How many photographers do you need to hire to shoot your wedding? Just one, but of course your wedding planning doesn’t end there. You need a whole team to make your event happen! Thankfully here in Pittsburgh there is no shortage of fantastic individuals and businesses who excel at creating extraordinary celebrations. Over the next few months, I’m going to feature some of those Pittsburgh wedding vendors in a series of feature articles.
First up, DJ Dave Kleba of MobileMix Entertainment.
As Dave explains below, DJs do a lot more than many people realize! Also, you might not realize that DJs have the potential to make a photographer’s job very easy, or very difficult. A competent, experienced DJ will ensure that the photographers (not to mention the bride and groom – I have heard a DJ announce the father-daughter dance without realizing the bride had stepped out) are present and ready before beginning any reception events. (Yes – sometimes we have to go to the bathroom!)
I’ve had the pleasure of working with DJ Dave and am happy to recommend his services!
How long have you lived in the Pittsburgh area?
I moved to Pittsburgh in 2001 after finishing up graduate school and just love this city! I was born and raised approximately 65 miles east of Pittsburgh in Indiana, PA.
How did you get started as a DJ?
I began mixing music around the age of 16 after landing a job in a music store (before music stores became extinct). My first “gig” was my neighbor’s Sweet 16 birthday party. I was 17 and a senior in high school. Who knew it would be the start of something much bigger?!?
Would your teenage self be surprised to hear you’re a wedding DJ?
I don’t think so…. I have always been passionate about music, even as a child. To me, a wedding DJ is a true test of music creativity. Where else will you have such a diverse crowd from all different age groups under one roof? The skill and art is creating an atmosphere that all guests can enjoy through the tools of music and being a professional emcee. It is truly a ton of fun!
How has your approach to being a DJ changed since your first year?
Wow, I have evolved tremendously from years of experience of performing and DJing at events, but stay true to my core values and exceptional customer service. Every year I tweak my techniques, learn a little more from others and refine my delivery. To me, mediocrity and average is boring. I truly strive to make the events I DJ memorable and fun in every way.
Do you DJ anywhere besides weddings, events, parties, etc?
I have a very active and young family, so I have given up the days of club style events that bring me home at 3am! I do some promo work for some local Pittsburgh companies, but weddings are my specialty.
What’s the most common misconception people have about the role of a wedding DJ?
Most people think DJ’s just play music. However, our involvement stems much deeper into the success of an event and exceeds far beyond music alone. Much of the overall flow and pulse that is felt from a wedding is created, not “played.” One cannot just play any song at any time and expect people to remain on the dance floor. Being a professional and exceptional disc jockey is an art that is compounded from passion, experience, and creativity. I believe that consumers need to differentiate between the “button-pushers” and the professionals for the utmost success of their event.
What kinds of challenges do venue setups create for you (high ceilings, strangely shaped rooms) and how do you tackle these challenges?
Sometimes the more unique the room, the more challenging sound can be within the room. Rooms with poor sound dampening such as hard stone walls, hard floors and high ceilings can create the reflection of sound within the room. To our ears, it sounds like the music and announcements are out of sync. The sound clarity of anyone using a microphone in these environments can be poor. Luckily, there are ways to overcome those challenges. I have been using a high-end Bose sound system now for years and absolutely love it – specifically because of its sound quality in acoustically challenging venues. The technology I utilize is completely different from a traditional speaker setup – mine allows sound to project evenly throughout the room. This produces very little reflection of sound waves making it very pleasing to the ear. In some circumstances where multiple rooms are used for an event, I may need to link wirelessly to that room, balcony or cocktail area.
Your goal as DJ is to create a great experience for brides, grooms and guests in the here and now, while the photographer’s focus is what will make great photos. Many people may not realize that DJs can have a significant impact on how well the photographer can do their job! How do you approach working with photographers (or videographers)?
Any vendor working for a client is on the same team. My role as a DJ may include helping to generate the smiling faces, the energy within a room and the laughter and joy felt throughout the night…not to mention all of those incredible dancing shots captured during the night. Those moments will be captured by photographers (and videographers) far beyond the memories of every song I played that evening. Often we remember the overall experience. My goal is to help create that experience while allowing photographers and videographers to help you relive them.
What does your setup look like?
My setup is sleek and of a small footprint. I do not possess the traditional bulky speakers and crazy lighting trees. Simple, powerful, elegant and effective is how I would describe it. I often use the very popular uplighting elective as well to create and enhance the décor of a room or our setup.
Do you offer additional services (photography, video, uplighting)?
I’m very skilled in our optional services of room uplighting, monograms and sound/event planning for ceremonies. I will leave video, photobooths and photography to the other pros while I concentrate on perfecting, growing and improving my many facets of being a disc jockey, which is my specialty.
Favorite “last song”?
I usually mix a number of songs for the last encore for the evening. The song I choose is really dependent my crowd and couple. I want to keep everyone from all age groups on the floor. Did you know you can mix “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond into “Wake Me Up” by Avicii?
First dance song when you got married?
“Heaven” (candle light remix) by DJ Sammy & Yanou. It’s a piano and vocal version of a song performed originally by Bryan Adams.
First concert you attended?
Hootie and the Blowfish (now just Darius Ruker) It cost $5.00 to go to when I was 14. I’ve been to a ton of concerts ranging from Elton John to Tiesto to Kenny Chesney, but that was my first!
PF Changs; DiPietro’s in West View.
DJ Dave Kleba, Mobile Mix Entertainment
Christina Montemurro Photography specializes in photographing Pittsburgh weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs. Using a photojournalistic approach, Christina provides extraordinary attention to detail and customer service. Contact Christina now to check availability for your engagement session, wedding, bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. Christina has been rated among top Pittsburgh wedding photographers. You can read reviews by Christina’s past brides and grooms here and here.
Christina is also available to shoot weddings in Bucks County, including Doylestown, Chalfont, New Hope, Yardley, Newtown, Warminster, Warrington, Bedminster and Pipersville.