Oi! Oi! Hi! Hi! For those that missed my Talking HakubiVerse Twitch stream, here is my personal summary of the news I broke to the HakubiVerse Nightkids this past Tuesday. I took some time to catch up with the fans personally considering the last time I had a “Just Chatting” stream was back in August of last year after San AnTokyo 4 and it felt so much like a long-awaited reunion considering a lot of the work I found myself doing behind the scenes keeping me from being that friend to see how my friends are doing. I was thinking for longer than I can remember when I was first considering my future and I had to take time to remember why I formed HakubiVerse in the first place and what is it that I should be doing to work HakubiVerse effectively. Building HakubiVerse was one of my biggest and most challenging projects that still takes more than half my attention because AnimEDM and the Rave is my entire life; however, sometimes I question whether I am living this life the right way and have I done everything I wanted to do with this life in HakubiVerse. Sure I have done incredible things running HakubiVerse and even made rave history in ways that people would think are impossible like make Happy Hardcore and anime raves relevant in San Antonio, Texas, but for those that have ever run an event company and music label, it is one of the most resource and soul-consuming operations to manage that despite throwing the most amazing raves in Texas, it has kept me from my true objective. The truth is this Nightkids–I have and I will always be a musician; I was never meant and never wanted to be a promoter. This was never about running the rave scene as I have mentioned after headlining San AnTokyo 2: “No one person owns the rave; the rave is for EVERYONE.” This was about making my own way in a scene that would close their doors on me and paving the way for others to let their stars shine. I feel now that I’ve done that and it’s time to take the next step, and that is to “Go All In”.
Why this might sound familiar even before my Talking HakubiVerse stream? It is because I have attempted to pursue my artistic endeavors before just to be forced back to being the leader on the field. If you have been following my career in the last 5 years or have read through the About section of this website, I started HakubiVerse back in January 2020 as a music label focusing on AnimEDM and Hard Dance Music influenced by anime and rave otaku culture. Prior to HakubiVerse, I was working with the event collective Hard Dance Texas (HD:TX), founded in December 2017 and we were the first collective in a long-known while to consistently bring Hard Dance music to San Antonio. Prior to Hard Dance Texas, I was making my way through the Texas rave scene looking to perform at events and have found that the playing field for DJs was very toxic, especially in San Antonio. Despite knowing that I am an incredible and versatile DJ, the field rewarded the posers, the clout chasers, and the hyper-privileged, diminishing the amount of talented performers to be showcased and also diminishing the quality of dance music events. I felt this was a big problem around 2013 through 2017 which I have labeled that era the “Dark Ages”; however, instead of standing down and complaining, I knew I had the power to take point and create change. Finding others that would feel the same way, we have formed Hard Dance Texas and would effectively change the playing field for DJs, artists, and workers that want to take part in the rave. I wanted to do the same thing with music production and publishing and formed HakubiVerse, working in tandem with Hard Dance Texas in order to provide opportunities and pave the way for talents unable to pass the gate. After the success of San AnTokyo 3, I felt that it was time to leave the administration of HD:TX and focus on the HakubiVerse label and music production per my Facebook post retiring from HD:TX on April 16, 2020. Not even 2 months later, I would be forced out of retirement after a void in its administration. I did not want our hard work to deteriorate and after many attempts to find a replacement; I ended up taking the reigns completely and eventually incorporated HD:TX’s event operations into HakubiVerse as we were expanding outside of Texas. I’ve answered the call and continued to have our community prosper with the help of fellow organizations like 800 Live, JDS Lasers, Shine Entertainment, Music Around The World, EBE Productions, Oh Bleep! and 3KINGS, who all in their own way have established their own real rave scenes and our collective efforts allowed San Antonio to work through and even surpass the dark ages. Personally, I didn’t think I was going to go this far with the bad cards that I were getting dealt, but until I found a wonderful table and work with generous dealers, not only did I get a spinning chance, but so did many others around me chasing their dream. I’m confident that San Antonio, and even Texas’ rave scene will be in good hands; and now, I need to chase my true dream.
It is with massive consideration that I am announcing my retirement from Lead Event Operations and rave promotions in HakubiVerse effective August 1st, 2023; furthermore, I plan to rebrand HakubiVerse to shift the focus from a music label to my content brand to better serve my fans and my fellow artists currently signed with HakubiVerse. I have desired to create content for a very long time and have formed the mechanisms in HakubiVerse to allow that content to be published and showcased, yet I could not make the time to create that content nor engage with my Nightkids due to leading the company’s operations. As good as I felt being able to effect change and bring light into a dark scene, I was becoming someone that I did not want to be in the first place. Being a promoter takes certain compromises that I wish I did not need to take and I would later see the consequences of those compromises. There are people that are made to be show-runners and it works out great for them and although I seem to put on successful events; honestly, this still is not for me. About a month ago when I finally sat down, closed my studio door, shut off my phone, and dedicated an hour of music composition, I felt a happiness that I have not felt in almost a decade. I knew then that without reservation nor worry whether I would play live again that I need to make content, not just for my Nightkids, but for me. Again, I’m not a promoter; I am a musician. It is time to go all in on myself.
The plan going forward will consist of finishing my show-running commitments and settling HakubiVerse’s licensing commitments with it’s signed artists. Another Dimension: An Isekai Rave featuring Brandon Legacy, will take place as planned at 800 Live in San Antonio, Texas from 9PM – 4AM. Then, San AnTokyo 5, which has yet to be officially announced, will indeed take place this summer. While I have your attention, I will announce here that for the first time, San AnTokyo will be a 2-night event in July, one night featuring EDM (House, Trance, Progressive), and the other night featuring Hard Dance (Happy/UK Hardcore, Hardstyle, J-core). Last year, San AnTokyo 4 was an absolute dream come true and may have been the best event I ever ran; however, I’m always about making the next one bigger and better than the last and I plan to give it all I got and make San AnTokyo 5 my Magnum Opus. I may feel like hosting an event at any time, in any place, with any lineup, and on any budget; however, I will rely on my partners and friends who do run events in Texas to continue to make this rave scene great; they have taken an interest in my deliverance of Hard Dance and are willing to continue the legacy so Hard Dance music is not going away because one person stops. If anything, Hard Dance was possible in San Antonio because of good people and a good team and as I mentioned before, “No one person owns the rave”. As far as HakubiVerse’s artist and their signed music; their music will remain distributed on all their platforms and will be managed by HakubiVerse until December 31st, 2023; by then, I will provide the soon-to-be-released artist with paid distribution services through the remainder of their contract, which it will be their responsibility afterward to maintain their distribution platform account. They will receive full control and rights to their revenue upon their release effective January 1st, 2024. I have decided this because the resources and technology are now available for any one to be successful in music production, abandoning the need of the traditional record label–I definitely do not want to be the one to slow down anyone’s success and now this seems to be the best way to go; effective January 1st, HakubiVerse will serve as my self-signed label as the other artists will have autonomy of their distribution channels and revenue. Finally, my partner, my wife, my best friend, Ame Hakubi will have her stake in the company returned to me and cashed out to her before December 31st, 2023, effectively making HakubiVerse my single-member Limited Liability Company; in turn, my brand for Sephi Hakubi and their content. This does not change our personal relationships as the artists and staff I work with are also my friends and I want to make sure everyone succeeds without weights or barriers. I will keep HakubiVerse’s website, socials, and Discord server active; however, some significant changes may take place across those environments but rest assured those changes are meant to be more personable and welcoming for all of us whether we have worked together in HakubiVerse or with new friends that we will meet along the way after our new mission starts.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my entire career before and during HakubiVerse, those that took the chance with me, those that have put up with me, those during my best times, and especially those during my worst times. Dance Music and Raving is my entire life, even when I was too young and sheltered, it was always something I wanted to take part. I can’t speak for everyone and some people may have had better experiences, but my journey was very brutal and I was willing to do whatever it took to make sure I would come out the other side of the gate happy and headlining. I may be headlining, but now I want to be happy; however, I will say that despite any trials and tribulations I would go through during my 17 years as a DJ, I appreciate all my friends, sponsors, promoters, and fans who held my hand, when you all were pulling me across the way and even helping me pull others that needed that push to have their star shine. I am blessed that I got to see parts of my dream fulfilled and happy to see others have their dream realized with the collective work we all do, now I need to be true to myself and get the rest of my dream realized as well in hopes the result will get others to realize their dreams, or at the very least, turn a bad day into a good day. Rest assured, HakubiVerse is not going away no matter what form it takes and the rave will continue after me in Texas, but I’m not all done yet. I’ll see you at Another Dimension Saturday night and I’ll see you at San AnTokyo 5 this July. Until next, Bless!