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What makes a Good Wedding Musician? with Joey Burdon from Warble Entertainment

What Makes A Good Wedding Musician? Joey from Warble Entertainment shares a few insider tips on how to you can book a great Wedding Band.

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


Joey Burdon from Warble Entertainment


James: [00:00:03] Joey – Hey, thanks so much for joining me today. 

Joey: [00:00:06] Thank you for having me. 

James: [00:00:09] Pleasure.

So our brides and grooms have been asking us a great deal recently what makes a good Wedding Musician. 

Joey: [00:00:19] Cool. First of all, I love this question. The reason I love it is because straight up we’re noticing there’s a difference between a good musician and a good wedding musician, and those are two totally different things. I’m a musician myself and we at Warble deal with musicians every single day. We know what they’re like and musicians… I don’t know how much experience you have with the musician type of person, but we are naturally fickle ego driven creative maniacs. That’s what we are. This is all we’re like, we can’t help it. 

James: [00:00:56] That would be a fair description perhaps. 

Joey: [00:00:57] Fair description, and I’m a self-confessed one of those myself. So having those traits and being a wedding musician at the same time, they almost contradict each other.

So the difference between a good musician and a good wedding musician in my opinion, has almost absolutely nothing to do with the musicianship of the player.

You can be incredible. You can be Slash on the guitar, you can be Joey Jordison on the drums, but just because you’re that good at playing, it doesn’t mean your right to play at somebody’s wedding. We at Warble turn away hundreds of bands a week, hundreds of singers, musicians who want to join the agency. They come in, they want to sign up, and they’re incredible, incredibly talented people, we turn away some amazing musicians. Why? Because they’re not right for weddings. They’re not set up for it. And I think where this starts to come into fruition is that it’s all about kind of mentality and the way that you conduct yourself with logistical things. All the none plain stuff, all the none music stuff is what makes you a good wedding musician. So for example when you’re on stage at somebody’s wedding and you’re playing “Mr Brightside” whatever it is, you can be a rock star, you can rock out and you can do your thing. But as soon as you step off that stage, that’s when you need to start looking after the Bride and Groom, liaising with the Venue, doing all of those things, those nuts and bolts. A normal musician or normal people wouldn’t know how to do, if that make sense. 

James: [00:02:39] Yeah. Makes perfect sense, yeah. They wouldn’t normally think of those things. 

Joey: [00:02:44] They wouldn’t know.

There’s a kind of selflessness about playing at someone’s Wedding. As I said because musicians are naturally kind of ego driven. When we play our own gigs or playing original stuff, it’s on stage, it’s all about me. You watch me and you watch what I’m doing. But when you’re a Wedding Musician, you’re there to entertain, you’re there to provide a service , you’re playing on the biggest day of their life, you know, so you have to, you know, conduct yourself in that way because it’s not about you, it’s about the Bride & Groom, it’s about the wedding, it’s about the day and it’s about all those things that are coming to mind.

So I think having that in your mind, having that mentality and that selflessness goes a massive way and we notice these things from bands who are coming through to us, and we can spot who has that and who doesn’t. And we know who to bring on and who to turn away because of those things, so yeah that’s what I would say. 

Joey: [00:03:41] The other thing that I would say is going on to the actual music stuff. There is some musicianship stuff that does make a difference. I would say that something that you may have heard before with other people you have spoken to is this term “versatility”. A lot of brides and grooms want a lot of different things, because we’re all different people, all couples are different. So if you are versatile as a band and as an outfit and if you can almost reinvent yourself on the night, no matter whether it’s because of how you dress or what songs you play and all those kinds of things. Whether you want to do a 50’s set or a 90’s set or you want to do some more rocky stuff or whatever, if you can cover all those bases, that makes you, well instantly it makes you more bookable as a musician, and also that versatility just means that you can take anything that anybody throws at you. You know. If on the night somebody wants to make a request or something, you don’t have to worry, like, you know how to play that. You’ve got that in your catalogue. So that’s absolutely huge I think. 

Joey: [00:04:47] And the other thing, I’m going to contradict myself here just a little bit. I like to do that, I like to just throw curve balls at people just because it is fun.

Versatility is massive. However something that we’ve noticed in the past year or two is that the one thing that makes wedding bands and weddings musicians massively stand out is almost the opposite to versatility, it’s having a niche, having a really tied down niche because there is so much choice out there nowadays because you can have anything you want at your wedding, any kind of music, any band, any style.

So why would you go for something really basic and watered down and really set, You know? Couples are starting to be a bit more adventurous with their entertainment, which is amazing for us because we have sort of weird and wonderful stuff that we’re just like okay, have this crazy wedding. That’s cool. But because of that people are starting to figure out what fits with their personality and they will book those weird bands and weird acts that people wouldn’t usually book. We’re seeing more of that happen now so I think having a mix of versatility, so you can do everything that they want, but at the same time having a sellable niche that couples can buy into and think “I want that, that’s really cool”. The main one we see is the Mumford and Sons style kind of folk festival type bands, they always split their sets. They do like the first half is all the kind of the towering double basses and stuff, and hats and checked shirts and whatever. And then they redress themselves like Cher coming out with the costume change in the second set and then all of a sudden there’s your rock band. So being able to do both I think is awesome. So if a wedding band is watching, that’s your advice right there. That’s how you win. Be versatile but have a little cool niche couples might like. 

James: [00:06:49] Brilliant,

yes so when brides and grooms are looking for a band, if they see a band perhaps at a bar or something and they go ‘WOW, they’d make a great wedding band. Maybe not. So you’ve got to check that one, you’ve got to make sure they are a wedding or wedding capable. 

Joey: [00:07:03] That’s the thing that I mean. Well almost all the musicians that we deal with, myself included, started in.. my Bedroom initially but after that you go to your bars and your pubs and that kind of thing. And yes they may be talented musicians but there is a massive difference between your local pub band and your wedding band. For example does your local band have the right public liability insurance and PAT certificate to play in a wedding venue. So many things – do they even have their own gear. Are they using the pubs gear, do they have drum kit. Do they know enough songs, can they play a first dance. Do they have a dj set in-between. There’s like a billion things that pub bands don’t do that wedding bands do actually do and they may be equally talented as musicians but they’re not set up as an outfit to perform at somebody’s wedding. So yes there is a difference. A Lot of people do do it and I think it’s an affordable way of going about things is to book you do have a local band. But don’t expect the same type of bands to turn up if you book a pub band over an actual wedding band. who knows how to play weddings. 

James: [00:08:21] That’s very very good advice. 

Joey: [00:08:24] Cool Yeah. 

James: [00:08:24] I’ve never heard that before, that’a a first for me. But absolutely spot on! 

Joey: [00:08:30] It is something we hear a lot because bands now.

I mean bands are admittedly more expensive than a DJ for example. So for a lot of the time people are thinking “Do I want a DJ or a band?”

So to justify that extra expense they kind of have to realise that you will pay for what you get with the wedding band and the same with all the rest of your suppliers, I know that people sometimes go to friends and stuff like that. But you know for the big bits of your day you want to go to somebody who has done weddings or set up specifically for weddings. So why would you take that chance on the massive end of the party, I mean this is where it all comes together. Why would you risk it, you know. Get somebody who knows what they’re doing, who’s qualified, who’s professional. The same goes for any Supplier out there. You’ve probably spoken to countless photographers and videographers and those type o things and they’ve probably said the same thing as the get professional. Thinking goes with your band, you don’t want any hiccups at the event. 

James: [00:09:38] Brilliant, cool. Well we’ve just got a couple of fun questions for you. 

Joey: [00:09:41] Cool, I like some fun questions! 

James: [00:09:41]

So the first fun question is “What is the biggest commission that you’ve ever had?” 

Joey: [00:09:48] Oh my God. Wow. Okay. So aside from doing weddings I mean we’ve booked for events all over the country, even Europe and whatnot and I think at the tail end of last year we have an orchestra which is a 20 piece orchestra on our books. And then they go for something like 20 grand or something ridiculous. It was for some celebrity event in Italy. They got booked out for that so, so that was ridiculous. Every now and then those things can come in and it’s like wow okay. But you know if you have quality, somebody out there will pay for it if it is quality. 

James: [00:10:33] So you also have to think that, you know, that if you’ve got a 20 piece orchestra you actually need the venue to put the 20 piece orchestra in as well So yeah if that’s that’s 20 grand, how much was the venue? 

Joey: [00:10:43] Yes that’s the thing, that’s was probably our orchestra was probably a drop in the ocean with whatever they were doing that night so it was just like yeah, whatever there. That’s the luxury of what we do. We have to entertainment for every budget we have the stupidly expensive luxurious, amazing, you know, all glitz, all glamour entertainment, we have the affordable stuff which is nice and cozy and you know what are you going to get. 

James: [00:11:08] So yes covering all bases. Cool.

And lastly then “What would you say is your favourite part of what you do?” 

Joey: [00:11:19] So like I said I do a couple things. So I am a wedding musician myself but also in terms of working with Warble which is absolutely incredible the two things collide quite often. So from a personal point of view I think being able to play in front of people who appreciate you on like a frequent basis is incredible. Like I said growing up and doing the whole bar and pubs and whatnot you’re often playing to an empty room or playing to people who don’t really care or want you there or whatever. But when you play at somebodies wedding, they’ve specifically asked you to be there. You know you’re going to be appreciated by them. I think that’s something whether I’ve got paid or not for any of this stuff, I wouldn’t even care because if I’m like oh my god this is the dream and I’m playing music in front of people and they’re joining it. And that’s all I need. Like I can sleep happy with having done that. But in terms of a being with Warble, I would say that one thing that I’ve really enjoyed is being able to connect and deal with other musicians. It’s something that I think is probably the most important thing for anybody who is any type of musician but especially a Wedding musician, is to connect and collaborate and speak to other people in your field, learn from them and allow them to learn from you and being with Warble’s allowed me to do that. So that’s been awesome. 

James: [00:12:49] Awesome. Brilliant! Well thanks so much Joey. That’s all we’ve got time for today but thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and experience with us. It’s always good when something new comes up. And I’m sure a lot of people have never even considered that before. So that’s seriously going to help people out when choosing their wedding musicians. 

Joey: [00:13:08] Cool, thank you. It was really nice to come on and drop some knowledge. Thanks for having me and I hope you guys enjoyed. 

James: [00:13:12] Brilliant, an absolute pleasure. Speak soon. Take Care. 

Joey: [00:13:14] Cool thank you, bye. 

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  • Reply
    Joey Burdon
    October 11, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Thanks for having us James!!

  • Reply
    James Pearson
    October 11, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Our absolute pleasure Joey! 🙂

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