We had the good fortune of connecting with Alex Updike and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alex, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
This is a great question for anyone in the wedding or event industry like me because there is SO MUCH that goes on behind the scenes that most people aren’t aware of, especially for a DJ because most people see us as the “party starter” but aren’t aware of the fact that playing music is only a small part of what we do. In fact, by the time we hit play on that first song, a good DJ has already done most of the work necessary to ensure that the day is successful.
So if there is one thing that people outside of the wedding/event DJ space aren’t aware of, it’s probably how much work goes into each event apart from the actual playing of music. From answering emails ALL DAY, to doing site visits, to a planning meeting with the client, to prepping the music for the big day, there is a ton of work that goes on behind the scenes that most people aren’t aware of.
Beyond that, there is all the behind the scenes work that goes into the general running of a business. I am constantly having to think about my marketing and how I’m going to get in front of potential clients; my branding and how people are perceiving me; my pricing and if it accurately reflects my value in relation to the current market and a myriad of other things that can make or break a small business as it attempts to grow. I am constantly striving to separate myself from other DJs around me and offer those that choose to work with me a unique experience that personally reflects their musical taste and what they want their wedding or event to sound like.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Oddly enough, I think part of the reason I got to where I am today is because I DIDN’T know what I was doing when I started. Doing anything creative is about taking chances and breaking rules, but often times we still get stuck with the thought of “this is how I should be doing it.” And DJing is no different! However, when I first started, I was so clueless that I didn’t even know what the rules were, so I kind of created my own idea and built on that. Fast forward to now, where I mostly exist in the wedding and private event space, and I think breaking the “rules” is what sets me and my company apart; we whole-heartedly reject the idea that music has a way it “should be done”, especially when it comes to weddings. Music is enjoyed on an emotional level, and the way your wedding sounds should draw an emotional reaction from you and your guests, from the song you choose to walk down the aisle to all the way to the song you end your night on. Music should create an emotional reaction, whether that’s tears, laughter, or (my personal favorite) pure joy jumping up and down on the dance floor.
And that is both what I’m most excited about and what sets me and my company apart; we don’t believe in “how it should be” but rather believe in “what you want it to be.” My least favorite question to hear from the people I work with is “Is this an OK song to choose here?” My response is always that “It is if that’s what you want it to be!” We do mainly weddings, and over the last generation, the idea of a “normal wedding” has not only changed, it’s gone completely out the window. Weddings aren’t so much about the formalities and the pomp and circumstance any more; they are much more about having an amazing party with your family and friends. I understand that and make sure it is reflected in how I work with my couples and create the soundtrack for their big day. I’m not going to play the YMCA or the Chicken Dance; I’m going to create a private club experience that is uniquely catered to what you and your guests are going to party to all night!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well I am based out of Palm Springs, but I get a LOT of clients (both weddings and events) coming down here from the city, so here is some stuff you’ve got to check out if you’re coming to the Palm Springs area!
Places to eat:
– Bill’s (best pizza in the whole Coachella Valley)
– Lulus (in the heart of downtown Palm Springs and a hot spot for both tourists and locals)
– Boy’s Hamburgers (only a slight upgrade from “hole-in-the-wall” but it is, without a doubt, the best burger in the whole Valley)
– El Jefe (located inside the iconic Saguaro Hotel)
Places to go:
– The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
– El Paseo (high-end shopping)
– Painted Canyon Hiking Trail
– Bart Lounge (cool combo of art, drinks, and entertainment)
– Local theaters such as Desert TheatreWorks or Palm Canyon Theater
– Visit the giant Marilyn Monroe statue
– Visit downtown Palm Springs
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d love to shoutout my parents for letting me live at home while I was just getting started and not making “real adult” level money.
I’d also love to shout out other DJs like Trevor Worden, Cameron Reeve, and Erick Miner who have helped me understand the mobile DJ space better and better throughout the years. I knew NOTHING when I started and other DJs such as these guys have helped me tremendously.
Finally I have to shout out Kaleigh Wiese, a branding expert and overall good person who has helped me level up along my journey!
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