If you book 1st in Entertainment for an event you are most likely to see Sean behind the DJ table. Here is a bit of info on his DJ philosophy.
What happens behind the scenes?
Like most DJs I started with presentation style DJing. That means that you simply play the hits as they were originally recorded with gapless playback or automatic cross-fading. This style of DJing is all about creating cohesive playlist that respond to the crowd and client. DJs separate themselves from IPODs by responding to the audience and making selections flow. You’ll want to create a flow of songs that cater to a particular group’s taste, it’s all about knowing exactly what to play and when. I try to stick to hot genres for a solid set of music and keep the dance floor moving – jumping styles of music too quickly tends to get audiences to sit down. A good DJ can switch off “dance floor duds” quickly, incorporate requests and play to a wide range of musical tastes over the course of an evening. A DIY DJ IPOD where the audience picks the music usually creates a genre war where no one is happy. I think that DIY IPOD DJing would only work well if your crowd had a cohesive musical taste (which is pretty rare). I use a simple yet powerful software called “Sam DJ” for this type of DJing, it’s stable, reliable and very fast to find and switch songs. This software is so easy to use and understand I often find colorful audience members playing DJ should I take a break.
We do offer DIY DJ AV services (where equipment is rented or setup for you) should you wish to handle your own DJ services. We don’t discourage it but there certainly are differences, their are performance aspects and conveniences that only a live full-service DJ can bring.
What’s your philosophy to interaction?
I try to interact with the crowd and use the microphone in a tasteful fashion. I’m usually always helping with announcements at minimum. I observe what is going on in the room and try to have fun with your group where appropriate – every show is different. Some evenings it’s best to keep microphone for announcements and focus on music because people want to catch-up – other times I could be doing all sorts of things like directing a Mannequin dance, hoe downs, sing a longs, conga lines, limbos, Bollywood dances, and line dances. On occasion I’ve incorporate a little guitar and vocal work into a DJ set. The night can take you to different places, being spontaneous is half the fun. My level of interactively adjusts with the particular group and client preferences.
How do you pick the music?
We have a very client focused approach to music selection. We take requests and have our clients fill out music selection sheets. We use our expertise in music to select songs designed to pack the dance floor, we aren’t going to play a bunch of Dub-step music for a country crowd.
How have things evolved or changed for you?
I’m a musician who became a DJ. Allot of fun and exciting technology has emerged in the DJ world that has allowed us to become more musical and expressive. That can benefit the dance floor through live energy and dance friendly enhancements. I now use Traktor and Native instruments controllers for my craft, it’s considerably more involved and creative than Sam DJ. I don’t find people trying to play DJ anymore and change songs should I take a break.
What do you mean by dance friendly enhancements?
Everything I mentioned with presentation DJing still applies but now I have a few more fun options at my disposal to spice up the mix on the dance floor from time to time.
I frequently use beat matching to mix songs together to create a seamless transition from one song to the next. This is great for dancing as your crowd can keep moving without interruption and a consistent tempo. I use this technique mostly for new and top 40 music, it works best with the precise tempos featured in modern and disco music. It’s great for mashups or song medleys too. Cross fading is still necessary but beat matching is great where applicable.
I sometimes add builds and extra rhythms with effects through Traktor (usually with more electronic music). When executed tastefully this adds a live spontaneous element – it can add allot of energy to the dance floor. I like to use these effect subtly and with appropriate music and timings – it’s the subtle yet sexy approach! Sometimes I don’t use effects at all, it has got to sound great and make sense in the music. Sometimes I use effects create a cool transition from one song to the next.
Extra Percussion and Remixing
I use beat matching with extra percussion and beats to liven up songs or make songs more dance friendly. I usually do this subtly and tastefully, people still want to hear their favorite music. It’s important to maintain the integrity of the music.
The Human Drum Machine
It’s now possible to add percussion or rhythm to any type of old music through manually triggered buttons. You’ll sometimes find me jamming along with songs now – this is one of the easiest ways to enhance older music with human tempos. Again it’s all about subtle and sexy, I don’t do this all the time but find it can add a dance friendly element and increase the bass. Here are a few interesting videos with advanced DJs showcasing this technique.
Mad Zach uses the same controller as me!
I mostly use this technique to add a bit of live DJ performance and rhythm to 80s or 90s music breakdowns, the music should already have a hip-hop vibe. Scratching would probably sound annoying over a country song. Here is are a few modern scratching videos.