Hi guys,

Sorry its been awhile since my last post, a combination of wedding season (yes its starts earlier and earlier each year) a cheeky few days away at the parents and snowboarding has resulted in me missing my Wednesday blog posting sessions.

Today I wanted to quickly address a question I get asked fairly often by potential brides & grooms which is as you may of guessed already “can we come to see you perform?”.

For myself and I would guess most other DJs pretty much of all their work are private events such as weddings, birthdays etc… which means it would be rather unprofessional to bring a couple of strangers along to what might be a very private and¬†intimate event. I would also say as a DJ it would worry me that this potential couple might come along for 5 minutes early on in the evening when we might be at the stage everyone has just eaten while expecting to see everyone dancing like lunatics.

We then also have the issue of music policies, for example the potential couple might be looking for a heavy influence of soul and motown for their evening music while the couple who I’m working for on that evening might of asked for tons of rock and indie. The worry would naturally be that the potential couple think I don’t personally play any of their preferred genre of music while the reality is I’m very reactive to what is happening in front of me and playing to the guests tastes rather than me pitching up each week and playing the same songs in the same order.

That being said I totally understand why I get asked this question and I’m very keen to help explain why I say it’s not possible, however a quick sit down together and a discussion of the music can pretty much help you decide if feel me (or your potential DJ) has the required knowledge of your preferred genre of music.

I have been very lucky recently in the fact a fantastic videographer was booked all day (and evening) who has very kindly put together a video of me performing in the evening. This is what I’ll be showing to my clients who do ask me this questions in future ūüôā

Videographer is Adam Huckle http://www.adamhuckle.com who of course I highly recommend!

Neil

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Chatty Man?

20Feb13

Hi guys,

Hope you’re all well, sorry I’ve not posted for a few weeks however its been pretty busy here with the influx of¬†enquiries¬†for 2013/14.

Today I just wanted to throw some thoughts down onto virtual paper regarding the use of the microphone while performing. When talking with clients/couples one common question is about microphone usage and their desire for the DJ to steer clear of the stereotypical type chat and things like introducing a song, giving some information about the record label and how long it was in the charts blah blah blah.

For myself the amount I use the microphone really does depend on what is happening during the evening. If everything is going along “well” then I have little need to “chat” other than to¬†announce¬†things like the buffet being ready, the first dance and of course the grand finale.

That said at some events I have a sense that while the evening is going “ok” but I could do with attracting a few more “chair dancers” onto the floor. One way to do this is to use the microphone to say something along the lines of “hi guys, don’t forget you’re more than welcome to make requests this evening we want to see you all on the dancefloor”. The idea is to get the across the fact guests can request but also to remind them that there is a DJ not a juke box present and to make myself appear approachable.

Having been a moderator on a DJ forum for a while I’ve seen time and time again DJs who say “I let the music do the talking for me” which actually translates into “I’m too shy to use a microphone or have no idea how to use it”. It is important to have confidence when using a microphone as this will translate into the message you are broadcasting to your party guests. I actually think most of the time it doesn’t matter what you say, its how you say it.

Thats all from me today folks, hope you’ve enjoyed todays blog ūüôā

Neil


This may or may not be something that you have come across yet however it more than likely something that you will see appear in wedding marketing/groups/forums sooner rather than later…..

First and foremost a wedding MC will introduce yourself and any wedding guests making speeches at your wedding breakfast (usually father of the bride, best man etc…). From a background of public speaking to wedding parties myself and many counter parts within the industry will feel confident in doing so and can help offer advice to those who haven’t. We can also offer microphones, speaker systems etc.. should it be required at your venue and highly recommended that you do so at marquee weddings.

With a wedding MC as well you’re getting someone with vast experience of weddings so not only can offer help and advice on the timings of your day but will be able to adapt to events on the day to ensure everything runs smoothly. We certainly aren’t wedding planners however in the absence of one we can help ensure people are in the right place at the right time which is a job I know a lot of in house food and¬†beverage managers don’t particularly enjoy.

If you are thinking about employing an MC or maybe you’re worried about how your big day will run then why not just pay for a quality MC but also pay for peace of mind as well.

Naturally any questions then please let me know, I’m here to help ūüôā


Hi folks,

Hope you are all well and good this fine afternoon.

Todays blog post isn’t directly related to any recent incident but it is something that time and time again comes up usually when dealing with guests rather than clients.

Before I started DJing for what I would describe as “mainstream parties” I had all sorts of ideas about what music I would play. Coming from a funky house background I was going to rock parties up and down the country with cool tunes that nobody had heard before and everyone would be dancing. I had no idea how wrong I could be until I actually did start doing Uncle Johns 40th and more recently weddings.

Six years (and roughly 500 gigs) later and my outlook and ideas have changed. Yet still every so often I have to explain to guests why I’m unlikely to play their request which some people understand but many don’t. Today hopefully I will help some people understand at least the thinking that I put into my song selection.

Firstly, there are a few general golden rules,

*As a wedding DJ my job is to entertain and get everyone dancing. I’m not here to “musically educate” everyone.

*People in general will only dance to music they know pretty well.

*What you may consider a “big hit” may not actually work as you think. If I had a pound for everytime I’ve heard “play it, everyone loves this song” then I wouldn’t be¬†writing¬†this blog post.

*I usually have a rough idea of the next 10/15 minutes of songs. I’m a reactive DJ so always looking to “play the right records at the right time” so if I’m playing some Motown to a full dancefloor I’m very unlikely to play a record that is vastly different such as heavy metal. I will however save that request for later and will even plot roughly how I will move from motown to metal but it will take some time to do so. The only time it is worth¬†abruptly going from one song to the next is it you suddenly need to “up the tempo” or the current song isn’t working (which I have to admit is rare but it happens to all of us). This is a major point most guests don’t actually understand and appear to think we have our own collection of songs on shuffle. If is a common theme that us DJs encounter is the party goer that goes “play my song now, nobody likes this” to a full dancefloor of people.

*If your a guest at someones wedding, chances are the happy couple have had some input into the music policy for the evening, heck they are more than likely to have chosen their DJ based on their music policy. If your DJ tells you that the couple have vetoed your request then he/she is very unlikely to change their mind no matter what you say.

That said here are some things I urge you not to do

*DJs surprisely are also humans, if you ask for a song in an aggressive and rude manner then it only makes it more unlikely that he/she is going to play it.

*Don’t ask “what songs have you got”. Chances are the DJ has already got a few to work through and failing that is trying to rack his/her brains to find the next good song. If you don’t know what song you want to request then please do not ask the question. The answer will be “thousands” whoever you ask. If you know the song but don’t know what it is called then that is different.

*If the DJ is actually on the microphone or has his headphones on please don’t stand their poking him/her within an inch of their life. You might think this is common sense but it happens………

*The most important one is that a good DJ knows what they are doing. None of us want an empty dancefloor and we have a sixth sense that tells us if what we are playing is “working”. They don’t need to be hearing “play this right now” or “this music is ****”. ¬†Remember you are one of what should be a good number of guests all with their own musical preferences and pleasing everyone is a nigh on impossible task. The expression “you can either please all of the people some of the time or some of the people all of the time” rings true.

So there you guys have it. In summary I certainly don’t want this to sound like me on a soap box having a good old moan because it really isn’t. Its more to give people an insight in what the DJ at your next party is likely to be thinking and his/her approach. With this knowledge you can hopefully¬†appreciate the thought process and understand why your song may not get played straight away. Naturally if anyone has any questions then please feel free to comment below and I’ll happily get back to you kind folks.


Welcome, 2013

02Jan13

Hi everyone!

Happy new year everyone, hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing time off over the festive season.

Seeing as we are starting a new year I thought I would take the time today to talk about retro theme ideas that we can help with,¬†particularly¬†if your thinking 70’s or 80’s.

Being a huge fan of 70’s disco I was over the moon with one of my couples last year when they said in the meeting that they wanted just disco and funky house all night and had Beegees “More Than A Woman” as their first dance which is one of my personal favourite songs. For this we also swapped out our usual lighting and went with just a disco ball which really helped with the theme and is a very cost effective solution to anyone wanting a retro look to their evenings entertainment.

If your thinking of an 80s theme then we have a few more options to offer our clients. We have the LED¬†night fever¬†dancefloor which personally I think looks really cool when used in the right environment. We can also provide the old fashioned lightscreens as a frontage if you really wanted to push the boat out on this. I will admit they aren’t to everyones taste. We can also provide UV lights as well which works well with a neon theme or when guests have used good quality body paint.¬†If you have a particular favourite tv show or “icon” from your¬†chosen¬†years then we can project images at your event.

These are just a few ideas to get you guys started but if you have any of your own then please do share them with me.

Neil


Hi guys,

Hope we are all keeping well out there in the blogging world. Currently sat once again in Cafe Corretto the day after the Glosbiz Christmas party and feeling surprisingly fresh!

I received an email first thing on a Monday which reminds me why I do what I do, it certainly isn’t a money thing but the buzz I get from seeing a group of friends and family celebrate someones big day with my help as a wedding entertainer is a very powerful thing.¬†

You may remember me mentioning on here (and on the facebook and twitter pages/accounts) about a tipi wedding in November during the worse rainfall we have had in years….in Tewkesbury (those of you that are local will know its the first place to food anywhere). It was a challenging gig and lucky that I went prepared. Here is the email….

 

“Dear Neil,

Apologies for not sending this earlier as we have just returned from our honeymoon but we just wanted to say a big thank you for all your efforts and DJing at our wedding particularly given the dreadful weather that day. We were just happy you managed to turn up given the location of the reception but you did a fantastic job and we hope you managed to get back okay and in good order. 

We can recall numerous comments from our guests about how great the DJ was. My abiding memory was of the dance floor being pretty much full the whole time which is always a good sign. Thank you also for playing the songs on our list no matter how ‘cheesy’ they were! Should any of our friends need a recommendation you will be top of our list and if you would like feedback for your website then we will be more happy to provide some.

Thank you again,

David”

That will see me flying for the rest of the week. It also reminds me why I’m not actively trying to increase the number of DJs that I employ and aiming to do 95% of the DJ work that comes our way.¬†

That should be it for me in 2012, hope you guys all have a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Please do let me know if you have any comments or suggestions for future blog posts. 

 

Neil


Hi everyone,

Writing this blog post today from the warmth of a coffee shop overlooking a very frosty and wintry looking Gloucester. This weeks post is in reply to a suggestion from the¬†fabulous¬†Kirsten Butler from “The Little Wedding Helper”¬†http://littleweddinghelper.co.uk/ Having worked with her I can say I’ve seen her magic first hand, a very talented lady.

Now my teachers pet introduction is done, let me crack onto the question raised by Kirsten. I wanted to state at this point I have only a few golden rules, one of which is to avoid being negative about other suppliers however I will more than likely mention a few stories that I’ve heard which I feel is¬†relevant¬†to answering the question.

The stereotypical DJ (which is constantly reinforced by the media) is of some old fella behind some flashy and tacky light screens talking non stop over the music, with a pint in one hand and a fag in the other. While this might of been accurate in the 1980’s the whole industry has moved on leaps and bounds since then. The whole red coat¬†routine¬†is rather old hat now and while most experienced DJs have this in their locker, the good ones know when to dust it off and party like its 1985.

That said, its fairly common for some newbies to the industry (As an admin on a national DJ forum I see day in and out whats “occuring”). The common phrase is to “let the music do the talking” which translates into no interaction at all with their¬†audience. I have had a small number of clients request this which I’m happy to do but will say in my own personal opinion that its not the way to go. Why?, well I don’t feel the need to tell everyone how long this B side track was in the charts in 1979 but I do feel the need to make myself come across as friendly and approachable to all party goers. When someone comes up to request a song they are telling me so much more with that, little things like body language can give me ideas to how people are feeling at the time, what mood is everyone in. Does the volume need to be increased or is the genre of music not quite right for that particular moment in time.

Even if people are so forthcoming with requests it doesn’t stop me looking around spying for clues to how to maybe improve the “soundtrack” be it early doors background music or how to reach that grand finale track. Its a skill and a sixth sense that only comes with experience and some common sense. I’ve heard too many stories to the¬†contrary to say every DJ does this.

Which leads me nicely onto my next point, meeting pre event with your DJ. Even if you have no particular music tastes in mind (which actually makes this meeting even more important) is the you feel you can trust him/her to make these choices and that they know what they are talking about. For me I’m always keen to find out what genres of music they like and don’t like so I know the¬†boundaries¬†to work within on the evening. The whole playing the same old songs at weddings is not true for myself and when possible I avoid playing the cliche tracks like “Celebration”, “Dancing Queen” and “Come On Eileen”. Naturally if my instinct tells me these songs will work wonders then I have no issue what so ever in playing them.

To sum up then, yes you could have someone sat their on a chair playing songs in a random fashion but if it has no flow, if the DJ has no connection or even cares about the dancers then how are you going to get people up dancing and enjoying themselves? It is a skill and an art which I’m working on constantly to improve.

So if your looking for a DJ to listen, react and¬†execute the perfect soundtrack to your day then please do let me know. I have many good friends in the industry all over the country and always happy to recommend. If you need any tips or advice then please do also send suggestions my way, who knows I might feature it in a future blog post ūüėČ

Regards

Neil

http://www.cheltenhamweddingdj.co.uk

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