How does a good DJ prepare for your event?

You’ve probably heard of the saying “You’re only as good as your preparation”. It applies equally to being a great DJ. We spend hours to select the right music, sound system and lights to match to your needs that also fit within the venue’s requirements.  Our clients judge us on the end result– which is only possible with preparation!

We feel we must touch on a key topic first – something of an elephant in the room! We do not prepare a complete list of songs and the order that they will be played.  It is impossible to do this beforehand as one of our key jobs is to read the crowd to determine what works and what doesn’t.  We create playlist of possible songs for each event that we could play depending on the crowd’s reactions. What we think should flow together and get the dance floor hopping days before the event doesn’t work out many times. Many factors impact the mood and vibes of the event – things from the venue being too hot or cold, not enough drinks or too many drinks, not eating enough or eating too much, running late, the crowd more interested in chatting amongst themselves vs dancing, etc. –these are beyond the control of DJs and even the hosts sometimes.

Our job is to ensure that we take the current energy into account and to direct that energy into desired results. We try different song combinations and genres of music to get people dancing at the right time. In fact, we start to get people into the dancing mood by playing softer danceable sing-along music over dinner*. If people are bopping their heads over dinner, we know that they’re getting ready to party!

To accomplish our goal to ensure everyone has the best time ever, preparation is critical.

Our music preparation is broken down into curation of music for the following elements of your event:

Detailed programme music selection

We listen to songs and create proper crates with intro and outro points marked for each of the following: introductions, first dance, parent dances, last dance, cake cutting, etc. We usually spend about 2 hours in preparation assuming we already have the music in our library of over 15,000 songs. Occasionally, we may have to acquire specific requested music and we bear this cost for a reasonable number of songs. This time doesn’t include customizing audio files that we may be contracted to provide - such as voice overs for special introductions, mashups, etc.

Entertainment portion

Select and listen for the appropriate music and/or ensure that the provided music fits the hosts’ need (i.e. clean version of songs). We usually spend about 2 hours in preparation of entertainment music. We can create mashups if we’re hired to customize entertainment music.

Dancing portion of the event (DJ Performance)

We curate, LISTEN and split the music into larger music sets for things like dinner music, cocktail hour vs the main dancing portion of the event. We ensure that the music fits the hosts’ need and their favourite songs have been added to the list & identified as such. This is further vetted against the DO NOT PLAY list. We usually spend about 2 hours of preparation for every hour of performance. This time easily doubles for those situations where we create a club like vibe and perform very quick mixes. This could occur during the peak dance timeslot. It is not uncommon for us to play 45-50 songs in one hour of peak dance time in a club vibe. We listen to all these songs and imagine what other songs would go with this song while maintain the same vibe and move the energy forward! The end result is a list of songs that we can play for at least 2 times the length of your party.

We believe that this next item is a no-brainer, yet we’re constantly surprised at the number of DJs who play inappropriate songs at some events. We identify these inappropriate songs and ensure that they’re not played at your event. As an example, we wouldn’t play Golddigger at a wedding. Using the hosts/wedding couple’s personality and take into account the event type as a guide, we identify inappropriate songs and vet the final playlist against these songs.

In short, for a 4-hour wedding reception plus dinner, we could easily spend in excess of 15 hours of music curation and preparation!  Our playlist for the reception will usually consist of music for 8 hours allowing us lot of wiggle room to play to the crowd!

Sound and light equipment preparation may include a site visit to the venue and discussion with the venue to understand their requirements if they have any. In addition, during site surveys, we will also identify the best entrances and the path to use to unload and load up equipment, pinpoint power sources and possible placement of DJ booth, speakers and lights at a minimum. If the hosts want us to locate at a specific spot, we will ensure that we have access to power and the location will not be a hindrance to the guests and venue serving staff.

Equipment preparation can take from 3 hours for basic equipment to many more hours as the needs get more complex. For intricate sound/light set ups, we may even spend hours staging the equipment prior to the day of the event.

For us, every event and crowd is distinct! We prepare and not use cookie cutter approaches. Our experience makes this process easier but it’s still a necessary ingredient to ensure that your event goes off without any hitches.

We are sharing our preparation planning with you so you can be assured that we treat your event like it’s the most important event of your life. We will do everything to ensure you and your guests have the time of their lives at your event and make it a memorable experience.

In addition to this regular planning, we also plan for unforeseeable events to avoid a disaster. Read our other blog about our back up plans here.

*If approved by the hosts. If required, we will play soft and traditional dinner music during meals.

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