Cal State Fullerton alumnus Karl Sunglao describes the time he was shown Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.” in 2007 as the day everything changed for him.
“My universe was literally flipped upside down,” Sunglao said.
The popular French electronic hit with its pop-art visuals and infectious beat would later serve as a major influence in his own sets as a DJ, where on stage he would go by the name DJ Goodkarl.
Sunglao graduated from CSUF fall 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology.
His passion for spinning tracks started with his involvement with Titan Radio in 2013, where he experimented with music and shared his mixes with listeners during his first semester.
“I don’t think I’d ever stuttered so much while talking to whoever was listening. It was pretty nerve wracking just because once you flip that on-air switch, as cliché as it is, there’s no turning back,” Sunglao said.
During his program, Sunglao showcased his music influences by playing one of his first tracks: James Blake’s somber down-tempo “The Wilhelm Scream,” mixed with “Blind Concerto,” an eccentric otherworldly French experimental house song by Mr. Oizo.
Sunglao spent four years at Titan Radio where he ended his run as the program and music director at the station. Although his time at Titan Radio came to an end when he graduated and acquired a job, he has continued to DJ at small shows and local venues on the side.
All of his bookings exclusively come from Slumber Party Presents, a production company that is run by Sara Kleinbart, a CSUF alumna, a former Titan Radio general manager and his longtime friend.
“He is my number one preference always to book. I ran the radio station so I know like 60 DJs just off the top of my head, but I always pick him because he literally makes everybody dance,” Kleinbart said.
Sunglao and Kleinbart worked closely together at Titan Radio for a few years.
“(When he performs), you feel like you’re at a cool club that you’re not cool enough to be at,” Kleinbart said.
Andres Vasquez, CSUF alumnus and current Titan Radio general manager, shares Kleinbart’s sentiments.
“(Sunglao is) very welcoming and very disarming. His personality, he makes you feel welcome. He makes you feel like family even. That’s how I felt around him, that’s how I still do,” Vasquez said.
Vasquez is amazed at how people gravitate toward Sunglao during performances. After his set, people ask about the songs he played and for his setlists.
“Before I met Karl, I thought my playlists were cool, and then I met him and his blew me out of the water,” Vasquez said.
Vasquez recalls one particular graduation party that Sunglao DJ’d for. When there weren’t enough people swimming in the pool, Sunglao knew just what to play: the early 2000’s rap song, “Summer Nights” by Lil Rob.
“As soon as he started playing that, this girl who was at the party was like, ‘Oh you know I gotta get in the pool for this song’ and then she started taking off her clothes and then she jumped in the pool,” Vasquez said.
Sunglao’s overall experience at Titan Radio helped him become a DJ and create friendships that have played an important role since he graduated.
“It’s something I love doing on the side. When it stops becoming fun, that’s when I’ll naturally stop doing it. But for now I don’t see any signs of me not doing any shows or continuing to play music,” Sunglao said.
Sunglao has an upcoming show presented by Slumber Party and Cielo Presents on Saturday, Feb. 10 at The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $5.