A DJ is so much more than a guy who presses start and stop on a few songs. A DJ can take your reception from a gathering of family and friends to a Party with everyone you love! We get a lot of clients at BRIK who want their reception to be more than just dinner and a few drinks. They want their guests to leave at the end of the night and talk about how amazing and fun the reception was! A good DJ is key!
We asked Rod a few questions about what he loves most about being a Wedding DJ and to fill us in on his process of creating the PERFECT atmosphere for every Bride’s unique reception!
Photo Credit: Beatbox Portraits
Tell us a little about how you got started in this industry.
I got started in college. I saw a group of DJs who were doing cool things in the college bar scene. They mixed music in ways I hadn’t heard before. I happened to have a member of this group in one of my classes, and I asked to tag along. The owner of the group and I hit it off, and he taught me how to mix on old school turntables and I started doing sorority parties. From there, it just grew and grew.
For many years, it was a side job for me. When the economic crash happened in 2008, I regrouped my life and decided to make it my full time venture. Best decision I’ve ever made.
What is your favorite part about DJing a Wedding?
Weddings are my passion. I love watching the evening unfold. Telling the story, and figuring out the guests and what they like. By combining the lists that I compile with my clients, and figuring out what will work at what time to maximize the party…and then to see if work, there’s no better feeling.
What is your favorite part about DJing at BRIK?
It’s funny, because I just had this conversation with a client. I LOVE Brik. It’s gorgeous. It’s hip. It’s everything that people fall in love with when they see it on a tour or visit for the first time. But that’s not why I love it.
I love because of the people. There are many pretty places to get married, but not everyone has an amazing staff that really wants this to work on a profound level for their guests. The Brik staff possesses that. It makes me want to perform there as often as I possibly can.
Do you have a favorite memory of a BRIK couple’s wedding?
One of my favorites is how many times I was told the dad wasn’t a super fun guy. And he tore it up on the dance floor. He got caught up in the euphoria of the night. I don’t think anybody had ever seen him dance before. The enthusiasm that spilled over into the other guests because of it happening was crazy contagious. It was pretty awesome.
What is one thing you want couples to know about Wedding DJs?
That this is not a commodity based purchase. I think some couple go into this with a baseline opinion that “all DJs are the same”, so they look for the lowest price. This makes perfect sense, this is not something people book very often in their lives. I think educating yourself is crucial. And doing research and asking questions of your DJ is so important. It HAS to be a solid personality fit going into this. If it’s “off”, the money you saved by going with the lowest bid will have your guests leaving early. Just be thorough!
What advice do you have for couples when it comes to choosing a DJ for their wedding?
Find the right personality fit! I know that I’m not the right DJ for every couple that I talk with. And if I’m not, I will make a recommendation on who I think would better serve them. This isn’t a “slight”, this is just a fundamental bit of self awareness.
When the personalities click, your guests notice the day of the event. There’s a synergy that’s hard for me to describe, but it really works. And they really do pick up on that.
What do you say to couples who are trying to decide between a DJ and a band?
I say get who fits best with you. With a band, check their break schedule. What will happen on the breaks?
I would also make sure to get references from their wedding experience. Much like the awesome club DJ, not all of them can handle a microphone for the traditions (planners tell me about this struggle often).
Again, I know some that are spectacular in this arena. And the energy of a band is off the charts. Really it comes down to budget and personality fit. The right bands that excel at weddings are not inexpensive, and it’s because they provide a truly unique experience.
That being said, I’ve been told the flexibility of what I offer as a DJ/MC helps move the party along with a lot of fun. Again, and I know I’ve said this a few times, that personality fit will spill over into the guest experience.
Every couple is different when it comes to the reception style, describe your process on how you create the perfect aesthetic for each couple.
Every couple really is different, and I think that’s why I still passionately love it after performing over 1000 events. It’s all still brand new!
I would describe my process in two stages. In the preparation phase, I ask lots of questions and try to figure out what you’re hoping to experience the day of the event. Digging deep at this phase can reveal what will make a couple super happy, and I act within those ideas.
The day of, my job is to entertain and inform. That means different things for different clients. I’m not a fist pump kind of guy. I’m a Master of Ceremonies that happens to have DJ club experience in his background. So I won’t get on the mic to hear myself talk. I inform. I move guests where they need to be and let them know what they need to know. I’ve been professionally trained to do in a non-cheesy and meaningful kind of way.
In terms of the techy nerdy side of it, the gear side, I use top notch gear. I combine Bose, QSC and Sennheiser equipment that allow me to spread the sound evenly throughout the venue. This means there’s no hotspots of sound. It’s an awesome experience for everyone.
I also offer various lighting options. That’s an a la carte type of conversation, and needs to be tailored to the individual client needs. I’m well versed with Brik and what looks good!
What would you say sets you apart from other DJs?
I used to ask myself this question early in my career. I figured it out after doing a celebrity wedding a while back. The dad, who was a movie producer, said I have what they call in Hollywood…”the calm”. He said it was a trait as a producer he always looked for. When there is high stress and things are moving fast (like, you know, a wedding!), there are certain people that thrive in that environment. He said those type of people have “the calm”, and apparently it’s pretty rare. I love what I do, and many of my favorite receptions involved solved challenges that resulted in great experiences. We’re dealing with over 100 people all doing random things, so we have to figure out how to make that work! I actually kind of enjoy that. Crazy, I know.
The other thing is something I mentioned earlier. It’s having BOTH the MC experience and the DJ experience. There are good MCs, and there are good DJs. I’ve noticed there’s not a lot that can do both. The great DJ you hear in the club 9/10 times is going to be awful when it’s time to introduce a wedding party, and some MCs aren’t up on mixing skills or the people reading skills that are so crucial in this business. I know the ones that are, and they’re my favorite colleagues. I like to believe I’m strong in both those disciplines! I work at it and practice, even after 1000+ events.
What is something a couple can add to their reception to really make it a party and get their guests on the dance floor?
This is a loaded question ha!
It’s the sum of many, many small things that make for a good party. But the number one thing I can say is to hang out where you want your guests. If you want them to be on the dance floor, spend a majority of your time on or near the dance floor. Even if you’re just chatting, do it there. People follow around the couple, it’s just what they do. If you’re spending a lot of time not where you want them, it only makes sense they won’t be there either!
Beyond that, that’s a chat for the planning process. Understanding your guests is key to creating the right stimulus for an amazing dance floor!
Thank you, Rod! We can’t wait to see you at BRIK again soon!