Van started DJing almost 20 years ago almost by accident – he would fill in so his friend (a local DJ) could take bathroom breaks at a local club, and fell in love with the craft. A few weeks later he bought some equipment, started practicing, and ended up DJing a parties for friends. When he moved to Northern VA, he sadly parted with his equipment, thinking that was end of his DJ career as he moved into an full-time office career. A few years later, looking to make some extra money, he ended up coming back to DJing and joined the MyDeejay team and we are happy to have him! We asked Van to share his feelings about being a DJ – this is what he had to say:
What is your relationship with music? What does it mean to you?
“I learned to play piano at age five, then picked up saxophone at 9 years old and played in concert band through 10th grade. I also played the snare drum during the same period, and continued with percussion in the high school marching band. I’ve always had a love for rhythm and had been rapping since I was 9, and I started my first hip hop group sophmore year of high school. That continued through college and morphed into a live rap/funk/rock fusion band named Funkmnkyz, from 2005-2015. I still find time to be creative musically, even outside of DJing, and still write lyrics and produce samples and synth-based music every week. Music has always been a great escape from the stress of life. Whether playing my saxophone during my years in concert band, or now spinning a DJ set, whether for fun at home or at an event, it’s a great release.”
What do you enjoy about being a wedding DJ?
“The last thing I expected to be doing in life was DJing weddings, as a hip-hop artist I thought it would be cheesy. Little did I know, DJing music for weddings and corporate events was way more interesting and engaging than playing 90 bpm hip-hop mixes for college kids the entire night – I have to bring the entirety of my music knowledge into every show and make it special. Weddings are the best audiences to DJ, simply because you never know what to expect – people love to get down if you give them the right music and the right atmosphere to cut loose.”
What’s your favorite kind of couple/crowd to work with?
“I love any crowd that wants to dance, but my favorites are always comprised of different age groups and a variety of musical tastes. I especially enjoy playing classics that get everyone on the floor and then transitioning into newer music that not only keeps the younger guests moving, but also the older as well. Of course every DJ wants an energetic crowd that’s ready to get on the floor and dance!”
What’s the best one or two pieces of advice you give to couples?
“Be yourself when selecting your music playlist – even if the song isn’t something to dance to, but you enjoy, put it on the list. It will give the DJ a better perspective on your tastes, and allow them to use their expertise to flesh out an even more amazing playlist overall.”
What are some fun or interesting things about you that couples might want to know?
“My hobbies include making obscure DJ mashups, playing basketball and soccer with my kids, and writing hip-hop lyrics and music. By day, I live the exciting life of a Banking Compliance Specialist, so DJing is the “fun side” of my career. I also love studying music theory, especially as it relates to jazz and fusion. I’ve been married to my wife Allyson since 2003, and we have an 8 year old son and 3 year old daughter and love to travel!”