Name: Brent Rolland
Specialty: Fig – DJ, film-making, and photography for weddings, special events. Brent Rolland – Excellent service, crisp audio, super-fun parties, drumming with my DJs, and the best hugs in the industry.
CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?
B.R.: I have been in the events industry for eleven years. I didn’t know I could count that high!
CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
B.R.: Fig Media and figweddings deliver truth, beauty and service beyond expectation with our creative, personable and personalized approach to DJ, film-making and photography.
CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
B.R.: Fig is a mainstay in the events industry since 1993. We see ourselves as not only a creative event firm, but also as a great “playground” for artists to develop their craft and be successful in the world, which is the vision of our owners, James and Michele Gustin. Additionally, we have a great internship program that trains people to be ready for events in any medium of their choice. We love development, training, changing and updating our systems, and being better than yesterday—all in the name of love and a better experience for our current and future clients.
CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?
B.R.: One word: Rain. Mother Nature’s watery gift to the world has been involved in a few of my events! This month, I was the DJ for a huge outdoor white party in mid-August near Buckingham Fountain. The weather was clear and cool for the whole evening and the chance for rain was 5-10%; twenty minutes before the end of the event, it began to rain. Totally unexpected! I looked a bit ridiculous performing under a wet linen, but I was able to get five more minutes in before we called it a night (and a super-fun night it was!). Another rain story: I did the music/audio for a beautiful wedding on The Crown of the Tribune Tower. Again, the weather was perfect, up until I heard Rev. Tom Perrucci say over the speaker system, “Did you just feel a raindrop?” Ten seconds later, it POURED. Everyone came inside and the ceremony continued smoothly and beautifully. The smiles on the faces of my couple remained throughout. It’s a blessing and a lesson to be in good faith and make things as awesome as possible in the midst of things outside of human control.
CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?
B.R.: I love our DJ/drummer combination—the synergy of live music and recorded music is a beautiful thing. I’m a self-taught drummer and enjoy the opportunity to bring a “best of both worlds approach” to event entertainment.
CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
B.R.: Lauren remembers this one—I was asked to cosplay (short for “costume play,” or dressing up as a character or figure in pop culture) for a nerd-themed wedding at Cataylst Ranch. I cosplayed Aang from Nickelodeon’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” I couldn’t be happier to get out of a suit for one night and take part in my client’s vision, as well as do something I enjoy!
CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?
B.R.: Since we do events throughout the week, every day is different! In addition to being an artist, I produce events (i.e. sell!), handle the contracts, our calendar, our DJ equipment, and management of the DJ team. I have mandatory sales/team training meetings on Mondays and Wednesdays, and I meet with my DJ team every two weeks. On event days, I prepare my gear/music/notes early, arrive at the venue at least two hours in advance for setup and sound check, and throw the best event I can throw.
CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!)
B.R.: God, music, and family.
CHEZ: List three things people probably don’t know about you.
B.R.: 1. I’m a Weight Watchers alumni! I was with the program for about three years and lost sixty—yes, sixty—pounds. I’m maintaining keeping off the poundage, which is extremely difficult in the indulgent lifestyle that is the event industry, haha. 2. I’m a huge game show fan and I develop, host and produce shows for anime/comic conventions. 3. I’ve never traveled outside of the United States…yet!
CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
B.R.: I love this question! First and foremost, BE YOURSELF! Personalize your event that breathes who you are, what you love, and what you stand for. Secondly, hire vendors that “get” you and that you feel comfortable with. You’ll have much more trust and less stress on the day of, and the relationship will be more of a friendship than a labeled “client and vendor” relationship. Thirdly, and I agree with my friend Elizabeth Nord (hi!) on this—definitely consider hiring a great planner for your event—facilitation is an art in itself, and it is crucial to have someone overseeing the vision and team. Finally, be sure to work in a “thank you” into your event that honors your guests and all those who made your event happen—including your event team. We selflessly give our time, resources, energy, and weekends to make visions happen, our clients thrilled, and events amazing. Receiving the love back is the least we could ask for, and it’s what I yearn for as a performer and human being.
CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?
B.R.: Lauren, Louise and Kristie! Seriously, it’s the people that make any environment, and this talented trio is amazing at what they do and create a warm, wonderful space with their presence and hospitality. I also love how much history Chez carries within its stunning white walls, from its roots as a bakery-slash-speakeasy-slash-nightclub to its connections with Sinatra and Bauhaus. It is always a pleasure.
Thanks Brent! We look forward to having your enthusiasm and energetic beats at Chez again very soon.
Photography by James Gustin of figmediainc