Sold Out First Avenue Headline Show 📸 Cristian Baca
by Isabella Silva-Biotti
Nestled in the heart of the Twin Cities, where the Mississippi River weaves through a diverse landscape, an extraordinary urban symphony unfolds beneath the vibrant glow of neon lights. Meet Cristian Baca, a Mexican-American DJ whose presence resonates through the dynamic Minneapolis music scene. From his early beginnings spinning tracks at college gatherings and downtown rooftops, Baca’s journey has become a living testament to the vital role of diversity and inclusivity in the realm of partying.
Baca burst onto the scene with his renowned Reventón parties in 2018. The ripples of his artistry culminated on October 30th, 2021, when he shared the stage with the EDM/House DJ, Tiesto. The magnitude of that moment was etched in memory, as his wife and operational partner, Liliana, fondly recalls. Fast forward to the vibrant summer of 2023, where Baca’s shows have consistently sold out, playing at iconic venues such as Pourhouse, First Avenue, and Varsity Theatre. The secret to his success? An innate understanding of his audience and the scene.
Turning our gaze to the summer of 2018, Baca’s path led him to rooftop Top 40 gatherings. “One day 2 Latina girls came up to me and asked me if I spoke Spanish,” Baca reminisced. “And they asked ‘oh, can you play Gasolina?’” As the hot months went by, the Latiné crowd grew bigger and by the end of the summer “half of the crowd was Latino”.
Baca’s presence evolved across the Twin Cities, from basement parties to rooftops, eventually gracing larger venues. In recent years, his accomplishments include being the official Minnesota Twins DJ, performing DJ sets for MN Timberwolves and MN United, a 2019 City Pages Best Club DJs nomination, and selling out two headline shows at First Avenue.
Yet, Baca’s journey transcends mere limelight; it’s about crafting a distinct sonic identity. Rooted in middle school, his artistic foundation blends timing, rhythm, and intuition. “Music has always been a part of the culture, like family gatherings is just kind of a way to bring the family together every weekend,” Baca said. His evolution shifted focus from techniques to forging connections, a tribute to the dance floor’s collaborative spirit.
Baca, a devotee of the decks, initially serenaded his Latiné community with Reggaeton and Tropical beats. These musical canvases painted stories of heritage, connecting past and present in a mesmerizing rhythmic tapestry. However, his heart’s longing led him towards the heartbeat of House music. This evolution epitomizes his unwavering dedication to the craft, a journey of self-discovery weaved into every seamless mix.
But Baca’s passion extends beyond tunes – it’s about forging an inclusive sanctuary. His events, resembling a blend of unity, invite a diverse array of identities to gather beneath the disco ball.
No longer confined to archaic norms, Baca’s dance floors are a fair domain where everyone dances with everyone, bridging divides with every lively moment, breaking old rules. “I remember going to the club 5 or 6 years ago and you saw other guys at the side just trying to see who they’ll dance with,” Baca said. “But now it’s like ‘oh, I don’t really need to go dance with anybody.’ Like we’re just raging with my friends and hanging out and, you know, looking out for each other.”
Beyond beats and rhythms, Baca is architecting a legacy that transcends his decks. Liliana, his wife, ensures that while he remains the face, humility remains the virtue, Baca explains. Through these synergies, they defy the norm, crafting events where the crowd defines the mood.
Yet, how is DJ Baca and his team setting themselves apart from the rest? Three parties, three realms, each with a different beat, cater to the array of desires that dance through the night. Thursdays at Iconos (changing to Rumba on Aug 31) are +21 and budget-friendly. They also host +18 Friday or Saturday nights, often at larger venues.
In the shadow of discriminatory club codes, Baca’s beats radiate hope. His events are sanctuaries of expression where color, creed, and origin find harmony. Open spaces devoid of judgment serve as reminders to the triumph of diversity. It’s a dance of unity, a melodic protest, where past injustices harmonize into a collective surge of freedom.
When he began to host the Reventón parties at the Pourhouse in Downtown Minneapolis, Baca noticed how his social media following demographics changed abruptly. “Everything was like maybe 70% women and the others were men,” Baca said. “It’s been really cool to see not just like only creating a safe space for the Latino community, but also welcoming people to consume the culture in a real way.”
Being a Latiné DJ didn’t mean Baca was acquainted with every culture. His school years in South Minneapolis were immersed in a predominantly Latiné community, shaping friendships based on his surroundings. “It was my first experience of being friends with people that weren’t Latino,” Baca said as he reflected about his first years at Augsburg University.
In the music world, DJ Baca reveals a broader landscape beyond melodies—the intricate balance of finances and education. While his beats resonate, he extends an invitation to learn about artists and communities. Collaborative unity, often frowned upon, finds a strong advocate in him. Baca embraces the notion that even artists with quieter voices can shine through collaboration. Beyond the dance floor’s energy, he nurtures a space where music doubles as education and unity, forming a symphony that bridges gaps and fosters growth.
Cristian Baca’s journey encapsulates the very essence of the Twin Cities – a symphony of blended cultures, a dance of resilience, and a chorus of togetherness. Yet, his narrative isn’t confined to soundscapes; it’s a harmonious call to heal through melodies, connect through beats, and unite in shared rhythms of humanity. DJ Baca stands as the conductor, crafting harmonies that echo far beyond the final note. His wisdom to fellow seekers is: “Go to the shows. Not [only] my shows, but just go to different shows, you know, be a part of the scene. See what they’re doing. And maybe look at what they’re lacking and think, what are some things that I could be working on?”