Today’s wedding musician interview is with Erica, from Heartbeats, based in Los Angeles, CA! Enjoy:
Tell us about yourself and how you started.
My dj name is Eko [my intials, actually]. I started in radio as a dj/host while I was in college. I hosted a radio show for over a decade. About half way through that period, I got the guts up to start djing out in public. I also got asked to start writing for a renowned music magazine. Everything just took off from there. Last year I started a boutique dj company in NYC and now I’m expanding it into a bi-coastal endeavor, Heartbeatseverywhere.
What do you love about being a DJ?
So many things. I love breaking new music & introducing audiences to new artists. I love setting the tone and being in charge of the vibe. I love igniting people. I love keeping people company. I love inspiring people to move.
What makes you different from other DJs?
I would say, many djs have one focus. Either they dj a single genre or they dj one type of venue/event (like clubs or weddings, for example). I think I’m probably one of the most diverse djs you are going to find out there. I play everything from Coachella to yoga classes,museums, silent discos, clubs, Soho fashion things. You name it and I probably have done it. Weddings are a part of what I do, a bigger part now.. after having been interviewed in Martha Stewart as an expert! DJ Reborn and I made our boutique dj company to bridge the gap between the outdated guy who pops out of a van in a questionable suit and djs who are ‘too cool for school’. Our versatile, tastemaker backgrounds seem to be in high demand for people in the party & wedding world.
What’s the most unique wedding you’ve ever DJ’d for?
Well, every wedding is unique. I will say that much. About half of the weddings we do involve two cultures coming together and that is always fun & interesting to pick out music to incorporate both sides. However, One of the most unusual things I’ve been asked to do is fly in to dj a two hour set after the band at the end of an extended reception. I arrived early enough so the wedding planner asked if I could play while the band took their break. I remember it was a big wedding, maybe like 300 people. I couldn’t see everything happening on the dancefloor but I remember a couple of the band guys saying, “I don’t know how we are going to follow that” as they plugged back in. I took it as a compliment, but also did not know what exactly inspired them to say that. However, I just got the photos back from that wedding, and found out the dance circle in the middle was filled with people doing back flips and crazy gymnastics. Awesome & outrageous. I also did a wedding for one of Obama’s staff. They didn’t even mention there was a likelihood he was coming! Reborn just did a wedding in May and the couple’s first dance (which is awesome) went viral, like 400k hits. It’s been an exciting time.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
The mentally challenging part is receiving a couple’s requests, adding music I think compliments their choices and figuring out how music fits together to make a cohesive fabric. The puzzle of all of that is the intellectually challenging part. The emotionally challenging part is being responsible for the overall production of the day with both music & equipment and also trying to manage a room full of very diverse people. The music for a wedding is make-it-or-break-it, as most people on the ground-level (including the catering and waiting staff will say). You need to be a music head, a people person and a tech geek, all rolled into one.
What’s your favorite song? Your least favorite song?
Oh my gosh, no! Not this question!! Everyone knows this changes from day to day, moment to moment, mood to mood. I will pick two songs to comment on today. DJs know me for selecting lots of amazing remixes. Cottonbelly did an amazing remix of Sade’s “By Your Side”. I really, really like this remix. I also have a mental list of about 5 tunes that I don’t ever want to be forced to play under any circumstances, Sir Mix A Lot – Baby Got Back is at the top of that list.
Do you have any advice for wedding DJs just starting out?
Oh gosh, people ask me for dj and music industry advice all the time but not wedding DJ advice. Hmm. I would say to that dj: Take every possible type of gig you can get, outside of the wedding world, from family reunions to birthday parties, corporate events, night clubs.. all of that. Being in front of all those different settings will equip a dj with the knowledge of how to read a crowd and prepare you to be on your toes, come what may. I would also say, don’t treat a wedding gig lightly. This is the most important day, the biggest party some people will ever throw in their lives, and they picked you. Step up to that.
What are some things couples should look for when looking for a DJ?
An excellent communicator. You will need to convey lots of information about logistics to all of your vendors. You should definitely pick humans who you feel comfortable talking/writing to. Also, pick a dj who is a good match to the style of djing you want. For example, do you like quick mixing or letting songs play out for a good long while? And music genres, pick a dj who likes the music you like. If you want pop at your wedding, get a pop dj. If you want more rock or country, look for that type. If you want soulful music. Write us ;)
Thank you Erica! For more about Heartbeats, check out their WeddingMusicLove profile.
Have any questions or comments for Erica? Add them below!