The Art of DJing: M R Entertainment

The closest I have ever got to observing this type of musical art form was back in 2013 when I used to go to The Elks Lodge out in Mena, Arkansas and hang out with a friend of mine while he would DJ for the bar. Truth be told, all I thought a DJ’s job entailed was to play songs from a pre-made setlist and then occasionally play song requests for people who had paid them beforehand. The in depth conversation I had with Mike Romero, owner of M R Entertainment, completely changed my entire view on what the art of a DJ actually looks like. I learned more about being a DJ in twenty minutes than I had in my entire life. Prepare to be educated by DJ Mike as he takes you on a tour guide focused on his art and what it means to be a DJ in the music industry. Listen up!

 1.) Debunk the myths and assumptions that are associated around being a DJ.
"The biggest [myth] is that people think DJing is a lot easier than it is. A lot of people think that being a DJ is as simple as pressing play on a song. I mean if you really want to water it down, it can be misconstrued that way. It's so much more than that. You have to read the crowd, know what songs you're playing, know what songs are generally going to work and know what songs are going to work off of [the songs you previously played]. [In my head I am thinking,] 'If I play song A and it goes over well, then I have to know what songs are going to match with that and I have to know what songs are going to match with [those other] songs.' I essentially have to build an entire playlist more or less on the fly as I DJ. [DJing] weddings are a little bit different [because] we coordinate with the client and check and see what kind of music they like. There is a lot more work behind the scenes than people think there is as far as downloading the music, getting it all organized and beat matching when mixing [songs]."
  
 2.) What influenced you towards the career path of becoming a DJ and is this your sole creative outlet?
"I am not artistic in any other way. I can't draw a straight line with a ruler. Music is my outlet. [At first,] I got a job as a security guard at a karaoke bar and then slowly started doing weekday karaoke while mixing in between songs. [I was] kind of just making my way through it [due to] not really having any experience. The old entertainment manager for 3 different bars on Dickson, Jason Deitsch, came to me one night and said, 'Hey, you have raw talent. I think you could do well. I need a DJ full-time. Do you want the job?' I [thought] about it for a couple of weeks and finally [Jason] said, 'Look, I'll teach you anything else you need to know, but you have the ability to do it. If you want the job, I need to know.' I rolled the dice and said, 'Yes.' [Later on,] I met Sonja Daniel and she very firmly guided me towards us opening the business."
  
 3.) What advice would you give someone who wanted to break into the DJ entertainment industry?
"The big one: Gear does not equal talent. Buy[ing] the latest and greatest isn't going to make you any better. Be patient. There's not a fast track to being good at DJing. Ask a lot of questions. I was really scared in the beginning to ask questions because I didn't want to look at it like I was an idiot. Luckily, I had a really good mentor and Jason, [who] got me the job [I have today]. Find somebody that is willing to give you advice. There are a lot of DJs out there that are very stingy with their advice because they came up [thinking,] 'Well nobody taught me, so I'm not going to teach anybody.' I'm not that type of person. If somebody has a DJ question, come ask me. I will do my best to answer it. There is not really a right or wrong way to DJ. Everybody is going to have a little bit of a different style. Don't feel pressured into following somebody else's footsteps. Listen to a lot of different DJs [to] find styles that you enjoy and sound good. [After you discover your style,] then start to try to emulate them."
 4.) Describe how you perform your art as a DJ.
"Each situation is a little bit different. For [most] bars or clubs, you walk in with your music and everything is set up [with a] computer and [a] DJ board. All of it is provided. It makes it real nice. [While DJing at bars/clubs], I figure out [how] I am going to start the night [playing music] and I go off of the enthusiasm and reactions [of the crowd as it builds]. Every crowd is going to be different. As far as setting up for weddings, my main goal is to be as minimalistic as possible. It's not about me. It's about [the couple getting married]. I am meant to fade into the background. I am meant to be [as] invisible as I can be. I always arrive a few hours early and find where I'm going to set up. [After arriving, I] get set up, sound check everything to make sure it sounds good and then troubleshoot any problems I have from there. [The problems I deal with aren't] a ton usually."

 5.) What pushed you in the direction of creating your own company and how did it all start?
"Sonja played a huge factor in it. I honestly probably wouldn't have the business if it weren't for her. I had a friend of a friend reach out [to] somebody [that] they knew [were] getting married [and also] needed a DJ. I reached out to the [couple] and said, 'Look, I am brand new at weddings. I've DJed on Dickson for a little bit, but I've never done a wedding. I will understand if you want someone who has [more] experience. It's not going to hurt my feelings at all.' They were super chill. It was a biker wedding and they were all super laid back. [This couple] has been some of my biggest advocates as my business has grown. They've always pushed for me and [have] recommended me to anybody they [could]. [My business began after the] first wedding we did. It obviously went well. [After] I got asked to do a couple of more events, Sonja told me, 'There's an opportunity here to run a side business or turn it into an [actual] business.' I was super nervous about it. Sonja and I talked about it and she said, 'Well just in case something goes wrong, we should protect our assets.' Nothing has gone wrong. We haven't had any issues. We filed for LLC in 2019 and we've grown each year." 

 6.) What have been the most challenging and enjoyable aspects of being a DJ?
"The most challenging aspect is finding music that works. Just because a song works on the radio doesn't necessarily mean it's going to work in a club or wedding setting. There's definitely been a learning curve with weddings because so many people have such a stigma about a wedding [and think] it has to go a certain way. I try to tell everyone that I talk to that [it doesn't have to be that way]. [Also,] learning the different styles of blending and mixing [can be challenging]. It can't be as simple as beat matching and fading in and out. There's also learning scratching, word juggling, and all [the] other craziness. A lot of this stuff [are] technical skill[s] that other DJs respect, but a crowd doesn't necessarily really care about. 
I enjoy the aspect of the 'Oh shit!' moment that [happens] when you drop a song that people [have] forgotten about. People knew [the song and] enjoyed [it] when it came out, [but] then 10 years [go] by and [they forget]. When you play [these songs, the crowd's reaction] is 'Oh shit! I forgot about this song!' [I enjoy] the fact that I am able to cultivate a setting where people can forget about the bills they have to pay or the troubles of the world and [just] lose themselves. It's easy to just turn on the radio and jam to the whole song versus mixing it with something else. [I like] creating that moment for them." 
Logo for M R Entertainment

To get in contact with Mike Romero or to book your next event with M R Entertainment, please visit their main website, Facebook, Instagram, email at mrentertainmentevents@gmail.com, or call 479-957-0923.

Video Link on Instagram: 
2/5/21 @ BIG on Dickson Str.- Mike Romero: M R Entertainment 
https://www.instagram.com/p/CK9WmquB5St/  

To find someone truly passionate about what they do is a rarity. Everything is not what it seems and no art is as easy as it appears. It takes effort and hard work to create the type of “brain drain” the public desires. Never forget about the artists who CHOOSE to create their art. They do it for a reason: happiness. Continue to find the “brain drain” that unlocks your sense of what happiness means to you.

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