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Archive for June, 2011

Contemporary Wedding Ceremony Music

Most of my clients have both their wedding ceremony and reception at the same location. I am often asked to play prerecorded music during the wedding ceremony. Some couples want traditional or classical music played prior and during the ceremony but others prefer something more contemporary. I’m often asked for recommendations on what music to play so I’ll share a few suggestions here.

If you prefer music that’s a little more modern for your ceremony, I often suggest looking for instrumental remakes of popular music. A good place to start your search is with the Vitamin String Quartet. The Vitamin String Quartet are a group of musicians who have recorded new versions of Pop and Rock music arranged for a small string ensemble. They have covered artists such as Coldplay, The Beatles, Journey, Led Zeppelin, and Lady Gaga to name a few. This can be a fun way to add popular music to a wedding ceremony while retaining a sort of elegance. Here is a link to the Vitamin String Quartet on iTunes.

One album I have found that contains a lot of great contemporary love songs redone as instrumental versions is called “Candlelight” by Owen Richards. A lot of great songs are covered on this album, “Have I Told You Lately that I Love You?”, “Because You Loved”, and “I Swear” are all great tracks. The arrangement of the songs on this album is just about perfect for ceremony music. Here is a link to the Candlelight album on iTunes.

When I am playing music for the ceremony, I typically start playing music about 30 minutes prior to the ceremony as guests are arriving at the venue and they begin to take their seats. Instrumental versions of popular music, as I have suggested above sound great as light background music during this time. Love songs by the original artists can also work well if, you carefully select your tracks. “Love Song” covered by 311, found on the soundtrack for the motion picture 50 First Dates for example or “In Your Eyes” on Peter Gabriel’s album So are songs that have both a message and a feel that’s appropriate for a ceremony.

For the processional, I usually recommend sticking with the traditional wedding march and many brides seem to prefer this. On the other hand using a contemporary track for the recessional seems to work very well. I have played tracks from artists such as Rascal Flatts, The Beatles, and Taylor Swift for example.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started selecting music for your ceremony.

People & Music

This post is for my fellow DJs or aspiring DJs. Phil Morse from Digital DJ Tips has a series of posts on his blog titled “10 Commandments for Better Digital DJing”. The last post in this series or the tenth commandment was posted a couple days ago. This entry in the series is a video. I just finished watching the video and it’s good reminder for all of the DJs that have been in the business for a number of years. For those DJs just getting started, try to keep this in mind as you venture into this industry.

The concept for this, Phil’s tenth commandment is simple. DJing is about people and music, not about gear and tricks. There are so many choices available today when it comes to gear, equipment, hardware and software and it’s easy to get all wrapped up in pondering the latest stuff. I for one am the type of person that loves to do the research whenever I buy something new. Whether I’m shopping for some new gear for my business or a new gadget for myself, I always spend some time researching my options. I often find that myself wishing I could take three features from product A, one from product B, and two from product C for the perfect solution.

When I started in this business my equipment setup was quite simple, a dual deck DJ CD player, a mixer, a microphone, amp and speakers. That was a long time ago and all of my gear has changed since then but when I think about it, I could go back to that old gear today and still play a perfectly respectable gig.

The fact that I have new, more advanced gear with more bells and whistles than I ever imagined when I started in this business has not made me a better DJ. Still, I am a better DJ today, than when I started in this business. What, then has allowed me to improve as a DJ? – Time, experience, and practice.

If I went out today and purchased a brand new $5000 digital SLR camera would that make me a better photographer? Doubtful. If I quit my job and spent the next 10 years of my life dedicated to taking great photographs, would that make me a better photographer? If I had an eye for photography to begin with, then yes it probably would.

I’m always excited when a new DJ product comes out and I’m sure plenty of other DJs are the same way. However, the point Phil is trying to make in his blog post, and I think it’s a good one, is that you can’t just spend all your time worrying about the latest gear. When you make a purchase, just settle in with that piece of gear for a while and really get comfortable. When the novelty and excitement of that new purchase starts to wear out is just about the time when it starts to become second nature and you start producing better results.

Well that’s my take on it anyway. Props to Phil Morse for posting this video and for all the invaluable information he posts on his blog.

New Music

Good DJs always have their finger on the pulse of the music scene. Keeping up with all the latest music can be a daunting task. I spend a lot of Sunday mornings in front of my computer browsing the Internet for the latest releases. I check the top tracks and preview songs I haven’t heard on iTunes. The switch in iTunes from 30 second to 90 second previews was a welcomed one for me. 30 seconds sometimes just doesn’t give you enough of a preview to really get a feel for a track. Thanks to Apple for getting the record labels to allow extending the previews to 90 seconds.

I subscribe to XM radio and listen in my car as I travel around. I always have to laugh a little when I hear a “brand new” track on the radio. I laugh because, many times, I first listened to the “brand new track” weeks earlier. This morning I added a number of new tracks to my collection and I wanted to share one of my new additions with you.

“International Love” is a new track from Pitbull which will be featured on the upcoming album, Planet Pit which drops on June 21, 2011. International Love released on iTunes on May 27th and is currently at 32 on iTunes Top 200. “International Love” has yet to hit the Billboard charts nor has it hit the DJ releases to my knowledge.

“International Love” features Chris Brown on vocals. This track has a great beat and a catchy hook. I predict this one will be filling dance floors in the upcoming weeks. If you’re a fan of past Pitbull or Chis Brown tracks, I think this is one you’ll also enjoy. There isn’t yet an official music video release for this track on YouTube but you will find some unofficial uploads if you want to listen to the track.

I wonder how long it will take before “International Love” hits the radio as a brand new track. 😉

We’re Live

It’s June 1, 2011 and my redesigned website for rhythm engineering is live. The old site was dated and should have been updated at least a couple years ago. Still, it was a little sad to see the old site go. I’ve been looking at it for a number of years now. The new site is cool, modern, professional and up-to-date with all the latest web standards.

If you’re here, congratulations, you’ve made it to my blog. In this blog, I’ll feature the latest news and information about my business and from time to time you’ll find promotional offers posted here. I’ll also be blogging about music and the things that interest me. I hope this blog will be both informative and interesting to my clients, other DJs and to just about anyone who shares a love of popular music.

As I sit here, there is a rerun of Saturday Night Live playing on my TiVo. Zach Galifianakis is the host and musical guest is Jessie J. The track “Price Tag” is the first single from her album Who You Are and the first song I ever heard from Jessie J. I realize this track is now a bit dated since it debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States back in March 2011. So my question is, what do you think of the song? Do you like it now, are you already tired of it, or are you asking yourself, who’s Jessie J? If you’re in that last category here’s the YouTube video.

Personally, I found the track unremarkable and the lyrics forgettable. It’s had it’s fifteen minutes but I don’t think anyone will be requesting this track, three months from now. I also take issue with songs like this where an artist tell us things like, “it’s not about the money” and “we don’t need your money”. If that’s the case then why are you signing. If Jessie J doesn’t care about the money then how come I can’t download her album for free. I think, it’s at least a little about the money, isn’t it?

What do you think? Mouth off in the comments. I would love to hear your opinions.