Photo credit: Roger Kisby | Additional reporting by Kara Scofield
Electronic dance music has transformed from the warehouse parties in London’s underground into a worldwide movement. EDM can be heard on your car radio, your favorite sitcom and has its own stage at that music festival you just blew your paycheck on. If a few time slots are not enough then you can buy tickets to a festival solely playing EDM.
What is this bass bumping, visually stimulating art show I speak of? It’s called a rave and you haven’t really paid respect to the party god unless you have been to one. In this day and age you probably attended a rave, plan on going to a rave or know someone who has been to a rave. If the aforementioned statements bleed truth then you probably had a casual run in with Lady Casa.
Serving as a role model and symbol for the EDM community, Lady Casa has created a lifestyle movement of her own called PLUR Warriors. Despite the faulty facetime connection we were able to gain an insight on the young spiritual leader’s massive following (over 72k followers on her Instagram) and some of the ideals PLUR Warriors stand by.
Moxipop: What was the last event you attended? How many festivals do you attend per year?
Lady Casa: Electric Forest, I had a lot of fun because it was a lot less hectic than EDC and at a much slower pace. I was immersed in good vibes and could really be myself (Michelle) in that environment. I go to 1 event a month ranging from smaller, local shows to massives like EDC and Ultra.
Mxp: You originally went by the name of “Molly Casa”, what made you decide the change?
LC: I decided on the name “Molly Casa” back in 2011 before Cedric Gervais personified “Molly” as a drug in his song. My original intention of choosing that name was to find the character “Molly”, not the drug. A young friend of mine told his parents that he was going to a rave with “Molly Casa” and they felt hesitant to let him go because of my name’s connection to the drug. He brought it to my attention, which made me realize that as a public figure I should protect my image by changing my name to “Lady Casa”.
Mxp: Describe “Lady Casa” and her “PLUR Warriors”.
LC: In 2012, I went to Kaskade’s “Freaks of Nature” tour in Miami and he posted a photo of me which served as a catalyst to my recognition and boosted my Instagram following. In response to that, people were commenting the photo and my page calling me an “inspiration” and a “role model”. Later that year I attended a spiritual retreat in Mexico where I began to realize the role I was taking on. I met with renowned spiritual leaders and began evolving into a more spiritual creature. I am easily accessible, anyone who wants to talk to me or receive counseling can reach me on any one of my social media pages. Often times I give out my kik or even my phone number. I spend hours of my week counseling people as young as 14 to a few people in their 40s. I answer questions about all subjects ranging from outfit details to getting in touch with your inner consciousness. I turn people onto further spiritual teachings which are available on YouTube or in books I have read.
“PLUR Warriors are a group of people who take on the messages of PLUR into their everyday lives. It is a lifestyle movement creating leaders who can guide people to love and light.”
Mxp: What are some ways that “PLUR Warriors” give back to the community?
LC: Prior to raves/events we plan “kandi” picnics and ask everyone who attends to make a contribution whether it be clothing, books or food. In the past we have gotten the chance to work with notable charities such as Food For Thought. I eventually would like to tie in a charitable donation via merchandise purchase on the online shop.
Mxp: What is one of the most memorable interactions you have had as Lady Casa?
LC: At EDC Orlando in 2013, a mother came up to me with tears in her eyes. She shared her daughter’s story of past addictions. During that time she found my page and discovered that rave culture doesn’t need to be tied with drugs and can be a positive experience. Her daughter was able to get over her addictions and her mom began to go to raves with her. Later on that night I ran into her daughter and we both embraced each other, it was very emotional. To me, it’s a lot more than the music and the dressing up – it’s knowing that I’m making a difference, which means the world to me.
Mxp: Who do you look up to in the rave community? Favorite DJs?
LC: I have a top 5 in this order: Armin Van Buuren, Kaskade because he served as a catalyst to my character growth, Bassnectar aside from trance I am a huge basshead, Krewella always puts on an uplifting performance and I connect with their spiritually deep lyrics, Above & Beyond is very inspirational and hard progressive trance is something I am really into. Aside from their musical talents, I am a fan of theirs because they are all humble by connecting with their fans – humility is something I look up to.
Mxp: The rave culture is synonymous with drug abuse how does Lady Casa address that?
LC: Drugs are prevalent in the electronic music scene – you can’t deny that. I go sober to shows because of my sensitivity to uncontrolled substances. These events are already hyper stimulating with the visuals and the crowds of people who ask to take pictures with me. I don’t need drugs and being tied to the rave community I have seen the evolution of drugs. I address the danger of these uncontrolled substances and try to inform people by posting pictures of certain drugs that don’t show up in drug testing kits on my Instagram. I preach the same thing that my mom told me when I was younger – she never told me not to do it, but pointed out the consequences and risks involved. My message to my younger audience is to always moderate, listen to your body and be responsible. It is dangerous, it is tainted but it is going on. Telling young people not to do drugs never works because they are going to do it anyway. I hope we can all get away from the need to take drugs but to those who point fingers at the rave community for drug use are extremely contradictory when there are legal pharmaceuticals being abused daily. We live in a society that is conditioned to pop pills for anything and everything. In medical school I wasn’t taught how to heal people I was taught to write a prescription for every possible ailment. Healing, for me, is hearing someone’s story – actively listening and engaging with the person to understand their pain.
Mxp: What is “PLUR”?
LC: PLUR is the raver’s mantra it stands for Peace, Love, Unity and Respect. We like to show the world that this is what we live by not only at raves but in our everyday lives. At raves, it’s expressed through our vibrant outfits and “kandi” jewelry. The kandi culture allows us to create beautiful art pieces and we use it to exchange PLUR energies with one another. In 2011 at EDC Orlando a beautiful blonde girl approached me with a big smile on her face and exchanged a kandi bracelet with me for the first time. It’s a memory that I still hold onto and I have the bracelet to this day. It’s an ethereal moment you share with someone. A PLUR Warrior is an emotional being that promotes peace and love in a world that is separated, competitive and cliquey. It takes a warrior spirit to live out those ideals outside of the festival.
Mxp: People look up to you as a motherly figure by calling you “PLUR Mama”, how do you take on that role?
LC: After attending so many events people began to follow my leadership because of my “veteran raver” status. I am looked upon as a guide or a light to anything rave related or even beyond that. I am inboxed on my social media sites with questions on music recommendations to outfit ideas. When I attend raves I embrace the PLUR Mama mentality and am very loving towards anyone that approaches me. I am very affectionate and when someone takes their time out to wait in line to trade kandi and have their picture taken with me – I give at least 5 hugs to that person. I believe in the power of human touch and the need for nurturing. I’m all about making people feel loved! I spent most of Electric Forest in a “cuddle puddle”.
Mxp: What are some of the inspirations behind your Instagram posts?
LC: I am inspired by renowned spiritual leaders such as Bashar and any teachings from my spirituality or astrology books. I follow well curated accounts on Instagram dedicated to spirituality so if I come across a photo with a positive message I will repost it to my followers. Living in the digital age allows me to reach a larger audience and educate them about spirituality.
Mxp: Could you expand on the rave community’s influence on Instagram?
LC: It is a network of intelligent leaders that use this digital platform to promote positivity in order to create more leaders. To me, my fans are like my kids. The message I promote is PLUR and before one can promote these messages they must learn to love themselves. Hopefully the youth that are exposed to PLUR can carry this message with them into the future.
Mxp: Spirituality plays a major role in your posts could you expand on the idea of consciousness and energies?
LC: The substance of the universe is consciousness and neural impulses allow us to sense reality (six senses). Everything is consciousness and is an expression of God, or the “one love”. I practice the belief that we all come from the one consciousness. In this human experience we are able to see the spectrum of duality. I was raised Catholic, attended a Catholic school and was very much into the teachings of Jesus. My mom was very spiritual and had kabbalah books I liked to read. In college I took a Native American studies class, as well as a religious studies class for Islam and began to see the overlap in the origins of religions – we all come from the “one love”.
As I grew older I began to pick and choose various practices or beliefs from each religion. From Catholicism, I learned to love Jesus because of his loving nature and humility. I use Instagram as an outlet to express my spiritual beliefs to my audience. In 2012, when all the hype about the Mayan calendar ending served as the real tipping point for me. Many believed the end of the Mayan calendar meant the end of the world but it obviously wasn’t true. What the Mayans were trying to express is that we were entering a transformational period – transcending into a deeper awareness of consciousness. Festivals can be used as a tool to tap into your inner consciousness: EDM pulsing through our veins, it opens up our chakras and our third eye is activated. The experience allows us to become highly vibrational people and balances our chakras. My long term goal is to bring together healing art with production art. My vision is for sacred geometry and positive imagery to be projected at events. We need to heal ourselves in order to heal the world.
Tamara studies Journalism at Cal State Northridge but she doesn’t pay too much attention because her brain wanders towards the chords of Vampire Weekend songs, the identity of John Snow’s parents and costco pizza. She blogs here and tweets @tafreaky.