Hey, Mr. DJ
Who has the best seat in the house at a wedding? The DJ, of course. We talked to some of the best about what they like to see on the dance floor-and what can make you an unwanted YouTube star.
Wed Jun 11 2008
DJ Johnny Stuart
One day in 1969, Stuart’s father put the needle to a record’s groove and Santana blew out of the speakers. Stuart was seven at the time, and was instantly hooked. Since then he’s played in clubs in New York, Atlanta, Italy, Turkey, Greece and Spain. He’s also worked for a long list of celebrities including Rihanna (see proof, above), Oprah Winfrey and Larry King.
• “There will always be a childhood friend or family member who will want to show off, but do yourself a favor and don’t upstage the bride and groom.”
• “The drunker people get, the less inhibited they are, and the better the party will be—so drink up!”
• “By the end of the night, no one will care if you’re doing the Lawn Mower, the Running Man or the Mashed Potato.”
• “Sometimes corny can be cool. I love the people who are not intimidated, who are feeling the music and just want to move. I’m there to watch you shake it, not sit in your chair, so let your hair down and have some fun!”
(johnnystuart.com; fees start at $2,500)
DJ Frank Rempe
Rempe has years of experience playing at nightclubs from the West Coast to the Far East. He caught the eye of celebrity party planner Colin Cowie and began working his events and the Manhattan party circuit. Modern Bride ranked Rempe among the country’s top 150 wedding entertainers.
• “In my experience, in spite of it being the couple’s day, there’s as much consideration given to the guests’ tastes (even in music) as to the couple’s own. So if you’re worried about knowing the latest music or dance moves, don’t be. By the end of the night, it usually becomes apparent that you need to play some classic older stuff to get everyone involved.”
• “Wish the DJ would play your favorite song? Remember, there is a fine line between a request and a complaint, so choose your words wisely!” • “Dance! You will make the DJ and the bride and groom happy if you get involved. It’s supposed to only happen once, so make a good showing. They will appreciate the effort more than your dance moves. It’s a pretty low-pressure situation as far as dance floors go, so don’t be a wallflower.”
(frankrempe.com, 702-448-1830; fees start at $1,500)
After Cassidy Podell scored some turntables for his 11th birthday, his alter-ego DJ Cassidy was born. Fifteen years later, he is one of the most sought-after DJs in the world, spinning at major events all over the globe from New York to the Middle East. Cassidy’s eclectic client roster reads like a who’s who of the entertainment world: His list of personal clients includes Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, Kanye West, Tommy Hilfiger and Usher. But he’s also witnessed mortals cut a rug.
• “The most popular music to play at weddings is classic soul music. No matter who you are, no one can deny the feel-good sounds of Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Michael Jackson.”
• “You should never try to practice dancing before a wedding. Let go, be yourself and have fun.”
• “You are there to celebrate, not impress. But knowing the Electric Slide has never hurt anyone.”
(djcassidy.com; fees available upon request)
DJ Josh Sparber
Josh Sparber’s gigs range from weekly East Village parties to formal soirees for New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg. He mixes Motown and Northern Soul with hits from Prince, Stevie Nicks, M.I.A. and Salt-n-Pepa. He’s played to Stockholm crowds and radio enthusiasts via the BBC in London, as well as at fashion shows and Goldman Sachs parties. Bottom line: He’s seen it all.
• “Don’t be afraid to be the first one on the dance floor, since others will most certainly follow your lead.”
• “There aren’t many dance crazes nowadays to learn beforehand, but a slight variation on the Twist or the Pony can still get you through most dance songs. The Worm? Not so much.”
• “A gawky dancer can ease his way onto the dance floor during a slow jam. As the beat picks up, he should move in time. He can copy other guests if he feels uncomfortable, or he can knock back a few more drinks and then hit the dance floor.”
• “When it comes to dancing around friends and family, everyone usually makes a fool of themselves so you should be in good company.”
(Twerking Hard DJs, 917-575-5484; fees start at $1,000 )