Updated: Apr 1, 2020
After a previous interview with New Orleans artist Bouffant Bouffant, we found Salman Jaberi the creator and founder of Rave Scout Cookies. In a time where many voices, especially those within the queer community are not heard within this scene, it only seems fitting to continue to highlight those seemingly lost voices. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know about Salman, his journey and his endeavors with Rave Scout Cookies. I am incredibly honored to continue to hear from people within the queer community and to have such talented folx like Salman be featured on Stay Vibrant. Hey there, Salman and Rave Scout Cookies! Tell the readers a little about who you are. Rave Scout Cookies is a multitude of media outlets devoted to bolstering under-represented and undiscovered artists, collectives and talents within our local and global underground communities. We live in a world of cozily attaching to our customs, whether comfortable or otherwise. Rave line-ups and bills have become monotonous, leaving no room for other talented individuals, most of whom are marginalized artists, people of color and LGBTQ+ communities. The aim of Rave Scout is to drag the shadows out of the shade into the light. world that I have visited, Tucumcari is one that has been memorialized inside me. I really intend to bring the Rave Scout HQ to life in Tucumcari someday.
Why did you pick Tucumcari, New Mexico as Rave Scout Cookies’ Headquarters?
I have a soft niche for obscure places, and I love to travel to intact Old Americana towns before they are demolished and erased from history. I grew up on a tiny mystical island in the Gulf of the Middle East, and every year we took family holidays (well … just my mom, dad and I), usually to the West Coast to LA and Vegas on a routine basis. I think the niche or soft spot per se is the byproduct of nostalgia. I spent a lot of my childhood in Chateau Marmont when it was decaying, cheap in cost and not as glamorous as you’re probably painting it right now-— These aesthetics and sensations remain tied to me as an adult, and every time I get a chance to travel, I pick a different place that reflects my nostalgic memories. Of all places around the world that I have visited, Tucumcari is one that has been memorialized inside me. I really intend to bring the Rave Scout HQ to life in Tucumcari someday.
What are some steps we, as a scene, should be doing to give a voice to those who are typically silenced? This is a wide spectrum of a topic(s) to cover, but one very critical and overlooked crucial aspect that we seem to dismiss in this volatile digital age is not actually listening to each other. Marginalized people need to be heard, not interrupted. In order for us humans to develop individually or collectively, we need to address and recognize the different challenges that some face more than others. Marginalized communities need to voice their opinions and concerns that affect their lives without feeling threatened. It is unfortunate that we live in a society where there have to be self-awareness platforms and collectives such as Papi Juice, Visceral, Discowoman, ALKEHMY, Por Detroit, to mention a few, specifically dedicated to empowering and giving voice to the those who have been silenced and to remind the world that before the neo-liberal heterosexual EDM takeover, dance music came to fruition from marginalized communities; it is what it is, we are here and we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon… or ever.
Moving on to harm reduction, explain the role you and Rave Scout Cookies play in that realm and the importance within the underground scene? One of the main priorities of Rave Scout Cookies is to provide comprehensive education on harm reduction and the elimination of stigma for all substances, and so a year ago, I joined forces with and recently officially announced a partnership with DanceSafe National to develop a program to compile drug harm literature cards for each and every substance widely used in nightlife communities and to extend their network base to the underground realm. The In-depth Harm Reduction Guide will be available in the first edition of the Rave Scout Cookies Handbook, scheduled to be released at the earliest stages of May, but you can access the Drug Literature Cards on our website for the time being. We are also working on producing a digital live-stream harm reduction show that is both entertaining and educational, so consider donating to the organization when you can to expedite our plans to launch the program.
What inspired you to get into this side of the scene and what keeps you going?
My professional involvement in the underground electronic music scene began when I moved to the United States in 2015. My passion and fealty for dance floor politics and the pursuit of reform gradually became abundantly clear as I plunged deep into the underground North American queer techno culture. Somehow, I came to meet and join my two friends, Manu and Gabriel to curate a monthly queer techno gathering in Boston, Visceral. Manu Miran founded Visceral on the basis of creating a safe space specially catered to the POC and LGBTQ+ communities in the region to gather and celebrate freely without judgment. As for what keeps me going beyond music, it’s really a sense of belonging and community that no longer exists in our world beyond the cult documentary section of Netflix.
Rave Scout Cookies hosts mixes from artists, how do you select those artists and where can we find those mixes? It all depends on the thrust of the moment, I’ve always been a techno enthusiast, and as much as I love the OG DJ more than the next person, I really enjoy browsing the web for emerging artists who often post incredible mixes but don’t get the exposure they deserve. Two peculiar instances as to how I discovered the artists that contributed mixes to Rave Scout since the launch is Bobby Azarbayejani aka “NOHUP” and Nick Burgess. I found Bobby on Twitter two years ago (post-Rave Scout) under one of their alias names, “DJ Kaaba Emoji”, and I went on a 6-hour spiral of reading their amusing tweets without knowing that they are a DJ, come to find out they are a DJ, and then hunting for their true identity on the web leading me to their music, which was almost impossible to achieve (and impressive.) Nick was one of the first followers of Rave Scout’s SoundCloud page, so I glanced through his music and I had to have him contribute to the project. He is such a talented young artist and a true Detroit native when it comes to composing his sonics, I can definitely see him going major in the next couple of years. Rave Scout publishes mixes on a weekly basis and you can access them through the SoundCloud page or our website.
What does Rave Scout Cookies having coming up that you’d like to inform the readers of? My head vibrates to think about it all, as I have intertwined many outlets for this socio-cultural project and platform, but given the circumstances and complexity of these times, it has been so difficult to achieve the objectives on time and to deliver on all the projects that have been arranged. In addition to the Official First Edition Handbook due for release in May, I am also currently selling campy Rave inspired candles through our cookiemart.club online store, which will contribute a portion of its proceeds to the Honcho Campout Queer Fam Fund for this year's iconic queer gathering in the forest. Ultimately, once Rave Scout Cookies is firmly established and fully launched, my interest lies in developing an app in which members of the underground community can benefit from beyond premises of the rave or dancefloor throughout the long run. The current dormant outlets of the platform are the Check-In App, which may be used as the basis for the Rave Scout Networking App.