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our work > news > Interview: Amy Farina, Drop Bass, Not Bombs
Interview: Amy Farina, Drop Bass, Not Bombs
June 13, 2019  

There are many individuals and organizations that support MWB. Whether it’s hosting a benefit event or fundraising in our name, we are always very thankful for the support! We interviewed one of our most recent supporters, Amy Farina from Drop Bass, Not Bombs, about her passion for electronic music and how she’s using that to campaign for human rights.

How long have you been doing Drop Bass, Not Bombs? How did DBNB come into being?

I started Drop Bass Not Bombs in November 2017 here in the Netherlands. From a very young age, my two passions have always been human rights and electronic music. During my time in college and in law school, I came up with the idea of Drop Bass Not Bombs (DBNB).

At the time my career aspirations were in law and I decided that in the future after becoming a successful lawyer when I was in my 60’s I would start an organization that organized raves for charity. An organization that would give back to the scene that I had gotten so much out of and that would merge my two passions together.

When I first moved to the Netherlands in August 2016 I got a fellowship through my law school with an international organization. However, once the fellowship ended I was in a position where I had to decide what the next steps in my career and my life would be. I decided to start Drop Bass Not Bombs following that job because I thought to myself why wait? I had a calling to start it and so I did.

How did you get into electronic music (EDM)?

When I was a kid in the 90’s one of my first CDs was Mouse House Dance Mixes which was a compilation album of dance remixes of popular Disney songs. So think of the house version of “Under the Sea” from Little Mermaid. I still to this day do not know where I got the CD from but it was great. Additionally, I was a big fan of Eurodance artists at the time such as the Vengaboys, Aqua, and Eiffel 65. These artists were mostly just one hit wonders in the US (think “Barbie Girl”) but my interest in these groups went way deeper. Since moving to the Netherlands I have gotten to see many of my favorite childhood artists which has been a real treat!

Moreover when I was around 12 I started playing Dance Dance Revolution (a video game where you stand on a platform and have to match the arrows on the screen with the beat of the music). The game featured a lot of electronic music and I was obsessed. Then my passion for electronic music continued to grow and grow. Dance music made me feel like all of my troubles washed away but at the same time would motivate me in school, in sports, in everything.

When I moved to Washington DC for college I discovered the rave scene and was immediately in love and my life was changed forever.

What role do you think EDM can play in creating social change? What is it about the EDM culture that allows for something like DBNB work?

EDM can play a huge role in creating social change in my opinion for three main reasons: (i) music in general throughout history has been a catalyst for social change; (ii) EDM is built upon a community of passionate and open minded individuals; and (iii) EDM is currently experiencing a surge in popularity.

I could talk about this all day but as we know throughout history especially recently during times of conflict or natural disaster music has always been there as a response.

A well-known example of this is Live Aid featuring David Bowie, Queen, and U2, which raised $127 million dollars for famine aid. Or more recently following the terrorist attacks in Manchester, One Love Manchester with Arianna Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Justin Bieber to name a few raised $23 million dollars.

Music has been and always will be a vehicle to bring people together. Its cliché but it really is what unites everyone. It has also been documented throughout history that music has been used as a form of protest and remembrance during wartime. There are countless other examples of course as well.

EDM culture is unique in the fact that it is comprised of predominantly young open-minded people. Of course there are exceptions to this but for the most part ravers are welcoming of everyone regardless of your race, nationality, country of origin, gender or sexual orientation. It is this coupled with the fact that ravers are passionate, not only passionate about the music but passionate about their friends which is oftentimes referred to as a rave family.

I know within my rave family in the United States we each are passionate about various causes whether it be human rights, gender equality, animal rights, or world peace. The next step, however, is to take these young, passionate, open minded people and provide an environment for them to put this into action.

This is the type of environment that DBNB can thrive in and especially in the Netherlands where EDM is so popular. I want to create a world where raves are not only a place for people to escape but also a place where people can come together to generate social change. Think about the 4 am conversations in the bathroom or in the smoking section, those are the conversations that I believe can change the world.

Electronic music has been around since the disco era and so has rave culture, not just in the Netherlands but also throughout the world. However, in recent years EDM and electronic music broadly speaking has been increasing drastically in popularity.

Electronic music is now a billion dollar industry. Billboard reported in 2018 that the global electronic music market had a net worth of $7.3 billion. Top DJs such as Calvin Harris and Tiesto, for example, bring in extraordinarily high earnings ($48 million and $33 million in 2018 respectively). In a world plagued by conflict, poverty, and natural disasters the electronic music community can come together to make a difference.

What has been the greatest challenge to creating DBNB so far?

The greatest challenge to creating DBNB and to accomplishing our goals so far has been financial. Although I do have an amazing team of friends who have helped me since day one we lack the finances to fully carry out all of our operations and visions.

Additionally, because DBNB is not at the point where it can be my full-time job I have multiple jobs, which do not always allow me to invest all of the time that I would like to, into the organization.

How can people get involved with DBNB? Do you see DBNB growing beyond the Netherlands?

People can get involved with DBNB by sending us a message on Facebook, Instagram, or through our website. We are always looking for DJs, producers, photographers, graphic designers, and passionate people with a calling for human rights and a dedication to electronic music.

People also can come to our party on June 27th in Amsterdam to find out more about the organization and see what we are all about.

I definitely see DBNB growing beyond the Netherlands. Luckily I do have friends and family around the world and EDM continues to grow and grow. I think the next step would be expanding to the United States since that is where I am from.

We are also always looking to collaborate with other organizations around the world. Last December we helped out with the promotions for a charity rave in Switzerland that benefited children with cancer.

Where do you see the DBNB going in the next 5 years? 10 years?

In the next five years, I see DBNB organizing raves for charity every month not only in the Netherlands but globally. I also hope that our team can expand and that we eventually work towards a movement of charity raves becoming the norm. In the next ten years, I would love to organize a DBNB festival with multiple stages with the proceeds going to charity.

Make sure to join Drop Bass on June 27th at the International Hard Dance Meeting! Have your own fundraising idea? Head over to our fundraising page and register your event or fundraiser today!

Topics: Interviews