Wedding Planning Q&A

What Makes A Good Wedding DJ? with Randolph Robinson from Randyman Productions

June 20, 2019

What makes a Wedding DJ really stand out? What unique twists can they bring to pack out your dance floor and give you the party of your life? Let’s dig in!

Listen to Randolph on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…

 

Randolph Robinson, Randyman Productions
https://weddingespresso.co.uk/tag/randyman-productions
https://dj-yorkshire.co.uk

 

James [00:00:05] Randolph, Hi, thanks for joining me. 

Randolph [00:00:08] Nice to meet you James. 

James [00:00:10] Yeah and you, welcome to Wedding Espresso. So you’re Randolph Robinson and you run Randyman Productions which is, amongst many things, a wedding DJ service with a twist. Which we’ll get to in a minute. We’re very, very excited about it.

So the question I really wanted to fire at you today was “What Makes a Good Wedding DJ?”. 

Randolph [00:00:34] It’s a good question is that, a very good question. You’ve got to be able to, first of all, be a good listener. So before you even enter into doing whatever the couple wants, listening to what their requirements are is the first thing.  Because every single customer is different. I like to go back to the beginning, what I like to do is get to know where they came from in the first place. Whether it’s school, university, college, how did you meet? What’s the sort of group of people that they mix with? Because all these things I like to bring to the entertainment. 

James [00:01:22] That’s amazing. Like a sense of nostalgia. 

Randolph [00:01:26] Exactly. Exactly. Because their Wedding needs to be unique to them. And it needs to incorporate all the types of music which they like. So by getting to know where they started out from school, college, whatever, how they met, I can start building up a profile and a picture of them. Which obviously helps me to build up the type of music to play. So that’s the first thing that I try to do, get under the skin, find out where they come from, find out obviously their background because of all that is important to actually producing the right type of music on the evening. 

James [00:02:14] That’s amazing. I’ve never heard that before. That’s a first. That’s incredible. 

Randolph [00:02:20] It’s important. Everybody’s different, everybody’s completely different. And what I like to do it is look at the type of music they’ve given me. And then what I look at is what I call a bridging track or type of music. Some people might like Motown or Soul. Some others might like Disco, and then there’s others in the room who like what I call sort of pop chart music and light rock. So my role is to be able to take them on that journey and to try and keep that floor as busy as possible.

Because you don’t want the people who like the Funk and Soul to leave when the pop music comes on and the pop group people to leave when the rock music comes on. 

James [00:03:16] The idea is to bring people together, not separate them apart. 

Randolph [00:03:19] Exactly. Exactly. So I always look for a bridging type of song which bridges the different genres. And it keeps people on the dance floor. So your Auntie Mary is dancing with the 15 year olds and the 15 years old is dancing with Uncle Bob, who’s 60.  So you’re bringing them all onto the dance floor and you’re keeping that dance floor full. And also part of the journey is for me to incorporate the music they’ve given me into my evening of Entertainment. 

James [00:03:59] Amazing. That’s fantastic. You are actually, correct me if I’m wrong, but you are a Professional Percussionist. 

Randolph [00:04:08] Correct. That’s correct. Yes. 

James [00:04:10]

You also bring additional elements of percussion and saxophone to your DJ sets. 

Randolph [00:04:18] People absolutely love it, absolutely love it. 

James [00:04:21] I bet they do! 

Randolph [00:04:21] Yeah I do a lot of what I call DJ’ing with a twist, and you are right, it’s incorporating live music with DJ’ing. 

James [00:04:35] Fantastic! When I come across it, and it’s very rare, I’ve only seen it once and it was in Leeds. It could have even been you! I don’t remember, it was years ago. There was a DJ set with a live percussionist and my mind, because I’m a very, very big music person myself, and my mind just went “Pop, This is fantastic!” Because…

it’s almost like bringing a remix to the tracks that you know so well, as it’s like a remix version. 

Randolph [00:05:02] I’m glad you said that and that’s what we do. I was going to use the exact same  phrase as what you’ve just said. You’re almost remixing it live. I’ve had people come in and walk past the bar, and they’ve stopped, and they’ve recognised the track, and they’ve just come into the bar thinking “Oh my God, what’s that remix?” and then they’ve seen the live percussionist and a saxophonist playing alongside the DJ.  I get a lot of bookings, whether it’s weddings, parties, club bookings, I get a lot because people love the Ibiza sound for their wedding. And it also makes them look really good to their clients or customers, as it looks like they’ve spent absolutely loads of money. 

James [00:06:05] I think from a sound perspective and a visual perspective it’s so much more engaging. I think if you want to fill the dance floor, Wow! that’s like a tick in that box, because obviously…

you’ve got that element of tracks that they know and recognise, but you’ve also got live musicians as well alongside. The whole dynamic is exciting, incredible really! 

Randolph [00:06:35] The second little bit has a twist with it as well. We actually go and play within the crowd as well. So I have one of the drums which I can put on a strap and the saxophonist obviously goes well to play within. We get ourselves really up close and personal with the crowd as well. 

James [00:06:55] Right. It’s a bit a gig feel as well I guess. 

Randolph [00:06:58] Exactly. Yeah. 

James [00:07:01] Awesome. So how do you get your head around…., because obviously like a professionally produced music track has a beat that’s been mixed and assembled to work for the track. How do you get your head around adding a layer on top? How do you add extra percussion?

Randolph [00:07:21] To be honest, it’s about listening to the first 16 bars. So you listen to the first bit of it, so you don’t come in straight away, and obviously with a track or whatever else, to build into a track, it repeats itself after a bit, it repeats itself. So once you’ve got the beat and everything else in your head then you know that you can emulate that and repeat that as you are going along. So your Percussionist layers over a track and it’s about enhancing that track. So you’ll listen first and you get to know the first eight bars or 16 bars of that track, and then you come in and then all you are doing is repeating obviously what you’ve played, but in a such a way that the customer is actually enjoying it. And you’ve enhanced what that track is. So yeah, it’s about playing enough over the track, but not overdoing it. 

James [00:08:32] It’s particularly interesting to me because I like, especially where music’s concerned, I like a lot of intensity, I like kind of intense music, I’m drawn to it. So obviously a lot of pop tracks and disco tracks and dance tracks and things, they’re actually quite simple beats, they’re designed to be very simple.

So what you’re actually adding in, is right up my street, because it’s layering that stuff back in that I would naturally be attracted to in music. So it makes it more exciting! 

Randolph [00:09:01] You’re making it more intricate. And where you’ve got that simple beat then I can do a double or a treble beat in between that, or I can do an off beat. So you might be doing a one, two, three, four beat. I might be hitting on the 2nd or the 4th so sort of bringing it a different element to it.

So in my original sound, like the house track, but I can add a Soka a beat into it, or a Calypso beat into it. And suddenly  you’ve made that track totally different, but yet you can still hear the original track underneath. 

James [00:09:46] Yeah, that’s awesome. It’s awesome. So do you think there are any aspects of your personal life that influence the original idea for doing this for weddings? Is there anything that you’re particularly excited about?

Randolph [00:10:01] I think it all came about, this is going to sound funny, when I was younger I used to go to church. And obviously I was influenced there with the Pentecostal church and everything else. And then I used to play tambourines when I was younger in the church, so I just had a natural sort of progression through going to church and sort of leading into going into a club situation or a wedding situation. I think also I was despondent sometimes when I’d been to somebody else’s wedding. And I’m thinking this is the only time they’re going to get married, hopefully, and the DJ’s letting them down. 

James [00:10:57] Right it’s not the party of their life. 

Randolph [00:10:59] Exactly. And you think to yourself “I can do better than this, I know I can do better than this”. And that’s what got me into doing the DJ’ing because I want to give every single event 110%. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing a rock night or a funk and soul night or a club sort of night or pop night. It doesn’t matter. It’s about making sure you’re giving that 110% so everybody in that room enjoy’s themselves. And when they leave that room they’re thinking “wow, what a fantastic night I’ve had”. And that’s what I try to do. I try to make sure that every single person in that room has had a good night. It doesn’t matter what event they’ve put in front of me.

James [00:11:52] Brilliant. I’m so glad you shared that story with us actually because I did exactly the same thing. Our local church had a church orchestra, and I actually played the violin at the time so that was my role within it. But there were the percussion people, you know, the triangles and the tambourines and it’s exactly that concept.  It’s taking the hymns people know, the songs, and layering in the extra orchestration and instruments isn’t it? So that’s amazing. Thanks for sharing that story it’s incredible. 

Randolph [00:12:25] Our backgrounds look very similar! 

James [00:12:25] Absolutely. Cool. Well Randolph that’s been awesome. Thank you so much for sharing that with us today. Really, really enjoyed hearing about it. 

Randolph [00:12:37] It’s been a pleasure. 

James [00:12:38] How can people reach you? How do they get in touch?

Randolph [00:12:43]  I’ve got a website. Under dj-yorkshire.co.uk. I’ve also got a Facebook Page and I do Instagram and Twitter. I try to do a bit of everything so people can find me. 60 percent of it, 70 percent is passed on business (word of mouth). 

James [00:13:27] Which is the best actually. 

Randolph [00:13:27] Exactly, when one person has seen you or heard you then they want obviously their friends to experience it. And there might be somebody else in the crowd who’s getting married six months down line, a year down the line. And they’ll come up to me and grab my card. And I also do wedding fairs as well. Again wedding fairs with a bit of a twist because they can see on my video the live entertainment alongside the DJ.

And then also again you’ve got to make it visual as well. Because my Bongo’s light up, I have light up drums and the Saxophonist has lights on his Saxophone. 

James [00:14:16] And light up drum sticks! 

Randolph [00:14:18] Have you seen them?

James [00:14:21] Yeah, yeah, I’ve seen them, of course. 

Randolph [00:14:24] Exactly. So it’s about having a visual effect as well because people like to see. It’s almost like that touchy feely situation. They like to see what’s going on as well.

Yes 70 percent is about playing great stuff. But 30 percent of that is about making it visual and also quality.

I always use very good quality speakers, very good quality stuff. Because if you’re going to get the sound or push the sound out there, there’s no point in playing some fantastic tracks if the quality doesn’t sound great. The end result is making sure you’re using quality equipment to make sure that people are hearing good sound at the same time. 

James [00:15:25] Fantastic. Well Randolph thanks again. Really, really appreciate you jumping on with us today. Some great information shared there and hopefully we’ll have the opportunity in the future to chat to you again about DJ’ing with a twist. 

Randolph [00:15:40] It’s my pleasure. Absolute pleasure. I could talk about it all day! 

James [00:15:46] Brilliant that’s what we like to hear! All right Randolph thanks very much. We’ll see you later. 

Randolph [00:15:50] Absolute pleasure meeting you James. 

James [00:15:52] Cheers and you. Bye for now, bye. 

Randolph [00:15:54] You have a good day. 

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