Ambience: A NJ DJ Blog

  • Interview with DJ Ali Gruber - a Unique All Vinyl Wedding DJ

    In this interview, we caught up with DJ Ali Gruber (website DJ Ali is a disc jockey focused on weddings who spins using real vinyl LPs. Her company meme “for the love of (great) music” favors vinyl as “there’s something about the warm crackly sound of vinyl records through a big old amp that fills the room with something unique and nostalgic.” Representative artists in a DJ Ali set include the Ronettes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson and Salt ‘n’ Pepa.

    Her clients are raving! One recent client wrote, “You know that feeling when you’re getting tired at a party, and you say, “Okay, next dud song, I’ll get off the dance floor”? Well, that song never comes when Ali is spinning. People never stop dancing. She has an incredible, eclectic collection of vinyl and digital recordings, and she tailors the mix to your liking. But it’s a good idea to let her add surprises, because she has amazing taste and a lot to choose from, and she’ll turn you on to music you’ll fall in love with.”

    We learned about DJ Ali’s unique approach after one of our Photo Booth operators observed her in action at a wedding in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Intrigued by her “all vinyl” approach in an age of “digital DJ’ing” - we reached out to DJ Ali, who was gracious to grant us an interview. Click through to read the interview - and check out the video to see what a DJ Ali wedding set looks and sounds like.

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  • The All Beatles Wedding Cocktail Hour Playlist

    For our 38th installment in the wedding cocktail hour playlist series, we've set our sights on the rock n’ roll sensation from Liverpool, England - the Beatles! With an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964, “Beatlemania” hit the United States full force. In fact, on the Billboard chart dated April 4, 1964, the Beatles monopolized the top five songs on the Billboard Hot 100 - a feat that has never been duplicated by another musical act - and likely never will be.

    In curating the list below, we selected our favorite thematically appropriate Beatles tracks from a variety of albums, also including a sprinkling of songs from John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison as solo artists. Each song by the Beatles includes in parentheses the album on which it is found.

    For a signature drink, in a nod to the Beatles’ English heritage, we’ve selected a pint of Bass Ale. Cheers!

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  • Wedding Gig Log - Kris & Wesley, The Wilshire Grand Hotel (Loft)

    In Fall of 2013, we were approached by Danielle Rothweiler of Rothweiler Event Design to see if Ambient DJ would be interested in participating in an event that she was organizing in recognition of New Jersey's decision to legalize same-sex marriage in the Garden State. Of course we answered "yes!" Danielle's concept was to celebrate marriage equality by organizing New Jersey's first Same Sex Wedding Giveaway where an array of "vendors" (we prefer the term "professionals") would donate their services so that the winning couple would enjoy a free, all-inclusive wedding reception. Support from the wedding industry community was massive. Importantly, the Wilshire Grand Hotel of West Orange NJ agreed to provide its trendy "Loft" space for the celebration and to cater the event.

    The winning couple for the giveaway was determined by the vote of the participating vendors. In January 2014, a cocktail party was held at the Loft, and each participating wedding vendor read an excerpt from a candidate couple's love story. While all of the stories were moving, the story of Kris Longwell and Wesley Loon was particularly compelling. Kris - a native of Texas, and Wes - a native of South Dakota - met at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City in 1989. In 1992, they enjoyed a no-frills budget "commitment ceremony" and continued to build upon their deep love for each other in coming years.

    Lovers of music and theater, we discovered during our consultation that Kris spun records as a DJ during college! Kris and Wesley envisioned their wedding reception being "a celebration of love and life" for both them and their guests. Formalities were minimized, and the reception was to take on the air of a festive, upbeat dance party. Kris & Wesley's favorite musical artists include Madonna, Lady Gaga and George Michael. To listen to a free mix that we prepared capturing the spirit of our reception set, check towards the bottom of this blog article.

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  • The "Nice & Easy" Wedding Cocktail Hour Playlist - Compiled by DJ Greg Nice

    For our 37th installment in the wedding cocktail hour playlist series, we've invited a submission by one of our top-rated wedding DJs - Gregory Lambiase, better known as "DJ Greg Nice." Greg's playlist is chock full of wedding classics and spans a variety of genres including R&B, Country, Singer-Songwriter and 80s Music. Those guests who enjoy the classics will savor Greg's "Nice & Easy" wedding cocktail hour playlist! Many of these tracks would also make great additions to a wedding reception playlist and/or wedding ballad set.

    For a signature drink, Greg Nice has selected a classic cocktail - the "Dirty Martini." A dirty martini is made with vodka (or gin), dry vermouth, and a small amount of olive brine, typically garnished with a green olive. To learn how to mix a Dirty Martini, click here.

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  • Hot Summer 2014 Playlist by DJ Gregg Ambient

    A regular feature of the Ambient DJ blog is the submission of periodic playlists reflecting songs currently being used by our DJs out in the field. The list below reflects our head honcho, “DJ Gregg Ambient’s” current favorites. Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" is perhaps the biggest smash of the season with its distinctive bassline and catchy nursery school style rapping. Beyond "Fancy" there are a series of fun summer songs by groups like MKTO, the American Authors and Paramore.

    Known for his wide range, eclectic international tastes and penchant for electronica and hip hop alike, here are 36 tracks from Gregg Ambient’s private reserves. They are listed in no particular order. Have a great summer party people!

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  • The 90s Grunge Rock Wedding Cocktail Hour Playlist - Compiled by Pash & David

    For our 36th installment in the wedding cocktail hour playlist series, we've invited our first ever guest bloggers Pash & David. Who are Pash & David? They are newlyweds (married less than a week ago) who we were honored to provide DJ entertainment services for. They are also music lovers - in fact it was our Miami Vice Wedding cocktail hour playlist on this blog that initially caught their attention.

    The subject of this duo's playlist is 90s Grunge Rock. Representative artists include Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Hole, Radiohead, Soundgarden and Candlebox. If you are looking for warm and cheery music - this is NOT the playlist for you. However, if you're looking for vintage 90s grunge that brings back a feeling, then look no further!

    For a signature drink, Pash & David selected an appropriately sour drink - the Whiskey Sour (they recommend Jameson). To learn how to mix a Whiskey Sour, click here.

    The cover photo of this blog is an original painting of Kurt Cobain by Egils Matisse from Eggsotic Events. To learn more about "Egg" and his premier event design, decor and production company, click here.

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  • Interview with Wedding Music Composer Anthony Carter from T. Carter Music

    In this interview, we caught up with Anthony Carter from T. Carter Music (website Tony composes music that is specifically created for the special moments of wedding ceremonies and receptions. In other words, brides are no longer limited to “off the shelf” commercial music, and can now enjoy music composed specifically for weddings. His work came to our attention when realizing that "A Mother's Song" was by far the most popular Mother-Son dance on our Pinterest Board with 706 re-pins and 142 likes. T. Carter Music's YouTube channel recently surpassed over 20 million views.

    Carter, based in Indiana, is a full-time middle school math teacher with a passion for music and songwriting. After picking up guitar in high school, Tony composed and performed a beautiful song called "This Ring" for his own wedding. As will be discussed in the interview, "This Ring" was the launchpad for subsequent wedding compositions and the T. Carter Music business. More recently, Tony has been composing and performing Christian rock. He is also excited for the upcoming arrival of a third child - his first girl!

    We encourage you to learn more about T. Carter Music in the interview below, and to consider supporting this talented independent musical artist by patronizing his online store.

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  • The "Surf's Up" Wedding Cocktail Hour Playlist

    Mellow beach cocktail hours are a popular theme. The following playlist gets more specific, focusing on surf music of the past and present. From Dick Dale "the King of the Surf Guitar" to the Beach Boys to modern psychedelic surf rock group The Mermen, the following playlist evokes the enjoyment of sun and sand, the excitement of big waves, and the mysteries of the ocean. Use this playlist for cocktail hour, or to get pumped up for your next big wave surf session!

    Ambient DJ continues its tradition of selecting a signature drink for each wedding cocktail hour playlist. For this installment, let's try an "Italian Surfer" - which is mixed by combining 2 parts pineapple juice, 1 part Amaretto almond liqueur and 1 part Malibu Coconut Rum. Cheers!

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  • The Psychedelic Wedding Cocktail Hour Playlist

    Psychedelic music is mind-bending, entrancing and perhaps even hallucinogenic. The following playlist emphasizes the Sixties and Seventies with musical acts like the Beatles, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Grateful Dead, the Doors and Pink Floyd, but also includes modern artists including Beck and Bon Iver. We eliminated any tracks that were too dense/long for a private party setting.

    Ambient DJ continues its tradition of selecting a signature drink for each wedding cocktail hour playlist. Absinthe, aka "the Green Fairy" - a spirit once banned in the United States for its reputed hallucinogenic properties is now legal. Accordingly, we've selected an absinthe-based cocktail invented by author Ernest Hemingway called "Death in the Afternoon" which is essentially champagne poured over a jigger of absinthe.

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  • Top 10 Reasons to Review Your Wedding Vendors

    Online reviews are a relatively new and powerful technique for engaged couples to research wedding vendors. The use of online reviews has exploded in the past five years thanks to the popularity of sites like The Knot, WeddingWire, Yelp and MyWedding. Couples expect wedding vendors to have online reviews - and preferably, lots of them. Well-reviewed wedding professionals are typically rewarded with new bookings.

    Particularly when a wedding reception has a super hot dance floor, we are eager for couples to share their experience in the form of an online review. However, getting couples to review us can be elusive. It's hard to pinpoint an exact reason, but I suppose that in some consumers' eyes the relationship with the DJ ends with the last song of the reception. Trying to understand his frame of mind, suppose that I hired a plumber. Yes, I would be happy that he was personable, arrived on time and unclogged my drain - but afterwards, would I be eager to review his services on a plumbing review site? Probably not - particularly if it took much time out of my busy day or required a lengthy registration process. Let's face it, I am not as passionate about plumbing as a plumber. If the plumber offered me an incentive to write a review, I would be somewhat favorably disposed to write the review. And if the plumber repeatedly asked me to review his services, yes, at some point I would become annoyed!

    Following is a fun list of reasons that you should review your wedding vendors, delivered countdown style....

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