Today we have a Wedding DJ interview with Mark from Top Tier Entertainment, based in St. Louis, MO. Enjoy!
Tell us about yourself and how you started.
I’m a husband and father of four wonderful kids. I am from St. Louis and attended St. Louis Priory for high school. I graduated from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO in 2000 with a degree in Communication. I started Djing the summer after my freshman year in high school. I can still remember the first event I ever worked. It was a company barbeque in Columbia, MO. I knew I was hooked from that first event. From that day forward I knew I had one of the most enjoyable and rewarding jobs I would ever have.
See the rest of the interview after the jump!
What do you love about being a DJ?
That’s funny… there’s really no one thing about DJing I can place above the rest. If I wasn’t passionate about the job as a whole I probably wouldn’t have been able to do this for as long as I have. I guess if I had to choose just one thing, I would say what I love most about being a DJ is a new set of challenges that every event brings.
Each time I greet my client, I keep in mind that I’ve been hand-picked by that client from a pool of hundreds of area disc jockeys for one reason or another. The challenge is to ensure that I do everything I can to ensure that I exceed that client’s expectations. I owe that to them.
What makes you different from other DJs?
What a great question! What makes me different is that I get it. I believe I work harder than anyone out there to stay ahead of the curve. Being an owner-operator means that I don’t just run the business office. I am physically out there every weekend at events keeping a close eye on my clients and taking notes on the music they’re responding to and how they react to the DJ. I am also constantly doing research when I’m not at events to find better ways to serve future clients. I’m always seeking new and better ways to make the process of working with a DJ from both easier and more enjoyable from start to finish. Simply sitting back and allowing the business to run on auto-pilot would only prove a great disservice to my clients.
What’s the most unique wedding you’ve ever DJ’d for?
The most unique? That would be a wedding I worked about 5 years ago. I will never forget. The entire wedding party went up to their hotel rooms after dinner and changed into face paint and… more comfortable clothes. They came back down and danced to nothing but Insane Clown Posse for the rest of the evening. Granted, they were the only ones to stick around, but they had a fantastic time. Did I mention that I don’t know a single ICP song? The groom came up to the DJ table with a stack of CD’s and asked to DJ. The bride said he’d always wanted to DJ. This caught me by surprise, but it’s what the bride and groom wanted, so… the groom and his best man ended up Djing the rest of the evening. Keep in mind that my job is to make sure that the bride and groom are satisfied. With that having been said though, that wedding was truly one in a million.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging thing about my job is the work I do behind the scenes to keep the business progressing. Everything from sales and marketing to SEO, to production management (choosing the right equipment for the job), not to mention constantly developing Top Tier’s website. Every step along the way is deliberately and precisely orchestrated to create an experience for the client that’s welcoming, stress-free, and engaging. The work that I do while on site at the events is just plain FUN.
What’s your favorite song? Your least favorite song?
Oh, do I have to limit my least favorite to one? I’ve got kids at home who love Gangnam Style though and they listen to it on repeat for hours at a time. That has quickly become my least favorite song, especially Elmo’s version. My favorite song? I’m akin to Moves Like Jagger. It’s got a really good beat, and you can throw it in at pretty much any time during the dancing portion of the evening. I’ll only play it though if the dance floor is packed and people are really into the music.
Do you have any advice for wedding DJs just starting out?
For new wedding disc jockeys just starting out my advice would be this: Stay focused. Remember why you decided to go into business, and accept criticism when you are presented with it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in over 20 years in the industry it’s that you’re not always right. If you’re not willing to shut up and listen, if just for a minute – you might as well just call it quits now and save yourself the hassle of going into business because by not listening and refusing to adapt, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Do your research as well. I find it’s a lot easier to learn from other people’s expensive mistakes than from your own.
If you’re a company that plans to have multiple disc jockeys working for you, treat your DJs with the respect and dignity. Keep in mind that they’re out there every weekend making money for you. Treat them well and they will do the same in return.
It takes grit to run your own business. Take pride in it, pick yourself up when you fall, dust yourself off and find a better way to do business.
What are some things couples should look for when looking for a DJ?
My advice for brides is to go with your gut. Call around until you find a DJ you feel comfortable with. Don’t base your decision on price alone either. Personality, professionalism, honesty, and the ability to listen and offer advice when asked are traits of an experienced DJ. Go with someone who gives you peace of mind. With a wedding you have enough going on. Worrying about the quality of your DJ’s performance should be the furthest thing from your mind on your wedding day.
Thank you Mark! If you’d like to learn more about Top Tier Entertainment, check out their Wedding Lovely Profile or visit their website.
Do you have any questions or comments for Mark? Leave them in the comments below!