Thank You to the Best Parents Ever

Family Walking Into Sunset
An open letter to the two best parents I could ever ask for:

Dear Mom and Dad,

After four years and a few hundred credits now, I’m finally having the opportunity to talk about what I want to. Most people are all about the top 5 things going on right now, but as I get ready to move on with my life, I’m starting to realize how lucky I really have been to have parents like you.

As I get ready to move to a new place, start a new chapter in my life, I am somehow not nervous. It reminds me of when we use to tag along on the trips overseas and you would tell us to go do something outside in a place we had never been to. Something that simple. We would get up, say let’s go and start walking in a random direction not a bit of fear in our eyes. Nothing to be nervous of, nothing to be afraid of, just another adventure. How could you ever know something like that would be used years later to calm myself down about growing up. Thank you for the peacefulness.

Then time after time, those little adventures turned into challenges. Once it was getting lost, once it was stumbling into the wrong neighborhood, eating the wrong type of food, but the adventure kept going on, and the lessons just kept adding up. Each challenge pushed me a little harder than before, and before you knew it I was making mistakes for myself and overcoming everything that got in my way. Thank you for giving me that courage.

One of the greatest traits you’ve instilled in me was to always shoot for bigger dreams and to walk the edge of the absolute unknown. Shooting to work or get an internship for that crazy company, furthering my education, traveling to a random country, or even just telling me I should try to pursue the next best thing, really what was I thinking. I had no business going up against some of those other kids from more prestigious schools, but man did I prove them wrong, right? Better yet, how did you know that would be the best path for me? It makes no sense. It’s like you know five steps ahead of me, and encouraged me to do whatever knowing the end result of either the good or bad option. Thank you for believing.

For letting me chose my own path I still can’t even begin to describe the feeling. I never knew what I wanted, and there was always an easy way, but it seemed like time after time I always chose the hard one. To say it’s been an eye opener is an understatement. I have messed up more than most adults, but boy have I been able to learn. Through all the yelling matches and phone calls that would end with us hanging up on each other, you were still there to support me through it all. In the end what can I really say other than what the hell was I thinking. Thank you for not giving up. 

Thank you for everything. I don’t know how you knew this craziness would work out, but you were right… you’ve always been right. I’ve written this about ten times now with different things every time, but it’s amazing how much you’ve been able to teach me. We now live over a thousand miles apart, yet you still seem to be the biggest factor in my life. From the manners you taught me as a little kid asking to borrow a toy, or emphasizing the word please, it’s amazing how far something like that could go. I couldn’t be half the man I am today without that attitude you taught me. Thank you for teaching me to be a decent human being.

Moving forward with my life the only thing I can wish and pray for time after time, is the hope that I can be close to the parents you have been. The way you raised me, the lessons you taught me, the freedoms you gave me, and the love you showed me. It’s amazing that just a few things can go such a long way, but they’re really what makes you who you are… my parents.

I love you and will see you in a few weeks.

Sunset at the beach

What, When, Where, Why, How? Weird Dreams and What They Mean By Brandon Smith

I’m sure most of us have had dreams so bizarre, so outrageous, and memorable that you find yourself asking why? Why did I have this dream, and what does it mean? Below, I have listed some of the most common and bizarre dreams people frequently have and why they have them.

Teeth Falling Out Dream

After doing some research I discovered that many people frequently have a recurring dream where their teeth fall out. In the dream individuals will be doing everyday things, such as brushing their teeth, working, eating, and socializing with friends. As they perform these tasks, for whatever reason teeth will suddenly detach from their gums, falling to the floor or into the individual hands. According to Feud, the dream represents various sexual references, such sexual repression or fear of castration for men. Others such as Jung believe that the dream represents issues with personal power and the ability to renew oneself. For instance, the dream represents a fear of change or losing something that is important to you. Many have reported having the dream after experiencing dramatic life changes. Life changes such as death, aging, moving away, loss of friendships, and other life changing situations.


Paralysis Nightmare

I actually have had experience with this reoccurring nightmare. Sleep paralysis occurs when a person is either falling asleep or awakening, temporarily experiences an inability to move, speak, or react. In my dream I am fully conscious lying in my bed, making the dream appear to be very realistic. As I lay there, a shadowy figure either stands by my bed or in the corner of the room. I want to jump out of bed and scream at who or whatever it is, but can’t because I am paralyzed. It’s as though my fight or flight response is nonexistent, and I am at the mercy of the intruder. The figure in my dream varies, most of the time it’s a shadowy man wearing a hood. Sometime it can be a woman with long black hair, and others it can be an alien shaped figure, with the classic large head and thin abdomen. References of this nightmare have been used in many Hollywood movies, such as Insidious and Dark Skies. (See Pics Below) The cause of this nightmare comes from stress or extreme exhaustion. I usually have this nightmare during stressful times where I don’t get lot of sleep, such as finals week.


Being Late

As we grow older we are faced with greater responsibilities, such as being on time. This dream is very common for many adults and includes being late for an appointment, college exam, work meeting, children’s sporting event, etc. The dreams meaning can vary, but for the most part represents taking too much time away from individual needs, such as leisure and personal accomplishments, creating a sense that time is running out. Essentially the dream is a symbol of the frustration toward the obligations one has in their life. It can also be correlated with difficulty making decisions with new opportunities, or a fear of change, the sense that you are missing out on life’s opportunities

The Classic Falling Dream

The classic dream where one loses their balance and suddenly falls out of control. This dream is very common and usually represents interpersonal issues such as insecurities, instability, and anxieties. The dream emphasizes a sense of being overwhelmed, out of control, and helpless as you fall. The dream can be correlated with issues with failure or an inferiority complex. Life experiences such as job loss, poor academic performance, and relationship issues can be the catalyst for the dream. According to Freud, the dream represents contemplating situations, such as giving into sexual urges or impulses. This dream occurs during the first stage of sleep, the individual is not completely paralyzed. The dream is usually accompanied with muscle spasms of the arm or leg, causing the individual to wake up before hitting the ground.





Chasing Dream

This dream consists of being chased by something, usually a viscous dog or person. As the individual is being chased they find themselves too slow or unable to move. This dream deals primarily our fight or flight response. The dream usually represents an individual or issues that were trying to avoid, but unfortunately cannot. These issues can include inter and intra personal conflicts. For instance aging can be represented in the dream. For people who are afraid to get old the chaser can represent the issue or conflict you are trying to avoid or escape.

The First 5

small sun

Five Steps To Take In The First Five Minutes Of Being Awake

Waking up with a full day ahead is a feeling very familiar to us. Sometimes there are not enough hours in the morning, let alone in the day to manage everything that is going on in our lives.  However, I have adjusted my morning routine in efforts to be a more positive, organized, and effective individual. I want to share this with you in hopes that you, too can wake up and feel ready to take on all the day has to bring. It has worked for me, and while I’m not saying every morning goes as planned, I have noticed an overall change in my attitude and productivity in work and life.  Not to mention my new-found love for mornings!

Here are 5 things to do in the first 5 minutes of waking up that will help you to have the best morning, and day, possible.

  1. Avoid your phone. This can be difficult because we are used to being “plugged in” during the waking hours but it’s imperative that you spend your first 2-5 minutes that you are awake with yourself. This gives you time to collect your thoughts, create goals for your day and be present in your surroundings. My suggestion is to place your phone somewhere out of reach, even if it is your alarm clock. Nothing great ever came from the snooze button.
  2. Ten deep breaths. It may sound cliche but this is not just a practice used to relieve stress or calm the nervous system. Taking deep breaths after a night of low and steady breathing will fill your cells with oxygen from head to toe and pull you out of that morning fog that will keeps you wanting to stay in bed.
  3. Drink a beverage. OJ, water, coffee, whatever. This will engage your system and encourage your body to start moving. A big glass of water is best in able to hydrate after not drinking water during sleeping hours. My go-to is hot water with lemon and honey.
  4. Open the front door and greet the world. Even if this involves putting on a coat (gasp!). If you are getting up early, there is a quietness and tranquility in the morning that is relaxing yet invigorating. Even if you’re not an early-riser, going outside and feeling the fresh air will be stimulating both physically and mentally. This helps to increase cognitive function and alertness.  Even if you only have 30 seconds, it will make a world of difference.
  5. Make your bed. Before you continue on to the process of beginning your day, make your bed. It takes less than a minute and helps you to start your day already accomplished, a small task to check off but a task nonetheless. Making your bed encourages a healthy sleep cycle by placing a barrier between your time spent sleeping and your time spent awake. An added bonus is the comfort that comes from getting into a freshly made bed at the end of the day.

No matter what kind of morning person you are, making some or all of these a part of your morning routine will significantly help you to feel invigorated,  yet relaxed in the mornings. I have listed them in order of my series and can testify that my mornings, and in turn, my days are much more productive and smooth than before I took these 5 minutes to myself. We are all busy in our own lives and it’s very important to our physical and mental health to take time to check in with our bodies.  If you have morning or other healthy life hacks to share please comment and lets share our tips to get everyone feeling good.


Happy Healthing,

Niki Bates


Chase Bjornson

The Man Behind

Royale Entertainment

Chasebjornsoninterview Jasonwoophoto
(photo: Jason Woo. More click here)

Chase Bjornson is a University of Montana student who has started his own production company, Royale. Chase started from humble beginnings to now throwing on his 129th show at the Wilma. I interviewed Chase before throwing his largest concert to date (Socotra).  We discussed how his career started, where the future lies for him and Royale, and how he utilized the University of Montana Entertainment Management program to get where he is now.

Q: What was your initial interest in live productions?

A: I used to play in bands in high school, lots of punk rock cover bands, Blink-182 wannabes, that kind of thing.  That’s what first got me into productions, since I was booking our bands back then.  That was really the spark of it.  Then I started college and didn’t know what the heck I wanted to do. I wasted my whole first year. I eventually ended up in an Entertainment Business class that seemed relevant. I loved it. That’s what inspired me to start Royale. Five years later, we’re about to throw our 129th show.  Meanwhile, I’d also been doing the whole UM Productions thing for four years. Honestly, it really hit the road when I took that first University of Montana Entertainment Management class.


Q: What’s the main style or genre of music that Royale brings to Missoula?

A: We’ve gravitated pretty heavily towards the EDM realm.  Most of the bigger artists we bring through are some of the bigger electronic artists now, but we’ve also brought a lot of Hip Hop through here, too.  If I had to order Royale’s history of “significance,” it would be electronic and then Hip Hop.  In the past year we’ve started to dabble with bands, which I really like because that’s my roots.  A great deal of our shows are EDM, but I would never want to “classify” Royale, or limit ourselves to one genre.

RoyalSteezeStephanfrerry               (Photo:Stephan Ferry. More click here)

Q: What was the first concert you organized?

A: The Knowmads.  Well I guess there were a couple small Hip Hop ones  before that, but that was the first serious, bring them to Missoula,  show with a group that wasn’t already coming through here. (Listen to Knowmads here)

Royale logo

Q: When did you think of the name ‘Royale’, and start a production company?

A: Spring of 2011. It officially became a business on May 3rd, 2011.

Q: When did you start to see growth after the first show?

A: Well the first couple of years we were just figuring shit out.  We didn’t have apparel or anything.  It was all Hip Hop to start, all Rap music.  Once we shifted gears and started doing electronic shows and producing apparel, that’s when it really started to take off.  That was in 2013, the same year we had with our first electronic show.

Q: When did you feel like people started to take you seriously?

A: Plenty of my homies at the time would just be mumbling like “oh yeah, whatever fuckin’ concert he’s trying to put on” or “whatever band he’s trying to bring through.”  The artists did from the get go, I’m really tight with The Knowmads, I’m actually about to fly them out for my graduation.  They’re going to play at my graduation party, so it’s really come full circle.

Q: Did you always feel like artists took you seriously?

A: From the artists’ production it’s a little different, I guess.  You’re buying them, so they’re pretty much going to take you seriously.  Or at least they try to, until they show up and they see that I’m just this 18 year old kid and then they’re just like “what the fuck is this?!”  I guess I need to not have “x’s” on my hands to be taken seriously at the show.

Q: What’s your biggest concert to date?

A: Socotra, for sure.


Q: When was the first year of Socotra?

A: So first it was a total business plan, just a hypothetical project for a UMEM class that I took.  We decided to actually make it happen in 2013, got all these plans in order for this huge warehouse party, all these cool logistics that didn’t really have a structure to them, just a lot of ideas really. So we had all these plans and we advertised the event, even sold some tickets, we had all these plans for a big white party in this epic warehouse space.  But of course there’s no epic warehouse space in this town.  One by one everything just started to crumble, there was no way we were going to pull it off.  That was 2013.  So we went back to the drawing board, realized what was possible, eventually The Wilma became the target place and 2014 is when that happened.


Q: So, what exactly is Socotra?

A: Socotra is actually an island off an African coast that was cut off evolutionary from the rest of the world millions of years ago, so it’s basically the most alien looking place on the planet; which is why I originally chose the name four years ago.  There are 700,000 species that exist nowhere else on Earth, including trees that look like huge mushrooms that bleed red.  I probably found that on Stumble Upon when I was way younger, and it just snowballed into this.  In this context Socotra in this sense is a white-themed, EDM show.


Q: What can people expect this year, compared to previous years?

A: Well for one thing there are much bigger artists.  The cost of Zeds Dead alone is 3x the total artist budget for either of the previous Socotras.

Q: Zeds Dead has been featured at many festivals, what are some of the more recent ones?

A: They played at Lollapalooza down in Argentina a couple weeks ago, and they were in Vegas last weekend.  They headline at festivals all over the world, like EDC, Tomorrowworld, Ultra, they’re definitely a leading Bass artist. (Check-out Zeds Dead at TomorrowWorld 2014 below)

Q: Who will be supporting this year?

A: Unlike Pluto is a newer artist from the same agency, he even has a couple tracks on some Hulu commercials.  Definitely a unique artist, it’d be difficult to classify him, but I’m very excited about him being there.

( Check out Unlike Pluto here  Unlike Pluto Soundcloud )

Q: So when exactly is Socotra happening?

A: Saturday, April 23, 2016. (Get Tickets Here)

Socotra 2016 annoucement

Q: Will there be an after party this year?

A: Yes, it will be at Stage 112, .  We’re going to plan so everyone is at the mainstage at first, and when the bar closes at 2AM we’ll just have everyone funnel downstairs for the late night after party.  We expect it to go until 4, maybe 5.

Q: Throughout your career, what would you say is the most challenging?

A: Just being in a market where there’s 100,000 people, and it’s all college kids, it’s just hard to market.  And being a promoter, you don’t own the bar, which is where a lot of the money is; but we’ve managed to make it work.


Q: What has been your biggest learning experience?

A: Socotra I, don’t jump the gun!  Definitely not fun to cancel an event.

Skrillex                                        (Pictured : Chase and his girl friend Aimee Bartel with Skrillex at burning man festival)

Q: What is the future for Royale and yourself?

A: For a long time I’ve been under the impression that I need to get a “real job,” so I’ve considered trying to get a job at an agency or something.  But as of late, I’ve been feeling that I have five years of momentum, and to just throw Royale down the shitter to become some agency minion is not what I want to do.  My goal right now is to move to a larger market place, like Seattle or Denver; find some serious capital to keep buying artists of Zeds Dead caliber, and often.  I really just want to keep expanding the business.


Aaron Kell