Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Why I don't DJ Weddings.

Let me kick off this piece by saying Weddings are fantastic. Suppose you are an upcoming Disc Jockey looking for work in the music entertainment business. In that case, Business is good, really good in fact. Today's cost of entry has never been cheaper for mobile DJs. I've recently discovered a service called Thumbtack that provides great leads for DJs looking for gigs. It's much better than going it the hard way and spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on websites, advertisement. After a few gigs, you should make a return on investment on your initial hardware purchases.


Before we go further on the benefits of being a mobile/wedding DJ, I ask that you take a moment to understand where I come from. The Art of mixing records and the technology behind it was fascinating at an early age to me. I essentially became a DJ when I bought my first controller, A Hercules RMX, in 2011. The rest is history. I became a highly successfully globe-trotting success overnight, playing to thousands of screaming fans. Sounds like "bullshit," right? Well, that's because it is.


I spent the years of 2011 and 2012 playing to almost anyone who would give me the time of day to spin records; Mom's backyard, friend's basement. Anywhere I could play my favorite tunes of the week. Many thanks to all the friends and family for those moments. Looking back retrospectively, I was pretty awful. Sure, I did my research and followed websites like Digital DJ Tips and DJ Tech Tools religiously. I downloaded the Beatport Top 10 and the Top 40 Billboard Chart, yet my set was still terrible. During those formative years, I wanted desperately to play somewhere, anywhere, yet disappointment set in quickly and often. Something had to change, I thought to myself, perhaps my mixing is terrible, well it was. Going back to the bedroom, I practiced and self-studied music theory. Learning a few things along the way, it was not just how well I could blend two tracks together. It mattered which tracks I drop and when.


One day I was faced with a dilemma. Is my drive to play for a crowd the most crucial reason to DJ for me? Someone offered me to DJ a wedding. Here's the paid opportunity I was waiting for! Or was it? The theme and music format of the event was American Country Music.


Oh Sweet Mother of Jesus... 


I just spent around two years' worth of building a library of Trance & Electro House music. There was just no way I was ready to spin country music. How does one even mix country music? The answer is you don't. Play one track after another and quick radio fade, something an iPod can do. Due to my inexperience or perhaps poor communication, the gig fell through, and another DJ replaced me, Bummer, or so I thought.


This setback turned out to be a significant experience. Discovering the answer to my earlier question was absolute. I do care what I play. Therefore what I play is more important than just finding a place to spin records. Time did not stand still, and I had to move on. Experimenting with a broader spectrum of music, I found myself and the music I wish to present. I was no longer shackled to playing for generic mainstream crowds. Finally, I discovered myself in terms of tastes, likes, and most importantly, music appreciation.


Therefore, I have resolved to leave weddings to the mobile entrepreneurs. They can appreciate or at least tolerate a comprehensive format of hip-hop, country, pop-rock, and mainstream dance music. At the end of the day, it is a business that takes hard work and dedication. For me, however, much of the spark and fun of DJ'ing a wedding is left out. Getting on the Microphone and being a good Master of Ceremonies has much more value than mastery of special effects and four-deck mixing. A good wedding DJ is defined by how much fun the client experiences (the wedding party) AND how much fun the DJ does too.


As for myself, I still continue to spin my own sets and play for the fun and appreciation of Electronic music. Tight blends, harmonics, track selection, and energy level management is just so much more important to me, than allowing for strange requests from the tipsy bridesmaid.

Edited: April 3, 2021 for grammar and clarity.

Update: For those wishing to following my music. Please visit my artist portal at

mixcloud.com/injectedfusion

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