Written By: RayTrill Harvey
There is a group that exists on the internet, a group that has transcended social media and become something bigger, a group that is now collectively… as much of an influencer in Texas as any one person. That group is called, “We Are Neon Shadows”. I’m writing this article today, not as the owner of TRILLVO and not as someone throwing shows or any of that; I’m writing this article today as a Shadow. I’m writing this article today as a music lover, as someone who is grateful, as a friend and as someone who was transformed as a person not long before discovering this group.
My Own History with the Shadows
In 2013, my life changed as a friend forced me out of my element to attend my first ever real Electronic Music show. Soon after, I found myself online searching all of the web for links to shows and discussions about electronic music. Lord knows I can’t recall how we became facebook friends, but Anthony Gambo, Who refers to himself as “King Shadow”, hopped in my DMs and asked me if I’d like to be a part of his growing facebook group. Anthony, if you’re reading this, forgive me but I laughed. I accepted his invite though. At the time, there must have been around 700+ members and it seemed they were all so active.
One of the first things I really noticed about this group was the immediate feeling of acceptance, it’s that exact same feeling that grabbed me and held me tight at my first ever show, the same feeling that kept me wanting more and more of these shows and these people; unconditional love. We go through life and it seems the one thing nobody ever admits, but everyone craves, is the feeling of being connected and wanted by other people. The need to be social and be liked is the reason so many people have anxiety now do to social media and a multitude of other factors. With this group of people, I immediately felt like I had 700 + new friends that liked me for me.
“If it wasn’t for Shadows, I would not know the people I know today, I would not have the extended family I have. When I started shadows it was around the 900 members mark and I remember I couldn’t go 10 minutes without checking on what everyone was talking about!” –Dustin Scoggin
I have always been a very social person. My entire life I have enjoyed talking to and being around people, this group satisfied a deep social need within myself. It seems somebody was always having a get together or talking about my one true love; Music. I remember the first time I hung out with Michael Seipel and Jordan Platt, there was a post about a Kandi sesh/ Taco party, mind you I had never made kandi in my life. I came from a full hip hop background and this was all new to me. I went to this hangout not knowing what to expect and left with an entire group of new friends that I still call friends to this day. That’s what the basis of this group was, linking people together that all wanted the same thing; more people to love.
“Some of us don’t naturally fit in. Some of us struggle to make a friend. Some of us can’t walk up to random people without going through anxiety attacks. Shadows brought me closer to people who can relate and understand what I deal with. Even on the bad days I distance myself from the crowd, people like Giovanni Hyde pulled me back in and reassured, I fit in.” – Ana (Nexie) Alvarado
That gathering/ Kandi Sesh was followed by many others, a birthday party for Sydney, meet ups at venues and random trips with strangers to shows in other cities. I once posted, “Who wants to road trip with my best friend and I to Dallas for the Pardon My French tour?”, which is how I met Johnny Bund and Jonathan Lara. That’s what the Shadow’s became for me; a way to meet people who shared my love for music.
As the group has grown and the numbers have grown with it, the shadows have taken on an entirely new platform that has, not only allowed new friends to connect, but has helped people achieve their goals and dreams. Shadows has helped me launch TRILLVO, has helped photographers get work, has helped artists spread their music and has helped people discover new artists entirely. We believe the Shadows is a very important dynamic in the music scene throughout Texas and we’re not only grateful for this group and what it has helped us achieve, but grateful for friends It has allowed us to meet that we now consider family.
We Are Neon Shadows, is now a group of over 7,000 members that spans across multiple cities. This group has changed and while we now see dynamics that haven’t been welcomed previously, the principal force still remains the same; connecting people who love the same things and bringing people together in a world that seems to love tearing people apart. We hope this group means as much to the rest of it’s members as it means to us.
Testimonials From Members
“Shadows has honestly changed my life for the better. I know it sounds cheesy, but without the FB Group, I wouldn’t be where I’m at now. I’m with some of the best companies/teams in Houston. I’m honestly living out my dream. The connections I’ve made on here will be forever tbh.” – Victoria Garces
“I just joined this group in January. I’ve met more people I consider friends through this group in 10 months than I have in the last 10 years. I fucking love this community.” –Zach Ingalsbe
“Shadows was such a life changer. I moved out here from the east coast knowing not one soul here in Houston and because of shadows, I’ve made life long friends and have been shown this city in the most magical way. I wouldn’t trade my experience in Houston for anything. You guys welcome people with open arms and it’s just so amazing to watch and be a part of.” – Julia Bee
“I almost died last year and if it hadn’t been for Nayeli, I probably would not be here today. I wouldn’t have been able to turn my life around and realize how much better I could do. I know I’ve told her this before but I don’t think I could ever thank her enough. I’ve met people with the best hearts in this group. I feel I would’ve taken the wrong path in life had it not been for them.” – Celeste Arredondo
“When I first met the shadows, they were strangers that were just throwing a party, at least that’s how saw it first. Before that night was through, so many of these strangers made me feel accepted and like family. I knew I wanted to tag with them from then on. I should probably add, I have been dealing with 2 anxiety disorders, where any social encounter becomes unbearable for me. To say that this group makes me feel accepted, not judged, and like family really does mean a lot.” – Jason Weber
“The shadows have taught me how in this world, through all the bad going on there is good, I’ve met some of the kindest people I never thought would come into my life, I’ve experienced things I never thought I would. The shadows have shown me a beautiful journey with beautiful people” – Briana Busby
“Before the shadows I had no friends, was super quiet, and did not know what to do with myself. After I joined, I turned into a crazy, fun-loving guy who has a purpose. I’ve met so many people since then, I love them, and they love me. They drive me to keep going and give me something to look forward too every day, because when we’re all together there is no such thing as pain or judgement; just peace, love, unity and respect.” – Joey Clark
“I was constantly trying to find somewhere to fit in and be accepted my whole life and now that I’ve been added into this wonderful group I finally feel like I’m right where I need to be🙏🏼 Thank you shadows” – Brianna Nicole
Meet The Admins [Interview with Anthony, Alex, Michael & Johnny]
Admins and leaders in this group have changed over the years, but there are 4 key people who are leaders right now, including one that started the group. We got the chance to interview them about the group, Check it out here.
“I kept dragging my best friend to come out with me he didn’t want to come out anymore because he felt this wasn’t for us. Me, I never gave up, I still kept going by myself… I didn’t care because I was really there for the music. I joined a local group and still felt like everyone was just to themselves, so I had the thought to start a group of my own I just didn’t know what to name it or what to do or who to add. I meet Alex Llamas, the real founder of the name “Neon Shadows” and as we were vibing one day, I explained to him that I was new to the scene and explained how I see stuff in the scene and he also thought the same way I did. We chit-chatted about making our own group, where we accept everyone and anybody no matter what your background or who you came with, new raver or old raver, doesn’t matter. Since he already had a brand name and told me to do something with it, I created this group. All have to say is this shit came out to be something more than what it was supposed to be and I wanna thank every single one of you Shadows that are still here with us whether you’re active or not, thank you.“ – Anthony Gamboa
Tell us who you are, individually, and how long you have been a part of Shadows, as well as, what your main role is in Shadows?
I’ve been a Shadow from the start and I’m the unicorn of the group. – Johnny
I am the founder of Neon Shadows and my role in Neon Shadows is to keep the community together and active, make sure everyone understands the movement and community we build for them and also understand our purpose of being here and why this should be a big part of the EDM world. – Anthony
I have been a Shadow from the start when we were only 13 people. Wasn’t an admin originally, but took on the role as a peace keeper. I’ve always been the voice of reason on everything and I’ve always handled situations on the page before I was even an admin and everyone would bring me their problems or what should be changed. I held out of becoming an admin for a really long time after offers by Anthony and Alex, and one day, I just decided to say yes. When I agreed to take the role, I assumed a lot of the responsibilities of it because I was so well-known in the Houston scene. – Michael
Who are we? In my opinion we are a group of individuals who alone were once outcasts maybe, but together have formed a family. We all shared a love and passion for this scene and the music. What we stand for? I would hope to one day be a brand as I have many visions and goals, but as of now we are the voice to what’s hot and what’s not in the scene itself. – Alex
How did Shadows get started?
Neon shadows got started when I try to add Alex to another community that I thought would be perfect, as I was recruiting people for that community, they didn’t accept Alex as many times as I tried to get him in… no one added him.
As me and him talked and I told him about not getting into these communities I was part of, I asked if he wanted to make a community that would accept all kinds of ravers no matter who they were. – Anthony
Shadows got started when as Anthony said above, the rave group that was popping at the time didn’t let me join, so I told him about a brand I was working on, on Instagram and he made the FB page and we blew up. – Alex
What does We Are Neon Shadows mean to you, individually, and what do you think the Shadows mean to the community?
Neon Shadows means everything to me, it changed my life as a person seeing the world from a different perspective. It turns all my negatives into positives and much more, it’s pretty deep for me cause I created it but yeah, it means the damn world to me and I don’t regret a damn thing. I think neon shadows means a lot to the community as much as it means to me because I can say it changed people’s lives and helped them in some kind of way in the rave world. – Anthony
Neon Shadows means a lot to me personally. I care about the members and the group more than people actually really know. When it started it was just all of us that were close friends. People that I cared about and I still care about everyone that’s in the group and if they have a problem, I always try to find a way to help. It’s about showing people who with all the negative bs in this world, there are still people in this world that cares about everyone. What Shadows means to the community, in my opinion, is It’s always been a way for people to express themselves without much filter, it’s a place in the EDM world, that people can join make new friends, form new relationships, fall in love, and make everlasting bonds with it all be about a community of ravers that came for the music but end up leaving with so much more. – Michael
Neon Shadows is a place where we can all come and be accepted for who we are. We don’t have to worry about being weird because… we’re all weird. I threw a party where I handed out sushi I rolled the entire time. We just want to have fun and spread good vibes. – Johnny
To explain what it means to me, I’ll give a little back story. When I started going out, I noticed a lot of love in the scene and it made me want to be apart of it so bad, I was determined to make it something I could feel apart of. When I met Anthony, I saw how much people gravitated towards him and how many people he knew. I knew he would be the guy to make shadows a thing so after a few conversations we made it happen. So what it means to me is, it’s a community. People can join it for the love of the music and from the comfort of their own homes, open up to others with the same interests and create friendships so when you do leave your house to go to any event, even if you leave alone, you won’t ever feel alone thanks to the page and its ability to bring people together. What it means to others, I would say a source of information for anything to do with the scene from what’s going on in town to the latest on music and artists. For years people bought tickets from random people hoping not to get scammed and now shadows also provides a safe place to buy trade or sale tickets to people u know and trust – Alex
Many EDM groups have come and gone, but the Shadows have held strong. why do you think that is? Where do you see shadows in 5 years or even 10 years from now?
EDM groups came and gone but the Shadows held strong because where this group comes from is Houston strong so we have no choice to stay strong. It also comes with a supportive team like Michael, Johnny and Alex, who are great influences in the sense we reach out to people. They wanna see a happy community and these guys will go that extra mile to make sure people are happy and the importantly, the people who make up the group with so much love and what the scene is about. That is why Neon Shadows still holds strong. I see Neon Shadows in 5 to 10 years on blogs and apps, local event/festivals and much more. I want to change the word raver to shadows, haha. – Anthony
Without the Neon Shadows, I don’t know if there would be a TRILLVO. I don’t know if i would have the friends, co workers and family I have now. We are forever grateful and we hope this article reminds people what the scene is all about and inspires people to spread more love and to be nicer to everyone around the. You never know who will become the next Pasquale Rotella, but we know we want this group to continue to inspire EDM lovers everywhere to strive for those heights.