Because one can never have too many guitars I still hang around on a bunch of musician forums though my band playing days are largely behind me. Some of them find it quite interesting that I "juggle" being a musician as well as a DJ so I thought it would be fun to let them fire questions at me. What started off sensible quickly descended into silliness and a bit of good natured ribbing. Here's the stuff that's printable from it:
What's your drink of choice at gigs?
Water with no ice. It's good for the throat. I never drink on the job, seeing other DJs or musicians with a pint in hand mid set is one of my biggest pet peeves.
Why are you so much more expensive than __________?
That's a very good question. please check blog posts number 1 through 5,394 for your answer
Real answer: I'm VERY good at what I do, I provide a bespoke service that puts my bride and groom at the fore of everything, I'm essentially their employee from the date of booking until the gig... and as a result have never had a negative experience or feedback with a client in all my years of doing this
Do you have "The Log Driver's Waltz" in your library?
Never heard of it so it must be rubbish
What kind of lights do you use?
Mainly American DJ and it's all computer programmed so can go from romantic wonderland to Ibiza rave cave at the push of a button. I also have a Frozen preset for when the primary teachers have a few cosmos and want to pretend they're ice skating.
Can you provide a microphone for the head table and can we cut the music and make announcements whenever it strikes our fancy?
Yes I can, I can also do a quick "pep talk" to make sure you use the mic properly. As for announcements and music cutting - I'm your employee for the night - ask for it and I'll make it happen.
Do you take requests?
Yup both on the night and beforehand via the YourPlanner app on the site.
How complete is your Iron Maiden catalog? Do you pay the new non-stick Skrillex? Any Palestinian hip-hop?
I have no Iron Maiden or Skrillex. I do have 623,405 Palestinian hip hop songs including that really catch one.
What kind of backup equipment do you bring to a gig to ensure the music doesn't stop? Have you planned for the worst case scenario?
My sound rig was put together "modularly" with the idea that if one or two parts of it go, the show can still go on.
I run 2 laptops into a Denon midi controller which feed into 2 HK Nano 600 array systems.
If one of the HKs go, the other will be able to soldier through for the night, if one of the laptop goes, the other is a direct copy of it, if the controller goes I can bypass that and run sound straight from my laptop into the speaker. During "spotlight moments" such as the first and last dances, father daughter, wedding party dances etc... both laptops are playing simultaneously with laptop A being heard and laptop B in reserve ready to "go live" in seconds should an issues happen with the first laptop.
Do you have an instrument with you or are you just playing recordings of other peoples tunes?
Meow! If you so choose you can upgrade to my live vocal enhancement which begins at £100 per hour set or live vocals with guitar which come in at £180 per hour.
What size of venues can you handle? What would be the smallest/largest space to which you could provide music?
Smallest I've ever actually done would be for around 20 people. I could play one on one if you would like to feel uncomfortable for 4 and a half hours of a Saturday night....
Largest I could handle "in house" is probably around 300 but I have access to sound equipment that could handle well over 1,000. Lighting is by the by, it's come on so much now that even a few lights could handle the biggest crowds. Most wedding bookings I take have crowds from 60 to 200.
Tell us about your history as a musician and how that helps in performing as a DJ. Does the stage presence of live bands transfer to DJ work?
In my case stage presence absolutely does filter across.
I started playing in bands when I was about 14, by time I was 17 I was playing in the best venues an unsigned band could play in the country - King Tuts, Barrowlands, Waterfront etc... that a tonne of my heroes had played in on the way up. Even back then we were always really audience centric and wanted to put on a show instead of staring at our shoes or fretboards and I've carried that on to my DJing.
In between bands I did a college course in music business and one of the lecturers had drummed in a big band from the 70s. He had amazing stories anyway but one that stuck with me was one of the first times they gigging in London and the singer from the headliner was mincing about in front of a full length mirror backstage, pulling shapes and faces, which they thought was ridiculous. They settled down with a few drinks after their set to see the headliner and mirror dude walked onstage and said "Evening, I'm Mick Jagger, and we're the Rolling Stones." Cue Jagger pulling all the shapes he'd done in front of the mirror 10 minutes before but loo like it was natural and he was possessed. That story has always stuck and resonated with me and yes, I do practice the odd move in front of the mirror if I've got a vocal gig coming up.
I don't prance about pouting my lips but I do have a few "scripts" I rely on depending on the crowd and I'll absolutely get myself moving behind the decks and create bond with the audience - I might be working but it doesn't mean I can't connect and enjoy myself.
What's the best gig you've ever done?
DJ wise they're all special in their own way and the best ones are more to do with how I've connected with the crowd and how they're responded to the tunes. Band wise getting to play King Tuts was really special and it was always great to get to do festivals.
What's the fanciest venue you've ever played?
They all tend to be of the fancy variety but Ackergill Tower is breathtaking. If it's good enough for Tom Cruise, it's good enough for me.
What if I don't know anything about planning music or DJs? Are you full service in the sense that you can plan this thing for me if I don't want to mess with it?
CAVEAT: UK and US weddings are quite different in structure
Every client is given their own username and password for the MyPlanner section of my website where they can edit song lists, running orders and so on but if you're totally stuck, trust me, I've done more wedding than you have so let me know you're first, last and any other formal tunes and leave it to me to sort the rest out. If you want suggestions for spotlight moments or formal dances I can absolutely help with that too though it would be best done over the phone or at our final meeting.
Are you at a gig now?
No, gig time is work time so I never go online. I don't even check my phone.
How come I have talent and spent years practicing playing guitar and live in a van. You just push buttons and make more money then real musicians?
I'm obviously a better DJ than you are a musician ;)
Burn. OK- real question. Do you have DJ insurance (or is there such a thing?) in case the below happens to you? (linked to a video with a singer having a mic jammed into their mouth by an overzealous dancer)
I have £10 million worth of public liability insurance which covers me if I ever electrocute someone or crush them with a speaker. Not sure if it would pay out if someone jammed a mic down my throat
What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you at a gig?
I accidentally drove onto the fairway of a hotel's golf course and got stuck a few years back. The owner to drag me our using his jeep.
What do you enjoy most about DJing?
Being able to play a small but important part of people's big day and helping people enjoy themselves. I also love when I get a wee bit of mid gig inspiration and pull a left field tune out and it goes over with the crowd - there's too much good music out there to stick with formulaic sets.
My fiancé and I are useless hipster douchebags. How deep is your vinyl collection and do you have any ironic lighting?
What's this vinyl that you speak of?
No ironic lighting but I have been asked to hire old 70s style light screens before. They're really heavy and look terrible so don't ask me for them again please.
Which would you rather fight, 100 duck sized horses or 1 horse sized duck?
100 duck sized horses
Yo brother, can I sit in on blues harp on this next song?
Bog roll; over or under?