Theres a fine line between a good, solid, night enhancing MC and an annoying one… So from the POV of an experienced DJ, heres some pointers for all you budding MC’s;
1. Check with the DJ, especially if you’ve never played with them before, what their style is. Do they play lots of vocals? Are they gonna be all technical? Don’t chat over scratching or vocals… It sounds awful and everyone will just want you to shut up.
2. You are there to hype up the crowd so for sure spit some verses but don’t forget to get the crowd involved. You’ll need a few variations on the theme cos if you do the same call and response all night it can get a bit tedious. Maybe one or two ‘when I say *** you say ***’s , a few ‘make some noise if you’re having a good time’s and a couple of ‘guys say boooo, ladies say owwww’ kinda things are pretty standard, but be creative.
3. Are you hammered?? Don’t bother MC’ing then. You’ll mumble, miss the beat and carry on rapping when theres a break in the tune or something. Trust me, you’re not a better MC when you’re pissed/stoned/off you face on K.
4. Picture yourself on the dancefloor. If the music is goin off and everyones loving it think how you can enhance it. Keep an eye on the crowd too, you can often tell if everyones feeling the MC or not. If people are looking your way but not in a good way take a break, have a piss or a fag whatever and come back in 5 mins.
5. If the DJ turns you down on the mixer theres probably a reason for it. Either you’re too loud, talking too much or its time you took a break. Don’t take it too personally, people are there for the music after all so see above, take a break and come back later. Then again if he turns the mic off then you know you need to leave the stage…
A good MC works with the DJ and the music and knows where to talk and where to be quiet. Chat to the DJ in the breaks, see how its going
To be honest you can get away with quite a lot as an MC. You can say the same stuff several times in the night, you can talk gibberish, you can ask if everyones having a good time every ten minutes and then say you can’t hear even when they’re deafening… Its logical, if you think you’ve been chatting solidly on the mic and the DJ keeps turning you down then take the hint. If he turns the mic off you know you’re probably better off just going and getting pissed. I have turned mics off mainly when I’ve had an MC who got his drunk mate to have a go and its just been embarrasing. People wanna dance, they’ve probably paid to get in so if in doubt its best just to let the DJ do his thing.
But keep practicing. A good MC can make a night and leave the crowd screaming for more. Check out Skibadee, GQ, General Levy, Script…
For how not to MC::: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkoyP_fJzn0
I’m gonna say a bit more about choosing music for weddings but I know you’re a DJ, thats why you’re reading this. You know music, right? You’ve been to a wedding before, yes? You’ve at least been to lots of cheesy nightclubs I’ll bet… Ok, so you know what the mainstream taste in music is like but just to nudge your brain I’ll list a few wedding faves including a few first dance options on the off chance you haven’t been given a first dance tune choice:
1. Pretty much anything by the Jackson 5 or MJ - a pretty safe bet. ABC, I want you back, PYT, Billie Jean, Black or white… C’monnn you know em all and I’m sure you love a bit of it.
2. A bit of funk and disco always goes down well. James Brown - I feel good or sex machine. Rick James - Superfreak. Chic or Sister Sledge - We are family. Donna Summer - I feel love. You can even bang out some YMCA cos the dancefloor WILL go nuts to it. Fact.
3. Cheesy rock classics always bring out the headbangers. Guns and Roses - Sweet child o mine. Meatloaf - Bat out of hell. Joan Jett - I love Rock n Roll. Queens entire back catalogue. Lenny Kravitz - Are you gonna go my way…
4. Classic hip hop crowd maybe?? Try some Notorious B.I.G - Juicy or Nasty Girl, Jurassic 5 - Whats golden or Concrete Playground, Tupac - California Love. Snoop Dogg -Beautiful or anything not too gangsta or heavily laden with the ‘N’ word, the ‘B’ word or the rest of the bad words.
5. Dance classics that always go down well would be: Groove Armada - I see you (shakin that ass), C&C Music Factory - Sweat or I like to move it, Groovejet - Why does it feel so good, Milo - Dr Pressure, Groove is in the heart…
You can throw in anything from the past 5 -ten or so years and that’d be a good shout so as I write that spans such gems as Beyonce - Crazy in Love, Sean Paul - Get busy, Rihanna - S&M… You get the idea.
For first dances you’ll need to think mid to slow tempo, check with the bride and groom and they’ll have something in mind (hence, its best to check well in advance to make sure you get it, or at least a day in advance). But if they’ve been coy and you need to break something out the bag try one of these:
Al Green - Lets stay together
Stevie Wonder - For once in my life
UB40 - Red red wine
Robbie Williams - Angels
In fact just check this:: http://www.uk-disco.co.uk/survey/ cos theres like a million on there.
The most important thing about playing weddings though is to enjoy yourself!! No one is gonna really notice the mixing or care that you’re playing YMCA, all they want to do is dance, drink and socialise, possibly even get lucky so you should drop any ideas you have about your credibility as a DJ. In fact I have found that playing weddings and parties is a good way to expand your musical knowledge, learn better about how to read a crowd and a good way to make money in a competitive industry.
And remember!! No one wants to see a miserable DJ either so if you’re hating every second, at least pretend you’re having fun, have a few drinks (if you’re not driving home) and just get into the mode. Would you rather be playing music or doing your desk job? There you go…. Knock em dead!!
Ok so I’ve come back from my travels, relocated to London and I haven’t had time what with the new job to find a gig yet. Sooooo, I’m gonna pass on a bit of my know how about things like being a wedding DJ and stuff like that.
Chances are you’re reading this cos you’re a DJ already. That means you probably think of yourself as a type of DJ - you know, drum n bass DJ, techno DJ, Eskimo throat warbling DJ… I dunno. First things first, forget what type of DJ you are if you’re playing someone else’s party, especially weddings. You’re playing to the crowd now so you are one type of DJ only for that night ‘Party DJ’. You need to get EVERYONE dancing, including uncles and aunts, 5 year olds and even the bride and groom.
With that in mind, if I’m booked to play a wedding I will normally contact the person who booked me, best contact here is the bride, and ask them for a very basic guide to their taste in music. Bear in mind they’re busy with other elements of the wedding so they’re not fully focussed on the music as such, but I would ask them for maybe 5 or ten tunes they’d like to have played and definitely ask for their first dance tune. Do this around 2 or 3 weeks before you’re due to play so that there is no rush element. If its last minute, no problem but definitely do it, this will give you an insight into their music taste which makes it easier for you to pull off a successful party. If they don’t get back to you, no problem, I’ll fill you in on how to make it all work later on.
Ok, so you know the bride likes cheesy 90’s indie pop and was a big Westlife fan. Yeah, I know…. Like I say, forget that you’ve played techno in muddy fields to drugged up hippys, this is a different type of gig, you’re probably getting paid better and you’re gonna have fun anyways. Just don’t fight it.
Compile a playlist of basic tunes that will go down well. The rule for weddings is like this:
1. Is it about heartbreak or fucking around? Yes? Don’t play it then… No one wants to hear ‘Heard it through the grapevine’, ‘I will survive’ or ‘Promiscuous girl’ at a wedding. Same goes for excessive profanity. You can get away with a bit, but I’d avoid Notorious B.I.G’s Nasty girl until nearer the end of the night. If its about love and stuff… good shout, get it in there.
2. Does everyone know it? Yes? Good… Its on the list. An obscure B-side from Chemical Brothers third release off their second album could possibly get dropped later on but lets play it safe in the early part of the gig. You need to fill the dancefloor. That means you need songs people know and want to dance to. Then you need to keep them there. Once they’re drunk and goin for it, they’re yours and maybe if you sneak that b side in they’ll keep dancing. Or maybe they’ll take that moment to go and get a pimms top up.
3. How well do you know your crowd? If its your mates wedding and you know half of the audience, great, you know what they’ll like after the preliminary hour or two. You do need to get uncles and aunties up as well as the kiddies so reserve the first two hours for them, play accessible 80’s, 90’s and 00’s hits - get yourself a ‘Hits of the 80’s’ CD and just play that if you want. Get the last few ‘Now thats what I call (terrible) music’ compilations - be ready for requests from all over the place and trust me you’ll get some odd ones. Borrow some CD’s off your kid sister, your mates, dig in the crates from your younger days, hit up the charity shops - it doesn’t matter, just have a good spread of cheese cos you’ll be grateful for it later! Same applies here if the playlist wasn’t given to you before, basically, cover as many bases as you can.
As the night wears on gauge your crowd; who’s dancing? what have they left the floor to? what have they piled onto the floor for? what have the bulk of your requests been for and have they been all from that annoying drunk uncle or the bride’s fit best mate? All this dictates how the end of the night should go… You might have a drum and bass crowd, great! You can whip out all your Netksy remixes, Current Values redub of the latest Justin Bieber tune or whatever. You might be in there with one of the bridesmaids who just wants to hear more Rihanna, better play some of that then! The bride might be screaming for more Westlife…. Best do what she says, its her big night eh!!
In my experience of playing weddings I’ll start pretty mainstream and generally end pretty uptempo and begin to wind it down in the last 15 -20 mins.
Opening: Lots of Jackson 5, James Brown, Madonna, 80’s/90’s classics, whatever they requested before the wedding….
Happy (ie: DRUNK) hour: More dance music and a heavy dose of current cheese - Calvin Harris, Rihanna, LMFAO… Its around here you can stamp your personality on a set so check the crowd, drop a few of your choice tunes and see what happens.
Nearing the end: Start to wind down maybe some R&B or classic hip hop, ballads or soft rock, reggae… Slip in a few slow numbers.
Go out on….. whatever you feel. Are there blossoming romances afoot? Play some slow dances. UB40 - red red wine anyone? Chances are by now you’ve got a backlog of requests so its up to you really.
Then as the lights go down, soak up the kudos of being the ‘best wedding DJ I’ve ever heard’, stuff all the leftover vol-au-vents in your kit bag and collect your pay. Go home and get drunk or get them digits off the drunk bridesmaid if she hasn’t left with that guy with the ‘haircut’. Well done, you got through it!! BOOM!
first dance to something random like ‘Zapp and Roger’ More bounce to the Oz I think
So having listed the cheesiest dance tunes I get asked for routinely I thunk I’d better adjust the balance on that with a list of tunes I play regardless, usually without requests and once we’ve hit pissed o’clock, ie: the time when everyone is too fucked to care what I play…. I think you’ll find this is more like it.
1. Mooqee/DJ Zinc - I need a Dollar remix (awesomely fat remix: http://bit.ly/tINelO)
2. Fake Blood - Medieval (Played this at Halloween, quite liked it and now I play it all the time..)
3. Steve Angelo/Laidback Luke - Show me Love (Blame remix) *went to one of the other bars that never used to play drum n bass the other day and now they play this tune too… hmmmmmmm…*
4. Nero - Crush on You (oooofffff - tune!!! http://bit.ly/q4rMM4)
5. A Skillz/Marlene Shaw - California Soul (amazing remix:: http://bit.ly/ub5v9F)
6. Alison Hinds - Roll it Gal http://bit.ly/ocLso
7. Jack Beats - Get Down
8. Mooqee/Beatvandals - Rollin in the Beats (wicked Adele remix)
9. Parov Stelar - Catgroove
10. The Prodigy - Everybody in the Place (oldie but goldie - love this tune and it always goes off http://bit.ly/gbcF3f)
And this is forgetting stacks of tunes including Toddla T - Take it Back, loads of Deekline tunes , Noir, Haze - Around (Solomun Remix!!) etc etc
You can also check me out on facebook at :: http://on.fb.me/w23MiD which is nice. Cheers then!!
So its been all go at the FISHBOWL, Koh Tao. But the end is nigh as I have decided to run off to Australia for a bit in January. Thought I’d put up the list of the most played tunes at Fishbowl so ya’ll can see what I’ve been playing. Now, this isn’t what I’d ordinarily choose to play by default and actually the list below is probably the playlist from every club in asia, but this is what I get asked for…. So there u go!!
1. Calvin Harris & Rihanna - We Found Love
2. Calvin Harris - Feels so Close
3. LMFAO - Sexy and I know it
4. Afrojack, Pitbull etc - Give Me Everything
5. Don Omar - Danza Kuduro
6. Avicii - Levels
7. Kings of Leon - Sex on Fire (yeah I know… oldie but I get asked for it so much!!)
8. David Guetta, Pitbull & Usher - DJ Got us Falling in Love
9. Pretty much anything by David Guetta
10. Sak Noel - Loca People (Alvaro Remix)
I’m not proud of that list so I’m gonna have to make amends with a fat mixtape soon. Stay tuned!!
If you’re reading this and you’re in Australia I’d love some advice about DJ’ing in Melbourne or Sydney… I do play stuff other than cheese too honest!! Drop me a line via email:: email@example.com. Awesome.
OK, so after a blag across south east Asia from Bangkok to Singapore and back, I ended up playing at a bar in Bangkok’s dodgy Patpong area, although the bar wasn’t dodgy (thankfully!) it was an interesting gig. The Barbican, as the venue is called, is a new venture and is just making a name for itself, so I rocked up and duly played a set for a few hours and then promised to call back when I was next in BKK.
But, as luck would have it, I’d been invited back to Ko Tao to play at the Fishbowl as the resident DJ.
Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth I made my way to Ko Tao and have now been rockin the spot on the regular for almost a month now. A small island, just above Ko Pha Ngan (Full moon party island), Ko Tao is more famous for diving than anything. But my god do they party hard…! Its not the most Thai place in Thailand, in fact there are probably more Brits, Swedes, Burmese and Ozzies than there are Thai in the whole place. The pattern seems to be, people arrive for a 4 or 5 day diving course and end up staying weeks, often longer…
There are a few other party spots on Ko Tao - notably Diza Bar, Castle, Lotus and Star Bar - but none can rival Fishbowl for the consistent crowds and general rowdy party atmosphere. Ok, that might be because I have been playing kinda rowdy tunes.
Early on I did try and avoid the standard tunes (Pitbull, Rihanna, LMFAO etc) but as the gigs wore on it became apparent that actually, thats what people want. My philosophy has always been that I’m the party DJ, make the party happen. So with a decent spread of music from electro, house, drum n bass, dubstep and all the cheesey hip hop, r&b and classics I have been keeping the place pretty packed on the regular.
Finding work as a DJ in a foreign land isn’t that easy so its cool, definitely landed on my feet here. The gig is good, the pay is very good (for the region) and its a good fun gig so it looks like I’m here for a while…!
Ok, so just played my first gig in Thailand (Ko Tao, the Fishbowl), thought I’d share my current top 10 tunes which I seem to drop at any opportunity:::
1. A Skillz vs Marlene Shaw - California Soul Remix (Heavy bass drop on this one)
2. Rick James - Super Freak and Super Freak part 2 (part 2 is waaayyy funkier but both tunes mash up the dancefloor).
3. Tempa T - Next Hype (baaadman grime tune)
4. Chase & Status feat Tempa T- Hypest Hype (big biiig tune featuring rude boy Tempa T)
5. D Double E - Street Fighter Riddim (another bad man grime tune)
6. Vod D & Foreign Beggars - Maximum Boost (faaaaaattttt!!!)
7. Sir Mix A Lot - Baby Got Back (oldie but goodie)
8. Technotronic - Pump up the Jam (see above)
9. Snow - Informer (Classic 90’s shizzz)
10. Katy B & Ms Dynamite - Lights on / Ms Dynamite - Wile out (proper head nodders!)
in fact while I’m on the roll call:::
Inna - Sun is up (summery housey tune)
R Kelly - Ignition Remix (Still makes ‘em do the grind)
Capleton - Slew Dem (reppin with the dancehall!!)
Sean Paul - Get Busy/Gimme the Light (more classic dancehall)
Beenie Man - Who Am I? (ok, i do love a bit of dancehall)
Thats merely a representation of what I play but you get the idea. Stay locked!
Check out some old flyers, limited selection until I can be arsed to scan loads of others in… Some with my old name (King Slim aka the Mighty Slim) ::: from the old days at Club Favela, Kyoto and the original Bac Bar sessions.
BAC BAR MASH UP (Plymouth)