I just turned 38 years old. Not a big milestone birthday, spent quiet at home with my family. It did make me think about a past birthday however. Exactly 16 years ago on my 22nd birthday I moved into a new office I had rented to launch my Happy Hardcore record business.
I had been renting a room from a family to live previously, but they sold their house and I had to find a new place to live. I had started importing and selling happy hardcore vinyl out of my bedroom, and was so passionate about my music, I made a calculated gamble that I could make a real go of it. Worst-case-scenario I ended up being unsuccessful. I was young, had time to burn, so why not go for it.
The office was about 10 x 12 feet with no windows. I had a couch. That night, my birthday, I was alone in a pitch black room. I never felt so alone in my life.
I had a web page set up, and was the very first happy hardcore website ever indexed by Yahoo, which at the time was the dominant search engine. I started making contact with other aspiring happy hardcore DJs, and before long was selling vinyl to most of them. It was a very small business, but it did pay the rent, but I could not afford anything more than that. I lived in that office.
There was a shower in the building which I used, and once or twice a month I’d visit my aunt’s for the weekend to do laundry and recharge my batteries.
I spent my spare time making copies of my first widely distributed mixtape, called The Frolic Files. One at a time I would copy them, and bring boxes with me to every rave I attended and handed them out to anyone that looked like they were having fun.
I also started mailing them to record labels, and after being in my office for only a few weeks I got a call from Moonshine in Los Angeles. They were thinking of doing a happy hardcore compilation and I seemed like the right guy for them. Happy2bHardcore Chapter 1 was released a few months later.
Also a few weeks into my stay at the office I got a call from a promoter from a new Toronto rave company called Not The End. They got my tape. They wanted me to play at their first event. After playing at their party, and then getting deeply involved with them for their second event, planted the bug in me to promote my own parties if I wanted to see the music that I loved get the exposure it needed.
Hullabaloo had it’s first event 7 months after moving into my office. Happy2bHardcore chapter 2 came out around that time, and I started getting regular DJ bookings all over. From that point on it was like riding a rocket ship.
I guess as I look back at all this, none of that would have been possible without some sacrifice from myself. I decided to take a shot, and it worked out better than I could have ever imagined. It’s also a little overwhelming how much of a difference one guy can make if they set their mind on something. My advice to anyone reading this is to take their own shots. If it doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the world. But you can never reach the stars if you never attempt it.