With her intricate and beautifully detailed outfits coupled with a message of peace, love, unity and respect, Michelle continues to impact the electronic dance music scene with her “Lady Casa” moniker. Whether you’re an EDM aficionado or not, you’ve more than likely either seen Lady Casa at EDM nightclubs/events or if you have an Instagram or Twitter account, you’ve probably stumbled across some of her posts. Fast forward to today, Lady Casa has taken her beautifully executed brand and joined together with German to form PLUR Warriors, a group that connects like minded individuals creating a positive culture centered around community, love, peace, respect and with an overall mission to do good in the local communities. PLUR warriors is on it’s way to become a movement and Ascendance Radio got an inside look at the group through the eyes of the founders themselves.
Lady Casa & PLUR Warriors Interview:
Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): We’re here with Lady Casa and the PLUR Warriors at their event in Miami. So Lady Casa, for those who have yet to know you, who is Lady Casa?
Lady Casa: Lady Casa was an inspiration; a dream-like type goddess that kind of came to me. This was at the time I was getting my Master’s Program, and I really felt a heaviness on my soul. I wasn’t really following the path that I thought was destined for me. So I started to have a vision of a character and at that time she was called “Molly Casa”, and I was writing it all over my notebook. I was having daydreams about her and night dreams, waking up just imagining this character. So it started at the end of 2011 when I left my Master’s Program that I really started to embody the character of Lady Casa. Lady Casa is a symbol of love and light. She represents the Raver’s Mantra: Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. She also wears vibrant and creative attire to kind of inspire her audience. So it’s a symbol of love and light; a goddess incarnated.
Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): So where does Lady Casa end and Michelle begin?
Lady Casa: Michelle, that’s who I am. That’s who I’ve chosen to be in this incarnation. And there was this alter-ego side of me that kind of came out when I finally left that path of medicine and became a full-time performance artist. So being a dancer for the Opium Group, I was inspired by the costuming. Lady Casa kind of began when I became a full-time dancer. It was really at the end of 2011 and 2012 that I strongly started to embody that character.
Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): What is a “PLUR Warrior” – and this question goes to both of you – and how do you become one?
Lady Casa: Well, PLUR Warriors was inspired originally by the native prophecy. That’s why the logo has the symbol of the Warrior Goddess, a female in a warrior headdress. We started in the electronic dance music community, so inspired by these native prophecies of people that were more connected to the earth that were on a path to spirituality. That was the symbol that we wanted to put out to our friends, our family, and the people that we love in the electronic dance community. So, if you want to elaborate.
German (PLUR Warriors): I think we found the concept of “Rainbow Warriors” and we saw it a lot within the festivals, the events that we went to. Meeting people, our friends, we’d meet other people and their friends and it was very connected. It was all about the love, it was all about the energy that you shared, but we found a disconnect between those events and everyday life. People always want to dress up or wear Kandi or be colorful because “I’m gonna go to Ultra, because I’m going to go to EDC Today right before our Kandi Picnic.” We were walking around. We had breakfast at the Daily and we went to get tea. People were like, “Are you guys going to a festival?”
Our friends were wearing the vibrant shirts that we made and we’re all wearing Kandi. It’s not about incorporating that, the fashion. It’s not a fashion statement. It’s not about the Kandi. It’s about incorporating that love, that positive culture, that is influence within that community, but not just at festivals. Let’s bring that into everyday lives, align ourselves with organizations that wanna make a difference within our communities and establish that love that is found at these events outside in everyday life, more connected to the earth. More about humanity, not different social groups or races, again we’re all human. It doesn’t take, in our opinion, you need to become a PLUR warrior. Many people that don’t rave, go to all of these festivals, the people that are completely on the other end of the spectrum, older, professional, just want to do good within humanity, that right there is a PLUR warrior, because they believe in peace, love, community, and respect.
Lady Casa: And I always say it’s the word itself which oftentimes people will say it and think it’s a little bit of an oxymoron. How can you be a peaceful and loving warrior? But in 2014 where we are in our species, there are a lot of systems that we are still a part of that are not helpful for the earth. They’re not sustainable. We’re still socially conditioned to kind of judge each other, so it’s takes a warrior spirit to really live out peace, love, unity, and respect in your everyday life. It takes bringing down that social conditioned walls to really express the soul being that you are.
Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): So you had a PLUR Warriors SoCal meet-up last week and today you have two simultaneous PLUR Warriors meet ups, right now in Miami and another one going on in Central Park in New York City. What is the purpose of these meet ups and what do you hope to accomplish with them as well as what can people find when they come to these?
Lady Casa: You know, I like that you said the simultaneous word. It’s happening simultaneously. The last time we did a meditation, there was also a simultaneous picnic. On the frequency level, on the soul level, our souls vibrate out so much more than our minds can even encompass. So to have these things going on the same day, it’s like we’re really putting out that PLUR warrior vibe into the universe right now. It’s so powerful to see across the state people really looking to represent this and really feeling it in their hearts. It’s really a gathering of love.
That’s what we’re trying to accomplish here, a gathering of expression and creativity. We come out to beautiful scenic places to appreciate the earth, to appreciate each other and we do something creative. We create our artistic Kandi bracelets. We meet new people. We really share ourselves on a friendship and family level.
Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Cool. So Lady Casa, have you ever written a book, and if not, do you plan on writing a book? And if so, can I get an autograph ahead of time?
Lady Casa: You’re so cute. You know, I will say that my college degree did help in that regard. I went to Emory just had to writer paper after paper after paper. So I do have the skill of writing. I feel very blessed to be able to write. I write a lot on my Instagram. I think that’s part of the reason that I made such an impact with that social platform, just being able to express myself in writing and express what I’m feeling in my heart to my audience in writing. So yeah, I would love to eventually write a book one day. I’ve even had requests, you know I wish you would put all of your messages into one book, so that’s definitely a great idea. I would hope to accomplish that in the future.
Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Remember my signed autograph copy.
Lady Casa: I’ve got you girl.
German (PLUR Warriors): I’d like to touch base on the previous question. You asked what are we looking to accomplish with the Kandi Picnics. We get asked that a lot. At first this started as just friends getting together. Making Kandi, ’cause we need to be ready for an event. We were some of the few that really are like, “Let’s make a lot of pieces.” We would make 100 pieces because we want to pass it on. We want to pass the concept of trading Kandi and pass on that love. But, little by little, one of our good friends, Christine, she runs an account actually, “EDM Made Me Do It”. A good friend of ours, she set up one that had– during Christmas to donate toys for children and we got together and everyone brought two, three toys. We had bags and bags, full black garbage bags full of toys.
And when we started developing the concepts in NorCal, SoCal, New York, Miami, we wanted to align ourselves with different organizations and have a small aspect to the events. Yes, obviously, we’d get together and make friends and enjoy this, but in the rave scene, unfortunately, there is a lot of negative connotations. As ravers, we’re seen as a negative, so we feel this is a path to show that we’re not just that negative connotation that the media can shine us out to be. So with this, if we’re aligning ourselves with an organization like Food4Thoughts or the different shelters that we were working with in California, or just the church in New York that’s going to accept the donations, and are making a difference, we feel that the more– the bigger we can develop these, the more bodies that come out, the more volunteer work we can do, we can make a difference in the community as ravers, and that’s the love that I’m talking about, bringing it out from the festivals and events into our everyday lives.
Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): So this one goes out to both of you. The news often negatively portrays the EDM scene, especially with the drug overdoses being reported at multiple festivals which sometimes even leads to the closures of the events or the events being cut short. Is the media over-hyping this or is it a serious problem that needs to be addressed? And if so, how would you suggest handling it?
Lady Casa: You know, I’m not one to judge the evolution of the scene. I’m not one to bring my negative thoughts and judgment and all. But I’m not one to deny what’s happening either. With the rise of the electronic dance music community scene, was a rise in drug culture. There is definitely drugs being taken and used there. I’m not going to say, oh no, there is a bunch of sober people. No, it’s not the case. Of course, are there a percentage of people go sober? Yes. I have some friends that go sober, I have friends that take drugs. But I would say the biggest problem now is it’s gotten too mixed. It’s not your 1990 MD event. Because there was a time when MDMA was specifically a lot more available. There were more pure drugs going around.
And I think now in 2014, 20 years later, there is not the same percentage of MDMA going around. It’s so much more junk. It just gets riskier by the year. So I would say that’s the biggest problem.
German (PLUR Warriors): I think that kind of ties into what I was discussing about the previous question. Unfortunately, the media shines this negative light because of the drugs, because of the overdoses, because of the negative situations that have happened in our scene. So part of when we started PLUR Warriors, at least our personal mission of mind was I knew the beauty of it. I was a person that was in the scene for the wrong reasons. I was the person that did want to go and party, and experiment with drugs, and had even a couple bad experiences with drugs. And seeing the positive light, meeting someone like Michelle, meeting ravers that appreciated the Kandi culture, appreciated the love, the beauty for the music, the artistic side made we wanna make a difference within the community, to shine light upon the positivity that the scene can influence.
So for me it was more about, and I was discussing this the other day with somebody, L.A. Weekly was one of the articles, tied in with the L.A. Times, who were basically super negative about the scene, the negative. And actually, one of the editors was actually at the Kandi Picnic, and they’re possibly looking to do a bigger story with us. So to see that in a year, where we’re actually little by little making that difference and having a raver have that responsibility. Yes, we go to raves. And yes, unfortunately, there is a negative light, but this we’re providing an opportunity for ravers, and not just for ravers, people to give in, to give back within their communities, and make that difference and shine the positive light that the music, the art, all of this freedom has, versus just the focus of the drugs.
Lady Casa: I just see so many parallels within society outside of rave culture. You see it in western medicine, a lot of the ways of dealing with ailments is kind of just like a band-aid, give you a pharmaceutical drug, kind of band-aid it up. I see it’s a more rooted problem. Why are so many people going to raves and seeking this almost escape with the drugs? If we paid more attention to that love that’s needed by so many of our human brothers and sisters, I don’t think it would be such a problem where people are abusing drugs. So we really seek to guide people to that love that’s needed so that you won’t need the drug.
We’re a whole nation on drugs. Look, we’re number one in the world taking pharmaceuticals. We just take a pill for everything. It carries on to recreational use also. We’re just a nation on pills. So I think we should get to the root of being able to let go of those conditions we’ve put on ourselves to really express that love.
German (PLUR Warriors): It’s a battle that government says, you know Kaskade said it, “The U.S. government had not been able to,” he said this about a year ago in response to those negative articles, and then going after the promoters, and he said it best, “The U.S. government hasn’t been able to fight this.” How are you going to blame the promoters, the event coordinators? And it shows that our battle is not the drugs. Yes, are we aware of it? Our battle is showing the positive side. And within that battle, there’s people who come to us and have a problem. Actually, there is girl right here, perfect story.
The girl used to be addicted to the street drug “Molly”, and she reached out to me and said, “Look, I want to make a difference. I was addicted. I went to rehab. I got out of the drugs. I’m drug free. But in order to give back to the community, I want to support what you’re doing. I want to buy bandannas, and stuff that you do. I want to buy tickets. So instead of me spending money on drugs, I want to buy tickets to events. I want to buy merchandise to give to people who want to, maybe have a problem and want to get out of the problem. People that realize it, but they are afraid to admit it or shy.” She wants to make that difference to give the opportunity to people that want to get off the drugs. So for us I’m not going to say we’re in the battle against drugs, but we’ll support someone like her, because she is trying to make a difference in the community. She’s one person and that one person is helping other people and hopefully that people will help other people. So that’s more what we’re more about. We’re more about supporting different causes that, again, shines the positivity.
Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): So supporting different causes for this event the contributions are going to go to Food4Thoughts. Can you tell me why you chose this organization and how organizations are chosen for your different events?
Lady Casa: Our friend, Harvey, is the one who kind of came up this idea. He was a friend of ours that we met through the rave scene at Ultra. And he just really resonated with a message and wanted to be a PLUR Warrior and wore the symbol proudly. And he kind of had this vision of helping the
people in Downtown Miami. We’re from Miami. We’re local here. So he knew how many people were suffering, and how many homeless people were in downtown. So he was like, “Let’s just start small. Let’s just take in donations and make lunch bags and help out, even if it’s just the couple hundred people in downtown.” And it really took off. Now we’ve done, how many is it?
German (PLUR Warriors): I think tomorrow we’re up to 250 to maybe 300 lunch bags.
Lady Casa: And what event would you say this was? Is it like our sixth or seventh one?
German (PLUR Warriors): I think they started initially almost in maybe, I want
to say September, October.
Lady Casa: Yeah. So like six, seven month.
German (PLUR Warriors): It went from being five people to now there’s usually you get 30 to 40 people. Part of this was that, creating some people to come and actually encouraging some people to come. With their particular event, everyone gets together early in the morning and starts packing lunches. It’s an assembly line, a person putting the mayo on the bread, the person just setting it up until the lunch bag is complete, packing all the lunch bags in the cars, literally a caravan goes out. It’s always a friend of ours.
We’re all about supporting the causes, but we just can’t start all of the causes and be involved because there is a lot strategically and preparation. So part of the Kandi Picnics and how we choose, we’ve been choosing brand ambassadors. Within each city, we choose a brand ambassador and have this brand identify their own city’s needs.
Right now in San Diego, we’re looking at the Fires, so again, identifying their own needs and then aligning ourselves with the organization that’s seeing what we’re trying to do. Again, right now, it’s very experimental but that’s the beauty of it, the opportunities and the…
Lady Casa: Yeah, it’s something that has happened very organically. The leaders in the group that really showed interest in being leaders and whatever organization they felt, we’re very open to what is attracted into our space or what people suggest. And it’s happened very organically and
German (PLUR Warriors): One of the quotes that I’ve always admired from Michelle (Lady Casa) when we spoke about PLUR Warriors, we spoke about the positive things to do, “Leaders creating leaders.” When we were in Monsanto we were marching against Monsanto. Harvey was there, very inspired about just doing good, positive. He wears our logo and the bandanna when he does the Food4Thoughts walking around feeding. They don’t even call them homeless. They
them Homies. Because they are not homeless, they’re house-less. They don’t have a house, but whatever, they’ve made a home in a little corner, so we’re trying to make that little corner. And organizations like them and others that, this is just a start. A lot of these people need more help than one lunch every month.
It’s about finding different programs or leading them, but again, that’s one program. They are the people, they’re the support- we’ll support. We’ll support it to creating awareness. And we want to do that with different programs. Not just Homies as they call them. We’d love to help out with children with diseases. And again, it’s leaders creating leaders. It’s not just one person that has a specific soft spot to them and they want to support, we’re open to say, “Hey, we have the bodies. We have the influences. Let’s show the support by that.”
Lady Casa: Yeah. The potential is endless. It’s just been one year that we’ve been a lifestyle movement. To see the growth in one year is really outstanding. To see where we’ve gotten in one year, what lies in the future for us, we’re very positive and optimistic that it’s going to be something
powerful and beautiful.
Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): So what genres of dance music as well as artists would you say are your favorite?
Lady Casa: Well, I’ve been listening to electronic dance music since I was 11 years old, 1999 and it’s 2014 now so I’ve watched myself evolve in what I like. I would have to say a constant for mine is definitely trance. My favorite artist being Armin van Buuren. So I can remember as young as 12 years old listening to Armin van Buuren and every year, I liked him more. There has never been a year when I’ve not liked Armin van Buuren. But I also remember in college, I think my sophomore, junior year in college, discovering Dubstep. I’m big into Dubstep. I like the spectrum of Dubstep. I really into underground Dubstep, minimal dub. It has a smaller scene. It’s more popular in the UK I’m a big fan of that.
I also like your commercial Skrillex, I love Skrillex, you know, so just the whole spectrum of Dubstep I really like that wompy, bassy sound. Bassnectar is also a favorite of mine in that genre. But I recently finally developed my ear to Deep House. I could see Miami so popular, Tech House and Deep House the last three years and I just couldn’t hear it before. I was like, “This sounds repetitive, it’s like redundant.” Like I’d see people just like jamming out for four to six hours, and I was like, I don’t know how you do four to six hours of this. But I went to Story recently, I think it was about eight months ago, and I saw Maceo Plex, and he turned something on in my brain.
‘Cause now I could just listen to Deep House in my room for six hours. I work space and I love it, so I would say Maceo Plex is my favorite in that genre. I’m
obviously a huge fan of Kascade. His music is very spiritually uplifting. Above & Beyond, I would have to say that those are my favorite genres and artists right there.
German (PLUR Warriors): For me, it’s definitely more about, it’s become a little bit more mainstream now but to me it’s still The Underground. Because I was introduced to it going to the Low Key, Electric Pickle, Bardot, and seeing you know Claude VonStroke four years ago when he was just excited to be playing in a club in Miami. It was a small venue, very intimate. DJ’s that take you on journeys on their turntables and they have two, three, four decks, and they are just being artists. They’re producing art. Allowing them to take you to that journey, so that Deep House and Tech House has always been a pick of mine. Some of my favorite, you know, pioneer or legend Carl Cox. I have the Carl Cox tent. Most of when I go to Ultra, you’re rarely find me somewhere else unless I’m like with a friend that’s like, you know, first time at Ultra, and all right, we’ll walk around. If it’s up to me, I’ll go to the Carl Cox tent all two days, and I’ll even spend a day with the ASOT.
But I also love DJ’s like Michael Clays, people like Luciano, people that are more popular you know in Europe, more popular in Ibiza, but have that beat that will bring the lyrics, you know bring the beautiful songs. But these songs, you mind these beats and you listen to them and then they take you somewhere else, letting the DJ taking you on that journey. But I can appreciate the mainstream in the sense of like, the you know, the Steve Aokis, or entertainers that put on a show, Krewella, and because of them, the scene has developed into other things, so you appreciate it because it’s an art in their own.
But I also like DJ’s that will play a marathon set, Local Dice. Loco Dice will play 11, 12 hours. You have to unplug them out of the place. So you appreciate the DJ’s that just have that love and you appreciate the different aspects. Trance, with her, Armin playing somewhere, it doesn’t matter who else is playing seeing Armin play at festivals, and all they’re doing is listening to him when we saw him in L.A. where he had a band, and he had drums, and he had–
Lady Casa: Singers
German (PLUR Warriors): Singers, backup singers.
Lady Casa: It was very organic.
German (PLUR Warriors): It was beautiful.
Lady Casa: It was amazing.
German (PLUR Warriors): It was a beautiful scene that Trance do that and seeing how that’s going to develop, and evolve, I’m very
curious of that. And again, a little bit of it all. But mostly I would say Deep House, Tech House and Carl Cox is definitely my favorite.
Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Well guys thank you so much for sitting down with us. It was really great getting to talk to both of you. One last question, can you teach me that PLUR handshake you guys do?
Lady Casa: Absolutely!
German (PLUR Warriors): Well thank you, pleasure, pleasure, thank you so much.
Lady Casa: You know, I say that every time you do this, there is an exchange of love energy. We’re atoms and our atoms are vibrating and we’re a frequency, so to be able to lock up your atoms in your incarnated form, there is a frequency and an energy that is coming off of you. You know your heart, this isn’t something just taught in the mainstream, but your heart actually has brain cells on it. It has neurons that are very similar to your brain cells, so on your actual heart muscle. So those cells, they think. They speak and your heart beat and my heart beat, they’re having a conversation right now. You know, they’re speaking to each other.
So during that PLUR handshake, your hearts are talking, your atoms are vibrating. You’re sharing a frequency. So the mantra goes something like this. You do two fingers to make the sign of the peace. You do a peace. You do a heart. You unite, unity, and you lock for respect. So and then when you share–
German (PLUR Warriors): You trade–
Lady Casa: You trade the Kandi bracelet. It’s a creative expression of yourself that you now get to trade into someone else’s space. It’s almost like a, just an expression of creativity and a love frequency being shared.
Dayanna Ramirez (Ascendance Radio): Cool. All right, thank you guys.
Lady Casa: You’re welcome.
German (PLUR Warriors): Thank you.