Most mobile DJ companies that specialize in weddings and private parties will tell you to consider the following skills before hiring a DJ:
1. MC skills
2. Musical knowledge and ability
3. Customer Service
4. Equipment used
And this is true.
I would like to focus on #2 because this is an important and often overlooked skill when it comes to picking a DJ. It's also the hardest for clients to gauge during a meeting with their DJ. Plus, unfortunately, it's an overlooked skill by many "DJs" out there.
The most basic definition for a DJ is simply a person who plays pre-recorded music for an audience. At the same time there exists DJs of all skill levels out there...
anywhere from DJ Jazzy Jeff (one of the greatest hip-hop DJs of all time),
to your buddy "Joe" who likes to put playlists together for his back yard parties.
Practically all mobile DJ companies fall somewhere in between this range. Just like any other profession where artistry is involved, there are lots of people who do it, but only a few who do it well.
So what makes one DJ better at being a DJ than another?
First... music knowledge and managing "energy levels"
A good DJ knows not only great music for people to dance to but also how to transition between songs to keep the flow and energy of the party going. Done wrong this can immediately clear the dance floor.
Second... reading the dance floor
This is a skill that is complimentary to music knowledge and energy levels. Reading the dance floor facilitates making musical selections. Some would say that this skill belongs up there with number one but it is a separate and distinguishable skill. A DJ can read a dance floor, but if their knowledge of music leads them to make bad choices, then what good is reading the dance floor?
This is the skill that starts to separate reputable DJs. In my opinion it's important to have good programming AND mixing skills to truly bring the full DJ experience. The ability to transition between songs (using various mixing techniques) helps to keep the flow and energy going. It goes without saying that a professional DJ should be using professional DJ equipment. I would not want to hire someone who would DJ my event using an iPod or laptop-only with some cheap speakers. Among DJs we may debate whether Vinyl, CDJ or Controllers are the best... but they are all just tools, that when used properly, can make a huge difference in the performance and fun of your night.
So, how do you know if you're hiring a "real" DJ?
It's pretty easy to spot someone who would be a good MC or someone who you feel provides great customer service. Even inquirying about their equipment is a good indicator if they take their profession seriously. Pioneer and Numark gear is industry standard and most popular among professionals.
The hardest skill to spot in your DJ is if they are in fact a good DJ. The best way to find out is to check out their reviews on various social media sites and/or ask to speak to their previous clientele. If a DJ is willing to provide references that's a good sign and if those references can attest to how awesome their night was that's even better.
Of course at DJ Bambú Entertainment I take my craft seriously and constantly strive to "sharpen my saw" for the benefit of my clients. If you are ready to experience the difference of what an accomplished professional can bring to your event please contact me today.