1. What’s your favorite thing about DJ’ing weddings?
Music has always been a passion of mine. That’s #1.
I grew up in a family that, while not musical, appreciates music that touches the soul.
My dad introduced me to the classics of 60s/70s Rock: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, CCR, Clapton, Hendrix, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Once I had that foundation, I began exploring the artists who influenced all of them. That led me to some amazing discoveries in Blues and Classic Country/Americana.
My mom loves dancing and so I grew up listening and dancing to very rhythmic music – Latino, 70s/80s dance like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Prince, Eurythmics, stuff like that.
I saw how my mom transformed when she was dancing. She is a happy person all of the time, but when she’s dancing, when the right song comes on and she can let loose, she’s a different person. And while I’m not sure I thought of it this way when I was younger, I think I always knew that music – especially dance music – had a special power over people … over their bodies, over their minds … over their happiness.
So my favorite thing about DJ’ing weddings is seeing a packed dance floor of guests of all ages dancing, having fun, enjoying life, forgetting whatever worries they’ve got in life and just having an amazing time. I love the reactions from guests when we play a song they love. Hearing every person yell “OOOOO I LOVE THIS SONG” when a good song comes on always gives me goosebumps.
The icing on the cake is seeing the bride and groom dancing to their jam. That’s what it’s all about.
2. Describe an interesting DJ story.
The very first wedding I DJ’ed by myself (circa 2004) surprisingly had just 1 hiccup.
I’d say that 75% of the time, we work directly with the brides. Weddings are saved on our calendar as “Bride’s Last Name” Wedding. And usually, we only find out the groom’s shortly before the wedding date.
So for my first wedding, the bride’s last name was Ortiz (changed that just in case they may be reading this). It was in my mind up to the last minute that this was the “Ortiz” Wedding – so much so that when it came to introduce them into the ballroom at the Eden, I announced them as Mr. and Mrs. Ortiz!
I realized I messed up instantly, but no one said anything, and I just made sure to refer to them as Mr. and Mrs. Smith – the way I meant to for the intros – the rest of the night.
The groom joked with me about it at the end of the night and tipped me pretty well – the party was a hit and people had an amazing time.
3. What’s your favorite wedding song?
My answer to this changes every season – but consistently “Uptown Funk” has been a huge hit since it came out. No matter the crowd, that song gets people dancing. From young to old, it’s a killer song. Amazing beat. Incredible to sing along to. Great beats. Awesome breakdown at the end. What’s not to like about that song? My oldest daughter likes to sing along to it – there’s nothing funnier than hearing a 3 year old try to sing “Uptown F*ck You Up” in the middle of a Target.
Also, if the crowd is right, “Be Faithful” Fatman Scoop makes people lose their minds. And then I go crazy, too.
4. What commonly-played song at weddings do you dislike?
I’m not a fan of the Macarena, Electric Slide, YMCA, Chicken Dance, stuff like that.
But I think I’m over “Sweet Caroline” and “Don’t Stop Believing” – those are wedding staples, but they just don’t do it for me anymore. They’ve been required playing at almost every wedding I’ve done since 2009 and I’m not a fan.
5. What genre of music people would be surprised to learn you listen to?
Movie soundtracks. But not the popular singles. I mean like the background music in movies. The songs most people skip over when listening to a soundtrack.
The soundtracks to “The Social Network” and “Gone Girl” both by Trent Reznor and Atticus Finch are two of my favorites.
I love moody, dynamic, ambient, and ethereal music like Explosions in the Sky, Brian Eno, Mogwai, Sigur Ros, and Jonsi & Alex.
I listen to this mostly when I’m focused on a writing project or something that needs intense concentration.
6. What’s something about you most people wouldn’t know when they first meet you?
That I’m half-Colombian (thanks mom!) and that I’m fluent in Spanish. So hit me up si quieres un DJ que habla español y conoce la música latina.
Seriously, no one ever imagines that I’m half-Colombian and that I’ve been speaking fluent Spanish longer than I’ve spoken English.
7. What’s your dream vacation?
If money and time were no issue, I’d want to visit France and Spain and take my time – 1 month at least. Obviously, I’d want to visit Paris and Barcelona & Madrid, but I’d want to visit all of the small towns and villages that no one pays attention to when they go to those two countries.
In France, I’d especially love to visit the Brittany region – my dog is a Brittany and it just looks like such a beautiful and peaceful place.
On another trip, I’d love to visit Sweden.
8. Name the best concert you ever attended and why was it awesome?
My wife and I went to a Dave Matthews Band concert for our first date in 2003. We’ve seen him two more times since then.
It was one of the most memorable moments of my life and that concert is when I realized how much I liked her. We became an item 1 week later.
Our 1st dance at our wedding was “Steady As We Go” by DMB.
9. Favorite Food.
Bandeja Paisa – a Colombian dish that has beans, white rice, chicharron, ground beef, chorizo, a fried egg, a ripe plantain, avocado, and an arepa. Paired with an apple-flavored Colombian soda called Postobon. This is comfort food to the max for me. This first time I ever had this dish (when I was 10), I had seconds. So good.
10. Favorite Bands/Artists
- Dave Matthews Band
- Iron & Wine
- José González
- Sigur Ros