Two Cal Poly students, Luke Garcia of Sigma Pi and Kaia Aldridge of Alpha Sigma Phi, are bringing electronic dance music (EDM) to San Luis Obispo — with the support of their fraternities behind them.
Garcia began his career two and a half years ago, but his passion for EDM started when he was just five years old. He picked up mixing during the pandemic, unbeknownst that a quarantine hobby would become a lifetime passion. Once he got to Cal Poly in 2020, he asked his freshman-year neighbor for lessons.
Months later, when the opportunity to fill the disc jockey (DJ) spot at Sigma Pi opened up, he took the chance and started as the official fraternity DJ. He played every single event that the fraternity organized. He soon began to receive positive feedback, which in turn, made him excited to grow as a DJ.
“There was a lot more traction at our parties and everyone was saying ‘This fraternity plays great music,’ and it boosted my confidence a little bit to want to do more events,” Garcia said.
Aldridge started mixing in the beginning of 2022. Growing up, he had always been aware of his ability to fit songs together like puzzle pieces. He finally got the opportunity to put his thoughts into action when he learned the ins and outs of the fraternity house’s soundboard. He practiced until he finally felt ready to play in front of his fraternity at their formal in Las Vegas. Once he transitioned seamlessly from one song into another and saw the crowd dancing, his life changed.
“That was really the moment where it clicked for me. There’s something here that really makes me feel good,” he said.
Aldridge said his favorite part of being a DJ is the crowd. Their energy, feedback and passion for music make him come back for more.
“Hearing the crowd sing along to a song and seeing them all dancing to that same song, seeing the smiles on people’s faces [and] when they hear something they’ve never heard before, that’s my favorite part,” Aldridge said.
Garcia said the crowd pushes him to be the best musician he can be. Knowing that he is the one responsible for the energy of the crowd makes him proud to be a DJ.
“The happiest I ever am is when I’m up there playing for a really fun and engaging crowd. Getting 500 people to sing the same lyrics that you’re playing or jump to the beat that you just threw on is just awesome,” he said. “I love it.”
As a full-time student and member of a fraternity, Garcia said he has a packed schedule. However, his passion drives him to always make time to create new sets. After studying abroad in Europe, he felt inspired to challenge his music taste and integrate different subgenres of EDM into his traditionally house music sets.
“I sit here until five in the morning grinding out what I think people are going to enjoy and what I’m going to enjoy,” Garcia said.
Aldridge said he also dedicates hours of practice each week and is working on building his own entertainment brand. He started Traveling Haüs Productions in the spring of 2022 after realizing that he could create a business out of his passion for sharing house music with his community. The brand’s goal is to bring EDM anywhere by building a team of DJs and holding events in any suitable space.
“My goal is to bring nightlife into [San Luis Obispo],” he said. “By the time I leave here, I want every single person on this campus who’s interested to have at least gotten the opportunity to experience what I want to do.”
Aldridge has held a few events so far, and Garcia is one of the DJs that are on the lineup. The two also play back-to-back sets together, meaning one will play a song and the other will take over immediately after. Garcia said he hopes to collaborate with Aldridge after college because he feels that their music styles and passions align.
“I think Kaia and I have a very similar creative flow when we play together and we’ve done some back-to-back sets before and the creative energy has just flown very well,” he said. “We have very similar tastes and styles when it comes to music.”
In the future, Garcia hopes to create more content for social media in order to grow his audience. He wants to have a following so that he can continue to pursue DJ-ing after he graduates and also organize more events following the success of his first underground rave, which he organized in the winter of 2021.
He emphasized that money isn’t a priority — for him, EDM is purely a passion that isn’t distracted by profit.
“The overarching goal is to neither make money or not make money but just be playing gigs that I want to be playing,” Garcia said.
Aldridge’s goal is to expand Traveling Haüs into a brand that he can pursue full-time. He wants to travel the world and play music while also connecting to other DJs in the business. For now, he said he is looking for ways to hold events to bring a new energy to SLO’s nightlife scene. After being in the audience of many EDM shows, he said he sees how Traveling Haüs could bring happiness into people’s lives.
“That’s really the goal: there’s no hate, there’s just love on the dance floor. Everybody’s just having a good time. They’re there to dance,” he said.
Both DJs shared that without the support of their fraternities, they wouldn’t be where they are today. Garcia appreciates how the men of Sigma Pi not only build his confidence but also provide him with constructive criticism that helps him improve.
“The support fuels my motivation,” Garcia said.
Like Garcia, Aldridge credits his fraternity for giving him the platform to start his career. Some of his fondest memories include playing sets for his fraternity brothers in their backyard as they cheered him on. He sees that his love for EDM and his passion for Traveling Haüs is recognized and encouraged by Alpha Sigma Phi.
“And had it not been for the fraternity, I wouldn’t have had any of that,” he said.
In a town where the EDM community is hidden underground, these two DJs are making it their mission to introduce San Luis Obispo to, as Aldridge says, “that bass in your face, the bouncy high hats [and] snappy claps.”