Saturday, December 19, 2009

2009 Soundsations Edmonton DJ video

Well there is only a couple of events left to DJ this year. Here is a video showing some of the action from the 2009 season. Soundsations provided DJ services at many events in the Edmonton area this year including lots of weddings, school dances, and Christmas parties. This video will give you some idea of what the set-up looks like and some of the fun you can expect to have at an event with DJ services by Soundsations.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Christmas party season again and I've been busy DJ'ing at three different parties over the last two weekends. There's another two big ones to do next weekend as well. My Edmonton DJ service Soundsations does weddings for most of the year, so it's a nice change to switch things up a bit from the usual.

Above are some photos from one of the parties I DJ'ed at the Beverly ballroom at the Fantasy Hotel in West Edmonton Mall. This one was a big show with about 400 guests so I brought in extra speakers to cover the large room for dinner music and speeches. The other two Christmas parties I did were smaller affairs. One was at the Kingsway Legion Hall and the other at the Jubilee Auditorium banquet facility, both in Edmonton. The weather was terrible for the weekend of the last two shows so loading in and out was not fun, but the parties were all a big success, even though a few people stayed home due to poor road conditions.

I'm starting to get a lot of calls for DJ services for summer 2010 wedding season now, so it looks like next year will be another busy one.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Soundsations Fall Harvest Dance

Last Friday Soundsations was busy doing a fall harvest themed dance at an Edmonton school. Everything looked great and the kids really got excited about the music and the lights. It was nice to work something other than a wedding for a change. Of course with this age group I had to play lots of Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift and so on. I always say though, I don't care whats playing as long as it's what the crowd will dance to. And that they did. Here are a few photos from the event (blurred so individuals are not identifiable).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Edmonton Wedding DJ at Union Bank Inn

I've been busy the last few weekends with Soundsations . Two weekends ago I did the audio for a three day convention in Calgary at the Fairmont Palisser Hotel. That was an easy gig as I only had to show up with my music on the laptop and patch in. Then I played music in between speaking sessions and when presenters were brought on and off the stage.

This past weekend (Thanksgiving weekend) was another wedding, this time at the Union Bank Inn in downtown Edmonton. This was a great couple and once the dance started there was no trouble getting the dance floor full. They weren't ready for their first dance though until just before 11:00 pm. This didn't leave much time for dancing as we had to be done by 1:00 am. The hotel actually makes the DJ sign a letter promising they won't play past 1:00 am. They must have had some real unprofessional DJ's in there to have it come to making everyone sign a form.

Anyways, some things are out of the Dj's control, and the dance started real late, but was a blast while it lasted. The decor in the room was fabulous as well. I've attached a few photos. I have to check to be sure, but I think that was my last wedding for 2009. It's on to Christmas parties soon enough. Appropriate since there's already snow here in Edmonton.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Last nights wedding was at the University of Alberta Faculty Club in Edmonton Alberta. It was another great success with a fun time had by all including me (the DJ The bride and groom had allot of friends there as well as family and they didn't avoid the dance floor in favor of visiting and talking to everyone. The food is also always great at the Faculty Club which is a bonus.

The only tough bit was that the couple opted to do the cake cutting about 20 minutes after the start of the dance. The cake was in another adjoining room so everyone left the dance area. It was a little tricky to sway them back over to the other side, but they eventually came around again and the party picked back up.

There were lots of great requests, most of which I managed to squeeze in. Everybody including the bride and groom were quite polite and nice even while managing to consume a healthy amount of drink. I took a few photos to post. I didn't use any flash because I wanted the pictures to be somewhat blurred to avoid anyone being too recognizable.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Last post I said I would post some of my pics from Washington DC so here they are. That's my wife Sherri in the bottom picture with me.

We had a great time. The helicopter flew right over our head and landed on the lawn of the white house as we were passing by. Pretty cool.

Since we came back I've Done two Soundsations weddings. One at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton and one at the Executive Royal Inn in Nisku. So two royal weddings (not funny, I know). Anyway, they both went very well.
everyone was very nice at both events, and the food was great in both cases. The dance floor was well used and I got some really positive feedback from the bride & groom and guests.

This coming weekend I'll be DJ'ing another wedding dance at the U of A Faculty Club in Edmonton. That means great food again of course and I'm sure we're going to have a great time.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Soundsations in Viking Alberta

Last Saturdays wedding wiped me out. It took me a day and a half to recover from the late night of DJ work in Viking. I only played music until 1:00 AM, but with pack up time and an hour and twenty minute drive back to Edmonton, it was 3:30 AM by the time I got home. Then the equipment had to be unloaded from the vehicle as it's not too secure if left in the van overnight.

I guess I'm getting older because I was dead tired on Sunday. Anyways the wedding dance was another successful Soundsations production. The biggest challenge from the DJ's point of view was that the groom and some of his friends were really into heavier classic rock (think Rush, Ozzy Osbourne etc.) that isn't so great for filling a dance floor. Of course I made sure I played a bit of their music every now and then. It got funny looks from some other factions of the crowd, so I made sure I announced that this was a special request from the groom. Nobody really danced during these selections, but sometimes that's alright and it keeps the rock fans happy. Luckily the groom was very nice and understood that I needed to DJ to the entire crowd to make the dance a success. I even ended up getting a tip from him at the end of the night which is always appreciated.

I'm taking a break this coming long weekend and I'm off to Washington DC. Hopefully I will have a photo or two of the U.S. capital to post on my next blog.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Working with a wedding coordinator

I DJ'ed another Soundsations wedding last night at the Red tail Landing Golf club near the Edmonton international airport. It was a real barn-burner The dance floor was kept busy all night. There were no real lulls in the action, which is unusual. I don't think it's necessarily that I did any better of a job as the DJ than normal. It was just a really great crowd that was ready to tear up the dance floor. The couple had hired a wedding coordinator, so as the DJ I needed to work with her.
Most wedding coordinators I've worked with do a great job and last night was no exception. Everything ran extremely smoothly and relatively on time. I do find however that wedding coordinators will either have the attitude that they are there to work with you, or you are there to work for them. Obviously I don't have any issues with the first type. I understand though that there are lots of fly by night, unprofessional and inexperienced DJ outfits out there and this undoubtedly has shaped the way some coordinators have come to deal with the DJ's they work with.
I have lost count of how many weddings I've done. I would estimate at least 40 per year for the last 15 years. Definitely far more than most wedding coordinators in the business. Of course they don't know this and it would sound boastful to tell them. All I'm trying to say is that it's nice when you are treated as a professional and there is an attitude of working together to provide the clients with the best experience possible.
I said I would post some photos of my new lighting effect, so here are some. It did stop spinning about 3 hours in to the dance. So if does that again next weekend it's going back.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A new DJ lighting effect

Last week I purchased a new lighting effect to take with me to my DJ gigs. It is a simple LED device from American DJ that pretty much simulates the mirror ball effect. I tried it out last weekend at a wedding dance (through my DJ company Soundsations). It works very nicely and saves me some set-up and tear-down time. When you DJ every single weekend (sometimes twice on a weekend) saving a few minutes is very welcome.
It puts out 34 spots of LED light and spins them around the room and can be run all night. Its much smaller than a mirror ball and less fragile. The bonus to me is I only have to set it up on its own whereas the mirror ball required setting up the ball and the pin spot at some distance from the ball (I actually usually used two pin spots) meaning lots of extension cords and duct tape.
Ill try to get some photos of it in action at this upcoming weekend's wedding to post.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Another great dance with a few challenges.

Last night I played DJ again through my mobile DJ company Soundsations at the River Cree hotel in Edmonton. It turned out to be a fantastic dance with lots of action on the dance floor until 1:30am.
The bride and groom had hired a wedding coordinator who did a great job of having everything organized and kept things running pretty smoothly and on time. The only snag was that the couple had rented a screen and projector from me for a slide show and there was absolutely no space left in the room to set it up.
I had to have the banquet staff rearrange tables to make room which is not that easy for them once they have everything set up already. This led to another challenge in that where the projector ended up in the room was quite far away from my DJ console. This made running an audio cable to the presenters laptop difficult.
Of course everything got worked out in the end and all went well. This does reinforce for myself the need to let customers know that they need to make sure their venue knows the set-up requirements for their event. Also customers need to know audio to be patched through the DJ sound board should not be 100 ft. away from the board. I always mention these points, but sometime to no avail.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Handicapping your DJ

I thought I would post a few thoughts regarding the advantages and the disadvantages of brides and groom creating their own play lists for the DJ. I'm thinking about this because I did a Soundsations (my mobile DJ company) wedding dance in Edmonton a few weeks ago where the couple had provided me with a list of about 20 songs that they definitely had to have played and about 10 songs or so that they didn't want.
Normally when I meet with a couple at booking time I tell them that, of course you are welcome to put together a list of must play and do not play music. After all, It's your big day and you're the customer. I usually also say though, I can only play so many songs during a four hour or so dance, so if your list of must plays is huge, I have no flexibility to play other guests requests. Also, if what you have listed isn't working, I don't have as much flexibility to try and read the crowd and play to them. It could be that you don't care if the dance floor is busy, as long as you're hearing the music you like, but that isn't usually the case.
I also warn couples that chances are someone will request the very songs you've asked not to hear. These may also very well be the exact songs that would get the dance floor busy, even though you might cringe when you hear it.
An experienced DJ that has performed hundreds of dances knows what the average mixed aged crowd will respond to. They will also be able to adjust what they are playing based on requests and a little trial and error. Dictating a huge must play list to the DJ severely handicaps the DJ's ability to do this. It is also quite awkward for the DJ to have to tell guests "I'm sorry, the bride and groom don't want to hear that song.".
In the end of course, the customer is always right. but if close to a 500 weddings worth of experience is worth anything, my advice would be that if you have music you definitely have to hear at your dance, give the DJ a list of no more than 10 songs or so. Also keep your do not play list to a couple of songs at most, or even better, tell the DJ only to play them if requested.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Well, I guess a year and half is a long enough break from blogging. I should get back to it. So here we go.
I've continued to be busy with my DJ company Soundsations. I've lost count but I've worked either a wedding or some other type of function pretty much every weekend since my last blog. Of course I've taken a few weeks off. We took the family to Hawaii, and a few other smaller vacations.
I have also spent some time updating the Soundsations website. It is now a flash based site so it looks a little fancier, but I still tried to keep it simple. I also updated the music library which is now approaching 500 pages.
Anyways, I have to run now, but I will be posting regularly now (I mean it this time!).