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Wendy Reuer, Published August 12 2012

For Cadillac Ranch DJ, trick is finding best mix

FARGO – When it comes to spinning at the club, most DJs’ skills are tested by the way they can scratch and spin, weaving the music together from one song to the next.

But at country bar Cadillac Ranch at The Hub in Fargo, DJ Taylor Schatz’s skills are tested every night by how well he can read the crowd, using the right mix of music that will keep the hoofers coming back to the floor for song and song again.

“That’s the cool niche about the Cadillac,” Schatz said. “As much as it as a country bar, it’s a dance bar.”

While the western North Dakota native is pursuing an acting career, he spends Thursday through Saturday nights as a DJ for the Cadillac Ranch, playing a mix of old and new country hits.

How long have you been doing this?

I’ve been doing it on and off for about two years now. I’m there most weekends; the only conflicts I have is if I have an acting gig somewhere.

Acting, there’s not much work around here as far as that goes, so I end up having to do other forms of entertainment. Eventually I’ll have to move on to bigger locations.

How do you get people dancing?

The trick is really finding the right flow from the room depending on who‘s out there. That’s the difficulty right there: You’re never going to appeal to everyone. You have to try to appeal to as many people as possible and then continue on.

I try to involve the entire room as much as I can.

Are there any songs or artists that always do the trick, no matter the crowd?

Johnny Cash is a good fourth song. Everyone loves to hear Johnny Cash, not necessarily dance to Johnny Cash, but everyone loves to hear Johnny Cash.

What’s different about being a DJ in a country bar versus the average club?

The type of DJ-ing that goes on in country is different. They don’t want to hear their country music mixed together. You don’t want to hear your Taylor Swift mixed with Johnny Cash. People want to hear the music, they want to dance to it, or they just want to dance.

So, is it primarily line dancing at Cadillac Ranch?

In fact, there is only like three or four songs people really line dance to.

If you go down South, they’ll promenade around the dance floor. They’ll do country dancing; they’ll end up throwing in two steps, one-steps, even a polka. Here it’s free-form.

What ends up happening is early in the night we have people doing some promenading, country dancing. A lot of swing dancing goes on.

Then, way later in the night, when everyone has their really good drink on, stuff gets a little bit crazy. The dance floor can be packed.

Is it weird there is only one bar in town dedicated to country?

It’s a bit surprising we only have one country bar that plays only country music. You go to other country-esque establishments and they’ll play a country tune every eight songs, essentially.

As much as this is a metropolitan area, it’s very much a college town. And when college is in session, it’s really busy, and we’re the only establishment that has all country all the time. So if that’s your gig – and it turns out it is a lot of people’s gig around here – they come to Cadillac.

How much of a country music fan were you before getting this job?

I have an appreciation for all music. Good music really isn’t defined by its genre; it’s defined by its content and creativity.

Where else can we see you?

I’m doing a show with Musical Theatre Fargo Moorhead: “Jekyll and Hyde.” It opens Sept. 6 and runs weekends through Sept. 16.

So I’ll be taking some time off from country DJ-ing to perform them. It’s a nice little gig I have going on right now.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530