What DO you play?
DJs are often asked, “what do you play”. Now, we’ll all have our personal favorites – after all, we’ll listen to music on the way to and from your party and we’ve chosen this line of work through our love of music. Not every party will have the typical Party Music you may expect.
I’m going to talk about 3 different parties and go into a little bit of detail behind each.
We all have our favorite party tunes, but one mans, Black Lace is another’s Hell, so most modern DJs will provide a music consultation and also provide the ability for requests to be taken in advance of the party.
I have a separate article about Music Playlists here.
So, it could be seen that a DJ will play their own personal choices at your party, but as a client-focused, modern DJ, it’s fairly rare to play my own personal choices, the over-riding factor is always the party.
Certainly for Club DJs, having a “style” works very well. I also know some DJs that service a musical niche (I also run https://new-wave-dj.co.uk/ to cater for my personal tastes)
For most Events, the ability and willingness to cater for a wide range of tastes is essential – even if it’s much harder work. At any moment during the party, I could be asked for any popular genre, and if it works, I’ll need to maintain that for at least a few songs.
I don’t personally listen to Whitney Houston/Kylie/Bruno Marrs/Ed Sheeran etc, but do enjoy playing their music if suitable for the party.
So, for this article, I looked back into 2017 for some very different parties.
There are links to the actual playlist for each party so you can see the order and what I played. My clients never specify the playout order of their requests and many trust me to deliver a great soundtrack to their party.
In the dynamics of a real party we’ll be asked to play certain songs which really don’t match the current genre (check out the Ed Sheeran track half-way through NYE- gulp! but I had to play it and the party recovered from it at that point in the night), but I can use these to change the style, or perhaps the person requesting is the client and there is no easy way of fitting it in, so I’ll just play it.
So, on with the parties!
29th October 2017 – Birthday Party.
I was previously booked for this ladies Wedding (and her Husbands 50th), so was genuinely delighted to be asked to provide my services for her own 50th in 2017.
For the Wedding, their music brief contained many of my personal favorites and it’s great to play the music I love out loud through a quality sound system.
When we spoke in 2017, I asked about music for her own Birthday and the reply was “Oh, pretty much the same as you played for the Wedding, it was spot on and everyone loved it!” A head-swelling moment, but I took the compliment!
We did meet up (I really enjoyed their company when we met to plan the Wedding, so wanted to meet them to discuss this party), some tweaks were made but it was still a very good request list and I was looking forward to fleshing it out with other tracks that I knew would work well given many guests were also at the Wedding
I suggested the Video DJ service would work well and this was planned in as I had many of the requests in music Video form.
The night was really enjoyable, Ska, Punk, New Wave, and a large slice of the 80s, with Pretty Vacant to end. It won’t be to everyone’s taste but is certainly a bit harder musically than many parties. Out of all the parties, this is really a good fit for what I personally like, but it was all about my client and their guests..
2nd December 2017 – Birthday Party
I was recommended to a lovely lady who was celebrating a major milestone birthday. We spoke on the phone for a long time, I got a sense that music was a major part of her life and every track she mentioned carried a strong meaning behind it.
I would have loved to have spent more time chatting and learning more.
She provided a request list which totally mirrored my understanding of what she wanted. I had to source a few tracks, but that’s part of the service.
On the night, I kept loyal to her wishes and it was very enjoyable to play lots of very soulful tunes. Many of the requests just don’t get played.
In fact, one of my favorite classic songs is “Son of a preacher man” and a request was for a great cover version- something I’d usually be a bit nervous of, but it’s a great version that sounded wonderful on the night.
31st December 2017 – New Years Eve
Throughout December, I was block-booked for Christmas Parties in a nice restaurant near Watford. They asked if I could help with their New Years Eve Celebrations, I jumped at the chance!
It’s a great restaurant with great friendly staff (and certainly worth booking a table!)
They had a lot of regulars and friends attending the ticket-only event and knew what music would work very well.
The brief was a lot of club classics. This is a genre I’m very familiar with. I know the songs, how to mix them and how they can fit together.
Now, traditionally NYE is full on party tunes, but for this party, only a few were slipped in – and of course, with some children in attendance, they wanted to hear a few of their favorites.
On arrival, I spoke to a few guests and the brief was pretty much spot on and
I boldly got their attention with the classic “Your Love” courtesy of Mr Frankie Knuckles (RIP).
The rest of the night is listed on the following link:
So, can you answer the question…?
From the above, I show 3 parties. All very very different. The first certainly had a harder and more aggressive sound than the others, the second was far more soulful and the last was far more electronic.
A few days after NYE, I was playing music for a Wake (a guest at a previous party contacted me just before Christmas). It was held in a nice hotel with about 20, mainly older guests.
This was a happy evening for most attending, my understanding was that it was a day with a lot of prior planning and the deceased wishes were for a celebration of his life over a sad day.
The music sat firmly in the 1950s/1960s.
Again… very different to the 3 parties I’ve provided details for above. It was a bit more of a challenge with the 1950s (I’m currently 47 and rarely play much from that era) but enjoyable to hear a variety of music that delighted the older guests.
I’m unable to answer the question to any level of detail. With a huge range of music covering most genres, the ability to work with my clients to craft a unique style to their party makes this a very open question.
“What would you like?” Is the only truthful reply I can give.