Don’t Hang The Wedding DJ Just Yet

noah | August 21, 2007 1:33 am

There 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 sadmauraidolator: 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 balancexshredheadx: one that i was hoping they’d get to in the articlemauraidolator: 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 solutionmauraidolator: what do you think?xshredheadx: i say the actual dj is still very necessaryxshredheadx: one of the things i try and get across to couples is that they can’t really dictate the PERFECT PLAYLISTxshredheadx: it’s impossible, no matter how smart they think they arexshredheadx: a lot of couples i’ve talked to have tried to micromanage their playlist beyond any level of cheesexshredheadx: i think they invite these people to their wedding and don’t want them to have a good timexshredheadx: it’s like…xshredheadx: i think that couples are so focused on THIS BEING THEIR BIG DAYxshredheadx: and that everything will be their way or the highwayxshredheadx: 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 whateverxshredheadx: 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 respectxshredheadx: when i sense this vibe from people i don’t take the gigxshredheadx: that being said, i’ve seen the most fucked up shit work in ways i never though it wouldxshredheadx: 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 hourxshredheadx: that’s when i try to get people to highly specialize their nightmauraidolator: but if it had been an all-smiths dance party …xshredheadx: oh man. terriblexshredheadx: one other thing–the specialty thing only works when the family is 100% behind itxshredheadx: i had a couple who wanted nothing but hard rock early on–sabbath, pentagram, that stuff.mauraidolator: whoamauraidolator: sabbath??xshredheadx: yeahxshredheadx: it ruled, and the family loved itmauraidolator: wow. that is awesomexshredheadx: they were totally cool with it because they knew their daughter and sonxshredheadx: a lot of couples don’t want to do anything traditional anymorexshredheadx: it’s like they want to get “married” but they don’t want to get MARRIEDxshredheadx: 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 finexshredheadx: 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 ONxshredheadx: it’s ok to get all freaky with the musicxshredheadx: to be honest, most families won’t even noticexshredheadx: but the one thing your grandma wants more than anything isxshredheadx: to see you dance with your husband/wifexshredheadx: to see you cut the fucking cakexshredheadx: and so, you should plan those should do those things because to be honest, they aren’t cheesyxshredheadx: they’re sentimental and PART OF THE WHOLE DEALxshredheadx: those are the photo ops, those are the things people stick around formauraidolator: 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 funmauraidolator: 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 cheesyxshredheadx: 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 happenxshredheadx: and i also think people take their cues from the person spinning musicxshredheadx: nobody wants to look at a piece of plastic and dance with itxshredheadx: (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]