Local vinyl enthusiast, Nick Reiner, also known as DJ Salinger, emits all of the chill vibes. I remember turning freshly 21 almost a decade ago and shaking my way onto the dance floor in the Lizard Lounge every Friday, grooving to the beats provided by Nick and his fellow DJs, Tee, Guido, and Emily.
Nick, a professional DJ, has three permanent residencies. I don’t think there’s one person who lives in Lancaster who isn’t at least familiar with him (not to mention a huge fan). He studied music at Millersville University, but his most memorable time were the times he spent in Glasgow, Scotland and Brooklyn, New York.
Nick tells me about his first taste of the club nightlife scene in Glasgow during a semester of school, which apparently is more like a culture than it is a scene. When he came back from Glasgow, he lived in Brooklyn for a summer where he worked for Vice Records. These experiences solidified not only his love of music, but his need to share music with others.
Nick began DJing house parties when he got back to Millersville in 2006, and became a regular DJ at the Chameleon on First Fridays (which is when I first met him).
“In the very beginning,” Nick tells me, “Emily let me borrow her turntables. I had records and whatnot, but no turntables. I didn’t know how to mix at first, so I would sit on my bedroom floor with Michael Jackson records for hours and eventually figured out how to mix and beat match.” Those hours on his bedroom floor were pivotal moments in his success.
Currently, every Wednesday is Wax on Wednesday at TellUs360. Nick chooses a guest DJ to throw down some vinyl in the second floor lounge at the bar. The weekly event is a very relaxed, open environment. Nick’s intention was to bring something different to the table. “A lot of times,” Nick explains, “when you hear a DJ is playing, you associate it with a dance party.” Wax on Wednesday is not a dance party; it is like a listening party which creates a casual atmosphere, exposing people to new music or old music they’ve never heard before.
Another event happening one Saturday every month at TellUs360 is Soul Club, a massive vintage soul, R&B, and funk dance party. Again, Nick is doing something totally different in Lancaster during Soul Club. “Most dance parties you go to, if there’s a DJ you’ll hear the Top 40 remixes and EDM, which is great, but I wanted to bring something new to the table,” Nick explains. Soul Club is completely different than your normal night out. You’ll constantly hear something refreshing, even though it’s old music. There’s a great dance party vibe that connects everyone and can get everyone out of the house. You will see anyone from early 20s to 50s feeling comfortable dancing around one another.
Music truly brings everyone together. And that is Nick’s goal as DJ.
Nick’s third residency is Service Industry Night (SIN Night) at the Marriott in the Rendezvous Lounge, and he has been leading this exciting night for five years now. SIN Night is a night for the service industry people to get out. If you’re in the service industry, you know it’s difficult to get out and fully enjoy yourself on the weekends just like the rest of us. Sundays at the Marriot are their chance to shine, celebrate, relax, and unwind after a long work week. “It’s like taking a weekend club night and placing it on a Sunday; You don’t have the crazy masses of people out, but you can still enjoy the scene,” Nick says with a smile.
Nick also just started a fourth residency at Trooper Thorn’s in Reading. Trooper Thorn’s, a bar and restaurant, will be featuring DJ Salinger once a month as part of a rotating mix of DJs.
The more Nick talked to me about his schedule outside of these very busy residencies, the more I became convinced that he is, in fact, a real superhero. Nick has been one of the most popular wedding DJs around town for years now. He is literally busy year round with his permanent weekly locations, private events, holiday parties, and weddings.
Yet another commitment of Nick’s is the Lancaster-based event coordinating collective, Homespun, which launched in May of 2015. Homespun’s mission is the following: “Homespun is an event planning collective dedicated to curating your event with the best of what Lancaster has to offer. From venues to caterers, DJs to officiants, we’ve cultivated relationships with some of Central PA’s finest local sustainable outfits.”
Their mission statement goes on to say, “Whether you’re planning a wedding, party, or corporate event, allow us to help you create a unique vision and a singular experience for you and your guests. Let us make your day!” Homespun’s goal is to keep everything local for each event they help create. The group is made up of four people: Nick (responsible for music, design, and coordination), Erica Lehman (head coordinator), Matt Johnson (officiant, and assists with coordination as a wild card/jack-of-all-trades), and newest member Maddie Rice (social media and marketing guru).
Finally, Nick is a huge family man. His family consists of his beautiful wife, Claire Reiner, and his two adorable children, Van (five years old) and Wilhelmena (three years old). “What a lot of people don’t realize is that Claire is as big of a music nerd as I am. Half of our record collection is hers.” Nick gives Claire credit for exposing him to a lot of music that he wouldn’t have otherwise found. “She is my muse,” Nick says. “She is my musical muse.”
As new homeowners, they like to walk around downtown everywhere their feet can reach and go hiking as a family, too.
Let’s face it. Chances are you are already familiar with the man I am writing about. But if you aren’t, I sincerely recommend shaking your way out onto the dance floor, grooving to the beats the DJ Salinger provides Lancaster with.