Yes, you read that correctly- a couple got engaged this past weekend at Electric Zoo and two of their wildest dreams became a reality. For Chris, it was important that he made the ultimate proposal to his girlfriend of a little over three years, Ashley. And what better way to do so than with the help of Above & Beyond? If you were at the Zoo last week and saw A&B's set, you may remember that during "A Thing Called Love," the LED wall behind them read: "Chris, @TheDJBF WOULD LOVE TO MARRY Ashley, @DJGFProblems." Well, she said "yes," albeit a teary "yes." We found Chris on Twitter thanks to one of our contributors, Jessica Ekman, and decided to ask the couple a few questions to lighten the mood surrounding Electric Zoo. As they say below, "The music we so dearly love is not about drugs and death. It’s about magic, dance, love and bringing people together." Read on to learn their story, and gain a different perspective on Ezoo and electronic dance music in general that oftentimes, we fail to remember.
Can you start by telling us a little about yourselves—who you are and where you’re from?
My name is Chris- I’m 24 years old from Rockland County, NY. I graduated University at Albany with a political science degree and a minor in Electronic Music.
My name is Ashley. I’m 25 years old. I’m originally from Long Island but after graduating SUNY Albany with a degree in English and Education I relocated to Rockland county to start a future with Chris.
What’s the story behind your twitter handles?
The story behind the twitter handles is actually pretty simple. It started off as a joke. During a gig that Chris had in New Jersey over a year ago, a lot of things kept going wrong. Being the supportive girlfriend that I am, I kept getting more and more upset. It was at that point that one of my sorority sisters stated that I was having a lot of DJGFproblems. The next morning I created the twitter account as a joke. I couldn’t be more happy that I did. It has created so many friendships with so many beautiful people. After about a year Chris joined the twitter world by becoming TheDJBf.
How did you meet, and how long have you been dating?
Chris and I met in college. He was in a fraternity and I was in sorority. There is no spectacular story about our meeting; however, I knew from the beginning I would love him forever. He officially asked me to be his girlfriend April 30, 2010.
Clearly you two have a passion for EDM. For how long had you been planning on proposing to Ashley, and when did your idea come up to get Above & Beyond involved? We want to know all the exciting details as to how you made this happen and why you think they chose to listen to your story, specifically.
We do have a very big passion for EDM. Our first date was actually at Webster Hall during The Circus that they throw every Saturday (I believe ). We’ve been going to shows together ever since. I planned on proposing to Ashley for a long time. She is the greatest girl I’ve ever met in my life. It actually came about around 5-6 months ago. I had the idea to ask her during either Electric Zoo or Tomorrowworld. The only question I had was how was I going to do it? Ashley always told me that she wanted the world to know we were getting married and that we would be together forever and I took that idea and tried to figure out what the best strategy was. A friend of mine had recently won their (Above & Beyond's) contest to go to Vegas with them for a weekend. While she was there she met their entire team and was able to get contact information from them. When she came back I figured why not ask? I asked her if there was anyway that she could help me get in touch with them. She used her contacts and was able to get in touch with their manager who told her he would do anything to make it happen. She gave me his contact information and I started messaging him. I explained how we are huge Above and Beyond fans and have been listening to their music for a long time. We have seen them at EZoo in the past as well as their CD release party. Every time we hear about Above and Beyond playing somewhere we are always trying to find two tickets because to us- their music is life changing. He wrote me back and explained to me that it will be extremely difficult to have this happen because they really don’t do something like this for anyone during their sets but he would try very hard to get it to happen. Months went by- I would keep emailing him every so often because I was terrified that he would forget or shrug it off but he would always tell me he hasn’t heard back from them and as soon as he does he would let me know. Finally about a week or so before the Festival I got a message from him – Good News! They said they would be very happy to help! I was completely blown away. I had goose bumps and the smile on my face that day never disappeared. I immediately fired back an email to let them know our names – I then started messaging our entire twitter family to let them know the news because I had to tell someone this was real! I then realized I gave them my name and not our handles so how would anyone know who they were talking about? I also emailed him our twitter handles and asked if they could use that as well. It wasn’t until a day or two before the festival that he emailed me and let me know that it was going to be during A Thing Called Love- around 8:30ish – I told all my friends the time and arranged a meet up right before their set. We had about 30 people with us that showed up to come into the crowd. We stood in the exact place she had first seen them ( towards the left of the stage ) All of our friends stood around us to make sure they got everything on camera – the rest is history!
Chris, how did your friends and family feel when you told them about your plan? Or did you keep it a secret from everyone?
I had my mom come with me to pick out the ring. I’m a dude—I had no clue what I was looking for. All of Ashley’s family knew about it prior and were very excited. I had sent them photos of the ring when I got it and told them that I was going to ask her during Above and Beyond. My family also knew. They couldn’t wait to officially welcome her into our family. I told all my friends as well—Above and Beyond is going to put the proposal up on the screen…..there was no way that I could possibly keep that to myself. I had to keep telling myself it was real because I never thought I was going to be able to pull it off.
Wait, she did say yes, right?
Yes, she did say YES!!
Ashley, were you expecting this at all? Did you cry when it happened?
I had no idea that it was coming that night. I knew it was coming sometime in my near future but no way did I think Above & Beyond was going to help make it happen. Its funny because there were hints all throughout the day I didn’t even think twice about until now. For instance, I kept catching Chris whisper to our friends and so many of my friends told me they couldn’t trade kandi until later. It turns out that they had all made me kandi that said “mrs” or DJ fiance on it. Also, during the beginning of Above & Beyonds set I kept trying to reach into Chris’ pocket to grab his hand but he kept shaking me away. Turns out he was holding the ring in the same pocket I kept trying to reach into. When the message came up on the screen and I turned to my right and saw him down on one knee I couldn’t stop crying. I still cry when I think about it, or look at pictures and videos. Its hard to believe its real. I had the perfect proposal to the perfect man.
Any other last remarks you’d like to make to the dance music community?
With all the negative publicity Electric Zoo received this year, we are glad that we can leave people with a message that true love is real. The music we so dearly love is not about drugs and death. It’s about magic, dance, love and bringing people together.
I have seen the ups and downs in this community. The good and the bad. The recent news about drugs and death only reminds us that as a community we have to look out for each other and make sure each and every one of us are ok. There is always talk now a days about ravers who are new or “basic” that veterans who have been around the community a long time want nothing to do with. This weekend, it showed that maybe it’s time for all of us to be a little more accepting and a little more loving and respectful towards one another. That’s what’s different about this community. This is something that attracted me the most- the idea of acceptance and fitting in. My message to our dance community would be to look out for everyone- New/ basic/ rookie/ etc. It’s important to show people who are new that with the party we have to be in control and most important love and respect one another. Sometimes through the dark times we can find the light. Let this story and this lesson be the light that guides us to the future. We, our community is the future. With more people connecting and wanting to be a part of it it’s even more important that we teach people to look out for other fellow ravers and always take care of one another. We hope this story inspires because this music and community has done just that for us. Never give up hope and always keep dancing. EDM will never die.