By: Rishabh Bhavnani
If you've been to a rave in the last few years, chances are that a Glover has held your attention in the palm of their hands for at least a few seconds on the dance floor. They're the guys (or girls) who make an art form out of practically disappearing in a dark club except for their hands–glowing digits in white gloves that swirl and streak with LED lights that draw crowds as they conjure light shows directly in front of them. As these EDM finger dancers become more prevalent, Glovers are becoming the interpretive dancers of the EDM world–only much, much cooler to watch.
Rave-retail mogul, CEO and owner of EmazingLights N iHeartRaves, Brian Lim is a fast-rising player in the dance music business. The 26 year-old LA native is also the OG Messiah of competitive gloving. His companies have spearheaded this dance movement into a sport. In fact, the Facebook channels of both his companies have garnered over 500,000 followers–even more than EDM giant Insomniac. Combined, the companies have also made over five million dollars in sales annually from stores and online revenues, since 2010. They have vended at festivals like Ultra Music Festival, IDentity Festival, Lights All Night, and will be at TomorrowWorld this month. The International Gloving Championship (IGC): Lights Are The Main Event, now in its third year, will be held on September 7th at the Yost Theatre with DJ duo, Gummy headlining. The Weekly recently caught up with Lim to get a closer insight into all of this.
Sitting confidently behind a Mac laptop at his desk, Lim tells us about his first rave experience, which, believe it or not, wasn't all that long ago.
On New Years of '09, Lim went to his first rave; “I was at Together As One at the LA Sports Arena for Armin Only. This is where I also discovered gloving,” he tells us.
His girlfriend who really liked the light gloves she saw at TAO, decided to order them, and try them out for an event at Avalon in L.A–that's where Lim's idea to get in the gloving game truly began. “I noticed that there is a huge demand in the market for these gloves, but no one supplying them,” he says. That night, [my girlfriend] asked me to put them on, I started playing around with them and by the end of the night I was doing light shows for a bunch of people. I found a dance form that I can excel at!”
Gloving quickly evolved into a passion for Lim. Aside from working almost 70 hours per week as a business consultant for Deloitte, he dedicated almost all his time to doing shows, honing the craft and selling gloving materials and accessories out of the trunk of his car at a nearby In-N-Out parking lot.
He started a small weekly meet-up called “Friday Night Lights,” for Glovers to showcase their moves and it became a vehicle that helped Lim's product gain visibility. Lim eventually opened a store in West Covina (he currently has three stores total), where he throws weekly events and organizes monthly competitions, which rotate amongst the stores.
“We have developed a gloving rulebook that has been put together by a panel of judges who are basically the gloving aficionados,” Lim says. Typically, the contestants will kneel–facing each other– a group of judges will huddle around them. The music begins to play and the Glovers will give light shows round robin style until a winner is crowned.
While much of what people know about the EDM scene seems to be synonymous with drug culture, Lim says most of the gloving community are trying to kill that stereotype, at least when it comes to them.
“This is a dance art form. It's our way of expressing ourselves,” Lim says. “We're trying to globalize ours and show that you don't need Ecstasy or Molly to enjoy a light show.”
Despite the competitive gloving scene's international growth, the movement is sometimes met with opposition from unlikely places. That includes Insomniac, who barred EmazingLights from being able to vend at their events. Gloving, altogether, has been banned from all Insomniac events; ever since the death of the fifteen-year-old girl at EDC LA in 2010, Insomniac has been trying to distance themselves from anything that promotes “drug related activities;” even though Gloving is a dance form that found its roots at Insomniac events.
“I believe that Gloving should be part of that experience again because Glovers are also part of that community of 'headliners', which is the main tagline at all Insomniac events- 'You are the Headliner',” Lim says. “Our main objective is to keep striving to get to that point and show Gloving isn't just a commercial by-product of the EDM phenomenon that's been added, simply for profit.”