Music plays a key role in many important moments of our lives. Frank Gallardo, professionally known as DJ Frank G, with the Exclusive DJ Company, has shared his love of music and for almost 20 years, entertaining people at a variety of events including house parties, weddings, clubs, birthdays, family reunions and corporate events.
DJ Frank G was in a break dance crew in the early 1980s where his love for music grew. As he was following the music and saw there were DJs that would play a continuous mix and add their own spin to a record, it intrigued him.
“When I found out that was the art of a DJ, I fell in love with that,” said Gallardo. “The fact that they provided music for dancing and entertainment was a bonus.”
In 1987 at a high school party, Gallardo and other inspiring DJs pieced together a system with speakers, turntables and a mixer to entertain the party goers. This was his first gig which led to many more and the creation of his own business. His goal after high school was to become a radio DJ. After spending some time at Delta College in Broadcast Journalism he got an opportunity to work for KWIN radio. He spent about three years with KWIN and in order for promotion as a radio DJ he would have to move to a bigger market. However, he was starting a family and decided to pursue other career options as well as DJ-ing at local clubs, which led to other events as well as weddings.
As DJ Frank G started making a name for himself and people started requesting his services on a regular basis, in 2001 he decided to open his own business: The Exclusive DJ Company.
“The wedding industry for me is what I needed to get into in order to be making it as a DJ,” added Gallardo. “All the small gigs don’t really pay the bills. It is more weddings and other corporate gigs where the financial stability is at, in this region anyway.”
In the beginning he was the sole employee and would travel wherever he needed to from Fresno to Red Bluff, San Francisco to Napa and everywhere in between. After a while he realized that he needed to keep his market closer to home and build his business locally. For the most part he now stays in the 209 which he expressed keeps him really busy but there is less stress.
Gallardo explained that there is a lot more to being a DJ than playing music. The preparation, set up, engaging the audience, having the right playlist and being able to read the crowd are also key.
“Sometimes the playlist that they think is going to be great for their wedding turns out to be a flop and you still have to entertain the people and make decisions of what the right music is to play to keep them entertained,” said Gallardo. “That is something, unfortunately, a lot of DJs don’t have is the experience and the knowledge of different styles of music and the party isn’t as great as it could’ve been if they were a little more selective and had more options to offer.”
Along with the special events Gallardo had a few regular gigs like the Motown Party every Thursday on the rooftop at Bella Vista in Stockton. The soul, funk and R&B vibe on the rooftop along with the diverse crowd in a wide age range was one of his favorite things to do at the time. Each year he throws a New Year’s Eve party and a Halloween bash called “Freak Night” in Stockton that brings crowds of people out for a night of amusement.
Then COVID-19 hit and shut everything down. The social distancing order came into effect along with the shelter in place. This order closed all bars, clubs and shut down gatherings including weddings. The uncertainty the pandemic brought has been cause for concern for many, including DJ Frank G who has had several cancelations and reschedules for next year. Fortunately for him, he has been able to get by and has been staying positive, taking an occasional music production course online to stay creative and enhance his skillset.
With his love of music and entertaining, DJ Frank G has been using social media as many other artists and performers during these times have done with virtual concerts online. The live sessions range from about 40 minutes to an hour depending on how long the platform like Facebook or Instagram allows. People are able to make requests and basically have a professional DJ entertain them at home right from their phones, tablets or computers. With people commenting and throwing out emoji’s it is nowhere near the same as having a live audience but the interaction and connections are still made. Although DJ Frank G is not a huge fan of being on camera he has adjusted well and draws a crowd online as more people join the dance party. He keeps the music going, bringing a party vibe on a Friday night right to your own home.
“The live aspect in that regard makes it different, plus the DJ’s personality and his vibe can set the tone of the party,” expressed Gallardo. “You’ve got to be able to talk and engage and create a vibe. You have to be very observant. So, you can’t have your face stuck in your computer screen the whole time during a live show.”
During these unprecedented times people are trying to stay connected to others and still have fun in creative ways.
DJ Frank G has no plans for stopping or closing; he said as things change during the course of the pandemic, he will adapt to the times whatever that may be, keeping his focus on his passion for music and entertainment.