Category Archives: For the Love of Knowledge

Stop Being Linear!

by Tony Fernandez

Allow me a slight prologue: If you think you know “all” there is to know about music, programming, creativity, and mixing, you can do yourself a favor and move along. On the other hand, if you would like (at minimum) to gain new perspective, if you’re really trying to seek a way to improve yourself as a DJ, stick with me because we have ground to cover.

Let me say off the top, I embrace and encourage the diversity of how different people can take random tracks and orchestrate a fluid musical journey. It is a skill that takes time to hone. It is a skill that few can turn into an art. It truly encompasses what it is to be a DJ. And the beauty of it is there is no singular way to achieve that journey.

Having said that (here comes the other shoe), there is a habit most DJs could do without: If you want to get to the “next level,” you need to stop approaching DJing in a formulaic and linear way and develop a more fluid approach to your track selections.

IF you’re asking the same worn-out questions — what song or songs follow up after XYZ? what are your favorite 3- song or 5-song blocks? what playlist do you have for ABC event? — you’re NOT being Zen, and to be candid, you’re not even in the zip code of being Zen; there are four levels to achieve enlightenment; if you’re asking these types of questions, you’re in the basement.

It occurs to me there is a tipping point when it comes to how a DJ musically executes a set and most fall on one side or the other of that precipice. It also seems to me that the majority of DJs fall into the linear camp instead of the non-linear camp.

Being a DJ, specifically, programming music, isn’t a linear activity. There is no recipe. You don’t start at Step 1 and when you reach Step 10, Step 12, Step 243, etc., and automatically have a packed dance floor.  When you take programming and put it through the prism of linearity, your presentation ends up becoming flat, predictable, or worse: bland, because EVERYONE is doing the SAME thing.

Let’s be real. We ALL have access to the same tracks. We all subscribe to the same record pools, we all subscribe to the same remix services, we all make the same purchases from retail music services. Content, by and large, isn’t the problem.

What IS the problem is DJs aren’t taking the time to learn the music at their disposal. I blame the internet for the most part. While on one hand the ‘net is an amazing tool that brings information to you in milliseconds, on the other hand, when you reduce creativity, innovation, and demiurgic action to a Google response you turn DJing into a paint by the numbers activity.

So what do you/we do to change that up? Well, there’s the rub, boys & girls. There is no single answer. I can tell you what has worked for me: I immerse myself in what I do.  I listen ALL the time to music, stuff I like, stuff I don’t like, stuff I know, stuff I think I know, stuff I have no clue about. I listen, seek, search, hunt and try to discover those hidden gems: straight edits, extended edits, remixes, bootlegs, mash-ups, re-drums, etc. Then, once I have gathered my little gems, I figure out what’s going to work and what isn’t.

My approach is different.  Not because I just want to be different, but because I HAVE to be different than my friends, colleagues, peers, and my competition.
I’ll readily admit that I’m not a Zen Master (yet).  But I know I have a command of my music and I will achieve a connection with my dance floor because my approach is fluid. If I were to operate in a linear fashion, I will be doing a disservice to the patrons, not to mention, driving myself crazy.

So come on, kids, stop painting by the numbers. A little effort goes a long way. By all means find your workflow and find your direction. Find what works for you. Find your path to being fluid and enlightened.

That little kid in you will love to get out in to the sun and your crowds will like it, too.

Keep ‘em spinning.

Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on Facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com

Would you play here?

By Tony Fernandez

The premise: Would you DJ at a venue that had everything laid out for you? All you have to bring is your headphones and your skills.  Gear is in the booth.  Computer is in the booth. Drinks are in the booth.  You get it.  However, there’s a catch (there’s always a catch) — you can ONLY play from the club-provided library.  You can NOT incorporate any of your music.  NO jump drives, no external drives, no streaming.  You play with what they give you.

On the surface, I get it. It does sound accommodating.  It sounds simple enough.  Even challenging.  And most DJs do like a good challenge.  A lot of DJs are of the opinion that this experiment wouldn’t be a big deal.  It would even be fun.

Can you tell where I’m going with this?  I have been in this exact scenario. I was not a fan.  I didn’t last long in the venue that had this system in place.  (More on that later…)

The largest problem with this setup is that you have no control over the most important piece of the puzzle:  the music library.  We all have our own way of organizing tracks.  We all have mixes and remixes that complement our “normal” tracks.  More importantly, we all know WHERE those choice mixes are on our drives.  If you walk into a construct like this, it’s a VERY tight sandbox.  Sure it can work for a night or three.  However, after time, it’s going to be suffocating because if the library isn’t keeping up with the demands of the night, well, to be redundant, it’s going to be suffocating.

What’s (kind of) is that I keep seeing scenarios creeping into the DJ world where alternatives are being developed to make the aspect of DJing “easier.” Not easier for the DJ, but easier for the people who have to deal with/hire the DJ.  So not only are there venues that are setting themselves up with complete turnkey systems and libraries  — did you know there is a company that is marketing a system to bars and clubs where a projector shoots an image of a DJ and the club can stream a mix from a library? In the end you get a projected DJ “playing” a set.

You don’t have to worry about AI taking the job from DJs some day in the future, it’s happening now.

So what can you do about it?  Be yourself.  KNOW your music.  Know your crowds. Know how to put those three things together and you’ll have a job that no one will take away from you because no one else or nothing else can be like you.

Okay, it’s later… So I was hired at a local club.  I was covering for other DJ’s nights off.  Things went well.  I was asked to become a regular.  I said yes. After about three months of filling in and regular residency I was presented with the “system.” Play ONLY from the club’s library.  I didn’t. The club’s library was, like, three months behind and guess what people were asking for — new stuff!  I kept bringing my library in to complement the club’s library.  After about three weeks of being insubordinate, I was fired. Rightfully so, may I add.  I did my job quite well but they didn’t like the fact that I was doing it with outside tools.

Fast forward three weeks: I get a call from the manager that fired me.  They needed a fill in.  I said sure. No hard feelings.  I come in and as I’m getting ready in the booth the manager proceeds to tell me that he heard about my night last week.  I did a 15-year anniversary party for a venue a block away. Ended up being on the outside patio. It was as great night.  Still can’t believe the cops weren’t called because I was BLARING the sound rig.  350 people on a patio that held 250.  Manager tells me that on Monday (after the patio party) the owner tells the bar staff that they should hire the DJ that was at the patio on Saturday.  Manager tells the owner… that’s the DJ you fired for bringing in the outside library.  You already had him here.

Moral of the story? I knew my job better than the guy that was paying me. I have no regrets about being fired.  Yes, I’d do it again.  I know my job. I won’t put myself in a scenario where I’m micro-managed to ONLY play THIS.  Being a DJ is fluid and non-linear.  If others can’t see that, I’ll keep on looking for those who can.

I’m going to keep stuffing my library with what works for me.  Hope you do the same.

Keep ‘em spinning.

Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on Facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com

Rock Music At Weddings?

By Brian Buonassissi

Recently, a wedding industry pro asked me, “What Rock N Roll songs are you playing at weddings these days?” The question needs a bit of clarifying as that is such a broad genre – is this 50s rock, classic rock, current rock, etc.? It turns out the question was supposed to be broad.  This got me thinking about which ones are popular and which ones I still use. I really do try to keep my programming as fresh as possible and lean towards more current music. Also, being a destination-based DJ, the programming varies much more than a local market DJ.  However, they are some rock classics that, for the moment, always seem to find their way into my wedding sets. Because they are truly “classics” (in my opinion, this is due to their sing-a-long quality), I really don’t think they need a remix. In fact, remixes can hurt these tracks more than they help. I would never play all these songs in one event (usually I’ll use 1-3 max) but here’s a few that still work well:

*You Shook Me All Night Long – ACDC
*Back In Black – ACDC
*Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
*We Will Rock You – Queen
*I Love Rock N Roll – Joan Jett (yes, I’d qualify this as Rock – has it right in the title)
*Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
*Living On A Prayer – Bon Jovi (Jersey crowds for sure)
*Take Me Home Tonight – Eddie Money

Then there are some classics that when mashed with a current song’s beat or done with a redrum (modern drumbeat) work extremely well because the hooks of the song are so recognizable.  Here’s a few that I tend to use (again not all done at one wedding – a selection of 2-3 per wedding is usually just the right amount):

*Carry On My Wayward Son – Kansas
*Sweet Child O Mine – Guns N Roses
*Jump – Van Halen
*Peace Of Mind – Boston
*Mr. Jones – Counting Crows
*Edge Of Seventeen – Stevie Nicks
*Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

Where Rock where lives right now with the Millennial generation of brides and grooms (which is the bulk of most of our clients) is in the 90s-2000s era.  Rock songs from that time period that you’d never play during their heyday absolutely crush at weddings right now. In a lot of cases, the originals suffice just fine (though I have a ton of mashups with the hooks of these tracks). I play on average about 6-7 of these type songs per wedding – whereas maybe 5 years ago, hip hop classics or pop hits would make up the bulk of my wedding dance song selections.  The crazy part is that lyrically these songs are probably the furthest from true wedding content that you’d want but nobody seems to care now.  A good song is a good song.  Here’s a sampling of some that work super well for me (the key is when and HOW you mix them in).

*Mr. Brightside – The Killers
*The Middle – Jimmy Eat World
*I Write Sins Not Tragedies – Panic At The Disco
*My Own Worst Enemy – Lit
*Crazy Bitch – Buckcherry
*Stacy’s Mom – Fountains Of Wayne

So that leaves us with today’s alternative rock songs. I have to be honest – this genre has been dormant for at least the last several years as far as wedding dance floor fillers. There might be 1-2 tracks a year that seem to gain a bit of traction, but they never tend to last long and most are not for prime time dancing. There are some electronic rock or indie rock songs that work well for me during cocktail hour and/or dinner.  Here’s a few that may get used at a wedding of mine:

*High Hopes – Panic At The Disco (probably will fade out shortly)
*Broken – lovelytheband (also will fade out as it falls off the charts)
*Handclap – Fitz & The Tantrums
*Feel It Still – Portgual. The Man
*Heartlines – Broods
*Kangaroo Court – Capital Cities
*Let It Go – James Bay
*Take The World – JOHNNYSWIM
*What You Know – Two Door Cinema

DJs: What are you using these days in the rock category? Any that seem to get a great response?  Any outliers? Send me a note and let me know.

Based out of NYC, DJ Brian Buonassissi is a successful internationally traveling DJ/MC specializing in luxury destination private events.  He runs a multi-city mobile DJ/event business with satellite offices in Southern California, Scottsdale, AZ Destin, FL, Tallahassee, FL and New York City.  You can connect with him at brian@djbrianbofficial.com.

Drip, Drip, Drip…

By Eric Wenning

I hoping I have your attention now, considering that my title sounds like the chorus of a Trap Song!

Do you have a proper Email Drip Delay Sequence setup for your follow ups? Did you just scratch your head, asking “What is an Email Drip Delay Sequence?”

I thought you’d never ask!

An Email Drip Delay Sequence is an automated series of emails sent out over a series of specific days to help gradually build rapport with your leads. For example, after speaking with a lead, you would enter their info into an email sequence that will automatically follow up with them on the days you select, for example on days 3, 5, 7, etc.

You get the idea.

This is crucial nowadays with Millennials loving to email and text, and allows you to build trust by providing a steady drip of information to guide them towards choosing your company — without doing any work, other than your initial setup of the sequence!

As I teach my students all the time: You have to be creative with your copy to gain their attention. Even more importantly is the subject line! Most DJs have no clue how to use something as simple as a compelling subject line to get a better open rate.

Here are a few examples to help you: 

  • Adding Custom Symbols, First Names and Hashtags
  • Adding Emojis to your Subject Line
  • Adding ‘Blank Space’ before your Subject Line provides an indent
  • [Adding Brackets]
  • Ask a Question?

Just think how many junk emails you get in one day. More than you can count right? You need to make your emails stand out from everything else. Get creative; give crazy weird stats to pique curiosity; engage with them to build report.

“Did you know 67% of Brides forget Deodorant on their Wedding Day?” See, now I have you curious wondering if that many Brides actually are “un-Sure.”

If you want to increase your closing ratio, set up an email drip delay and execute better subject lines to get your prospects to open your emails and engage with you more.

P.S. 89% of people that read a 400-word article only retain 150 words!

In addition to his highly successful multi-op business in Pittsburgh, PA, Eric has degrees in Graphic Design and Marketing and also owns a full ad agency that specializes in Social Media Advertising for many different types of companies. For more info or to contact Eric visit www.wenningmethod.com

Work Out Your Weak Spot!

By Mike Walter

As I write this, NAMM has just wrapped up out in Anaheim.  I didn’t attend it this year but I know it just happened because social media tells me so.  My timelines have been flooded with pictures and videos of the latest exciting gear being produced for our industry.  And along with those posts come the DJs who encourage their peers to stop focusing on gear and spend their money on talent.  Take a workshop or attend a class, they write.  Invest in yourself.

It all reminds me of a Facebook post I saw recently.  Somebody asked which was more important, talent or equipment? And while most people responded that talent was more important, I chimed in by saying: BOTH!  Because it’s not like you have to choose between the two. It’s not a zero-sum game.  In fact, the best DJs I know focus on both aspects of their career.  They do everything they can to improve their talents.  But they also would never leave the house (or the warehouse) without the very best gear.  And plenty of back-ups as well.

I had the same thought years ago when the “Got Music?” T-shirts started popping up at DJ Shows and then just as quickly there was backlash from some who thought they over-emphasized the importance of music at the cost of talent. I remember thinking, “wait, what?” I care tremendously about my music library (which is why I’ve been a proud Promo Only subscriber for well over twenty years now) and every great DJ I know does as well.  We realize that songs are our tools and we need them to pack our dance floors.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t work on my MCing skills every chance I get.  The two are equally important and focusing on one doesn’t mean you ignore the other.

So now that I’ve gotten that off my chest allow me to offer some advice. In your most honest of moments, think about your overall skills as a DJ and MC.  What are you best at and what are you weakest at?  This is for you and you alone so be 100% honest with yourself. I did this a few years ago and I had to admit that of all the traits that are most important to success in our industry, music mixing was my weakest.  I was good.  But I wasn’t great.  My programming was better than my mixing.  My MCing was better than my mixing.  My equipment knowledge was better than my mixing.  So I focused on improving that skill to get it closer to the others. And I’d advise you to do the same. It doesn’t mean you have to forego the other skills.  I still practice my MCing and listen back to my own introductions and prompts and look for ways to improve them.  I still spend a few hours every week listening and cataloging new music.  But I spent more time on mixing than I ever had. And I think in the last few years that skill has gotten closer to the others for me.

You can do the same.  You can take an MC workshop if that’s your weakest skill.  You can practice, practice, practice your mixing till you get better.  Or you can study your songs and improve your programming.  If you really want to be the best at what you do, stop focusing solely on your strong points.  Start improving the part(s) of your show that need it the most.

Mike Walter is the proud owner of Elite Entertainment, a Multi-System DJ Company in New Jersey that was recently selected by TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com as a top Entertainment company in the country.

DJ resolutions you should keep

By DJ Rachel Lynch

If you’re looking for the secret to drop 25 lbs while still hitting up the late night menu at Wendy’s or fix the current state of hip-hop this blog won’t be much help. However, DJs are always looking to do the job better, faster, and easier. With 2019 in full swing, here are some tips to do just that.  Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Meaning, find the best tool for the job and perfect the process. Here are some things you can do RIGHT NOW to start 2019 off on the right foot.

Consider Hydraulic/Lift Assist Stands– Sticker shock tends to deter some DJs from investing in these however they were my BEST purchase of 2018. If you’re on the fence, consider this. Lifting an object that weighs 10 lbs puts approximately 100 lbs of pressure on your lower back. With the average human torso weighing 105 lbs that 10 lb object adds up to 1,150 lbs (now think of your speakers and do the math). Having a speaker stand that can share some of the workloads is a smart move. You and your back are worth the investment.

Elevate Working Surfaces– Working from a comfortable height will elevate your performance and prevent unnecessary injury. Flight cases and equipment have become slimmer over the years causing the modern Dj’s working height to be reduced. Consider sourcing a table with adjustable legs or buying one that gets your gear to navel height.  Using the lid of your flight or controller case is also helpful to raise those platters and jog- wheels. If you’re tall, try bed risers. The goal? Work from a surface where your wrists are neutral with your gear. I challenge you to evaluate your posture when you DJ, you’ll be surprised at how bad we are to our bodies when we mix. If your back and neck hurt after an event this may be why.

Productive Pack Up– After a gig, the first thing on a DJ’s mind is getting out of there as quickly as possible. Over the years I have learned that despite the urgency to hurry up and leave, taking a few extra minutes to pack up properly has saved boatloads of time. One of the biggest mistakes I made was letting a “good samaritan” help me pack up. The next event took almost 30 minutes longer to set up because the cables were mismatched, tangled, and I couldn’t locate what I needed easily. Your clean up should be as neat and as systematic as the setup. It will save you time and money in the long run instead of having to repurchase things that are misplaced or accidentally left behind. Another time saver tip is to leave whatever you can pre-wired. This can be a significant time saver and stress reliever the next time you set up.

Shop Smart– Just because something is new doesn’t mean it is good. If you’re in the market for new gear, try renting it first. Take time at home to get comfortable with it. Run through the setup and breakdown. Test it with your other equipment. Is it comfortable? Consider the Weight? Portability? Practicality? Does it do what it claims? Do you have to have it? Are the newest features worth paying top dollar for? It may be better to consider last year’s model or buying something second hand. Chances are you’ll get a steep discount and still get the upgrade you’re looking for.

Forget the To-Do List– I said it. Stop making to-do lists. Wanting to start a website for your business? Do you need to back up your hard drive? Or deal with the check engine light on your DJ van? Throw Out your to-do list and get it on a calendar. What’s the difference? The paradox of choice. With a to-do-list there too much freedom. We often do the most pleasant tasks first versus the more complex ones. Or we push off tasks that seem less important until they become significant. The loose wheel on your Dj cart that you meant to fix since last month is much easier deal with at home on a Sunday versus fixing it when it when it breaks at 1:00 a.m. while using it. Having actions items a calendar (with a set date) will help you solidify your commitments and visually help you see if you can take any more on. It will also help you focus on tasks that have the most impact and reorganize those of less priority.

Keep Going– It is essential to set some realistic goals and strategies to ensure you are at the top of your game. If you aren’t, I guarantee you the competition is. So my last tip to making the most of 2019 is to not coast on your previous success but rather use the momentum to ride a bigger wave. If you had your highest number of events booked or were the most profitable, you had ever been, great! But that doesn’t guarantee you anything. Success isn’t accidental or lazy. It’s a direct result of preparing, planning, and aligning your time with your goals. Get back to work and keep challenging yourself.

Fun, creative, and ambitious, DJ Rachel is making her mark as one of the top mobile DJs in the tri-state area. Her diversity as a DJ allows her to play at events that include MetLife Stadium (for the New York Jets) and serve as opening act for George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic and Gloria Gaynor. For more info visit: facebook.com/DJRachelRLynch

Stop, think and realize…

By Tony Fernandez

 Before we begin, let me give a little background…

I remember when record pools actually serviced RECORDS.  They sent out boxes of vinyl.  You’d get a box a month, sometimes two.  About 20-30 pieces in the box.  You’d get cool stuff, hot stuff, new stuff, white label stuff, and junk.  Part of the deal was to listen to all of the product and give feed back to the pool director.  This information would be passed along to the record labels so they could get grass roots/direct response from the streets and clubs.

Let me take a beat here and point out this isn’t about glorifying wax. Far from it. This is more about how record pools fulfill what a DJ requires nowadays.

Every week, if not every day, there are posts all over the DJ boards and DJ groups that ask…

What’s the best pool?

I have a Jewish wedding coming up; I need a pool that has Jewish music.

I have a Quinceañera, I need a pool for Spanish music.

can’t find a pool that has the tracks I need, which pool does?

I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment things changed… when pools went from being a vehicle to service promotional releases to working DJs providing ANYTHING any DJ may want.  And not only anything, but unlimited access to entire databases, back catalogs, site libraries, and remixes; all for $9.99 a month.

I’m not going to get on my soapbox (today) about how absurd and unrealistic that expectation is. But stop and THINK where else in the consumer market can you get unlimited access to obtain content (be it physical or digital) for $10-$20 bucks a month… and it’s OK?

Where do you think that pittance of a fee goes? How do you think these “pools” offer unlimited downloads for content that has bootlegs, unsanctioned remixes and older music that isn’t being worked by the A&R / promotional divisions of record labels?

DJs need to stop, think and realize that their $9.99 a month doesn’t entitle them to download the host server.  And the “pools” that offer this service are doing NO ONE a favor.  I’ll spell it out… Pools that offer the sun, moon and stars for less than an over the top lunch at Applebee’s are not operating completely above board.

But I digress…

What I am going to pontificate on is the expectations of DJs and how those expectations need to be grounded in reality not in desire, want, or need.

Let me make a quick stipulation here.  I get that as DJs we need music.  It’s at the core of what we do.  It’s our life blood. Without music, we wouldn’t be DJs. I also get that as DJs, we will go through ALL KINDS of hoops, obstacles, mazes, and land mines to obtain tracks and (re)mixes to songs we deem important. We gotta have the dope stuff by any means necessary. I get it.

However…. It’s not the role of the record pool to stockpile your cupboard. It’s not the role of record pools to provide every DJ with EVERY possible piece of music, old, new, hot, different, ethnic or obscure.  There aren’t Indian music record pools.  There aren’t Psycho House Dubstep record pools. There aren’t 80’s music record pools. Guess what DJ’s?  If you wanted 80’s music serviced to you, you needed to be born in the 60’s.  If you need 80’s music today for a corporate event, buy it.

DJs need to realize that music content is a product.  These products are items that require money in exchange for use.  Money that goes to the artists that own the copyright.  (And notice I said ‘use’ and not ownership.  We don’t own the music we buy.  The people that own the copyright do.  We’ll go over that some other time…)

Bottom line… music is our inventory.  We have to keep a fresh supply.  If you’re savvy, you don’t count on one source or have a limited set of suppliers to keep that inventory intact.  There is no single record pool that is one-stop shop.  There is no record pool that is all things to all DJs.  As such, you just might have BUY a track or three here and there.  It’s not the fault, or the responsibility of the record pool if it doesn’t have a track you “need”.   You can blame the record labels for not servicing the pools.

I gotta go do my homework and collect my new tracks.  Keep ‘em spinning.

Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on Facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com

It’s never too early to start reading your crowd

By DJ Rachel Lynch

Dinner music is an excellent opportunity to gauge what type of crowd you have and help set the tone for the night. Think of dinner and cocktail music like paint primer. The better job you do to prep the wall, the better the finished outcome will be.

DJs who have a great dinner or cocktail crate may do a decent job with a “set it and forget it” playlist as they have built the list with years of experience.  Since they feel that they already put in the work ahead of time they may decide to use dinner/cocktail downtime to time to eat, relax a bit before the party, use the phone, smoke, etc.  Sadly, this mindless and relaxed approach is a missed opportunity for DJs to connect with the guests in a subtle but powerful way.

Adding to this passive approach is the assumption that nobody is actively listening to the DJ because they are engaged in conversation or enjoying food and drink. I disagree completely. Dinner time is when a DJ should work the hardest to understand who is in front of them and what music directions they can approach later on. Dinner/cocktail time is a smart way to take risks and try different stuff to see how it feels. Dinner/cocktail music can be a fun part of the evening if a Dj is really focused on the task.

Things I ask myself during dinner/cocktail music:

How engaged are they? Who are my dancers? Who is there for the free food only? Who is taking advantage of the open bar? Who’s sitting with who? Who are my “party people”? What are the age groups here? Are there any cultural considerations?  Who’s signing lyrics while sipping their wine? Are there foot taps from anyone? Is anyone bobbing their head? Are people smiling? Etc.

Nonverbal cues during dinner will absolutely help a DJ smash the night. Don’t miss the chance to own your audience!

About:
Fun, creative, and ambitious, DJ Rachel is making her mark as one of the top mobile DJs in the tri-state area. Her diversity as a DJ allows her to play at events that include MetLife Stadium (for the New York Jets) and serve as opening act for George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic and Gloria Gaynor. For more info visit: facebook.com/DJRachelRLynch

Stay off your phone!

By Tony Fernandez

The Internet is a glorious thing.  It truly is.  I marvel at the unlimited power and capabilities one has access to with a mere click or keystroke.  Once you get past the click bait, porn, and Russian political meddling, you can actually find some really useful things out there on the world wide web.

What I DON’T understand is why DJs seem to be using the Internet to fill gaps in their repertoire.  I’m not talking about the Spotify/YouTube jocks that can’t even get on the service that doesn’t have ads (I’m sure there is a special ring in Dante’s Inferno for you). . .

And I’m not talking about the yahoos that can’t use Google after people take the time to help, explain, educate, and pass on knowledge… you STILL want a link to click. . .

I’m talking about the DJs that are AT gigs… right in the middle of an event and they are on Facebook and the plethora of DJ pages asking questions like: Where do I place my speakers? The bride just moved the time line, what should I do? And my favorite: What song should I play next?

I’ll tell you what you need to do:  you need to get off your smart phone, put your nose to the grindstone, put on your big boy or big girl pants and FIGURE IT OUT! Yeah l I know you can make the point that the offending DJ is doing that by getting on their device, BUT…   do you see other professionals working and getting on Facebook to ask for suggestions?  I’m sure a lawyer in the middle of a courtroom is going to whip out their iPad and Google a case.  I’m sure a doctor in the middle of a procedure is going to check on a Facebook page to ask how to continue what they are doing. Yeah, right.

Look, I get it, we ALL need help at some point. My self included.  No single human being knows everything – well, maybe one: I saw a piece on a student (from MIT, I believe) that was able to isolate the nerve/electrical impulse that our brain uses to communicate with the mouth.  This student was then able to tap into that connection and convert that electrical impulse into text, which he sent to Google.  So you can ask this student ANYTHING and they would have the answer.

I digress…

There are some really great people on these pages that genuinely and selflessly offer up invaluable information for the sake of being a decent person. They authentically want to help.  What I take umbrage with are DJs doing the asking WHILE at a gig in REAL TIME.  Especially on things they should know.  Specifically: what music to play.  You got ONE job, handle the music.  Handle it before the gig.  And if something comes up during the gig, HANDLE IT.  That’s your job.

How do you even find time at a gig to get on a device to get an answer for something you need immediately?   I would think your time is better served by paying attention to the situation at hand instead of wasting precious time tapping a screen and waiting for a response. And at the risk of sounding like the proverbial old “hey you kids get of my lawn” guy, people were able to use the power of problem solving, cognitive skills and intestinal fortitude BEFORE the Note or iPhone was invented.

I have to go get ready to play to a bunch of college students.  I’m doing my homework NOW.

Keep ‘em spinning.

Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on Facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com

3 Tips for Wedding Show Success!

By Eric Wenning

Whether you’re a seasoned vet or a novice in this business, at one time or another you’ve probably advertised at a Wedding/Bridal Show (or thought about doing so). What a lot of people don’t understand is there is a lot of psychology required in advertising at these shows: reading people’s reactions, knowing what to say when breaking the ice, your appearance and the appearance of your booth, and so on. All equally important if you’re going to successfully generate leads or even a sale or two. Screw up one and it could turn into a snowball effect and, soon enough, you could be left with a lot of money out of your pocket and no sales to account for it.

Let’s dive into some tips that can help you turn that around…

  • Stop Sounding Like Everyone Else!
    Your opening line to an already anxious bride needs to be something other than, “Do you have a DJ picked out yet?” The majority of brides are going to say “yes” because even though they came to the show, they really just want to grab your brochure and deal with you later. So, the trick is to ask them a question they will say yes to without knowing they are doing it. Here is a question that has made my company tens of thousands of dollars… ready?

“Wanna Play a Game?”

Now I have you scratching your head while you are reading this, don’t I? I have actually hidden a photo of ‘Where’s Waldo’ in my brochures. So I tell them, “Find Waldo in 30 seconds or less and I’ll give you an extra discount off your wedding.” What happens next is amazing. The bride grabs a brochure, the mother grabs a brochure, the maid of honor grabs a brochure, heck even the dad grabs a brochure. Smiling. Laughing. Pointing. Now visualize this, another prospective bride is walking down the aisle and sees a herd of people intently looking at my brochure and seems genuinely interested in what we are offering. We made them curious! You are now creating a buzz around your booth and people want to get in on whatever you have to offer!

  • Give Out a “Yes Bag!”
    Have you ever noticed a bride carrying a bag and the mother or fiancé carrying another bag? Did you know most bride’s have a “Yes Bag” and a “No Bag?” Did I just blow your mind? They don’t want to be rude to your face, so they will politely say, “We’ll look it over and give you a call.” Now, if you give out a bag with your logo on it (you’ve just built rapport with that prospect!) you can then say, “Make this your Yes Bag moving forward (with a wink, of course) and you will get a smile and a giggle, and hopefully a new client too!
  • Brand Your Sweets n’ Treats
    Everyone always hands out candy and treats at their booth. What you need to do is, once again, be different! Brand your sweets n’ treats. Put your brand all over suckers, candy, mints. Anything that will stick out from the rest. Because when those brides get home they will dump their bag all over their table and start to narrow down the yes, maybe and no literature. The more they see your brand/logo everywhere, the better your chances are that they will remember you!

Now go make a Great First Impression!

In addition to his highly successful multi-op business in Pittsburgh, PA, Eric has degrees in Graphic Design and Marketing and also owns a full ad agency that specializes in Social Media Advertising for many different types of companies. For more info or to contact Eric visit www.wenningmethod.com