’s a video of them playing Shelter at the show 🙂

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