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S3, EP19: How we pick tunes on the night!

CategoriesMusic tips.
28 Apr, 2023

On this episode of Project Engaged, we share an insight into how we choose music, including pre-gig and of course, throughout the night!

There is SO MUCH good music around and so many factors to consider when hand-picking tunes for a function.

Often you have a mixed demographic with different ages, backgrounds and music tastes. Some people love to dance and some need a little more encouragement. How do Eddy and Aleks go about selecting what to play?


Full episode transcription

Eddy: Welcome to Project Engaged, a podcast for fun loving couples planning their non traditional wedding.

Aleks: We’re wedding DJs Aleks and Eddy Mac from Melbourne. We run a business called One More Song, and our tagline is No More Nutbush.

Eddy: In this podcast, we’ll share our wedding experiences and chat to some of our past couples.

Aleks: We’ll also interview bold wedding suppliers who share our philosophy of your wedding being a celebration of you as a couple and wild. One epic party.

Eddy: Let’s get into today’s episode.

Aleks: Hello and welcome to Project Engaged.

Eddy: Welcome back.

Aleks: Hi, I was gonna say I’m Aleks.

Eddy: Are you?

Aleks: I’m Aleks. And I’ve got a short haired Eddy.

Eddy: Yes, I got a haircut.

Aleks: Which is a big deal because if you’ve had a look at Eddy’s Instagram and our Instagram, you would have seen that he had been growing his hair over, what was that, a year or so? It’s quite long.

Eddy: Yeah, pretty much as we sort of came out of last lockdown, I think. Yeah, I just gave up.

Aleks: I know. I was very surprised with that. But it looks super fresh.

Eddy: Well, truth be told, one of my best friends from university mentioned just an offhand comment. Oh, I reckon you could grow your hair pretty long. Pretty, pretty. Well, I said.

Aleks: Oh, okay, challenge accepted. Yep. Anyway, looking very good. Very good. It’s just us two today. We haven’t done one of these in a while, so we’re very excited. But before we get into it, we’re gonna do our weekend wrap up. The jury’s out on whether it’s wrap up or round up. Just go with the flow.

Eddy: It changes week to week.

Aleks: It does.

Eddy: So, Aleks, where were you last week?

Aleks: Last week? I had one on Saturday night. I was at the post office hotel just up the road. I think you were there the week before, which is cool. We love being there. We always talk about it. I had. I was playing for 7 hours, actually. Long one. So I started straight after the ceremony, basically, and it was for Kirsty and mark. Wendy does weddings was a celebrant. Really great ceremony, as expected. And this couple loved indie music, pretty much. Just indie, indie, indie everything. I think they referenced one of your cocktail hour mixes that you did at Panama, which was just basically like indie rock and indie electronics. So lots of that kind of stuff. Their first dance was a non first dance, first dance sort of thing. They just sort of got on the dance floor, jumped around for 30 seconds, and everyone ran on to join them. And it was a queens of the Stone Age song, so that was really fun. But luckily, they liked some disco stuff and, you know, just some pop favourites as well.

Aleks: So, yeah, long night, but really good one, as it always is at the post office hotel.

Eddy: Oh, that sounds really, really good. I was at rupert and it was a blast. Really fun nights. Everyone was up for a party, which is not uncommon for that particular venue. Had Elsa Campbell shout out on the photos. Actually, Miranda Stockholm was there as a guest, so sans camera. She actually recommended me for this one for Sarah and Zayn Zach. And who was the celebrant?

Aleks: Nat. Shout out to Nat.

Eddy: I thought you’d be faster than that.

Aleks: No, because I was just thinking about Miranda Stockholm, because I just booked New Eve, a New Year’s Eve wedding with her.

Eddy: Oh, she’s such a.

Aleks: Based on recommendation. So I’ll be spending my New Year’s Eve with Miranda Stockholm, not you. Sorry.

Eddy: That’s okay. I’ll be. Well, at this stage, I’m gonna be at home with my feet up because I’ve got one on the 30th, but that could change.

Aleks: Who knows if anyone’s got a New Year’s Eve wedding or you’ve been thinking about it. Eddy”s currently.

Eddy: I’m currently free.

Aleks: That looked like a banger. Yours?

Eddy: Yeah, it was really fun. Yeah. Just. Just a magical venue.

Aleks: Magical. Yep. It’s gorgeous. It’s gorgeous and really good vendor team. So.

Eddy: Yeah, yeah, I had my friends.

Aleks: You had your friends there? Yeah, I, um. The. Kirstie and Mark had a friend who was a photographer, so I didn’t. I didn’t know them. They weren’t from Melbourne either. So I was a bit lonely throughout the night. A little bit lonely. But I had the beautiful staff from post office dancing along and keeping me company, so that was nice.

Eddy: Oh, shout out to Meg and the team.

Aleks: Yep. Meg and team. All right. Awesome. So today we are going to be talking about how we actually pick tunes at your wedding on the night itself. So we’ve done an episode previously where we talked about how we prepare music, so, you know, how we get your requests and what we do with your Spotify playlist and all that sort of thing. But today we’re going to talk about what we do, how we actually use those to pick tunes on the night itself.

Eddy: So it’s basically, what the hell are we doing behind our DJ booth? Are we doing anything? I don’t know. What are we doing?

Aleks: Oh, my God. So we had a chat about this earlier this week and I just want to mention that I think particularly a wedding dance floor is such a unique.

Eddy: It’s unique.

Aleks: It’s different environment. Like, I would say, you know, say you go to a bar on a Friday night and the, you know that the DJ is playing house music or old school r and B or whatever, and that’s the music they’ll play all night. And that’s what you expect. And you go there and you’re mingling and you’re having drinks and you’re chatting to your friends or whatever. It’s all good. You have a boogie. At a wedding, the expectations are so different because you’ve got everyone from your little six year old cousins to your 90 year old grandma or whatever.

Eddy: Wow, that’s quite an age range.

Aleks: I know. Well, you do get that.

Eddy: You do get that on occasion.

Aleks: But you’ve got people from all walks of life.

Eddy: That’s right.

Aleks: People who drink and go out. You’ve got people who don’t. You’ve got colleagues who might be shy. You know, it’s a real diverse group of people that you’ve got in front of you. So you know that it’s difficult. It can be difficult. And you’ve got to play a variety of stuff.

Eddy: That balance with a very mixed demographic gives you, as a wedding DJ, a lot of freedom to play things from whenever, which is great.

Aleks: Yeah. And look, not everyone will be really ready to dance straight away as well, so you’ve got to kind of consider that some people will need a little bit more time to warm up and.

Eddy: Absolutely. Yeah, definitely, definitely. And you sort of hinted at this before, but do you want to explain our party brief or the music brief in general?

Aleks: Yeah. So obviously this is the first thing and what we base our decisions on the night on, it all starts from our clients brief to us. So that is captured in our party brief. But for just for general sake, I’ll call it the music brief, because it is all about the music request. So what our couples or clients like, what they don’t like, songs they really want to hear, maybe some guest requests, if they’ve collected those ahead of time on RSVP’s and that sort of thing.

Eddy: Things they want to stay away from as well, which becomes a really, really important element here.

Aleks: Yeah, really, really important. And I think, you know, that is the basis of everything. And as you said, because there is so much that you could play, there’s so many directions you could take. You need to have that kind of steer from the clients, first and foremost.

Eddy: Yeah, that’s right. Or at least, you know, a certain amount. Like the more, the better we find. And we’ve discussed this in a different podcast, in how we prepare and how we utilise that music brief from our couples and our clients. But, yeah, I think the more the better. So if we need to flesh a little bit more out with our couples in the lead up, we’ll do that.

Aleks: Yeah. And we. So we’ve spoken about how we prep the tunes in an earlier episode, so obviously that’s really important. So we take that brief, get it already, go back to that episode if you want to hear about that again. And we kind of separate the music into different parts of the night. And I think this is really important because stuff that you play early in the night is probably not stuff that you play late in the night. And it’s important to kind of build up that vibe and that energy level. So having that kind of ready and having it organised, you know, in some sort of flow of the night is really important, too, and will help you make those decisions quickly, because it is quick, isn’t it? It’s like two to three minutes at a time.

Eddy: Yeah, you’re running. Yeah, you’re running at about two and a half to three minutes.

Aleks: Having said that, the music that we prep, like, I probably only play, like, 50% of it. The rest of it is done on the night, would you say?

Eddy: I think it depends on the wedding, honestly. But, yeah, I think as a general rule, you’re probably about right, yeah. We do like to prepare double what we’d actually need on a particular wedding.

Aleks: That’s probably why I only play 50% of it.

Eddy: Yeah. I mean, split between background and the dance floor, but we will receive a bunch of different musical playlists, sometimes from Spotify or Apple Music, and there will be certain songs that we will reserve for later on, just like Aleks said, even if they are in playlist labelled. This is for background and this is for dance floor. We know through our experiences what’s going to really, really work at any given time.

Aleks: Yeah, yeah. And you have to get a sense of the vibe and read the room as soon as people walk in, as soon as. Or as soon as you get there and see what people are responding to, you know, are they. Do they look like a party crowd? Are they going to take a little bit of time to warm up that sort of thing? So you have a bit more control, I think, earlier in the evening and you’re really just sort of gauging and trying things out and seeing what works before you hit the dance floor.

Eddy: Definitely. And I. I don’t think I’m alone in this, but I actually like to play to the venue a little bit too in relation to the tunes that I’m choosing, particularly for background. And earlier on in the night, if we’re close to, like a beach sort of vibe, I might throw in some more tropical kind of house type stuff, if that’s what the couple is into. If I’m. Because I mentioned if I’m at Rupert, I might play some of those more cool soul and Motown type tracks because they fit in with the venue nicely and the aesthetic and the mood of.

Aleks: The venue, the location as well, like being, you know, in a city, Collingwood. You sort of expect that. And it’s interesting, I think, that kind of, you know, say, like the first hour or so, people are still pretty, you know, civilised, haven’t had that much to drink. And then I reckon in like, that second kind of hour, you really start to see what people are enjoying.

Eddy: It depends, though, I think, on whether it is a cocktail or sit down format. So if it is a sit down format, as people are coming in at the beginning, let’s just say the ceremony is done at this point. So if people are sort of milling around up, sort of having cocktails, etcetera, I will keep it a bit more upbeat and a bit more energetic. But as people go to sit down, I might bring down the mood. Just not the mood, but bring down the volume and bring down the energy just a little bit while keeping that. Keeping that mood that they’re after, just so people can have a conversation and they’re not struggling. And as the night progresses, just as you’re saying, we start to build up a little bit more. A little bit more. A little bit more. Until the point where we’re almost ready to hit the dance floor. It doesn’t feel like a stretch to hit the dance floor. It feels.

Aleks: It shouldn’t.

Eddy: You know, it feels like a, people have had enough to drink, if they are drinkers. And b, the vibe’s right. Let’s get to the party side of the night.

Aleks: And I think that little. That little bit is really, really important for testing out some stuff. So often I’ll do like a little. Almost like a little mini set. So if I’m playing, say, an r and b track, like a Lizzo or something, and people are really enjoying it, I might play another couple of tunes, especially with the cocktail, you know, keeping it really upbeat and seeing, okay, that’s gonna work. So that that’s something I’ll think about for later on in the night. And it gives you a really good sense of what people want so it might be dipping into the stuff that you’ve prepared that the clients have given you, so specific song requests from them. Or it might be actually going into different parts of your music library to choose stuff that people are enjoying. And that will work as a combination.

Eddy: Yeah, exactly. And the pieces of software that we use, we’re actually able to tag or flag certain songs that we can play at a separate time, at a different time later on in the night. It’s called a prepare list. So we sort of throw in tunes that we think might work and every hour on the hour. This is my methodology anyway. I’ll start clearing out songs that I know I’m not going to use.

Aleks: Yes.

And then start filling them in preparation for the next part of the evening. It becomes really useful when you are, say, 15-20 minutes away from dancing, so. Okay, cool. So I think these are going to be really, really well placed, but of course it can all go out the window.

Aleks: Exactly.

Eddy: Based on what you’re seeing in front of you. And I can’t stress this enough. A good DJ a good wedding DJ, you know, will read the crowd, will watch people, be people watchers the entire night. And something funny actually came up on Facebook. I think it might have been a newer DJ to the game, newer wedding DJ. We run this DJ community on Facebook and they said, oh, what do I do for background? Do I just put a playlist on? And I thought that was quite interesting because we absolutely about that. We want to be behind our decks the entire night watching people. Obviously, if we need to go to the bathroom or eat something really quickly, we’ll do that. But every other minute where fingers on the pulse, we’re watching everybody’s reactions to every song in background, obviously, on the dance floor and all that kind of thing. So a good day to. We’ll just be good at watching and engaging people’s reactions to things.

Aleks: Absolutely. And I think another thing, important thing to know and something that we talk about often is playing tunes that are upbeat from the get go. So really staying away from those ballads, because if you’re playing a solid hour of ballads, there’s no way you’ll be able to read the crowd. Like, you will not be able to get a sense of what they’re enjoying.

Eddy: You’re probably gonna put yourself to sleep as well.

Aleks: Yeah, it’s just, yeah, you’re just not gonna get any intel. Can you imagine going from like 3 hours of ballads straight into bangers?

Eddy: Yeah.

Aleks: No, people are not gonna be ready. They’re not gonna be ready.

Eddy: So well, you’re gonna put everyone else to sleep as well. Like, yeah, yeah.

Aleks: You really go home.

Eddy: You really want that upbeat vibe. And sometimes I find that when I’m having that discussion with clients in the leader, they’re like, oh, no, no, we don’t want to. We don’t want it too full on. It’s like, it’s not about that at all. It’s just not those really, like, downer tunes that are really gonna. So, like, what would be a good example? Unchained melody. I’m gonna pick on that one. It’s a beautiful song. I’m gonna pick on that one, though. We probably don’t really want to be spinning unchained melody as people eating or ever. Or.

Aleks: Sorry.

Eddy: Or all of me or something like that.

Aleks: I was gonna say all of me.

Eddy: Yeah. People might have soft spots for these particular tunes, but it’s not our. Not our vibe at all.

Aleks: Leave it for the ceremony, if you like.

Eddy: I think so, yeah. Or pre ceremony. Be quite nice.

Aleks: Some of those.

Eddy Some of those touches.

Aleks: Some acoustic and stuff. Yep, definitely. So, yeah, I think. I think that’s really important. Just making sure that you keep it upbeat and we’ll sort of get into the dance floor bit, I think. What do you reckon? Kind of important.

Eddy: Kind of important. And so at this point in time, I would say about 50% of our weddings have first dances and the other half just don’t.

Aleks: Yes.

Eddy: And if it is the case that you’re on the other half that don’t, it’s really choosing a song that will just get everybody up and about. Even when our couples are electing to do first dances, it’s really only a minute to a minute and a half. And they’re either going to ask us to mix into that more upbeat song, get the dance floor started, or wave everybody in for that slow dance for the other half of that particular song and then get the party started after that with a more upbeat, energetic tune.

Aleks: Yeah, definitely. I just want to touch on must play songs. So some of our couples, most of our couples give us tunes. Not many, mind you, maybe five to ten that they would really like to hear. Now, some of those might be bangers and some of them might be a little bit more downbeat and you kind of. So this is part of, you know, the tunes we select on the night. You have to make sure that you’ve played them at the right time because sometimes the moment is missed. And that’s why we sort of always say to couples, look, let us know if there’s really something you really need to hear. But if you give us a list of 20 must plays, sometimes the moments passed, you know, we’ve. We’ve had a look at the crowd. Maybe it wasn’t right for that. That particular time or whatever it is, and you just haven’t gotten around to playing it. So I think, anyway, we split them up between, you know, pre dance floor and kind of dance floor.

Eddy: Yeah. So I think I might be contradicting myself slightly in saying this, but I think less is more in relation to what you really, really want to hear. But in general, your general music brief, and if you’re sending through a Spotify playlist, apple music playlist, et cetera, of things that you just. You like and you like happy to hear them, but they’re not absolutely essential. And that might be a playlist of 100 songs.

Aleks: Yeah.

Eddy: Who knows? But when it comes to die hard, must play these songs. I’d say no more than ten, honestly.

Aleks: Oh, that’s a lot.

Eddy: I’d say no more. But this is split across background, so.

Aleks: Yes. Okay. Yeah.

Eddy: Background versus that’s door.

Aleks: Yep. Yeah. Because you don’t want to cannibalise, you know, particularly the dance floor part of the night with a tune that you feel like you have to play but really just doesn’t suit what’s happening in front of you. Yeah, that’s kill.

Eddy: We don’t even ask for my place to give you an example. Obviously, we get them and that’s totally fine, but, you know, we change the wording in our music brief questionnaire to what do you really want to hear? Yeah, but it’s not what do we have to play?

Aleks: No, and look, sometimes we get requests for things that are really important, you know, family songs or childhood memories or friendship holiday.

Eddy: But we’ll tease those out with questions if we don’t have them anyway.

Aleks: Yeah.

Eddy: You know what I mean? Like, yeah, what was your anthem at university? Or, you know, what will your parents. If your parents aren’t dancers, what will get them up? Things like that is ABBA or whatever it might be.

Aleks: Yeah, exactly. And so you spoke about kind of the first dance, or at least the dance floor starter tune. The dance floor’s on now.

Eddy: Actually, I do want to say one thing before we move on. So I mentioned before that a really, really good wedding DJ will just watch people inherently. I reckon one of the other massive things that a really good wedding DJ will do is play the right song at the right time. And we. Obviously, we’ve been hinting at this, but I think that’s almost like pillar number two for an excellent wedding. DJ would just know, intrinsically, when to play the right song at the right time. And this will build sort of into, you know, this would be great for background, actually. Trust me, it’s going to go off in the last half an hour of the night.

Aleks: Yeah. And there is a fine line. Sometimes I find stuff that you can play. I think Rufus is a good example.

Eddy: Depending on the Chameleon artist.

Aleks: Yeah, like a chameleon artist, where normally I’m like, let’s leave Rufus for cocktail hour. Or early in the night, you know, it’s still upbeat, but it’s not really, like banging unless you’ve got a young crowd really into it or, you know, huge fans and the vibes. Right. And you’ve been playing that kind of australian electro, electronic, whatever stuff, and then you can play it really late in the night, I think.

Eddy: Yeah. Another one would be because we were just talking about this song today. Frankie Varleys. Can’t take my eyes off you. Yeah, that one’s really good sometimes for during background. And I’ve had people. I’ve honestly had people, like, jump up on tables for this song. If it’s kind of dinner time and it’s kind of a rowdier crowd versus maybe one of the last songs you play on the night, if the mood strikes, you know, just as everyone’s on the dance floor, the oldies, you know, if they’re peeled off, we try and get them back and that just goes off. So there are some songs that, like, interestingly enough, will work for background, but it will also work as a singalong at the end of the night.

Aleks: I know it’s very odd. And you don’t know until you get there.

Eddy: Yeah, yeah.

Aleks: Like, it’s literally wedding to wedding. Completely different.

Eddy: Another one would be like, everywhere. Fleetwood Mac.

Aleks: Yes. Yeah.

Eddy: Epic. So you could play that in both scenarios. So, yeah, their tracks I adore, because they’re so versatile.

Aleks: Yeah, I love that. And I think it’s based on experience. So if you’ve seen that everywhere has worked late in the night and you remember the type of crowd it worked for and what the vibe was and how tipsy or, you know, energetic people were, and you remember that, then you’ll know, okay, this is gonna work this time. But it does depend on each wedding.

Eddy: And another, like, note that I take mentally during the night is. And I know that not everybody drinks, but I typically look at my watch and go, okay, so at this time, I reckon people have had about three or four drinks.

Aleks: Yeah.

Eddy: If I’d had three or four drinks, what would I want to be listening to right now? And that’s a good way to sort of mentally keep. Keep note of what songs are going to have the best possible impact at that given time.

Aleks: Yep. And I really think that you do feel that energy shift, particularly with a sit down, because I think a cocktail’s pretty energetic. Gecko.

Eddy: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Aleks: With a sit down. After that first round of speeches, once you’ve done the entrances and you’ve had like, say you’ve got a three course or two course or whatever, had the entrees and stuff, and you have got the mains, there’s that weird, like, buzz in the air. I think after that point, I would say.

Eddy: I’m sure we’ve talked about it on the podcast before, but I would say a cocktail is like, in terms of the energy, like, if you can picture like a line that’s just like going up very. On a very linear scale versus a sit down, you have peaks and troughs based on like the energy level at any given time. I’ll give you an example. So what we like to do is maybe minutes. And we’ve got always got our eye on the clock in relation to what’s happening when on the run sheet. So when say for instance, the entree course, if it’s like a course type of situation for sit down has finished and we know that there’s like ten minutes before some speeches are going to happen, I’ll start to build things up from that point. So the energy is building up a little bit. You playing those tracks that are getting people a little bit more moved, people getting up, going to the bathroom, all that kind of stuff.

Aleks: They’re kind of waiting, aren’t they? They’re waiting for something to happen.

Eddy: There’s anticipation. Crate of songs in our libraries called anticipation. It’s like one of my favourite crates to do.

Aleks: Yeah, it’s really fun.

Eddy: Really, really fun. Because there’s something’s gonna happen in five or ten minutes time. It’s like, okay, cool, let’s play on that. So coming back to what I was saying before, you are going kind of up and down and peaking and troughing just a little bit for sit down. Cause when it gets to main course, we’ll bring it down and we’ll play some like owl green or something like that to kind of settle everyone and then start building once again. Flip the coin and look at a cocktail wedding. People can start dancing in the first half an hour.

Aleks: Just whenever, just whenever.

Eddy: And if that happens. Okay, cool, we’re on. Yeah, let’s do this.

Aleks: It’s also louder in general because people are chatting more because they can move around more freely.

Eddy: It is definitely a lot louder, not just from our music, but like, just.

Aleks: No, I mean people.

Eddy: Yeah, people. Yeah, people yelling, laughing and that kind of stuff. Yeah.

Aleks: Yeah, definitely. So going back to dance floor, the one thing I want to say is it’s so unpredictable. Like, you cannot. Even though we’re prepared and we know what the couple like and they’ve told us about their guests, it is so unpredictable. And this is why you have to read the crowd.

Eddy: And this is also why I think expectations need to be set as well. We have some couples that, like, I absolutely just want. I forgot this idea of my wedding and I want it to be like this. Like, I want it to be house all night and you’ve had some of these. So I wanted it to be house or an EDM all night. So that, you know, it just means conversations in the leader. And I know I’m kind of bouncing around to, like, in the lead up, are we at a wedding or we hit consultation stage, because I get really excited out of this stuff. So I kind of jump around a little bit. But that’s why you’ve got to think, okay, cool. So anything could happen and you’ve got to explain that. Yes, because the oldies aren’t going to dance. EDM or not.

Aleks: No. And I have a very good example of that, which was a younger couple who wanted either r and B or. Yeah, EDM all night and no old stuff. Really. They hadn’t like old stuff as in, you know, before the two thousands.

Eddy: I mean, I remember these guys because they were young. So when I say young, like early twenties.

Aleks: Oh, like mid twenties.

Eddy: Mid twenties. Okay, so old for them is like. It’s almost verging on nineties.

Aleks: Yeah, exactly.

Eddy: Early nineties would be like.

Aleks: Exactly.

Eddy: And that terrifies me.

Aleks: Just. Anyway, but we, you know, we. I said to them, basically, look, I. Let’s have a chat about what you like that is a bit older. That would be friendly for the oldies as well. Or people who maybe don’t like current music or don’t like stuff in the.

Eddy: Last 20 years, go say, very diplomatic of you to phrase it in that way. If that’s. If that was the way I did.

Aleks: It, I think I did it. I’m doing it that way now. And we, you know, found out we chatted through some artists. So, you know, they loved Michael Jackson, which, you know, is, I mean, that’s.

Eddy: That kind of solves the problem almost in entirety right there.

Aleks: Exactly. I was like, all right, spin a bit of that, you know, even like nineties, like salt and pepper and stuff. You know, stuff that is 30 years old.

Eddy: And it has universal appeal, which is what we’re getting to with our discussions on the dance floor. Universal appeal. Because you’ve got to strike that balance. And it comes back to what we started talking about the beginning of this podcast. People from all walks of life have very large age range. Most of the time it will collect in a certain, say, thirties to fifties as the bulk of the people. But yeah, it is an exercise of balance.

Aleks: It is. And you just mentioned. Okay, so the 30 to 50 age group, that’s fine, but what if most of the time on the dance floor, it’s actually the 60 and 70 year old dance floor.

Eddy: Exactly. And that’s where it gets interesting.

Aleks: Yeah, it does.

Eddy: That’s where it gets interesting. And that’s where. And we. I’m sort of coming back to the genres that we’ve mentioned throughout this. So we’re not completely sporadic, but you mentioned indie. Okay, cool. So if I’ve got a couple that absolutely loves India. Okay, cool. So I know that the backgrounds, you know, it might be like client layers on, might be some throwback strokes, all that kind of stuff when it comes to dance lords. Okay, cool. So I’ve got an indie loving couple. So what am I going to be able to play during dance? Or if the oldies are really into it? Okay, well, incoming. Fleetwood, max income, you, david Bowie.

Aleks: Exactly.

Eddy: Things like that. Incoming. A clash maybe, you know, so things like that. That will appease the indie crowd. Absolutely.

Aleks: Yep.

Eddy: But the oldies aren’t going to be polarised and we just don’t want to polarise people for too long.

Aleks: Exactly. Stuff like, don’t you want me humanly? Like that kind of new wave, whatever it is?

Eddy: Yeah, new order maybe.

Aleks: Exactly. And this is why we have to have those conversations in advance, to say, okay, this is what you like. And if we. We can spot there’s not enough stuff there to work with with different age groups, that’s when we flesh it out a little bit and we get some more intel into what they would like. Or as you said, if we know they’re indie lovers, it’s likely they’ll like Bowie and, you know, those sorts of others.

Eddy: Exactly.

Aleks: So that’s really, really important. So we’ve got our brief, we’re on the dance floor, we’ve got the six year old on the dance floor.

Eddy: We’re not on the dance floor.

Aleks: Well, we’re behind the decks. We’re mastering the dance floor. I mean, we’re. What do you call it?

Eddy: Oh, geez. Aleks’ head just got too big for this room.

Aleks: That wasn’t the word. I was controlling that. No. Anyway, moving on. So we’ve got our brief and then, as we mentioned, it can be very unpredictable. So we have in our music library, obviously, we’ve got music organised by genres, decades, sub genres, etcetera. We’ve got all of our past weddings and past event preparation folders and the actual set list. So what we actually played on the night.

Eddy: And we’ve also got crates that we’ve created specifically for this wedding, not only for the requests, but also what we think may work.

Aleks: Yeah, exactly. Our ideas, what may work. But we also have something that is more functional, which are our flow crates. Do you want to talk about those?

Eddy: I was thinking that, have we already spoken about these in our podcast? Probably. But I think we talked about a vibe playlist, which is another podcast we talked about. We created these epic playlists based on the types of weddings we’ve played in, the types of clients that we attract.

Aleks: Yeah.

Eddy: And they’re cross genre. You can have a listen to that. It’s a really, really cool podcast. Unfortunately, weren’t able to play any music, Judith. No, it’s really obvious reasons. We try to describe it in painstaking detail. Okay, so our flow crates. Yes, they’re functional. They’re very functional. So we’ve got to create, you know, called singalong. We create called reset the dance floor. If we need to change things up, we’ve got a crate for late night. We’ve got a crate for crunk. Crunk, which is your favourite crate, which is just really like dirty stuff, like next level, like little John. And if it’s really going down that, down that path, and we’ve got to create, that’s just things that we know are just going to work most of the time. Tried and tested things not too dissimilar to on our website. Our ultimate 40 dance bangers. Wedding bangers.

Aleks: Yeah.

Eddy: So functional crates full of tunes that will just help us on the night for different situations that may arise at any given time.

Aleks: I like that. Yeah. Which they definitely do. The other thing I want to point out is that we don’t play one genre or one decade or one tempo for like an hour straight.

Eddy: And we’re not really that fussed on keeping a certain tempo and building on that tempo. I know a lot. There’s, you know, rightly or wrongly, there’s a lot of DJs out there that will say, I only stick between, like, a certain VPN for a certain amount of time. You know, for us, it’s actually simplifying that, just playing the right song at the right time, regardless of any sort of tempo or this, obviously, if you know, if you are deejaying it. I was gonna say on the dance floor. If you are deejaying a dance floor that’s commanding those house tunes, of course you’re gonna. You’re gonna have fun with that. And I’m gonna play a few of those in a row. You’re not gonna keep changing things up? Cause it’s gonna confuse everybody. But there might come a time where we need to dip into our reset the dance floor crate and throw in an r and b banger.

Aleks: Yeah.

Eddy: Just to break that dance floor up just a little bit, you know, get people that may not like that song that you’re playing will go get a drink.

Aleks: Exactly.

Eddy: And a few people that are at the bar going, oh, my God. Yes. This is how we do it. Yeah, this is my jam. And come on to the dance floor. So they’re those functional crates and how they kind of help us.

Aleks: Yeah. And the reason we use those is because you need to rotate the dance floor. Right. Because you do have such a dive.

Eddy: Yeah, I was really trying not to use that phrase rotate the dance floor, but it. Yeah, it makes sense, doesn’t it?

Aleks: Yeah. You want to get different groups of people enjoying the dance floor, at least at some point in the night, to make sure that everyone’s, you know, had a good time and had a chance to have a boogie. And this is the thing with weddings, right. This is what’s different to a bar where you’re playing r and b all night, but people are coming. There’s to listen to r and b. Yeah. People come to a wedding to celebrate. They want to be entertained. They want to have a good time. They want to have an opportunity to dance the stuff that they like.

Eddy: And just for those that might be a bit confused on what we’re talking about with rotate, just, it’s like, I got taught. This is a long time ago, I got taught to DJ, and I did a lot of bars and club work in Adelaide, where I’m from originally, and rotating was almost like a requirement. So you’d be deejaying a bar, and you want the people that are on the dance floor with an empty drink to rotate over to the bar, buy a drink, you want everybody at the bar. Yeah. To go onto the dance floor and so forth. I think there was like three types of people. Those that were on the dance floor that were kind of bored of the song, those that were at the bar just about to get their drink or just bought their drink, and those that were on the dance hall partying but needed a drink. So you kind of rotate.

Aleks: So what, you had to, like, watch the people on the dance floor?

Eddy: No, no, no. I mean, like, you don’t. You create a vibe and you just, you know, you do a great job and. But that was the idea behind rotating the dance floor from a bar situation because, you know, they want to sell drinks.

Aleks: Well, yeah, and it’s. And it’s funny that you mention that because I’ll often see where the couple’s at as well.

Eddy: Oh, we haven’t even mentioned.

Aleks: Oh, yeah, sorry.

Eddy: So this actually really, really, really good point. So not just a couple, though, though. The other, dare I say it, vip, say the fathers, the mothers wedding party, the best people, et cetera, if you’ve got that kind of vibe going, because there might be a perfect example. A couple of weeks ago, Connie’s italian diner, my bride said that her dad absolutely loves the horses and actually was the only must play the horses.

Aleks: Oh, wow.

Eddy: Love it or hate it, you know, it gets a reaction. And I was looking out for the point where her dad was coming onto the dance floor, saw it. Okay, perfect, perfect chance. Put the song on and. Yeah, it was. I think there was a second or third to last song. I actually, at one point, her name was Sarah, said to him, where is your dad? Like, we need to get this moment going.

Aleks: So the one must play.

Eddy: The one must play. So you’ve raised a really, really good point in where people are and just reserving those songs that, you know, that those particular people are going to love until they’re there because there’s no point playing the groom’s favourite song when he’s out in the bathroom.

Aleks: Have you ever. I’ve. I’ve. I’ve put. I’ve put a song on for the bride and she walked off to the bathroom at that exact moment to play again. Very rare that that happens.

Eddy: That was very rarely busting.

Aleks: She really had to go. But, um, it’s. It’s a. It’s actually really important to make sure the couple’s there for those must plays.

Eddy: And this comes back to watching again, watching.

Aleks: And this is why playlist doesn’t work.

Eddy: Yes, exactly.

Aleks: You need someone watching, watching, watching.

Eddy: Not in a creepy way.

Aleks: Not in a creepy way.

Eddy: In a fun way.

Aleks: In a fun way. We mentioned. Well, I mentioned, you know, sort of not playing any one genre or tempo or artist to death because it’s just boring. Right. And people want to be entertained on the dance floor at a wedding. So mixing things up is really, really important, which is why we push for, you know, if you haven’t got enough older stuff, what do you like? What, what can we throw in there? And that sort of thing. The other thing I would mention is not playing anything that is obscure.

Eddy: Yes.

Aleks: And not well known for the dance floor.

Eddy: For the dance floor, you can get away some cool, obscure stuff that creates a really nice vibe for background.

Aleks: Absolutely.

Eddy: Historically speaking, people are not going to dance to something that they don’t know exactly.

Aleks: They will not dance to it. They’ll leave the dance floor, basically.

Eddy: There is an exception, though, to that if it’s a song. I had one recently and it was the guests. I think it was mainly the groom side of the guests. It was a bridegroom wedding and they loved Formula one. So there was this song that I played that I didn’t know and it was just like super Formula one. So I don’t know, it’s just like happy hardcore kind of thing. And I was a bit, oh, should I play? Should I? But they said, look, trust me, it’s gonna go off. All our like, friends that are guys and some of the friends that are girls, etc. Will absolutely go off to it. And it did worked. And it’s funny, no one else knew it, but. Because they saw the reaction, everybody else was getting into it.

Aleks: Exactly.

Eddy: So there are exceptions.

Aleks: Yeah. And I think it goes back to the couple really, because. And I’ve got an example from last Saturday night. I mentioned Queens of the Stone Age, which is not something that we typically would play a lot of, particularly for dance floor. I personally love queens and Stone age, but, you know, divisive. But the couple had kind of gone and had a chat to family at one point of the night. And then when I saw they came back on, I just played Queens of Stone Age, like no one knows, which is, you know, really well known with all the charts. Great tune.

Eddy: Dave Grohl on the drums.

Aleks: And they. Yep, there you go. And they just had massive boogie. And then a couple of their really close friends went on and, you know, it wasn’t loved by everyone, but there was so much energy and people joined in because they could see the couple was loving it. So I think particularly later in the night, if there’s stuff that you love, you know, throw it in there and. But it still wasn’t an obscure Queens of the Stone age track. It was still something that was well known.

Eddy: Yeah.

Aleks: Even, you know, there’s a couple oldies who got on as well who remembered that tune from whenever it was.

Eddy: It could be. The energy can just be infectious to. To the rest of the crowd. So. So that’s. Yeah, that’s definitely the exception to the rule there. But generally speaking, people won’t dance the things that they don’t. They don’t really know.

Aleks: They won’t, they won’t. That’s what when you go to. Go to a festival and you’re off your head and there’s something. You’re going from tent to tent. Maybe. Yeah. Maybe.

Eddy: That’s actually a good distinction to make.

Aleks: Yeah. Very, very different at a wedding. I want to talk about the last half hour of the night because this is sort of. This is the bring it home section and, you know, you’ve only got a few tunes to play and I think it’s really important to, you know, make sure that there’s an opportunity for everyone to get on. You get into those sing alongs.

Eddy: Yes.

Aleks: And, you know, in some cases, they might be really high energy. Might be Calvin Harris. Might be, you know, or it might be, as you said, you know, some oldie stuff, Frankie Valley. It might be don’t stop me now, queen. It might be in a kind of more rocky sing along stuff, depending on the vibe. I think you do need to have some sing alongs at the end.

Eddy: People love to sing the last hour or so.

Aleks: Yeah, yeah. Depending on what’s happening.

Eddy: Yeah. I mean, you know, you can have, like, Calvin Harris is a great example because they’re high energy dance songs with very recognisable chorus lines, like Rihanna, etcetera.

Aleks: Lovely vocals.

Eddy: Yeah, lovely vocals. People that are more singers than feet stompers can sing it out. And the feet stompers are still having a good time.

Aleks: Yeah, yeah, I love that. I think the last half hour because, you know, you want to get to that kind of second last and then final song, I sort of plan it out a bit more. Okay, I’ve got three more form. Okay, I’m gonna throw this in, see how it goes. If that goes well, I’m gonna throw this in.

Eddy: It’s definitely a critical moment in the night. Yeah. You really do have to take stock. Okay. What’s gonna bring us home in the best possible way and then play it out like that?

Aleks: Yep. Absolutely. And we’ve mentioned this before on the podcast. We do ask our couples to nominate a couple of final songs. I don’t always do this, depending on how much I’ve got from the couple, but I do plan that out and often do announce that moment because you want to get people on the dance floor for those last couple of songs.

Eddy: We do this, I think, in slightly different ways, we do differently, and this was an idea that was provided to us by a friend of ours who is just a phenomenal DJ in the sort of north Queensland region. Is it North Queensland?

Aleks: No, no. I don’t know.

Eddy: What mid Queensland is he in?

Aleks: Brisbane? Gold Coast.

Eddy: I thought he was further up than Brisbane. Anyway, cut a rug. He’s definitely worth a follow just for the antics that he has week to week. He’s just an unbelievable crazy Queensland. Unbelievably crazy Queensland parties. So it’s an industry term. He calls it the fake finish, so. And I’ve adopted this with open arms. Typically, I’ll ask for two last songs, I’ll jump on the mic, round up anybody that has come off the dance floor at the end of the night, back onto the dance floor and spin that song as if it were the final song, knowing full well. And obviously the couple knows that there’s another song to come after. So what this means is you’ve got that epic final song moment and then invariably as someone starts chanting one more song or they want. Or they want another song, you can dip into that final song, which is the final song the whole time.

Aleks: It is a good strategy.

Eddy: Yeah, it is a good strategy. I think. You say there’s going to be a couple of songs.

Aleks: Yes. I try and round everyone up, but I mentioned there are two songs left.

Eddy: Yeah.

Aleks: And I kind of remind people twice.

Eddy: Yeah.

Aleks: So that gets everyone on the dance floor and then I sort of avoid the one more song. I know I shouldn’t avoid it, but it sort of means that people were prepared that the final song is the final song, but they’ve had an opportunity to dance and they’ve not kind of missed out. So it depends on the vibe. Sometimes I’ll do the fake finish if.

Eddy: I feel like basically everyone’s gonna want more anyway.

Aleks: All the time, never too much. There’s one huge thing that we missed, which is talking about guest song requests on the night.

Eddy: Yeah.

Aleks: And how we do.

Eddy: Yeah, that’s a big one. Some couples are flat out. No, some couples are like, yep, absolutely happy for you to field requests and I’m choosing my words very.

Aleks: We can take the request. We can take.

Eddy: Yes, we can. We can take the mean we’re throwing.

Aleks: Them back out there.

Eddy: It doesn’t mean that we’re gonna play the request. Absolutely. Because it might just not work. It might not be part of the vibe that they’re looking for, you know, might be a pub rock song. And they’ve expressly said that they do not want any pub rock, you know, absolutely. No to the nutbush, etc, etcetera, so. Yeah. But I think it’s a really important part of this equation, and I personally love fielding requests most of the time.

Aleks: Yeah.

Eddy: Only because there could be something that’s an absolute gold that you perhaps haven’t thought of or something that the couple missed or didn’t tell you, and it just is one of those big dance lawmakers on the night.

Aleks: Absolutely. Yeah. They’re the good requests. Yeah.

Eddy: And not all of them.

Aleks: No, no. I would say there’s more bad requests than good requests, but I’ve had a lot of good ones lately and, you know, someone’s got to me, oh, can you play this? And I’ve gone, you know what? That’s actually great call. I’m going to play that.

Eddy: It’s also really important to remember how you ask for the request. Polite is nice. Not barking it.

Aleks: Yeah. Maybe an excuse me, if we look a little.

Eddy: Something like that will definitely help the request get played.

Aleks: Definitely. I think, look, if it’s something that doesn’t. That doesn’t suit for that particular time, we will say, look, that’s, you know, it’s a good suggestion. We’ll might give you spin later on.

Eddy: What’s your second option?

Aleks: Yeah, what else? What else?

Eddy: What else do you like?

Aleks: Usually you don’t get much.

Eddy: Sometimes people maybe like that might be an artist that they really like. Okay, I can definitely play that.

Aleks: I like that. It’s actually better to get an artist name than. Because then pick a song that works really well. Sometimes it’s a flat out no. Sometimes people look a drunk and they just think of a song they like, and it’s unchained melody, and you’re playing, I don’t know, bonkers. You know what I mean? Like, it’s just. They’re just not thinking about the context of everything and it’s just a polite, you know, they won’t remember making the request. So it’s totally, totally fine. But that’s a really important part of, you know, of the night. And our role is to field those and make an assessment on whether they’re good to play, if it’s the right.

Eddy: Song for this time, or perhaps for another time. Coming back to those two main pillars that I mentioned.

Aleks: Yep, yep. And it is good that we write our do not plays on a brightly coloured post it note because we can whip that out if it’s something which.

Eddy: Has been done before.

Aleks: Yes, yes, definitely.

Eddy: And will probably continue to be done in the future, I imagine.

Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, I think that just about does it.

Eddy: I think it does. We weren’t too tangent happy on that one, which is good.

Aleks: No, we weren’t very structured about it either.

Eddy: No, it’s always going to be conversational and that’s what we love and that’s what we hope that you as listeners enjoy as well.

Aleks: Yes. Please let us know if you’re listening, as always. And we hope you’re enjoying this season. It’s been a banger of a season. We’ll just keep going, won’t we?

Eddy: We’re just going to keep going.

Aleks: Yep. Have a great weekend.

Eddy: Bye, guys.

Aleks: Thanks for tuning in. If you’re enjoying Project Engaged, please hit the subscribe button on your fav podcast app.

Eddy: You can also follow us on Instagram, @projectengaged and @onemoresongdjs.

Aleks: We’ll see you next time. And until then, have fun out there.

Best Wedding Reception Songs For Melbourne DJ

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