It’s easy to assume that the youngest people in a profession should be relegated to being perpetual students, always playing the role of apprentice to their older colleagues. But more often than not it’s the teachers who need to be taught and we all can learn so much from our younger counterparts. Such is the case with 20 year-old Brent Schmidt from Cleveland, Ohio who has packed more DJing and special event lighting into his years than many DJs twice his age. As one of the busy DJs on the roster at Cleveland Music Group, Brent hosts many special events and as a member of the CMG staff, is also called on to design and set up lighting for events as well. Meet DJ Brent!
CHAUVET DJ: How did you get started DJing?
I started DJ’ing about 8 years ago (12 years old). I started helping my brother when he first started DJ’ing. I would go to gigs and carry gear in and plug stuff in. I had no idea what an XLR cable was or what 1/4 cables were. (But I do now!) It wasn’t until I was in high school that I started working on my own and buying my own sound and lighting gear. I have to give my brother all the credit for getting me involved in DJ’ing. Now, we do some jobs together and it brings back all the fun memories we had back in the day. And hey, who doesn’t love spending a night with your brother and have some bonding time! I currently work at Cleveland Music Group formerly Jerry Bruno Productions as a DJ, lighting technician and also their talent coordinator in their day to day operations. Working with Scott Jones (President & Owner), in the office and on jobs has made me a better DJ, MC and also a business person in the entertainment industry. The amount of information I gained from him, well lets just say I could write a novel on the information. I have to say it’s a blessing in disguise working with Scott and all the DJ’s involved with CMG.
CDJ: How would you describe a DJ’s role at a special event?
I would describe a DJ’s role at a special event as a stage manager. For those theatre performers, you know that the stage manager is in charge of everything and anything that happens on stage, off stage and in the house. This goes the same for the DJ. I take this same approach for every wedding and event I DJ. I need to make sure that the other vendors are in the right place. Talking with the photographers/videographers and informing them when certain events will take place so that they can capture those special moments. Knowing where certain people are, keeping events on time and informing the clients of where they need to be will make you a true professional.
CDJ: How do you think lighting effects a party?
Lighting is like food. When you go to a party, there is some kind of food present. This same analogy explains how important lighting can be to a party. If there is no food at a party, the party is lame. Plain and simple. I love food, and if I go to a party without it, well then it’s a lame party. I must say, lighting is something that attracts the eye, grabs the attention of guests and makes them want to dance. Uplighting is a great effect to enhance the atmosphere of the party. Moving lights and wash lights combine together to create a story to the song that is playing. We humans are more visually entertained then we are auditory. If we hear an EDM song with no lighting, it’s like no food at a party. If we have lighting mixed in with our EDM song, then not only are we listening to the song, we are experiencing the visual emotion. This is why I love lighting! Express emotion through color! Maybe that’s why I love Blue Man Group so much. (That’s a whole other story.)
CDJ: What CHAUVET DJ products do you use?
I’ve used so many fixtures over the years in so many applications and ways it’ll be hard to remember them all!
Chauvet DJ Geyser
Chauvet DJ Slim par 56 & 64s
Chauvet DJ Intimidators Spot LED 150s & 350s
Chauvet DJ Freedom Par Quad-4
Chauvet DJ Intimidator Wave IRC
CHAUVET DJ EZ Wedge Tri
Obey 70 DMX Controller
Obey 3 DMX Controller
CHAUVET DJ Mini 4Bar 2.0
CHAUVET DJ COLORpalette
CHAUVET DJ Core 3×1
CHAUVET DJ SlimPAR Tri 7 IRC
CHAUVET DJ SlimPAR Pro VW
CHAUVET DJ SlimPAR Pro RGBA
CHAUVET DJ FlareCON Air
CHAUVET DJ Nimbus
CHAUVET DJ Freedom Strips Mini Quad
CHAUVET DJ Freedom Par Quad-5
CDJ: What advice would you give other Djs who are new to lighting but want to find out more about it?
Ask questions! Watch videos online. Do your research. Gain as much information as you can from professionals in the lighting industry. Every time I meet someone in the lighting industry, I start to pick their brain and soak up all the information that they are giving to me. Don’t be afraid to ask! All they can say is no! There are so many professionals I turn to when I have a question or want a professional opinion on something. Network with other professionals either in your local area, or use social media.
See DJ Brent’s video using Freedom Par Quad 4’s and FlareCON Air at a recent holiday wedding: http://chauvetdjblog.com/flarecon-freedoms-and-fun-with-cleveland-music-groups-dj-brent-schmidt/