Beija-flor Events had the pleasure of interviewing DJ Hevan and asked him all the things our readers want to know about wedding DJs!
He has been featured in the BBC Radio 1, The Source, The Boston Globe, Dirty Water TV, The Boston Herald and Stuff Magazine. He has also performed at various renowned events such as the Boston Red Sox 2013 World Series party at Fenway, the Diane Von Furstenberg’s fashion Show in NYC and numerous store openings and events like Diesel or Victoria Secret.
In his resume he has shared the stage with celebrities including Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, NAS, Mike Posner, Clinton Sparks, Fatman Scoop, Fabolous and The Drop Kick Murphys.
Crowds love him and you can read the endless five star reviews from newlyweds on his wedding wire page.
More recently he founded his own DJ company “Do it all Djs” and you can learn more about their services at their website.
Hi Evan, how are you doing? I would like to ask you to tell us a little but about your background. Did you come from a music upbringing and how did you get started with DJ’ing?
I have always been a big music buff and grew up listening and loving 90s music especially hip-hop, dance and R&B.
I was also exposed to a lot of Motown as a child and grew to love groups and artists like the Temptations, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Kool & The Gang, etc.
But, my introduction to DJ’ing happened when I was in high school. At that time, my older sister was dating a DJ. I already loved music, so when I saw him scratching on the turntables, I instantly knew – that’s what I want to do!
So, I got a job at Tower Records on Newbury St. where I saved up enough money to buy my first set of turntables. My sister ended up breaking up with her boyfriend, but fortunately she had picked up enough from him to show me how it was done.
She was my best friend and taught me the craft that ought to be my career!
My first event was a talent show in high school. There I battled another DJ. I ended up winning and was a crowd favorite. I was doing tricks and getting everyone going.
After that event, I started DJ’ing every opportunity I could get my hands on whether they were school dances, events at the rec center, sweet 16s, 5 year old living room B-Days, you name it!
While still in high school, I DJ’ed in a Hip Hop group at the then famous Lansdowne Street. One time, I was DJ’ing between acts at a club called AXIS when a promoter heard me and said: “I want you to do my club nights!” And so that is when I really started regularly playing in clubs. It was a blast! I had to be snuck in at times and had my non-drinking bracelet on because I was so young.
Later, I went to college at UMASS Amherst to study music business. While in college, I DJ’ed all sorts of gigs, from basement frats parties to 20,000 seat concerts and everything in between – that is how I really got my feet wet!
Once I graduated, I moved to NYC and continued DJ’ing at different clubs while also working for a record label. I had wanted to start my own record label, but after a while I came to realize that NYC was not for me. It made me miss Boston. Boston was home!
After, coming back to my city, I went back to DJ’ing in the clubs around here. During the days, I would work with kids. As I got older I wanted to change out of the nightlife scene and weddings became the next step on my career.
Do you have any particular DJs who have influenced your style?
Believe it or not, a lot of big DJs came out of my high school!
Radio DJs like Hustle Simmons, Gee Spin & Laz E Boy were definitely a big influence on me. When I was younger my DJ’ing style was more about scratching and so the DJs I used to follow were in that scene. As I got older I started to respect other styles of DJ’ing.
Some of the DJs I admire are DJ Jazzy Jeff (who was Prince of Bel Air’s DJ), DJ AM (who was an incredible mash up DJ) and DJ G-Squared (who is a club DJ from Boston). There are a lot of big names of people I like and learned from. Seeing different DJs and how they play, is really important to develop your own style. I used to go to a lot of events and watch other DJs. Nowadays, I am busier with my own schedule, so I resort to You Tube.
What are the top reasons brides and grooms should select a DJ instead of a band?
Any professional DJ or musician would tell you that music is going to make or break your event! If you have a DJ that knows how to read a crowd well and play the right music, that is your best bet!
In addition, if the couple is interested in hearing certain songs, more than likely they would want to hear them in their original form and not a cover – a DJ can deliver that!
DJs do not take breaks and are also less expensive then most wedding bands, and that can be a key factor for the couple.
Furthermore, a DJ is more discreet and takes away less attention from the couple. A typical wedding band is usually composed of many people and can keep your guests attention completely focused on their act.
What are the things couples should do to work better with their DJ?
The best and most important thing is communication with the DJ. You need a DJ that will be willing to be there for you up until the day of the wedding. I always tell my clients that they can call, email and/or meet to let me know of anything they need. I want to be able to provide them with what they want but I won’t be able to know what that is if they do not communicate with me.
I send all my clients a wedding questionnaire, which covers any and every aspect of the wedding. In the music section, I ask the bride and groom to let me know what songs they definitely want played, along with which ones they do not want to hear that day and then I will work with the crowd.
There’s also a section regarding announcements, which allows me to know the correct spelling of the attendees’, names for toast situations, introductions and/or speeches. Overall, communication is key!
How do you motivate a crowd that is not dancing?
Fortunately, this has never happened to me! I like to play music that people know and can sing the words to.
My number one thing is crowd reading. For instance, if a couple gives me a specific genre that they want played, and that is not working with their guests, I need the freedom to switch it to something that will get people going.
I can play something for the older folk, like Motown, and then switch into 90’s, 80s and Top 40. etc…If you want to please both older and younger crowds, you have to keep the style of music varied. If I am playing a recognizable Motown song, then the older folk most likely will be dancing and their energy will transfer down to the younger folk and that creates a situation where everyone will feed of everyone else’s energy.
What do you find the most challenging at a wedding?
Initially, when I was first starting out, I had some trouble pronouncing all the names correctly. Also, being on the mic was somewhat intimidating at the time, but nowadays, it comes naturally to me.
One thing that can be challenging is sometimes working with vendors that are not on the same page. When I am working at a wedding, I am there for the bride and groom, and I am a team player. I want that event to be the best it can be and it is frustrating when some vendors somehow do not understand that.
Do you work as an MC as well? And if so, how is your MC style?
I am very smooth and confident on the microphone but I do not get out there and steal the attention from the bride and groom. It is not my show!
I am extremely comfortable with the mic and will say anything that needs to be said, do introductions, make any announcements or say a few words to pump up the crowd if needed, but I’m not your grandparents’ Chicken Dance DJ. My music does the talking for me!
Do you have any showcases where our readers can hear you spin?
I have tons of live DJ footage and interviews on You Tube and I have live music recorded that anyone can hear. Also, when it’s not wedding season you can find me every week at different clubs, lounges or events. So follow me to check out where you can hear me spin at www.djhevan.com
If you weren’t working as a wedding DJ, what career would interest you?
I work with children during the school days as a guidance counselor. I have been working with kids for the last 15 years. The education field highly interests me. I have worked in different settings with children whether it was special needs, one on one, mentoring outside the school, or DJ lessons.
I lived in San Diego and when I was there I taught DJ’ing to 2nd and 3rd graders. When they weren’t running around the room dancing, I taught them how to scratch and blend and they thought it was really cool.
If you could choose to do a wedding anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
That is a hard question… So many places mmm…Maybe Brazil or Ibiza…they really party over there! Anywhere where there is a good crowd, count me in!
Tell us 3 things about yourself that are unrelated with DJ’ing?
My favorite thing to do when I have a night of is nothing! I binge watch Netflix and eat! I just finished watching all of Californication and Orange is the New Black.
Basketball is also a huge part of my life! I am in different leagues and play all the time. Since I was a kid I loved going to watch the Celtics. Basketball has always been big in my family. I remember that when I was really little my dad used to yell so much during the games that we were not allowed in the room…
I am a very proud uncle and my nephew is my world! He is a great basketball player at 12 years old. I taught him how to DJ and he already shows talent for it and has a great rhythm!