Hans Daniels is the founder and CEO of Nice Entertainment. We felt it'd be pretty cool if he sat down for a few minutes and shared a little about himself and how he got into this business.
My wife, Angela, and I have two boys Lochlan, 4, and Jett, 2.
When did you move to Atlanta?
I moved to Atlanta in 1999.
Highlight your musical background and successes:
I started playing the alto sax in middle school and started playing guitar, writing songs and singing everyday in by bedroom during high school. I had a few rock bands that I spent A LOT OF TIME playing with and we toured a little bit after high school.
In 2007, I started DJing weddings as a solo DJ. aka "DJ Hans Solo," and in 2011 expanded to Nice Guys DJ and started a DJ school, keeping the best students to join my team. In 2012, I got my 15 minutes of fame in a Disney musical called "Let it Shine" as a rapper named Phantom (I still think I won that battle). The next year I was featured in The Washington Post for DJing in a church and (not featured, but totally should've been) created a "Dubstep for Kids" album, including a remix of "Wheels on the Bus."
In 2014, Nice hit the 200 events-per-year mark and focused on mainly weddings, expanding to Charleston the next year with a feature in Jezebel Magazine of "One to Watch" in our pocket. Currently, we have a team of 30 in the Nice Family that includes DJ's, Musicians, Photo Booth attendants, Videographers, marketing team and administrative staff.
How did you get into DJing?
I was introduced to the DJ world by my drummer who took me to the Winter Music Conference in Miami. There I witnessed one single DJ making 50,000 people go bonkers. The energy was NOT focused on the stage like a rock show, but focused in the middle of the dance floor. This was incredible to me. The DJ was mixing these tracks, telling a story and people danced non-stop for hours.
The moment I knew I wanted to be a DJ - or at least make the music the DJ was playing - was when I leaned over the DJ booth and watched Carl Cox at Nikki Beach DJ with four turntables. As soon as I got back, I focused mainly on creating electronic dance music. I spent every waking moment creating beats, making bass lines, and sculpting synth sounds on a program called Reason 1.0.
I got my first gig by telling the club owner I was a DJ - he told me I could play next Saturday, giving me one week to really learn how to DJ. After than, I earned residency in a few clubs and played weekly in Atlanta.
I got married in 2007 and was introduced to the wedding world. I hired a club DJ for my wedding and saw there was a huge need for a special kind of DJ -- one that was neither cheesy nor shady.
Not to mention the energy is amazing. Everyone's a little nervous during the ceremony and then they all let loose at the reception and it's generally an awesome celebration. Plus, everyone at weddings are well dressed and classy, which fits my personality better than a smokey club. And while it may not be 50,000 people, getting 150 people going for it and dancing like they never have before is an amazing feeling.
You favorite moment in a wedding?
Well, I'll give you two -- one is my own.
My favorite moment at my wedding was when my bride-to-be walked in. We did not do a first look and I was very intentional about seeing her "for the first time" when she walked down the aisle. I was so excited to marry this girl! We were getting married in the front lawn of her house in Johns Creek with around 200 guests when I saw her come out of the house - it was pretty intense! Just the excitement, the buildup, the pressure -- my head was literally in the clouds. Then, when the DJ played the "Love Shack" as she started down the aisle, that dreamy state quickly snapped back to reality. We both were in shock and embarrassed. The DJ switched the track to "Canon in D," she came down the aisle and I married the love of my life.
I've got many favorite moments of weddings I've DJ'd. The first one that comes to mind was when the bride and groom had an afterparty planned in a room adjacent to the reception room. It was late, about midnight, and they did the sparkler exit. After running through the sparklers, they looked at their guests and told them: "For those of you who want to go to the after party, follow us back in. Everyone that has to get home, we love you - thank you for coming." Boom. When the guests came back in they were pumped! We played the wildest music - the dance floor was packed - we had lasers, crazy lights and a smoke machine that set the fire alarm off (which only made people crazier!). It was definitely a night I'll never forget.
Your favorite moment as a DJ?
Playing on the main stage at North Point Community Church was pretty incredible. There were about 20,000 people that saw me DJ in-person, and it was live streaming online around the world.
Also, each night at any event we do, there's a moment that I call the "tipping point." Something amazing happens that people will remember for the rest of their lives. The groom could stand up on the DJ table, the bride could rap "Baby Got Back," or it could be as simple as everybody in the room is jumping in unison. It's not planned, it's not rehearsed. I love that point.
What keeps you going in this industry?
Training my team the art of mixing and the science of reading the crowd. I have learned a lot during the years I've been DJing and I want to share that with my team.
What sets you apart in this industry?
Our systematic approach to the wedding entertainment planning process is amazing. The music selection software and personal service to help ensure the bride/groom's day is exactly how they envisioned, we believe, is unmatched in the wedding industry. When it comes to the actual dancing portion of the night, we feel that people are intelligent and don't need to be told how to dance to every song. We mix the songs smoothly, building the energy with music and using the mic only when appropriate. We're the best at reading the crowd, picking up on subtle body language, and knowing when to switch it up.
Your favorite songs so far this year?
CAN'T STOP THE FEELING!, Cake by the Ocean, My House
Where you see Nice Entertainment going in the next five years?
I'd like to extend our Nice family in five more cities - so we can introduce our style of weddings to brides and grooms.
What you want to say to potential brides and grooms?
Our DJ service isn't for everyone. If you're looking for a cheesy, gameshow-style entertainer, then we're probably not going to be a good fit.
If you're looking for a classy event that crescendos into a great dance party with memories that last a lifetime - then reach out to us - we'd love to be a part of your BIG day!