Don’t Hang The Wedding DJ Just Yet

conga.jpgThere was a short squib in yesterday’s Times Online about the decline and fall of the wedding DJ, that institution who passes out the foam Statue of Liberty hats and introduces the bride and her dad’s first dance, in favor of new-technology solutions like the iPod and pre-burned CD-Rs. The piece is, frankly, kind of dopey–is the writer being “ironic”? are there really people who refer to themselves as “Gaz”?–but we figured it would be a great opportunity to check in on the state of the wedding-music scene with our friend Julia Factorial, a DJ who occasionally spins at nuptials. After the jump, an IM interview where she shares her thoughts on the continued importance of the wedding DJ and why an all-Sabbath cocktail hour just might work.

mauraidolator: read this.
xshredheadx: oh man. that’s so sad
mauraidolator: sad how?
xshredheadx: well i mean, to say that the ipod is killing the dj–i wouldn’t want the one described in the article either.
mauraidolator: that’s what i was thinking!
xshredheadx: there is a balance
xshredheadx: one that i was hoping they’d get to in the article
mauraidolator: i just feel like the trend toward ipods (or cd-rs! which i used to dj a friend’s wedding a few years ago, and which i think was really the start of this trend) is part of a rebellion against paying up the nose for a one-size-fits-all solution
mauraidolator: what do you think?
xshredheadx: i say the actual dj is still very necessary
xshredheadx: one of the things i try and get across to couples is that they can’t really dictate the PERFECT PLAYLIST
xshredheadx: it’s impossible, no matter how smart they think they are
xshredheadx: a lot of couples i’ve talked to have tried to micromanage their playlist beyond any level of cheese
xshredheadx: i think they invite these people to their wedding and don’t want them to have a good time
xshredheadx: it’s like…
xshredheadx: i think that couples are so focused on THIS BEING THEIR BIG DAY
xshredheadx: and that everything will be their way or the highway
xshredheadx: i had a bride tell me straight out i wasn’t allowed to play anything her mother requested. just to spite her … you know, like no bob seger or whatever
xshredheadx: but is that mother of the bride coughing up some dough for this BIG DAY? you bet.
xshredheadx: i think modern brides and grooms can be pretty self centered in that respect
xshredheadx: when i sense this vibe from people i don’t take the gig
xshredheadx: that being said, i’ve seen the most fucked up shit work in ways i never though it would
xshredheadx: for example: one couple wanted their cocktail hour to be strictly smiths and morrissey…
xshredheadx: and it wasn’t terrible. it actually worked nicely …
xshredheadx: because it wasn’t at this high-focus time. it was just the cocktail hour
xshredheadx: that’s when i try to get people to highly specialize their night
mauraidolator: but if it had been an all-smiths dance party …
xshredheadx: oh man. terrible
xshredheadx: one other thing–the specialty thing only works when the family is 100% behind it
xshredheadx: i had a couple who wanted nothing but hard rock early on–sabbath, pentagram, that stuff.
mauraidolator: whoa
mauraidolator: sabbath??
xshredheadx: yeah
xshredheadx: it ruled, and the family loved it
mauraidolator: wow. that is awesome
xshredheadx: they were totally cool with it because they knew their daughter and son
xshredheadx: a lot of couples don’t want to do anything traditional anymore
xshredheadx: it’s like they want to get “married” but they don’t want to get MARRIED
xshredheadx: they don’t want the garter belt thing (understandable, kinda weird)
xshredheadx: they don’t want the dollar dance (tacky. i don’t think anyone does this anymore)
xshredheadx: they don’t want the hokey pokey, chicken dance, electric slide (this is totally fine by me, i don’t play these songs.)
xshredheadx: no achy breaky, fine fine fine
xshredheadx: but now, i’ve had people start to say things like,
xshredheadx: i don’t want to dance with my mom.
xshredheadx: i don’t want to dance with my dad.
xshredheadx: i don’t want to announce the cake cutting.
xshredheadx: i don’t want to be announced.
xshredheadx: it’s like–jesus, do you still want people to show up?
xshredheadx: do you still want gifts?
xshredheadx: do you still want to party your ass off?
mauraidolator: right.
xshredheadx: i mean COME ON
xshredheadx: it’s ok to get all freaky with the music
xshredheadx: to be honest, most families won’t even notice
xshredheadx: but the one thing your grandma wants more than anything is
xshredheadx: to see you dance with your husband/wife
xshredheadx: to see you cut the fucking cake
xshredheadx: and so, you should plan those should do those things because to be honest, they aren’t cheesy
xshredheadx: they’re sentimental and PART OF THE WHOLE DEAL
xshredheadx: those are the photo ops, those are the things people stick around for
mauraidolator: so do you think that the personalization craze is just getting out of control, and that everyone basically wants to be a delicate fucking snowflake?
xshredheadx: sometimes.
xshredheadx: people get so wrapped round the axle about their event, they forget what makes weddings fun
mauraidolator: any final thoughts?
xshredheadx: here goes: an ipod doesn’t see your grandma and grandpa sneak away during dinner and dance out on the patio to the strains of some dorsey brothers hit.
xshredheadx: oh man. this sounds so cheesy
xshredheadx: but you know what i mean. all the perfect planning doesn’t make up for someone being there to interpret a mood or to help make a mood happen
xshredheadx: and i also think people take their cues from the person spinning music
xshredheadx: nobody wants to look at a piece of plastic and dance with it
xshredheadx: (unless it’s a jonathan richman record. but that’s a whole other story)
xshredheadx: they want to see a person up there, selecting songs for them. at least, that’s the response that i’ve gotten.

Digital kills the wedding DJ… you’ll be sorry [Times Online, via TDS]
[Photo via Manamanah]