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How to Be a Party DJ

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Graham Slee View Drop Down
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    Posted: 24 May 2015 at 10:55pm
How to Be a Party DJ

Having attended a wedding yesterday along with the obligatory disco I was moved to write this.

All the gear - no idea!

It would seem that some DJs live in their own fantasy world behind the "decks". Perhaps they think they're hosting a rave?

Perhaps they think the teenage bridesmaids are into acid-house or hip-hop or whatever it's called? Maybe they are, but with parents present they're not about to remove their clothing and start jumping up and down whilst popping pills.

When the penny eventually drops around 9:30 they frantically search for music for the over 40's and start playing all the wrong stuff! By 10:00 most of the relatives have gone home, and those who are left are invariably pissed out of their heads through boredom.

In my day as a 70's DJ I had it much harder than you guys - fancy trying to include a "Gay Gordon" or two? You might think that would fit quite well into today's scene, but do your homework! A "Gay Gordon" is old time dancing!!!

What I knew back then was that some chart music was appreciated by the older generation. If they could do their kind of dance steps to "modern stuff" they would dance!

Every time I played Van McCoy's "The Hustle" I'd get my Mum waltzing into my room - such music has a tendency to get all ages up on the dance floor even today!

Almost without fail I had generations of party guests up on the floor from 9:00 to chucking out time - if I didn't give them at least 2 hours solid enjoyment I felt I'd cheated them.

Today's older generation were 60's and 70's listeners - today's 30 something's remember a lot of 70's records because their parents were playing them long after the demise of 70's disco.

It's so easy today to play such records. You don't have to build up a collection of 45 rpm singles for years - you simply click a button on Amazon and you've got the lot!

Gimme a laptop and these: "100 Disco Hits" and "Now That's What I Call Disco" and I could just about pull off today what I used to pull off every week in the 70s for weddings and coming of age birthdays - but it would be so easy with the technology you have today!

Here's a good 1 hour of music:

Disco Inferno - The Trammps
Blame It On the Boogie - The Jacksons
Lost in Music - Sister Sledge
Le Freak - Chic
Give It Up - KC and the Sunshine Band
Rock the Boat - Hues Corporation
Play That Funky Music - Wild Cherry
Working My Way Back to You - The Detroit Spinners
Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now - McFadden and Whitehead
Everybody Dance - Chic
Boogie Nights - Heatwave
Daddy Cool - Boney M
I Love to Love - Tina Charles
Yes Sir, I Can Boogie - Baccara
Love Train - The O'Jays
The Jacksons - Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)
Sister Sledge - We Are Family
KC And The Sunshine Band - That's The Way (I Like It)
Donna Summer - Hot Stuff
Gibson Brothers - Cuba
The Hues Corporation - Rock The Boat
George McCrae - Rock Your Baby
Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony - The Hustle
Sylvester - You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)

(arrange to give some continuity of beat)

Then you'll need something to really liven things up like "Lets Twist Again", "Jungle Rock", "Oops, Up Side Your Head" etc...

10:30 - Slow it down a bit for smooches but limit it to two or you'll lose momentum - play such as "Kissin' in the Back Row of the Movies - The Drifters" - some will dance "normal" to this.

Then if you don't have any more music, repeat the first lot - you might even make notes the first time around to see which music got the most people on the floor.

You should aim for applause and shouts of more at the point you have to start the close down - that's when you have to announce that taxi's are waiting because the crowd is so far gone.

And now: The Equipment.

Discos are noise right?

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Sit the audience side and if you think you're robbing the audience, do something about it!

Maybe you think it's OK? Ask the people who are milling around (caterers, cellar man etc) whilst you set up and ask for their honest opinion - you might not like their answers, but think! They're probably the type of people who are going to attend your gig.

The quest for bass is OK for raves but you'll piss-off a good half of the private party who don't want their liver, heart, bowel or kidneys rearranged. Most disco bass cabinets can't do lower than 50Hz - the 18" drive units at the party I attended couldn't even reach 75!!!

The boom is the thing that's the problem. Do not sit bass cabs on a wooden stage!!! All you'll get is booooooooooom. Stop being lazy and make some stand-offs! Experiment till you get a nice sound.

And whilst you're at it get a good amp or multi-amp set-up, and make sure your speakers really can handle it - distortion turns people off!

Most people don't like foggers for health reasons. Too concentrated and it harms the eyes. Think about it? Triethylene glycol is very similar to car antifreeze (a pig by-product) - do you get off on its smell (scented or not)? Neither do I.

You might just find these tips get you more bookings. I got paid today's equivalent of £80. The guys last night charged £120 - what a rip-off they were!

Before I forget, I'm sure the question will be asked of what to play prior to 9:00? Clue: Black Lace!

There are only two things to stop you being a success in life and they're both called Google
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Drewan77 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Drewan77 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2015 at 11:58pm
Just got home from my 3rd consecutive night of live music & a bit the worse for wear from alcohol sorry, glanced at the forum & feel I have to comment on this post. It made me smile...

Although I'd never dream of purchasing or sitting down to listen to most of this list, Graham has pretty much provided the soundtrack to most of my youth (and trying to date girls). If I took my wife NOW to a disco DJ'd by Graham, I can pretty much guarantee she & our friends wives would spend the entire evening on the dancefloor, leaving the men at the bar to discuss music, sport and all the other properly serious topics of the day. And he's right...both my daughters would be up there too as they know every one of these

Don't we just love Graham and his posts - is there another engineer out there that could run a forum the way he does, provide a post like this & at the same time humbly produce equipment of such unique quality?

One of a kind ! Big smile
Older than I once was, younger than I'll be
.............................
Andrew
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fatmangolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2015 at 5:48pm
Thanks Graham!
Jon

Open mind and ears, whilst owning GSP Genera, Accession, Elevator EXP, Solo UL, Proprius amps, Cusat50 cables, Lautus digital cable, Spatia cables and links. and a Majestic DAC.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote miT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 2015 at 11:12am
I totally agree. I used to dabble as a hobby and loved the 90s "turntablism" scene. A documentary from the early years mentioned how an MC suggested a DJ drop Shirley Ellis - The Clapping Song at a street party; the place went nuts!

70s disco, old motown, rock 'n' roll... If you don't have those in your set, stop pretending to be a DJ!

Btw, guess who's going away for a wedding this weekend? After this thread, I can't wait to see what the DJ will be like. As long as no one makes me get up...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RichW Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 2015 at 11:26am
Glad to see 'Time Warp' from Rocky Horror Picture Show ain't on yer list Graham.
Must have heard this at umpteen parties over the years. Always get the moves wrong.


Accession, Majestic, Reflex M and C, Solo ULDE, CuSat & Lautus.
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Graham Slee View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Graham Slee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2017 at 7:48am
Two years on and I had to endure the same thing all over again.

Room dimensions approximately 15 x 15 x 6 metres. Acoustically crap! Speakers positioned in corners just below the ceiling - even worse!

There is only one word to describe the sort of person who has scant disregard for audio quality in a 'party venue' and I cannot publish it here (but it begins with W and ends in R).

There was a reason for Peter Kay's portrayal of a crap disco system and crap DJ in Phoenix Nights, and it wasn't a recommendation to do the same!

Shabba!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richardl60 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2017 at 8:46am
Sounds like my kind of DJ Graham.

Over loud with lots of distortion was always a huge turn off.

I am sure a lot of us will have some slow dance memories but two other personal classics are the 12" pop music - m, back to the 60's tight fit.
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