Cal Poly junior Nicki Brower discusses her passion for raves and EDM music
Steve Aoki concert held at Cal Poly on Jan. 31
Student DJ Dillon Katz shares his experience opening for Aoki
Featured profile: Rave enthusiast
Before college, I had absolutely no idea what a “rave” really was. In my head, I pictured some underground club, a bunch strange people in tight neon clothing, and just sweat everywhere with repetitive techno music playing in the background.
Work hard, play hard. That is the motto of Cal Poly junior Nicki Brower, who by day can be found coding in the library, but by night wearing eccentric clothing and indulging herself into the rave scene.
Though she has immersed herself into the “rave” culture, she didn’t always view the scene as something she could be passionate about. As a freshman in college, she fell into the rave scene simply because of her roommate, who was used to regularly attending these type of concerts.
“Since I wanted to go out, have fun, and befriend my roommate, plus had money to blow…I figured what the hell and started going with Madison to a bunch of different shows,” Brower said. “Then the more and more shows I started going to, the more people I started meeting and becoming friends with.”
According to Brower, raves are different than any other type of concert because of the mentality people have when they go to them.
“There’s this motto, PLUR, which stands for Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. Those four things shape how people interact with one another,” Brower said. “It almost reminds me of the San Luis Obispo community.”
Though SLO is not typically the kind of place to hold big rave events or festivals, there is still a community here that has an interest in common and travels to places like Los Angeles and Las Vegas to attend these events.
For Brower, the first big event she attended was “Hard Summer” in LA. This event was a two day festival which changed her perception on rave events entirely. Since then, she has attended several concerts including Miami Ultra, EDC in Las Vegas, and OMFG NYE in San Diego.
“Ever since then I’ve been hooked. My bank account doesn’t like me, but the experiences are absolutely priceless,” Brower said.
Initially, Brower attended these events for the atmosphere because she had no idea who the artists were. Predominantly, she loved having an opportunity to bond with other people and the fact that she could “have fun dancing like [she was] four years old again.” But the more shows she attended, the more she started to really understand the EDM scene and the different genres available, some of which include:
“Once I learned a little bit more about what each genre is and what characterizes one from the other, I started to be more attracted by the music than the atmosphere,” Brower said. “Now that raves have become such a prominent part of our culture, especially in SLO, I would say that the music dictates which raves I decide to go to, but the atmosphere is what keeps me going.”
Featured Concert: Steve Aoki
Communication studies senior Dillon Katz was one of the DJ’s selected in a competition for a coveted spot to open for Steve Aoki. Katz and his partner, fifth year wine and viticulture major Quin Donahue, refer to themselves as “Animal Kontrol” and have worked together for the past few years.
“Quin and I had a blast. Playing on speakers that loud and a stage that big was unreal,” Katz said. “Being a part of an event like that was definitely an experience we won’t forget.”
In the past, Animal Kontrol has DJed at Pulse at Motav, Eye Candy, Greek events and friends parties. According to Katz, this was by far the biggest venue they have ever played for.
“We both agree that the most memorable part was at the end of the set when we played a remix of the song “All Me” by Drake and the whole crowd was singing and going crazy with us,” Katz said. “Also meeting the other artists that played after us was cool.”
The concert received an overwhelmingly positive response from students, some of which were avid rave fans while others were new to the scene. Sophomore Sarah Riley had never attended a rave-type event before this one, but found it to be a great experience.
“I’m usually not into any EDM or techno kind of music, but I thought Steve Aoki was a good chance to check out the scene close to home,” Riley said. “It was a little expensive but it was definitely worth it. The energy was just awesome.”
Aoki is known for throwing cake and spraying champagne at the audience. Riley was not aware of this until she reached the front row and got absolutely drenched.
“I got all the way up to the front and he actually threw a cake in my face…champagne is also very sticky,” Riley said, laughing.
Aoki also performed with various artists, all of which Katz referred to in praise.
“Shout out to Max Styler and Dzeko & Torres – those guys are very talented people that are about to blow up. I only met Aoki and AutoErotique very briefly but they were also very cool,” Katz said.