Want to hear some great tips on entertainment for your wedding? Check out this edition of the Bridechilla (Save The Date) wedding podcast by Aleisha McCormack on which she interviewed me.
Aleisha asks about subjects such as:
- Music that should and shouldn’t be played at weddings
- When to play certain tracks
- The image of wedding DJs
- How a new band of DJs in the UK are trying to raise the standard of wedding DJs and getting far more creative
- What does a master of ceremonies do
- Music for the wedding ceremony
- What is a wedding host
- Why you should meet your DJ
- Questions you should ask a DJ you’re interested in booking
- Ice breaking between the two families and friends
- Creating energy and laughter during the wedding day
- Truly making your wedding party
- How to have fun with your grand entrance into the wedding breakfast
- What is a Love Story
- When to book the wedding entertainment
- Avoiding an expensive dinner party
- How can you ensure the DJs equipment doesn’t destroy the elegant look of your room
- Why not everyone wants to dance
- Should you ask your guests for requests on your RSVP card
- Why doesn’t the DJ play requests next
- Is there a genre that gets everyone dancing
- The science of music programming
So take a listen and if you have any questions about this show you can comment below or over on the comments section in the podcast plus there will be a part 2 to this interview being recorded in the next few weeks so if you have questions on wedding entertainment that you would like answered make sure you let us know.
The Bridechilla Wedding Podcast is an audio wedding magazine presented by Comedian Aleisha McCormack. It’s a great way to learn fantastic advice on weddings in a fun and informal way. www.thebridechilla.com
Transcript of this episode:
107 Top advice from a Wedding DJ.mp3
Narrator: [00:00:05] Getting hitched there is a podcast for that. And you’re listening to it, the Save The Date wedding podcast. The number one podcast about all things weddingy.
Aleisha: [00:00:14] I’m Aleisha and today I’m very happy to be joined, by a gentleman caller. That sounds rude it’s not like that; Tony. He is, you don’t hear men’s voices on this podcast enough and I’m trying to change that which is sort of ironic because we should be hearing more female voices. I don’t know what I’m doing! Tony is a wedding DJ. And can I just say he has the coolest thing in his signature here for his e-mail. He is the chairman of the NADJ London. Do you know what that is?
Aleisha: [00:00:43] That’s the National Association of DJs Tony that is so cool. How cool is this. Do you float that one around and tell people “hey dudes I’m the chairman of the NADJ”? You should say that.
Tony: [00:00:58] Oh yeah I tell everyone that.
Aleisha: [00:01:00] It sounds ace. I mean I’m trying to picture what goes on at these association meetings. Do you bring decks? what happens?
Tony: [00:01:07] What goes on there stays there. We’re not allowed to divulge that information to anyone.
Aleisha: [00:01:11] Fair play fair play. I’m going to picture that it’s in a big dark room and you’re all wearing Big Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. And you bring your decks and all of your various digital files.
Tony: [00:01:21] Oh you’ve been there?!
Aleisha: [00:01:22] But really I’m a spy. I do my research very well on this podcast. Tony thank you so much for joining me today. We’re talking all about wedding entertainment, music, your experience, you’ve got over 20 years of experience and skills. Mad DJ skills in weddings and lots of other entertainment forms. So we are going to pummel you for information about how to make wedding entertainment great and not necessarily a big fat show.
Tony: [00:01:53] Fair enough.
Aleisha: [00:01:56] Fair enough he says. All right. Let’s get to it. Tony tell me a little bit about how you got into this business.
Tony: [00:02:03] Into being a DJ?
Aleisha: [00:02:04] Yeah, a DJ mate.
Tony: [00:02:05] Well I started when I was a kid and I was always buying records when I was a kid. Loved music, crazy about music, my whole family was. I was… by the time I was 12, 13 years old I had a pretty big record collection. And whenever friends had parties they would always ask me to bring my music along. I got a bit anal about other people putting their fingers all over the vinyl. And would end up not letting people touch my records.
Tony: [00:02:33] And one day one of my friends was having a birthday party in a pub and I ended up playing the music all night. And at the end of it, the manager came over to me said “oh can I book you, that was really good, can I book you”. And I looked at him and said book me for what? He said “for a Christmas party”. so I said, doing what, what do you want me to do? he said “to DJ”! I said I’m not a deejay. He said “well you just DJ’ed here”. And it’d never crossed my mind before I could make money from it, I just did it because I loved it. And then from that, I started to get into it and I ended up I was a club deejay for a year, I worked all around the world for a long time as a club deejay. And then I got back to England and kind of fell into weddings and have been doing weddings ever since. And that’s why I specialise in now.
Aleisha: [00:03:18] So tell me about some of the adventures you would have had Club DJ’ing to me. I reckon some crazy shit would have gone down in your career. And look I’m sure you’ve probably got hours of these sort of debauched stories or maybe you’re a very sensible gentleman.
Tony: [00:03:32] There’s not a lot I can tell you about some of the places I went… put it this way, I lived in the far east for 10 years. And there were some crazy things happened over there.
Aleisha: [00:03:43] But I think your experience in playing those sort of gigs must really prepare you for anything to go down at a wedding. I know crazy stuff can happen at weddings and unplanned things happen at weddings so you must be cool as a cucumber when it comes to this.
Tony: [00:03:58] It’s really the experience I had from the club scene has been really helpful in many ways which I would never have thought so, for example because I spent so much time in so many different countries. Sometimes for example a couple of months ago I remember I was doing a wedding and there was some Indonesian guests there and I happened to spend quite a bit of time in Indonesia and I’ve got some Indonesian music. So I suddenly chucked on a couple of Indonesian records was like really rare Indonesian doing Dangdut music, which is this very local form of music in some areas of Indonesia. And these guests suddenly jumped up and were looking at me and were almost screaming that this white guy was playing Indonesian music.
Aleisha: [00:04:41] Yes how you know my Dangdut music.
Tony: [00:04:43] Exactly yeah. And I’ve had other situations where found out there were guests from whichever country it might be and I’ve chucked in some music from whatever country it might be… because every country I’ve worked in, I’ve always bought music, wherever I go I always buy music. So I’ve got a REALLY eclectic collection covering all sorts, a really diverse range of eras and genres and cultures. And so I like to surprise guests. And if I find out there’s guests from a particular country, if I can fit some music in from that country at some point I will do, because it always makes them happy and that makes the bride and groom happy.
Aleisha: [00:05:15] Absolutely. And that’s such an actual personal sort of detail that you’ve said there, that you’ve been observing you, at the job you’re not just going along and playing the same stuff, because I think this is really, when I think about wedding deejays I think of either the super pros where they just they know their stuff they’re going to have anything you’ve asked for. They’ve done their their research, which is what you’ve just hit on there, and then you’ve got, I always say the guys called Steve. Now I have no problem with guys called Steve, but there was a particular wedding DJ I could think of when I say the deejay called Steve, who is just a bit of a dickhead and doesn’t really care about his job. And you know you would have to battle these people in a deejay sense all the time in this industry. Am I on the right track. Being too mean.
Tony: [00:05:59] No not at all. And the thing is in my position, as you know the National Association of DJs, and we have regular meetings and so I know… I’m not exaggerating when I say thousands of DJs. And one of the battles that we have, is trying to improve the image because deejay’s the stereotype of a deejay is not a good image and in many cases it’s well-founded, there is a good reason why.
Aleisha: [00:06:25] It’s cause of Steve, Yeah DJ Steve, I’m sorry Steve.
Tony: [00:06:30] But there’s quite a few wedding deejays now in the U.K. who are really trying to raise the game and really trying to catch up. American deejays, in as far as weddings go, are far ahead of the UK and they’re from a far higher level of professionalism. but also far more caring about the clients and that’s starting to happen a lot more over here now.
Aleisha: [00:06:51] Can you can you go further into that, tell me. Because I have a lot of US listeners as well as UK listeners, and people in Guam, I kid you not. But what is different about the American sensibilities when it comes to DJs. What is the care that you’re talking about?
Tony: [00:07:06] I think they cottoned on to it before many people did here. Well, there’s obviously exceptions, but there was quite a few deejays over there, and it seems to me it started really kind of picking up steam in the mid 90s -late 90s, who really started going so far out of their way to please their customers in any way they possibly could and really overdelivering. And you know really overdelivering on customer service and on performance and in many other areas as well. And then it was from there that things started with the whole day, not simply deejaying for the disco at the reception, but also being a master of ceremonies during the day and then being able to impact the wedding in a really positive way and really helping… really enhance the whole thing. And that’s really started to take off here in the last few years and there’s a number of deejays starting to do that… and I use a phrase called a “wedding host” mostly because I don’t like the phrase “master of ceremonies.
Aleisha: [00:08:11] Master of ceremonies; I remember seeing a picture and I think I tweeted it, of a guy who is in a wedding magazine who is an old man and he was in a white ruffled shirt with some sort of… he looked like a mayor, an old school mayor with some gold chains but not like rapper chains. He had a big hammer thing. And like I said What are you doing. I dunno if I want the hammer guy with the chains at my wedding. And I can see you now on this Skype call, you don’t look like that, you’re not wearing any chains.
Tony: [00:08:37] No… I tend not to wear my chains when I’m being interviewed… But… It’s the whole… it’s exactly what you just said. People’s stereotype… well people’s perception of a master of ceremonies is this ex-military guy. He’s barking orders at everyone, it’s really formal. It’s not a lot of fun. Weddings are supposed to be about fun! Most young couples don’t want… or a LOT of them don’t want that type of person, but there’s aspects of what they do which are fantastic. Yeah keep things running to time. They keep all guests informed as to what’s going on. And then there’s various other things like they’re coordinating with the various suppliers. And it just makes things a lot smoother and you get much smoother transitions between different parts of the day. So I’m doing that aspects of what an MC does but then there’s a lot of things I do which a master of ceremonies would never be able to do, like a traditional Toastmaster would never be able to do. So I’m incorporating music into a lot of what I do to make it more fun and make it more relaxed and a bit more informal.
Aleisha: [00:09:34] And it’s interesting you say because I think the music does change throughout the day and I think a lot of people just as you said think of the dancing at the end of the night or when the disco is as they would say in the U.K. and it’s not necessarily about that because you’ve got to think about some music to eat by.
Tony: [00:09:52] And most of it starts before that.
Aleisha: [00:09:54] Of course; the ceremony.
Tony: [00:09:56] Well from the ceremony, most couples now book me to play the music for the ceremony, and the main reason is because… I’m guessing you’ve been to a fair few weddings?
Aleisha: [00:10:06] I have indeed.
Tony: [00:10:07] So have you ever been at a wedding where… in the actual ceremony… and what often happens is the music is left to some junior member of staff.
Aleisha: [00:10:15] Or a relative. He doesn’t know how to work a c.d. player.
Tony: [00:10:18] Absolutely, and so what you get is, there’s a couple of things happen, very often the bride has got a specific piece of music that she loves and she’s dreamt about for a long time that she wants played as she walks down the aisle, and very often there’s a piece within the music track that she really likes and would ideally would love to have that point in the music played as she reaches the groom.
Aleisha: [00:10:42] Yes.
Tony: [00:10:43] And that often will mean it needs to be cued in from say two and a half minutes or one minute 57 or whatever it might be. Well the venue staff aren’t going to do that. They just play it right from the beginning and then it gets to about 30 seconds by the time she reaches the groom which is not the part of the music that she wanted, but even worse than that. When she gets to the groom… he presses stop!
Aleisha: [00:11:04] Aarghh, kill me. It’s so bad!
Tony: [00:11:07] And how horrible does that sound. This lovely piece of music playing, and then boom; it just stops! Whereas I’ll gently fade the music out. And then during the signing of the register I’ll have already made sure I know exactly what pieces of music they want and I’ll play those at a nice volume that doesn’t disturb conversation but adds to the atmosphere and then for the recession, I really…I meet all my couples about three or four times before the actual wedding. And so I’ll have got to know their personalities and I’ll give them some suggestions of things that can be played at a recession which really suit their personality.
Aleisha: [00:11:42] When you say recession, people wouldn’t know what’s a recession?
Tony: [00:11:51] This is when the whole thing is finished, when the ceremony is finished. They’re now Husband and wife, and they leaving the venue, the registry office or they’re leaving wherever it might be, and that’s when people start chucking the confetti. And you need a happy piece of music that reflects their personalities, and something really good beat maybe or great lyrics or whatever it might be, something that really reflects the two of them.
Aleisha: [00:12:18] And so from that point of view and I love that you just said you meet them three or four times because again this is something that couples listening now can actually say, “Oh we’ll be bit more proactive, if we haven’t got a deejay that is insisting that we at least meet in person, or have some sort of contact”. This is probably a good way to say well maybe we are not with the right people or we can do better and encourage them to get that personal connection happening, cos music preferences is so personal.
Tony: [00:12:46] Absolutely yeah. If your DJ doesn’t want to meet with you, my advice would be you don’t want to book that DJ, because the worst thing you can do… you wouldn’t buy a dress without trying it on. Why would you book a deejay without meeting them because you need to know their personality. You need to know the personality is going to match. You need to hear their voice. Is it going to be the type of guys speaking like “Smashy and Nicey”, do you know “Smashy and Nicey”?
Aleisha: [00:13:11] No please I’m intrigued.
Tony: [00:13:13] Do you know that kind of “DJ VOICE”!!!
Tony: [00:13:16] All right. The one that’s all, “yeah, I’m the DJ”! “I’m a bit of a knob” Yeah. OK.
Tony: [00:13:21] Do you want someone that is talking like that on a microphone all night?… There’s a number of reasons you need to meet the person and I could spend an hour just giving you reasons why they should meet the DJ.
Aleisha: [00:13:33] Now when you meet them, with this meeting what should you be asking them? What are your points and tips that you can give couples, no matter where they’re getting married, about how to make sure this gal or guy, is your deejay for the night.
Tony: [00:13:46] Well first you need to be asking about…. Well the DJ first of all needs to just shut up and listen for the first 15 to 20 minutes and just listen to what… what kind of day the bride has got in her mind how she wants that day to flow. What kind of things that she likes, what she doesn’t like, what she’s seen at other weddings that were kind of good, what she really wants to avoid, situations family wise, you know maybe there’s relatives coming over from a particular country. And so you need to be taking note of all this kind of thing because if she said for example, we’ve got like 20 relatives coming over from Denmark well you need to have some Danish music. And there’s lots of things that the deejay should be just taking notes on, for the first 20 minutes he shouldn’t really be telling them so much about what he can do. It’s about listening to what they want, once you know what they want. They you… I mean this is how I work I shouldn’t be saying what other DJs should do…
Aleisha: [00:14:43] You’re the head of the association… You need to make this night. He’s the king, just listen to him.
Tony: [00:14:50] So once I’ve listened so what it is they want, and then I suggest, OK, based on that, well this is some of the things that I can do. And I show them a few slides and some video and some photos and whatever. To see if this fits in with how they want their day. And then we just kind of take things from there and then we probably… meet a couple more times to start really planning how we’re going to do all these different things because there’s a number of things that I would do during the day which really all to the fun and which add to the icebreaking between the two families and so on.
Aleisha: [00:15:22] Tell me about that. Because sometimes… I get a lot of listener questions where they’re saying, both of our families live on the other side of the country or in other countries completely, they don’t have the connection that we’d love them to have and the wedding day is sort of the first day that they’re all going to come together. And it’s interesting that you made that point that maybe music can actually be something to bring them together. It’s a universal message.
Tony: [00:15:46] But it’s not even just music. And this is something close to your heart. What’s the best thing that brings people together?
Aleisha: [00:15:51] A laugh, a good laugh.
Tony: [00:15:52] Laughter.
Aleisha: [00:15:53] I knew you were going to say that I love you for saying that Tony.
Tony: [00:15:56] And so some of the things I do, really early on in the day, from the beginning of the wedding breakfast… that’s when you really want to start bringing the energy up… And getting people having a laugh. And then if you’ve got people on the same table who maybe don’t know each other, if they’re laughing and laughing together, that’s makes it much easier to start conversing. And so some of the things I do to help them achieve that is… if you think about weddings you’ve been to in the past, and it might be if you’re a friend of the bride you might not know anything about the ushers, or maybe even the best man or vice versa, if you’re a friend of the grooms, you might not know anything about the Bridesmaids… And there’s many guests during the whole wedding from the time they arrived to the time they leave, don’t know the names of any of the bridesmaids, ushers. So one of the things that I do, to achieve a number of things; to help with the icebreaking, to get a bit of laughter in the room, to get some energy into the room is… and this will have already been planned with the bride and groom a number of times before… I know everything about the ushers, the bridesmaids, the best man, and maid of honour and so on. And then just before the grand entrance that’s when all the guests have come into the room, they’re all sat down for the wedding breakfast and everyone is in the room apart from the wedding party and the bride and groom obviously. And then the wedding party don’t know anything about this because this is a surprise that we play on them… that the bride will sometimes mention something about it but won’t tell them exactly what’s going to happen. And then I line them all up and I say “OK listen guys this is what’s going to happen. I’m going to be bringing you in pairs. So it might be one bridesmaid and one Usher and then another bridesmaid and then another usher and then maybe the maid of honour with the best man”. And so the first pair will come to the door and they’re standing at the door, so all the guests can see them, and then I’ll say for example, “right this is Mike. He’s known John the groom since they were five years old and they went to Boy Scouts together. His nickname was lankey because he was so tall when they were. And I say something funny about him and something crazy about what he did when he was 10 years old or whatever and I move on to the bridesmaid. Same thing for her I say oh she’s known Becky the bride since they were at school together and they got expelled at the same time or whatever it might be. And again something funny something funny that she did once was something crazy she did on the hen night or whatever it might be. And then I play some thumping piece of music that has some relevance to one of them and now the two of them walk in together and they’ve now got a choice. They can simply walk to their table… or they can do some funky dance as they go to the table. Now if they do a funky dance, the crowd loves it and everyones jumping up and laughing and cheering and so on. And then the same thing for the next pair, and then the next pair, and then the crescendo, the bride and groom… I do things in a different… It depends on how the bride and grooms personality are. Sometimes I do a little love story about them. So I find out a lot of information about them, how they met, how the engagement happened, was she really surprised, how did he plan it, some things about holidays they’ve been on, and I would tell this story to everyone, but the way I do it, he doesn’t know exactly what I’m going to say, and she doesn’t know what I’m going to say, because I’ll have found out information from her separately. So when I found out information from him, and then I create the script and I put it all together and I tell this story. And then at the end of this story I get the crowd to jump up, get all the girls waving napkins in the air, get the guys going crazy, bring them in. They’re doing high fives to everyone as they walk into the room and then they eventually sit down, and the energy in the room is electric.
Aleisha: [00:19:39] Tony this is, I I’m I’m sure people are listening to this guy. Jeepers creepers. We need to up our game deejay’s out there, because this is, this is classy stuff you’re doing here. This is a lot of extra miles you were taking and I can imagine sitting… you’re a very good storyteller well done, but I was imagining sitting in that audience then, or guests just waiting and learning all this stuff because you’re right. I’ve been to so many weddings where I don’t know those girls in the matching frocks. I’ve got no idea what they do with their lives or how they know the bride and groom ,and that is actually a really big part of why they’ve picked these people because they’re the important people in their lives. And we have no idea. You’re a genius.
Tony: [00:20:20] And that’s something I always say to not these people are really important to you and that’s the reason you’ve picked them. Why does no one know about these people?
Aleisha: [00:20:27] So true. Oh look I think there’ll be you know thousands of people listening to this just ripping that idea right off. But you know you could actually come and hire Tony, that’s probably a good decision to be making. But if you can’t get Tony, tell your d.j.
Tony: [00:20:39] And as I say there’s a number of deejays now starting to offer services like this. And I use the phrase “wedding host” because I don’t like the master of ceremonies, but it’s also because what I’m doing is not what the master of ceremonies would do and it needs to be distinguished or differentiated…
Aleisha: [00:20:53] Its brand Tony.
Tony: [00:20:54] …I tend to use the phrase “wedding host” and there are a number of guys in the UK. I mean all around the UK. I know guys in Scotland doing this, in Northern Ireland, in Ireland , all around the UK, and obviously there’s loads of guys in America doing this in various places.
Aleisha: [00:21:12] I have to say I have to do a little shout out to our wonderful; We had a wonderful d.j. at our wedding. Called Andrew McClennan and he is a Melbourne comedian and he is wonderful, but he’s very well known for running these awesome music nights which were called “Finishing school”, and they were at a local sort of theatre and they would just turn up on a Saturday night and he would play the most gnarly songs you’ve ever heard. It was amazing and everyone would dance until we’d sweat and it was crazy. And so we saw him. And said Andrew please come and play our wedding. And he was… He dresses like he’s from Mad Men. He’s got this amazing 50s sort of style, comes with a pretty eclectic you know music set, and I trust his judgment we gave him a couple songs we really wanted to be played and then I was like do what you want. I’ve always enjoy what you do. It was risky but it worked out OK. But he was a sort of guy, he dances behind the decks and then sometimes you’re dancing and you look up and he’s not there and he’s right next to you dancing. And I always really liked that sort of personal touch. But you know again we knew him we auditioned him by going along to his gigs and that really worked for us. Some people would go we don’t want to deejay that dances. But I always thought for us and our night that was perfect.
Tony: [00:22:29] I’ve heard about that guy actually. I know a few Aussie DJs. I’m yeah I’m I’m pretty sure I’ve heard about him.
Aleisha: [00:22:36] He’s really fun. If you’re in Australia book him, he is worth it. That’s my little plug for Andrew McClennan. I could not mention it when we’re talking about deejay’s. Hey Tony Winyard, I’m going to talk to you more. But we must go for a quick short message from me.
Aleisha: [00:22:51] I just recorded a version of this ad. I suppose we call it with me singing and it was so painful I fucking deleted the thing. OK. So I want you to just remember that now I ask you for money. Save the date. Wedding podcast is my baby child. And it needs food. Feed the baby. That’s awful. See I should be deleting that too because I appreciate that you probably appreciate my ill timed often terrible humour. Then I’m going to keep it in, and you’ll go she’s a bad person. I’m not I promise. I would like to invite you to become a Save the date wedding podcast supporter. That is a fan of the show someone who finds value in this show. Someone who would like to contribute financially to the show whether it is five dollars or 1 million dollars. If you give me a million dollars I don’t know what I can give you in response. I would just say lots of kisses in a non-sexual way. To be honest. If you do want to give me a million dollars you’re probably just buying the show and I don’t know if I can be bought that way. I’ve credibility. I’m an artist. Let’s ponder on that for a second. Visit SavetheDatePodcast.com/support. Thank you so much for listening. I’m really grateful for people that are contributing so far. It really just shows you know how wonderful you all are, genuinely. love you.
Aleisha: [00:24:10] All right Tony. It is all about deejay’s, music hosts, Master of Ceremonies, everything and I really want to talk to you about music choice and selection because often when I talk to guests I think part of the thing is they get stressed with the actual planning of the wedding and then the music gets left to the last second and people freak out. Please let’s talk them off the ledge. Let’s make sure they do this properly. It’s very important.
Tony: [00:24:39] Well one of the things that often happens is… well naturally the first thing they need to book is is the venue for so many different reasons. And then they’ll often book the photographer next. Very often it seems that the deejays left till a good few months after those two things have been done. But what they don’t realise is that the best DJs do get booked up quite far in advance, I mean I’ve got bookings for 2017 nevermind 2016 and not just me I know many other guys it’s the same situation, and I get so many inquiries for weddings for next year and most of my, a lot of my dates for next year are already booked. And then I get people disappointed because they leave it… they don’t really leave much time between booking the DJ and it often seems to be the case they think, “oh well the DJs are going to be free”. but the good DJs are booked quite far in advance so if, IF the entertainment is important, and if you want a deejay as opposed to live music, it’s best to book them far in advance. Basically as soon as you’ve done the venue, really.
Aleisha: [00:25:39] Because they’re such a big part of the show. The wedding show that we’re going to call it, it’s such a huge part of the day, music.
Tony: [00:25:45] It can have a huge affect on the day because if the deejay sucks, the wedding sucks and the best quote I ever heard about this, is a guy in America called Dave Winsor and he says “If the deejay sucks, you end up with just an expensive dinner party”.
Aleisha: [00:26:06] It’s so true that is so true.
Tony: [00:26:09] And at a wedding, it’s not about the deejay, it’s about the bride and the groom they’re the stars of the show. And what I try to do, and again, many of my colleagues try to do as well. It’s all about the bride and groom and everything I do is to make the bride and groom the stars of the show. It’s not about my ego or anything. But if you’ve got that deejay who thinks that he’s as good as he’s ever going to get. That’s not always a great sign.
Aleisha: [00:26:31] And I think that’s the thing about exactly what you’re saying are they are they the people that want it to be “The Steve show”?
Tony: [00:26:39] Yeah. And they’ll have tons of lights and tons of sound. And they think they’re in Wembley Stadium. And the thing is the bride works so hard to make the room look stunning you know. She’s got her colour theme everywhere and it all looks really beautiful. And then the deejay marches in with tons of metal and scaffolding and poles and just destroys the room that she’s worked so hard to make look stunning.
Aleisha: [00:27:04] So that’s a good point to make, that they need to ask what their set up is. What are you what gear are you bringing in and what you.
Tony: [00:27:10] See photographs and video.
Aleisha: [00:27:12] That’s such a good point because you don’t want as you said if you’ve got a beautifully manicured… if you’re in the Savoy or Claridges or somewhere like that or a lovely hotel that’s quite ornate and minimalist or classic, you don’t want someone bringing in a deejay pit or something.
Tony: [00:27:25] and it’s not even just that. You also want to see some video of… you want to know their attitude. A good question to ask is “What’s your attitude towards self-improvement.
Aleisha: [00:27:39] That’s deep Tony!
Tony: [00:27:39] What’s more important; the music or you? if they think the music is more important then they’re not really… they’re a little bit small minded, because it should be about their skills that they can bring and whether that be in some humorous things they say on a microphone, but not putting anyone down, about their music knowledge, about their customer service, about helping people. There might be a situation that’s got nothing to do with deejaying, but you see something happen on a dance floor and you can go out and help someone or alert someone or whatever it might be. There’s a lot more to it and I’m going off on a tangent now.
Aleisha: [00:28:22] I love the tangent because I hadn’t even thought about the gear and the look of things. I was thinking more of the musical aesthetics rather than the physical aesthetics of what it’s going to look like. You know all that stuff.
Tony: [00:28:36] Well and if you’re in somewhere like Claridges or the Savoy the last thing you want is the deejay coming in with lights flashing in people’s eyes and lots of different coloured lights it looks really ugly. And so for example I use minimal… I probably use less lighting than any deejay in the country, because it’s not about the lighting. The lighting all it does is entice people onto the floor. And so I don’t have any lights spinning around going in people’s eyes. Everything is very colour matched and all the lights in the room will change at the same time, but they won’t be changing randomly like that. They’ll be gently going from one colour to another and creating an atmosphere to entice people into the floor. But then that’s as far as it needs to go really.
Aleisha: [00:29:19] Yes, we’re not in Ibiza, it’s a wedding. We’re not reaching for the lasers. we’re just reaching for our partners to dance with them. Or single, I’ve danced a lot as a single woman at a wedding and that’s been fun too.
Tony: [00:29:32] I made one very strange guarantee to all of my couples that I work with, and it’s that I guarantee that I won’t get everyone dancing.
Aleisha: [00:29:40] I would say that’s crazy because it’s true. There will always be people sitting down. I’m going to get up not doing it all people go into it. I’m happy to watch.
Tony: [00:29:49] What I mean by that guarantee is that, you know the DJs that will guilt trip people into getting on the floor. Everyone get on the floor. Just because someone’s dancing it doesn’t mean they’re enjoying themselves. And if they’re on the floor because they’ve been guilt tripped into being on the floor, they’re probably not enjoying themselves. So I won’t guilt trip anyone into getting on the floor if they don’t want to get on the floor.
Aleisha: [00:30:12] You don’t want begrudging dancers, you want joy dancers.
Tony: [00:30:16] Because people can have a great time at a wedding without going near the dance floor.
Aleisha: [00:30:18] Absolutely.
Aleisha: [00:30:19] So for me I want everyone to have a great night and whether that might be standing at the bar all night or dancing on the floor or a mixture of all of it. But I won’t guilt trip anyone into getting on the dance floor.
Aleisha: [00:30:33] Yeah guilt trip deejay’s shove it. That’s what I say. And I don’t want to be specific because I’ve been to lots of weddings but not that many weddings. But we went to a wedding where there was a band and I saw you know you see the band set up. All right. This is going to be ace. There’s a band we’re going to dance and they unfortunately… we find out later on, the band was booked by one of the mums and… they weren’t great. And they managed to turn every cool song… They did it at sort of half time, was like really slow, they slowed down everything. And I still remember “Brown Eyed Girl” and you know that’s not exactly a big Dancing number but it certainly gets the oldies up off the…. And they played it like… [really slow speaking] browwwn eyyyed girrrl… And it was so slow. I’m like just fucking kill me. It’s just and I shouldn’t, that’s awful. But it was such a Debbie Downer. By the end of the night well I can’t get up, I can’t dance at this halftime anymore. It’s awful and it ruined the night. That’s harsh, but it’s also true. I don’t know where these people came from so they should go to band jail.
Tony: [00:31:38] This sounds like a really fun wedding.
Aleisha: [00:31:41] I’m an awful human being. But you got to say it. and I can because it’s my podcast. Also, I think I’ve said this before on the podcast… I did go to a wedding where they, the couple loved Radiohead. Now I also love Radiohead but I don’t need to hear it at a wedding.
Tony: [00:31:57] It’s not the best dancing music. No, it is nice to listen to. I mean Paranoid Android is a great song… but not at a wedding.
Aleisha: [00:32:07] I just struggle to dance to it. And they really played a good Radiohead compilation. And of course it was a brother in law or someone doing the music. That’s what he liked and that’s… And do you find that a lot of people think deejaying is easy that some family would just be able to pick some tracks and rock it out and not have to worry about.
Tony: [00:32:26] Absolutely yeah. Well there’s a couple of things about that. One is yeah many people don’t realise how important it is to play the right track at the right time. And that kind of boils into, or all ties in with the whole situation, you know when you get people going and asking requests to the DJ. They want this song played next. And they say “oh you’ve got to play that song next”. But what they don’t realise is, things need to flow in the right way and you need to play genres together and eras together and if you suddenly go from a 60s song, to a current dance track, to an 80s song, to a reggae song, it’s not going to flow and everyone on the dance floor is going to be looking at you and asking what the hell are you doing and you’re going to have an empty dance floor pretty soon.
Aleisha: [00:33:13] Tony I have been the drunk girl that’s come up the deejay I’m so sorry…
Tony: [00:33:20] And when people come and they demand a song next. And you can’t go into an explanation about why you can’t. The explanation I just gave I can’t do that to everyone who asked me for a request.
Aleisha: [00:33:31] Especially if they’ve had 19 champagne’s.
Tony: [00:33:32] Exactly. So I just have to say. Yeah, OK. No no. It’s not going to be next. And I just leave it at that. Yeah cos there’s no point in trying to give them an explanation because they’re not gonna listen. But yeah that’s the reason why… If I can possibly play the song next I will, or i will try to play it as soon as I can. But what’s more important is that I play at a time that’s going to keep the energy on the floor and keep the momentum going. And if that means they have to wait for two hours then so be it.
Aleisha: [00:34:02] Tough titties!
Tony: [00:34:03] Yeah exactly. Because it’s more important that I keep the momentum going rather than just satisfying one person.
Aleisha: [00:34:09] How do you feel. I’ve been noticing a bit of a trend lately and I think I’ve talked about it before where… you know the RSVP card, people have been asking for their guest’s favourite songs or what’s the song that always makes you dance. How do you feel about that as a deejay. Does it help you or hinder you?
Tony: [00:34:27] Both! I have a similar service. I have an online service… my music database is online and I have a private login code for all my clients, all my couples that work with me, and they can go on to my music database and create their own request list. And there’s a facility on there where there’s a Guest Request List. There’s a link they can send to all their guests so their guests can choose music as well. However what I always say to couples when I’m explaining how this whole thing works, I say look this guest request system is good and it’s bad. Yeah it’s good because it gives your guests a say in choosing their favourite songs, but it’s bad because.. just because it’s their favourite song that doesn’t mean you can dance to it.
Aleisha: [00:35:07] So true.
Tony: [00:35:09] And I’ve had situations… I mentioned I meet couples a few times and I remember one example, a couple of years ago and I was meeting with one couple and it was about the week before the wedding and we’re looking at the songs that their guests had chosen, and there were about 20 songs, and there was 10 songs and the group said to me look these ten here I don’t want to be hearing those at my wedding. Forget them.
Aleisha: [00:35:27] Good on him.
Tony: [00:35:28] Yeah but the problem is the people that chose those 10 songs are going to be thinking well why ask my opinion if you’re going to ignore it.
Aleisha: [00:35:34] Oh yes this is true.
Tony: [00:35:36] So all you’re doing is winding up people, so it starts off it’s a good idea but in reality… What I usually suggest to people is don’t send it to everyone, just send it to people whose music taste you trust.
Aleisha: [00:35:48] Yeah, so crazy Auntie Bev, don’t bother asking.
Tony: [00:35:51] Exactly yeah because you don’t really want to be hearing Pink Floyd at your wedding.
Aleisha: [00:35:54] Again, a great band but not wedding music.
Tony: [00:35:57] You’d be amazed how often people choose things like Pink Floyd.
Aleisha: [00:35:59] Really.
Tony: [00:36:00] And you can’t dance to Pink Floyd.
Aleisha: [00:36:02] Well if you’re on acid or something perhaps it’s probably not for…
Tony: [00:36:09] So yeah so that’s what I always say. You it can be good but put it this way; Of the couples that book me probably 20 percent use that the guest requests system, most people don’t go near it.
Aleisha: [00:36:22] What’s the… and I’m not going to put you on the spot for song titles or anything although I feel like you are knowledgeable enough and that you could probably throw at 22 song titles right now. But what is the genre that you know will get people up off the arses and dancing no matter what.
Tony: [00:36:40] There isn’t.
Aleisha: [00:36:41] Yeah. Good. Good answer. I was tricking you!
Tony: [00:36:43] Every weddings different and this is a cliche but it’s true. I mean Motown works at most weddings, and for example Superstition works at most.
Aleisha: [00:36:54] Yeah, everyone loves dancing to Superstition.
Tony: [00:36:56] But not every wedding and every now and then that will clear the floor and so you’ve really got to read the crowd. The way I work is all night long I’m watching the crowd. I never know more than two songs in front what I’m going to play, cos it totally depends how they’re reacting to what I’m playing now. And sometimes I think I’m going in this direction musically, and then I look at the crowd and I think actually they’re not getting down to this as much as I thought they were. And so maybe for example I’m playing Motown at the moment and I was intending to play another two or three Motown songs but then I can tell from the body language that they’re not… they kind of going with it but they’re not really digging it. So maybe I need to go to some 80s or I need to come to some current dance… I just need to change and… and then I start playing a couple of 80s songs and then they go crazy. And so I end up I think I’m only going to play maybe two or three and I end up having to play about six or seven because they’re loving the 80s. And so you you… it’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen in 10 minutes time, never mind about an hour’s time. But also you said about is there a piece of music or style of music that always works. No. It depends on the crowd. Depends on the atmosphere. Depends on the weather; because if it’s warm outside, lots of people want to stand outside cos it happens so rarely in the UK.
Aleisha: [00:38:13] Of course you’ve got to get out and use that sun while it’s there.
Tony: [00:38:17] If there’s a photo booth in another room that affects things. If the buffets just come out that affects things, there’s so many different factors that you have to kind of take into consideration as to when you play songs, and there are some songs that will work really well early on and won’t work late and vice versa.
Aleisha: [00:38:33] It’s lack of real science. Tony you’re really inspiring me here. I’ve got to think about playlists and songs and what works it’s fascinating.
Tony: [00:38:42] Where something like for example Mr. Brightside.
Aleisha: [00:38:44] Yeah.
Tony: [00:38:45] Yeah I mean it’s been well overplayed the last few years but it’s the type of song that works at many weddings it works really well in the last hour and a half. If you play it at 7:00 or 8:00 o’clock doesn’t work anywhere near as well because that’s the type of song a lot of people need to have a good drink too and then they go crazy. If they haven’t really had a few drinks they kind of dance half hearted to it and it’s not the same energy.
Aleisha: [00:39:10] It’s amazing. I was just thinking about you know the weddings. I love getting up. I will dance until they tell you to leave. You know I just feel like that’s the joy of weddings for me and being able to share that with people, I and all my happy memories from weddings have been dancing and to be honest I’ve said this before on the podcast, Rich and I danced all night and barely spoke to anyone at our own wedding. And that was my wedding and I wanted to do that. So sorry guests, I know them all, they’re fine. But that’s the real success for me. So I think hearing you say that and hearing your passion for it and also hearing about how much forethought really does need to go into it to make it all work. Just really I’m so happy that we get to share this time with you and you get to share this with my audience, cos I think a lot of people don’t give it the thought and they need to go away and have a long hard think and plug in the iPod.
Tony: [00:40:03] Yeah, yeah, absolutely yeah.
Aleisha: [00:40:07] I don’t know how to sum that up better because I want to talk to you for another four hours but people have got to get to work. They’ve got to go for a run. They’ve got to do their stuff. But Tony I feel like we should do this again.
Tony: [00:40:18] Ok, there’s a lot there’s a lot more information I could tell you that will be helpful for your listeners, so if you want to do it again yeah absolutely.
Aleisha: [00:40:24] Let’s book it again because I had another ten questions on my list that I didn’t even touch because we got into cool stuff. So that’s how it goes. It’s actually a wedding podcast that’s what we do. Tony if people want to get in touch with you how do they do that?
Tony: [00:40:39] What if they either just Google Anthony Winyard Entertainment or the actual URL is awe-dj.co.uk
Aleisha: [00:40:47] Great. And I will tweet that link out. It’ll be in today’s show notes visit SaveTheDatePodcast.com. It will also go out on Facebook on the Instagram on the Twitter I do it all.
Tony: [00:40:56] So I’ll be getting bookings in America now will I?
Aleisha: [00:40:59] You will, hey Tony will get on a plane.
Aleisha: [00:41:03] Well I’ve done weddings in France and Italy.
Aleisha: [00:41:05] Cos you have, and also, I just have to say I’ve got your bio in front of me. You’ve gigged at Claridge’s and The Savoy, They’re very fancy.
Tony: [00:41:14] They weren’t bad. Nice cup of tea as well.
Aleisha: [00:41:17] Just cost you 40 quid! to get that cuppa tea but it’s delicious. Beautiful venues they are really nice, and look I think this has been so valuable and if you have a question for Tony before he comes on next time maybe you’ve got a music based question maybe you’re having a musical conundrum a master of ceremonies question or a host question I think this is probably a great topic to have Tony on as a Q and A guest as well cos wedding entertainments a really big subject that we haven’t talked enough about on the show. So Tony I’m so happy to be able to invite you back in and hopefully get some feedback.
Tony: [00:41:52] And it’s been a pleasure. I really really enjoyed talking to you.
Aleisha: [00:41:56] Ah gee-whizz this is great. Just come on more often.
Tony: [00:41:59] Well next time we’ll talk about comedy as well.
Aleisha: [00:42:01] Exactly, I was going to go off on a whole other trail about comedy about you saying about when you know watching the floor and seeing people keep dancing or leaving, it feels a bit like stand up when you can fill a room and just go oh my, do I take this off on another direction or stay on this topic or do I milk this. It feels exactly the same so yeah. Yeah.
Tony: [00:42:21] It’s amazing how many parallels there are.
Aleisha: [00:42:24] Oh my gosh yes. Oh look. Here we go. I’m starting a new conversation I must end. Thank you Tony so much for being on the show. And I look forward to talking to you again soon.
Tony: [00:42:33] It’s been a pleasure Aleisha.
Narrator: [00:42:35] Save The Date Wedding podcast. Don’t plan your wedding without it.