Testing times for DJs, Businesses and all

Audio, Lifestyle

I read a lot about world events and who’s doing what and I like to think that I’m on top of what’s next.

But few people could see this coming. The human cost and the cost to business will be felt for many years to come.

Turn on the radio or the TV and all you hear is Corona/Covid 19 etc.

Go to the supermarket and shelves are empty.

Listen to Italians and the end of the world is coming.

I’ve almost written off this company for the rest of the year but we’ll see.

If you are in the same predicament, then you have my sympathy.

Take care not to spread this menace if at all possible. World events will depend on all our actions from here on out. What you do or don’t do could have substantial effects.

And most of all, Take care of each other.

Testing times call for strong responsible people and actions. Be resposible and don’t empty the shelves for others. If we’re really going to starve, will another six days food make any difference?

Love to you all.

Mike

UK Government news and advice

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All set for 2020? Book your DJ now!

Audio, Lifestyle

Hi there. Had a fantastic New Year’s Eve gig last night at The George at Burpham near Arundel . What a lovely bunch the staff are and they’ve asked me to come back next year too. Brilliant! Thanks folks for looking after me so well.

Well this time of year is peak booking time for weddings and parties in the coming year. So secure your space now before someone else pulls the rug from underneatth your feet!

I hate to have to tell folks that I’m booked already for a certain date, so please, if you want a DJ that will Shock your guests as to how damn good he is and to know that I have never let a single customer down in all my time in business – That’s nearly 20 years! – Then book me whilst you can. I specialise in wedding functions, but I do all other types of party as well, such as birthdays, anniversaries, Corperate functions, Children’s parties, proms, summer balls and whatever else you can think of.

07976409141 / 01903366052 any time.

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Christmas bookings

Audio, Lifestyle

Well it’s Christmas party booking season again. I love this time of year. The nights are drawing in and the heatwave is finally over. The rain is pouring down…Hey wait a minute! When the hell is this rain going to stop! This is highly irregular…. It’s supposed to be chilly and crisp and dry! I never signed up for a flood….

Anyway, I have a load of bookings for December, But I still have a few spots to fill if your a late comer to the party. And then of course there’s next year..and halloween too. Still empty booking slots for that weekend….

Take care and have a great week. Pray the rain will stop soon!

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New Website for 2019

Audio

Hi everybody. Here I am in my 19th year of business with a brand new website. So that being said, Please forgive me that it’s quite basic at the moment. there should be lots more content as time goes on. But for now, as ever, if there’s anything you need to ask about hiring me, Please call any time on: 07976 409 141

Thanks and have a great week!

Mike

(more…)
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All inclusive wedding packages

Audio, Lifestyle

I’m getting some worrying news these days about hotels supplying an in-house dj as part of the package. particularly for wedding receptions at budget prices. This isn’t anything new, but it’s on the increase. Well, Just in case you’re thinking of going down that route (and who could blame you?) I’ve heard a lot of complaints are being received from customers about what transpires on the actual night.

Breakdown

If the hotel is paying the in-house DJ a pittance, then a few things will be inevitable: 1. He/she won’t know or be particularly interested in the customers individual needs. 2 He/she won’t have the budget to invest in decent equipment.  3. The hotel or venue will try and lock you into this deal with some extra charge for not agreeing to the whole sad business.

Up to you

Now the power is in your hands. As businesses compete for your attention, if you stick to your guns and threaten to walk if you don’t get the choice, then you will retain that power no matter what happens after. If they’re smart, they’ll capitulate; if they’re stupid, they’ll lose your business and somewhere down the line probably will go out of business.

Stand your ground

If you’re a couple in love and want to make your wedding reception the party of a lifetime, then don’t let some banqueting manager dictate that you have to have a poor quality, under invested in-house DJ/entertainer to underwhealm both yourselves and your closest friends and family. By the way, I’m not saying that if the hotel recommends a good DJ who you have chance to talk to before hand and isn’t tied into some kind of crippling deal with them won’t be rewarding. That isn’t the point. I know DJ’s who do this and it’s all good. If you do meet them and like them, then no problem.

Go for Quality

Book someone who is independant and cares what happens at the venue and on the dance floor through the night. I have many competitors in this field, but few of them if any are actually the same guy you talk to beforehand like my self.

Conclusion

Going for the inclusive DJ package will limit your control of quality. Do your research and find the right DJ for your needs.

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New year, new lighting control

Audio

Update

well I’m here to talk about Software controlled disco lighting and how it’s been a huge improvement to the show.

Had a great Christmas season. Better than I expected.

Went Wrong

Had a gig in January where the new lighting software failed to launch. we discovered that this was because “Good old” Microsoft had put out a major update to windows 10 and it rendered the driver useless….Man! Don’t tell me I should have Apple instead. I’ve heard too many bad stories about that company from many sources and besides, I don’t have a spare grand and a half to spend on one laptop with the same hardware inside as a £300.00 Windows version.

Salvation

Anyhoo, we sorted it out in the end and with a recent School disco I got to try it out. Wow! I wish I’d done this earlier! And I would have, but I needed a guiding hand/Guru to show me what the hell I needed to do. My friend Stuart from After Dark discos stepped in after seeing me at a gig with sound-to-light effects going a little bit too quickly to match the mood of the music some of the time. Liike I say, I was aware of this after updating all my lighting – I used to have more control before, but I needed someone who knew the subtle art of DMX (digital multiplex – Software controlled disco lighting) ie: how to program your entire disco lighting rig from a software program on your laptop.

Musician

It’s a bit like when I was working out how to run a digital music studio and how to get it to communicate with my keyboards and other modules (Back in the nineties – Aah, the memories!), but not quite as complicated. It’s all based on channels and which ones to assign to your equipment. Once you’ve worked that out, the rest isn’t too bad. It’s mainly about writing new lighting sequences and how long each light flash/effect will last for in the sequence. A bit time consuming setting it all up, but worth it for the after effect. Software controlled disco lighting is the way to go.

Conclusion

So I’m looking forward to an even greater lightshow this year with the new set up – More intelligent you might say.

200w2001w2002w

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Eurovision

Audio, Reviews

Eurovision

Last night I didn’t have a gig, so I decided to brave Eurovision. This is the first time I’ve done this since 2009 when I was with my then German girlfriend Becky at her Mother’s lovely house in a village near Bremen and it was mandatory viewing.

Good visuals

First of all top marks to the company that provided the staging graphics. I’ve never seen anything quite so awsome even at a U2 concert. (Credit to U2, this was the Orange tour I’m refering to and that was some years ago). They were simply cutting-edge wonderful. I suspect it might have been G-force, who have come a long way since creating amazing desktop PC music visualisation effects and have formed the backdrop to at least one George Michael tour amongst other artists. I’m only guessing though. I could be wrong.

Weird experience

The juxtoposition of these amazing stage graphics to an almost completely dire set of songs was something to behold. Not one decent song in 26, oh well, apart from our entry. I didn’t think it was a masterpiece, but it remains a melodic, well put together song none the less.

Biased voting as always

And now I hear today (Sunday) that it came third from the bottom in the voting. The favourite was Russia. Great graphics and great performance around them, but crap song again.

Whaaat?

The winner was Ukraine. A well depressing bunch of garbage. The theme was political and personal to the performer, but again contained no decent orchestration, melody or correct use of chords etc. to back up the emotion of it. Result – Rubbish. Brutal? Perhaps. True? Definitely.

In my humble opinion, though I only saw bits of it, The cypriot entry wasn’t quite as bad as the others, but scored really quite badly. Austria was melodic, but a bit lame and came 13th.

Mime

It seems to me that in order to succeed at Eurovision these days, you have to drop any notion of musical knowledge of using the right chords for the mood, proper musical arangment and any hint of a melody, not to mention actually singing in tune on the night. This despite the only live element being the vocals. –

Part Mime

Try and find any instrument with a lead attached to it – Too time consuming sound checking all those artists I guess. Easier to put on their studio track – Top Of The Pops style. Thus a rock band come on and sound as dry as a desert rat’s testicles. (For anybody under 30 reading this TOTP was a music show on BBC1 on a Thursday night which was axed on the premise that we’d all prefer watching MTV or music video channels than watching chart acts “perform” their latest offerings to lip sync). Just how wrong can you be?  Top of the Pops was a legend that I’m afraid you’ll only get to see at Christmas for some bizarre reason.

However, I digress….

So much of music now seems to be like the proverbial “empirer’s new clothes”. I feel like the minority who can see that the fraudster isn’t actually wearing any whilst most apparently can’t. Though to be fair, Although I despair at some of the chart acts of today, desperately trying not to write anything with any distinguishable melody (lacking talent or afraid of infringing someone’s copywrite – You decide), I’m actually in awe of everything in the current charts compared to everything (bar the UK entry) I had to endure on Eurovision last night. Which brings me to Justin Timberlake:

Saviour

I wonder what Justin Timberlake thought last night as he too had to sit through all that crap in the green room before coming on with his kick-ass band of top players and equally kick-ass set. I’ve not liked everything Justin has done by any means but the two numbers last night were top notch. Credit where it’s due. Anyway, how did he feel? Smug, I’m guessing. What do you think?

Sunken

It’s hard to think that this is the show that brought us Abba. But forget about Abba for a minute, Justin timberlake Started out what 20 years ago? Look how far ability has fallen in just 20 years. Where is the next Prince, Jimmi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Etc.?

On the upside

Not to leave you on a downer, Consider this as a last thought: What have all the top selling musician’s got in common? Could it be melody? Orchestration? When will record companies get this? Adele, Calvin Harris, Bruno Mars, David Guetta, Galantis, DNC…. They all produce melodic tracks and they are the top sellers of today. How did this get by the Eurovision acts/Jury? Is this a European musical conspiracy to bore us all to death? Is this the real future of remaining in Europe?

I hope we never find out!

Take care and thanks for reading.

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New toys and added enthusiasm

Audio

This year and last I’ve updated the show with some great lighting and speakers. The whole show is lighter and brighter than ever before.

a friend and other local DJ who uses the same software has been on at me for a few years now to get this new controller (digital decks) and I’ve declined due to other upgrade priorities. He showed me one for sale on Ebay recently (Good as new and half the price) and I bit the bullet and went for it .

denon-hc4500 rack-mount-dj-controller-

I’m so glad I did! It controls the main DJ software so well, it’s shortened my job a lot and now I just can’t get enough of it! 

So come on and book me! I’m itching for more action!

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One Shocking Mistake That could Kill Your party

Audio

I’ve heard a lot of stories about (Killing Your party) tin-pot mobile discos over the years. I’ve heard it from the guy who repairs my equipment. I’ve heard it from customers and I’ve heard it from other DJ’s.

Yes I’ve had the phone calls that go something like…..Hi, we’ve been let down by our DJ – Can you fill in this Saturday/some Saturday etc.

Gone!

I check the diary and I can do it. “Oh great! How much do you charge?” Me: “£60.00 per hour”  Them: “Oh that’s a little bit more than we were hoping to pay” or: “OK, I’ll call you back” – Meaning that I’m never going to hear from them before Earth freezes over… Sometimes if I’m awake enough or get the chance, I ask what price they were quoted from the guy who let them down or what they were hoping to pay. It’s usually somewhere in the region of a dirt cheap £100.00 to £150.00 for a five hour gig. Well, let’s see about this. Let’s break it down:

Music

You may think that is a fair price for a DJ. I mean, he only plays a few records/songs for christ’s sake. How hard can it be?

Most importantly what you don’t see is the time and years spent getting together those tracks. Processing them so that they sound even and don’t jump in volume like your own MP3’s do on your ipod for example. Every track I upload has to go through 6 different processes for quality playback (How not to kill your party).

When a customer want’s their own song list, this can involve hours of unpaid work and music costs, none of which we usually charge for.

Equipment.

Equipment costs have come down in recent years, therefore a decent show with yes (i’m always asked whether I bring this) decent lighting will still not leave you much change out of around ten grand. And that’s not counting the back up equipment back at the yard that you collect over the years, which is needed more often than you’d think. For example, you can’t do a massive marquee gig with the standard village hall/hotel set up. You have to load up with those mostly decommissioned extra bass cabs and maybe extra top speakers too.

Humble Beginnings

We all start out with very basic show set ups until we get an idea of what is required. Besides, the difference between a professional and a cheap amateur is: Do you build it up as fast as you can or do you continue with what you’ve got whilst undercutting everyone else until you can’t afford to maintain what little you have? I’ve heard stories of “DJ’s” turning up with a laptop and one or two Maplins speakers with maybe 50 MP3’s. Well it hardly makes for what I’d call a “show” does it?

So bad it’s an inspiration!

Then there is the guy who maybe has a little more beaten up old equipment (like the guy who did my cousin’s wedding and convinced me that I could easily do better) and who will drop you like a stone at the last-minute if he get’s a more lucrative offer. – No ethics at all. Killing your party.

All equipment must be tested every year by a qualified technician. Some DJ’s make this up. I don’t.

Setting up time.

I’m constantly asked if I charge for the whole time I’m at the venue, ie: Setting up time as well as playing time. Well guess what? I don’t charge for that either and neither do most other pros.

So how much SHOULD you expect to pay?

At this time of writing, around £50-£60 per hour is a good bench mark, therefore Cheaper than many other professionals.

Conclusion

I am no different to any other service in that you really do get what you pay for. The only difference with us is that we are artists and there is an unmeasurable quality what we do. We have to have heightened perception of reading the crowd’s mood at any given time of the night and what track will drop in at just the right time. We address the crowd with confidence, clarity and engaging friendliness. This requires much knowledge, taste and experience, but you have to love it to succeed in the long run.

I hope you found this helpful. I will now meta tag it up so anyone asking “How much to pay for a DJ in the UK” will find it.

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My best Set up Ever

Audio

Well finally after all these years of investment I have the best equipment set up ever.

This year and some of last year I ploughed money into replacing speakers with higher quality ones than ever when I went all out for Electrovoice subs and tops which have the added benefit of being lighter as well as punchier sounding and cleaner then the previous JBLs. Somewhere in amongst these upgrades I bought some Yamaha DXR 15″ tops which make a very nice addition to a bigger set up and so are definately not wasted! I just got new replacement circuit boards for the JBLs which has the effect of stopping all the age crackle that I was getting – You could have them at a steady volume but there was no ajusting mid gig! Now smooth and clean like new again. Recycling at it’s best, as they sit nicely in a six speaker set up as extra top (treble range).

My most exciting puchase of late is the gigbar 2 from Chauvet. It used to take me 20 minutes to set up the lighting rig and to be honest I’d probably still be using that system now if it wern’t for the fact that the special electric mounting bar wasn’t seriously worn out from many years of gigging. Trouble was, they’ve stopped making the damn things and liquid metal (JB coldweld) repairs only hold lighting units up for so long before the weld fails and the units fall off. So the upshot is that I bought this new unit with all the same lighting effects including strobe, ultra violet, Moonflower (floor patterns) , Colourwash (for room colour) AND laser too all in and on the bar in miniture. Permanantly attached and brighter than the previous effects, it all fits into a guitar sized case and can be up and running in five minutes! I This tegether with the lighter speakers and more compact console means set up is much improved to what it was only a year or two ago.

This means I enjoy gigs more than ever now, as there is less hassle getting in and out of venues and less time for staff and customers to wait for me at the end of the gig. Colours are brighter too which gives a different dimension to the performance.

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