Morning folks (Wet here but no snow thankfully!)

Firstly I’m sorry I haven’t blogged so much since last week. The Christmas period is always a busy one and thankfully this year hasn’t been any different despite the massive downturn in parties been held.

Thursday night saw me performing at “The Bridge” in Bidford http://www.thebridgeatbidford.com for a “Joiner” party. Naturally I started off with some background music for the meal and once I began it became very clear that 70’s & disco was  the clear winner so the classics such as The Jackson Five – Blame It On The Boogie, Beegess – Stayin Alive & Abba – Dancing Queen got an airing. This was one of the best events I’ve done this year because it was such a small and intimate venue it was very easy to engage with all of the guests. The highlight being at the end of the night one of the ladies mentioned to me how good the music was and that I clearly had looked at everyone and played to them which is how I approach all of my events.

Friday saw me at the Greenway Hotel for the Wedding of Katrina and Dave who have to be one of the nicest couples I’ve met. We had a meeting a few months ago at the venue to discuss their requirements and once Katrina had mentioned her “Winter Wonderland Theme” I mentioned a few options and so I also provided blue uplighting and snowflake projection. I shall blog about this event later this week however photos are already up on the “Cheltenham Wedding DJ” facebook page.

Saturday soon came around and so I was off to the most local Wedding and event venue to me which is the lovely Manor By The Lake. Charlotte was the birthday girl and invited a large group of her friends as well as many of her family members. I have to say the night just flew by and before I knew it midnight had come and gone. Musically I touched pretty much every genre known to man and woke up to a delightful email from Charlottes parents this morning which is as follows

“Hi Neil

Just a short note to thank you for Saturday evening – everyone really enjoyed the music you played even the cynical teenagers said you were pretty awesome! You got the balance pretty much spot on so thanks again.

Have a great but I suspect busy Christmas.

Regards

Mike and Jane”

Once again folks I have exceeded that magical 400 words limit so I will wrap this up. I will blog hopefully once a day this week and will include Fridays Wedding and will hopefully put up a few venue reviews as well.

Thanks for reading

Neil

http://www.cheltenhamweddingdj.co.uk

http://www.marqueedisco.com


Evening from a very cold and soon to be snowy Cheltenham.

Todays post is all about the first dance, its one of the areas that my bride and grooms have had vastly different ideas about. This year has seen some varied choices from the classics to the obscure and of course the custom one I created for a couple back in October that started off with Jack Johnson and then cut into Sir Mixalot – Baby Got Back and various other party tracks. While this is not everyones cup of tea I have to say it received a positive reaction from the guests and reflexed their personality.

Not all of my couples were happy with even having a first dance, let alone performing a dance routine. In fact two couples requested that they didn’t perform a first dance which of course is a decision I respect and am happy to work with.

When you think about it, having the eyes of your friends and family looking at you dancing for 3-4 minutes does sound quite nervy, particularly for the groom.Then you got everyone taking photos of you looking potentially nervous. With this in mind here are some tips.

1. Pick a song that holds special meaning to you. Don’t worry about picking a “cool” song or even one that has been released. Remember the first time that you met?, maybe a song that was playing when you realised your partner was the one you wanted to spend the rest of your life with?

2. If your not confident about having a dance then pick a “slow” song. Most photographers will I’m sure be much happier to shoot a couple dancing slowly rather than being thrown around the room. Don’t be afraid to practice beforehand as this will build confidence and you don’t want to be “worrying” about it during your Wedding day.

3. Speak to your DJ. There are plenty of youtube videos about this going wrong however each could of been avoided. I can only speak for myself but I always have a copy of the first dance on my main playout and also on the IPAD. I have never had to use the backup but it really does give me peace of mind knowing that this is in place.

Your DJ will also need to know how you would like to be introduced. Most times I ask this question to my clients they mention they haven’t even thought about it. I would say 70% go for first name terms. Being able to give a good strong introduction to the first dance also helps gain a positive reaction from your guests from the initial round of applause and cheering to the collective “aaawwww” moment as soon as the song begins to play.

I previously mentioned the photographer and how he/she would like to shoot. Lighting plays a big part in this and so I also introduce myself to the Wedding photographer so we can have a quick chat about the lighting and anything that I can do it help set the ideal conditions. This sometimes comes as a pleasant surprise and I’ve heard a few horror stories about their previous experiences with DJs including one who refused to turn off a green laser light so each of the first dance photos had green dots all over the happy couples face.

I can see I’ve gone over my ideal word count already so will have to finish this topic at a later date but hopefully this blog post has been of benefit to you.

Regards

Neil

Cheltenham Wedding DJ

http://www.cheltenhamweddingdj.co.uk

http://www.twitter.com/cheltenhamdj


Well yes anyone can be a DJ. In this day and age when “pro audio equipment” is cheaper than ever more and more people are taking it up and thinking “looks dead easy I can do that”. Now I always pride myself on always being positive so rather than address that directly I will instead discuss what I do and more importantly why I do it.

I won’t go into my life story here but I got myself a cheap second hand pair of turntables back in 2002 and grabbed myself a few vinyl records (remember those large cd things that can be found in our parents attic?). This was a time when vinyl was very expensive and the store I used was based in Birmingham so each week I would spend between £10-£40 on some records I just couldn’t live without. Naturally this was a hobby that quickly turned into an obsession with recorded music and before I knew it I had spent thousands before I even earnt a penny! It was only when I did my first mobile event in 2007 that passion was put to use and enabled me to use my music to influence peoples behaviour and seeing people smiling and dancing gave me a buzz that no car, girl, booze or video game could provide.

That is the only thing that has remained the same since that day, in fact a moment that inspired this post happened on Friday night. I was DJing for a private school party and of course they are all about their modern music however it was right at the end when all the parents had arrived to collect their children (aged between 11-14). I had finished on a couple of Christmas songs, thanked them for being fantastic and got a huge applause at the end. This wasn’t a planned moment but I had the sudden urge to play another song so I said because they had been so good heres one last cheeky number and before you knew it Shakin Stevens – Merry Christmas was on. Parents and their children alike just exploded and started dancing with each other, forming a huge circle and two by two random parents, teachers and their children were dancing in the centre. It sent shivers down my spine seeing a group of people dancing and enjoying themselves like that and brought a huge smile to my face.

I can tell you now that moment wouldn’t of happened back in 2007. Reliable equipment plays its part in what I do but its the vast experience of events that has altered everything else that I do. I remember reading a book about DJing years ago that summed it up well “The DJ should have one foot in the booth and one foot on the dancefloor”. I could be looking down at the floor while bringing in a new tune and I would know if its working or not because I’ve developed a keen sense of feeling the energy of the room. I know this sounds somewhat “hippy” but it is true.

During the beginning of an event I might be appearing to play just any old songs without any thought, wrong!

Each song is a question, I’m putting it out there to gauge peoples reactions and body language. If I feel it is positive I’ll remember that for the rest of the night and likewise if it is negative. After a couple of hours I have narrowed down what is working for my crowd and use this information later on to get people dancing. I don’t go to any event with the mindset of “I feel like playing loads of xxx tonight”. In fact the only songs I know I’m going to play are the requests made beforehand and it is also why I suggest that my clients make at most 20 requests.

Having dealt with so many requests over the years two things have become clear. Firstly everyone thinks all their friends like the same music as they do and secondly everyone has vastly different musical tastes. This challenge is of course placed on a Wedding DJ with three or four generations of family members present and so a knowledge of different musical genres are important. I would say at 90% of my Weddings at some point I will play records that fall into any of the following genres

-Motown/Northern Soul

-Disco

-Rock/Indie

-Pop

-Dance

-RnB

-“Cheese”

-Funk/Soul

Of course you have genres that span many decades so not only is it important for say the rock genre to have the recent big hitters such as Kings Of Leon and The Killers but also to have tunes that go back to the 60’s/70’s such as Boston, Rolling Stones and The Kinks.

Thats a fair number of songs right? Having them is one thing but the real art is playing them at the right time and a question that enters my head when a song is “cued up” and ready to play is that the best possible choice for that moment. Even when moving from one genre to another there are musical elements that help “link” the songs together and help maintain a flow. Best example is Eliza Doolittle – Pack Up being a modern “pop” song however it has a heavy motown feel so would mix very nicely with something like the Isley Brothers – This Heart Of Mine.

In summing up as I said anyone can be a DJ but going into a room full of strangers, engaging with them and playing to them is a skill that takes time and experience. It doesn’t just stop at the gig you need to research all the different musical genres and learn what works and doesn’t, finding out what your client wants and of course presenting the service in a professional manner.

I hope that you have found this an interesting read and that you have a better understanding of my way of working.

Neil

http://www.deckstardeluxe.com

http://www.twitter.com/cheltenhamdj


Afternoon my peeps (From a rather bleak and wet Cheltenham).

As you may of guessed this week in particular has been rather manic so I didn’t get to blog yesterday so todays shall cover the before and after thoughts of yesterdays Wedding.

James and Sarah decided to get married at a lovely venue called the Curradine Barn in Worcestershire http://www.curradinebarns.co.uk. It is the perfect blend between the classic barn look and feel with a modern twist (For example they had arcade machines by the bar area which didn’t look out of place).

In terms of what they wanted from myself was plain and simple, the perfect ending to what would be a perfect day. I had a few pointers to their musical preferences sent to me which included Reef, Kings Of Leon, Bon Jovi and Kanye West. The only songs I wasn’t allowed to play was anything by Wham.

The evening started off with the first dance (after some 45 minutes of background music). The track chosen by the happy couple was Louie Armstrong’s “We Have All The Time In The World”. As with all my couples I do a quick introduction to the first dance and never fails to get a cheer from everyone. The photographer http://www.davidjperkins.com/ managed to get some great shots without interfering with James and Sarah (which can’t be said for all the photographers I’ve worked with sadly). Once the longest 3 and a half minutes of the grooms life was over I followed up with Jackie Wilson – Higher and Higher and officially opened the dancefloor for all the guests.

The evening in general was very good however like any venue with the bar area removed from the function room it makes it very difficult to engage with everyone. I always like to keep an eye on what people are doing and using that to help with the song selection. Body language is brilliant for working out if the style of music I am playing is working for that moment or a clue to maybe up the tempo. I actually went into the bar area later in the evening and you could not actually hear the music and with a sound limiter installed at the barn there was nothing I could do about it. I do have a service which could of been very useful in this situation where I place two speakers in the bar area and send the signal from my setup via a transmitter to these two speakers. They each have volume control on the speakers themselves so you can turn it up or down to your liking.

Despite that the last half an hour had everyone in the barn with myself dancing to some cheese, Christmas classics and the B&G’s choosing of “New York, New York” which saw everyone finish the evening on the funky LED dancefloor. If you want the floor or any of my services then please do contact me, details are on http://www.deckstardeluxe.co.uk

I did tweet some photos from the iphone during the evening so if your not following me already then please do look up “CheltenhamDJ”.

Neil

http://www.deckstardeluxe.co.uk

http://www.twitter.com/cheltenhamdj


Afternoon from a slightly confused Cheltenham (It has rained, hailed and been really sunny all in the past ten minutes).

It shall be a very brief post today and I will explain why.

Thursday (yesterday) had myself and Dan working on an event in London providing white drapes which resulted in a rather late night. Today has been no different with this morning being taken up with a dancefloor install in Coventry and shortly I shall be off to perform at an event down in Cirencester which thankfully finishes in the late evening so I can get down to London to de-rig the drapes at around about midnight. My bed shall be a welcome sight in the small hours of Saturday morning.

Christmas is always a manic period however I would be lying if I said I didn’t slightly enjoy the madness. It is always a challenge however I feel as the balance between workload and quality is spot on so very pleased about that.

Tomorrows post shall be posted in less haste as I have a Wedding in the evening so I will hopefully talk about that and how I like to approach Weddings in general.

Enjoy your weekend folks

Neil

http://www.deckstardeluxe.co.uk


Morning (From a very cold and fresh HQ at Cheltenham)

Welcome to my very first blog post. My name is Neil and owner of a delightful Wedding entertainment service provider in the Cotswolds called “The Cheltenham Wedding DJ”.

I have started this blog with the brief of sharing some ideas and thoughts with the ever expanding social media world. I have a broad range of experience not just in the Wedding industry but with events in general so I plan to discuss various aspects of what I do and also provide some free hints, tips and advice.

Thursday is also a busy day for myself, the weekend is fast approaching so last minute attention to detail for the fore coming events are always on my mind as well as attending a regular networking meeting “GIN” http://www.ginbusiness.co.uk/. Naturally at this time of year everything is somewhat “manic” but I partly enjoy the madness that is the festive season. I will be leaving shortly to work on a event in London requiring drapes and a dancefloor. I will hopefully get some photos of this up later.

If there is any subject you would like to see me discuss in future blog posts please do get in touch http://www.deckstardeluxe.co.uk

Warm Regards

Neil