Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Look At The Old School DJ...

A long time ago (back in the day)... In a party or Disco... Far, far away...

Back in the day, before sampling machines and computers that let you digitally manipulate a drum sequence on a track, DJ’s used to do have to manually create beats live by using something that is now called “Beat Juggling.”

Beat juggling occurs when a DJ engages in playing a section of a song on one turntable, and at the very moment that the beat ends, cueing it up on a duplicate record, on another turntable. This was often done to extend a part of a song that a DJ particularly liked; perhaps one that really got people dancing. Beat Juggling was also used in order to create unique songs, using multiple turntables and one or more mixers.

What did this mean for prep-work? This meant that DJ's had to carry big bulky records to every event, and quite often, two copies of many of the same albums!

It is said that beat juggling with a small section of a beat is looped using two copies of the same record was first done by Kool DJ Herc at a disco club in 1973. The idea caught on and later was refined by other early hip hop DJs like Grand Wizard Theodore (first DJ to scratch in 1977), Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa.

DJ! Cut it up one time! ...“Scratching” came about by mistake, as the DJ was cueing up the next beat and enjoyed the sound that it made. This eventually became the artform that it is in the hip hop world today.

Afrika Bambaataa. Also known as The Godfather of Hip Hop" - produced one of the first major breakdance tracks called, Planet Rock. He invented turntable techniques that eventually spread throughout the world. The first song with beat juggling and scratching to hit the mainstream charts was by mixed by Grand Mixer DST performing on the turntables in Herbie Hancock's dance track, "Rockit.” As a result, scratching and turntablism was exposed to the masses.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Elvis-Themed Wedding!

Want your wedding to be unforgetable? Add a theme!

Here is an nifty idea… How about a wedding that is "fit for a King" pardon the pun? An Elvis Presely-themed wedding can be as classy, or as crazy as you would like it to be. This idea can do it all.

Elvis had many different looks over his time here on earth. He was a pop sensation, rock-n-roller, cowboy, Las Vegas swooner, and heart throb, depending on when you look at him. And you cannot forget his Blue Hawaiin period, which will bring in a whole different element to any wedding reception.

But what about the ceremony? What can you do if you are not really into the Elvis theme during the vows? Well... If you still want the classy traditional tuxedoed look for your wedding ceremony and really only want the Elvis theme for the reception, the easist way I have seen to incorporate it is by dressing only the goormsmen of the wedding party’s feat in Blue Suede Shoes. Then, all you have to do is match the shade of blue for the bridesmaid's dresses/gowns!

Ready to go the next step? Make the ushers dress as Elvis impersonators for the big day! And how about changing up that traditional bridal march to a balladand walk the aisle to Elvis singing “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You”.

Once the reception kicks in, anything goes. Peanutbutter and banana sandwich horesdurves are a must! Also, add some 50’s sunglasses on every table and some hawaiin leighs.

Thanks you very much, Mama!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Office Holiday Party - Door Prizes

Door prizes rock. It is not unheard of for office parties these days to charge a little bit more for their party admission so that door prizes can be given away, in raffle form.

My partner, Maria DJ (of, she just did a great one for ITT where they gave away a laptop and iPods, and all kinds of cool gadgets! There isn’t always that much left over revenue for super high-end prizes, but with a little planning, door prizes can still happen and they can still be fun. Last weekend I did one with gift certificates to places like Dunkin Donuts, Home Depot, and Target. People ate them up, on the edge of their seats, waiting for me to read the winning numbers.

There is a fine line, however, between giving out LOTS of door prizes so that everyone gets something, and also watering down the prizes too much so that they are not appreciated.

At a recent office holiday party that I DJ’ed and MC’ed for, they tried something new this year. Rather than giving away 4 or 5 gift certificates at about 20-25 a piece for various locations, they gave away a load of 5 dollar ones.

In the end, people didn’t seem to care as much and weren’t excited, as the give-away was kind of drawn out and with not much pay off.

Just a thought!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wedding DJ vs. Do-it-Yourself DJ

The otherday, I received a an email to a link by a friend saying that I was about to lose my business. The message posted on a message board explained how to DJ your own wedding. It is true that you could save money, but at what expense? I just thought I would throw a few thoughts at you on why I believe that the professional DJ is needed especially at a wedding, at all costs.

1. While the iPod itself may cost less than a professional wedding DJ, how do you plan on amplifying the music? Sitting around an iPod dock isn’t going to cut it. To rent professional equipment, you come very close to some DJ’s actual price.

2. If you are planning on anything traditional at your wedding, you know that you will need a sound system, including microphones for things like speeches, toasts and/or blessings.

3. An iPod cannot speak and offers no interaction with the guests. A good DJ hypes up great introductions, instructs on custom activities and also special announcements. If you have a crowd that needs prodding to jump up and dance on their own, an iPod will just sit there and allow the night to unfold into a boring reception.

4. The professional wedding DJ also acts as a wedding planner/organizer. An iPod doesn’t know when is the best time to toast, dance, eat, drink and/or cut the cake actually is. , etc. Experience is something that can’t be pre-programmed.

5. A professional wedding DJ doesn’t just play random “shuffled” songs. The good DJ looks at the audience at hand, reads the crowd and constantly adjusts the music selections to get or keep people dancing.
6.Finally, what happens if your rented equipment fails. Do you want to rent an additional backup system to have on hand?

If you are having a laid back small reception, you may be able to get away with supplying your own background music. However, if you are hoping for a crazy party with dancing, energy and excitement, no machine can replace a man.

Drop me a line with any comments! I would love to hear them.