Jason Cathcart is the Head DJ and owner of Dance Shout Productions. He has been a DJ for over 20 years, and has been involved with DJing at weddings since 1998. Jason’s goal is to bring a high-energy atmosphere and make sure that your guests dance all night and shout that they want more when it is time to shut the party down.
Click on the video to check out my interview with Jason! The transcript is available below the video.
Anna: How many weddings and events do you typically do per year?
Jason: I personally DJ between 20-30 weddings a year, but the Dance Shout team is involved with 50-60 weddings each year. I stay in touch with every couple our company is privileged to work with to ensure that each wedding gets a personal experience and the benefit of my experience, and I trust my team to pull off the vision we build together.
Anna: What do you typically bring for a wedding in terms of lighting, banners, etc.?
Jason: Every wedding is a little different, but we definitely make sure that we bring the party! We have a lot of options available and we will work with our clients to pull off whatever they envision for their wedding. We could be bringing a big sound system, intelligent programmed lighting effects, low lying fog, décor lighting, or custom designed features like monogram lighting. One thing you will never see at any of our weddings though is a 6 foot banner on the front of our table with the Dance Shout logo on it.
Anna: How far in advance do the bride and groom typically have to book you?
Jason: I always encourage our clients to book us as early in their planning process as possible. We have a limited amount of availability and prime dates during the spring, summer, and fall are often booking 12 to 18 months or more in advance. Occasionally we can accommodate a client who is planning a wedding on a shorter time schedule, but it’s the worst when a client is determined to have Dance Shout at their wedding and I have to tell them we are already completely booked for their date.
Anna: Do you act as the Emcee/MC of the reception and make all of the announcements?
Jason: In the United States it is becoming the norm for a couple to hire a professional MC for their wedding, and often the DJ does double duty and acts as the MC. Here in Canada it is still normal for a couple to have a friend or family member act as the MC for their reception. I try to make that MC’s job as easy as possible by having them handle just the formal program portion of the evening, and personally taking over after the speeches and toasts have been completed. I think it makes their evening a bit more relaxed.
Anna: What do you do to motivate the crowd if no one is dancing?
Jason: No one dancing… what is that? Nobody ever wants to be the first person to walk on to an otherwise empty dance floor and start things off. I can’t give you all my secrets, but I can tell you that I engineer the way I open the dance floor at the beginning of a wedding to make sure that guests want to get up out of their chairs and join in the dancing. From there it is a combination of keeping the energy levels up and paying attention to the ebbs and flows of the room to ensure that I keep the dance floor as full as possible.
Anna: What if something happens to you and you can’t make it to the wedding?
Jason: Knock on wood, but in 20 years as a DJ, I am proud to say I have never missed an event I was scheduled for. But I can’t take that for granted, so we have a system in place amongst our team and with some like-minded friendly competitors to ensure that no client ever goes without a DJ.
Anna: How involved can the bride and groom be in selecting music for their event? Can there be a “do not play” list? Do you take requests from guests?
Jason: I always tell the couples I meet with that the do not play list is the most important list they can give me. Knowing what music not to play before a wedding is probably more important than any requests a client might want to make for the dance floor. I do always encourage our clients to give me a request list for the dance, and we break that into a list of must plays and a list of music that would be nice to hear, but we place limits on those lists, and obviously the must play list is shorter than the other lists. The reason why I limit the lists our clients can give us is because there is a limited amount of time available for dancing at each wedding and it is important to make sure that we involve every guest in the fun. That means we need to have space to take requests from guests and space to feel the vibe of the room. Music is a living, moving thing, and so we have to give it space and let it grow for it to be the best it can be.