Breakbeats/Tech House

Husband, Father, FTC Main Root, One Half of Family Funk Project and Breakbeat Freak. Elated watching the Family Tree grow.

“For The Fam”

The 90’s Baltimore rave scene is where I found a lot of things missing from my life and where I planted the seed that would grow into the Family Tree Collective. It was Chip Whiteford, a.ka. Chipleh, who took me to The Paradox on a Thursday night and to my first party, Fever. I remember walking in and feeling overwhelmed by all the people, lights and music. I wasn’t sure what to do or how to react but I remember Chip looking and smiling at me as he said “Jeremy, just dance and you’ll be ok.” That was the last I saw Chip until the end of the night and into the next morning. Turns out I would have a Fever every other Thursday for years to come.

As I started going to The Paradox more and more, I noticed I would see the same people time and time again. This consistency, within my life full of chaos, helped me to ground myself. As time went on, I would start to make friends with these people. Some of these people I am still friends with today. Some of these friends I call brothers, sisters and family. With the seed planted and the roots deeply embedded within the underground Baltimore rave scene, new friends became branches of the Family Tree and would help us to grow into who we are, nearly 30 years later.

Within my second home and family, I found acceptance. Within the walls of The Paradox, there were many different people who came from different walks of life, different parts of Baltimore and even different states. No matter where you came from, who you loved or what nationality you were, you were accepted. For one night, under the same roof, we were all one family united by music.

Taking Chip’s advice, I started to learn how to dance albeit probably not as well as I thought. No matter how good or bad I was, I loved the way it made me feel. I was free to express myself and used dancing as a way to acknowledge and get emotions out in a healthy way. You could always find me in the same spot, in front of the speakers next to the DJ booth, dancing with friends or by myself. This was where my journey began. For the few minutes I would catch my breath, I would observe the room full of different people dancing to the same beat. I would also stand next to the DJ booth and watch intensely as the DJ played record after record and started to notice the direct cause and effect between the DJ and the crowd. It was amazing and something I knew I had to learn. A DJ was born and the Family Tree concept came to life.

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