At Altared Weddings & Events, we put our all into bringing together the best and brightest team of DJs and event entertainment professionals in all of Austin. In fact, we've got some top-tier national talent on our team as well. Before joining Altared seven years ago this October, David Schacherl spent his entire adult life (and a good chunk of his adolescence) making magic in DJ booths at nightclubs all over the United States, and we're lucky to have him here in our hometown.
When you learn that David is 34 years old and has been DJing for 22 years, the math might sound a little fuzzy, but it all adds up when you hear his origin story. We sat down with the seasoned pro (and brand new dad!) recently for a chat about his tricks of the trade, his very first turntable, and what's so special about working with Altared. Scroll on and listen in!
You started DJing at age 12. How exactly did that happen?
My parents opened their first nightclub in 1978. It was a full-on disco era thing at first, and they stayed with it until the 1990s. I was 12 when one of their business partners who was a DJ at one of their nightclubs gave me a pair of turntables for a Christmas present. That set me on my path. I was raised on r&b, funk, disco, new wave, all of it. My parents built the house I was raised in, and their specific intention in building that home was to entertain people. Their Halloween party was a big annual blowout -- they had a lot of friends who were DJs who would take turns with the music, and one was the director for the performing arts center at UT, so they'd raid the prop closet and have all these incredible decorations.
My parents were never surprised when my brother and I threw house parties whenever they left town. They taught us how! There was this obtuse triangle table that we rearranged the wrong way after a party, and our mom noticed and we were pretty much busted. They were like, "You did a great job, but you're grounded for the next month."
OK, fast-forward to today: What's your favorite part of the job?
I can name plenty of things that are much worse than playing music for people for a living. (laughs) Music's always been a passion of mine from a very young age, and it's great to be able to share that with folks. My work week is essentially Friday-Saturday, which is really agreeable for us with two new twins at home!
Music is such a personal thing for me, and for pretty much everyone. It's rare that I encounter someone who's like, "I don't really care about music." Even if they do say that, it doesn't diminish the magic of seeing them on the dance floor, dancing and having a great time or having an intimate moment with somebody. It's such a powerful mode, inspiring emotions and affecting people.
What's something people might be surprised to learn about the world of DJing?
In this world of immediacy and everything on demand, sometimes people can view (a DJ) as something of servant, and at the same time, the culture has a little bit of a reputation for not accepting requests. So people might make a point of coming off as either aggressive or meek (when they make a request) because they feel like the DJ won't accept it any other way. For DJs, wedding guests, clubgoers, and really all of us, it's important to remember that we're all people, and we can interact even if we're strangers. I'm happy to grant people's requests, and I always want to be approachable and accommodating, especially on a special occasion when it really means something to people.
At weddings, though, people more or less are on their better behavior, so they're often really polite. While I have strong opinions about music, this is their experience, and I'm here for them. It's a two-way street. We don't have to be smug or self-entitled. (Our) livelihood depends on (what we do on the job and how we interact with people), so it's good to be good to each other.
Is there a magic bullet song you always go to if the dance floor's a little cool to the touch? Does it vary by event type or crowd type, or is there one that just always works, like presto change-o?
It's not one particular one -- it's one for each moment. To get the dance floor going, maybe a pop hit -- like the two biggest ones to start any dance floor after the pageantry is over and it's party time are Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling" and Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk." If I'm not feeling that vibe, James Brown's "I Feel Good" is another great starter.
If the energy is waning after we've been hitting it hard with lots of dance music, something slow and classic to get some of the older or more reserved folks out of their seats is Elvis Presley's "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" or "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers. Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" is another great one for that. Two little slow songs for a partner dance, and then I can bring it back up with something mid-tempo and universal, like The Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" or "Brickhouse" by The Commodores.
What makes Altared different from other event rental and entertainment brands?
Altared has always been a family business, from its original owners to, now, Scott and Shelly and their sons Dillon and Jared, and we try to keep it friendly and familial rather than just a business. There's a more personal, human, family touch to it. That really sets us apart from the average business.
Want to put the Altared family to work and make your big day one to remember? Get in touch today and we'll put together a custom package to keep your guests talking about an event they'll never forget.