Ambience: A NJ DJ Blog

  • 10 Ways That DJs Can Work Better With Event Pros

    Last night, I attended a seminar organized by the New Jersey Disc Jockey Network titled "From Your Perspective - A Candid Conversation Between Event Professionals." The professional team for life celebrations such as weddings, Sweet 16s and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs typically includes a banquet manager, event planner, DJ, photographer, videographer and Photo Booth operator. How can we work together to produce the best outcomes for clients?

    Many thanks to the panelists - Corey Hrubash, Assistant Banquet Manager at The Mill at Spring Lake Heights, Deirdre Luster, Event Planner from Divine Elegance by Deirdre LLC, Flimmaker Damon Dietz from Absolute Media Productions, Joseph K. Brown from Joseph K. Brown Photography, and DJ Mike Kazis from Dynamite Party Productions. We enjoyed a productive and educational conversation.

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  • An Open Letter to the Bar/Club Owners of America

    Dear Bar & Nightclub Owners of America,

    Bars and nightclubs contract with DJs/karaoke hosts/trivia hosts for entertainment at their establishments. Good entertainment draws in customers and keeps them there longer. Here in the suburbs on Central New Jersey, fewer people go out to bars and clubs than in decades past. And of those patrons who explore the local nightlife, many are content to watch games on the numerous flat-screen televisions, or else bury their faces in a smartphone. The days when patrons came to a bar to meet new people, dance and sing seem a distant memory. Packed, sweaty bars are a rarity in my neighborhood, although there are occasional moments of greatness on holiday weekends or a random Saturday night. Even some of the most modern and well-managed bars/clubs of the area struggle to fill their spaces on weekend nights.

    Bar owners and DJ entertainers should enjoy a symbiotic relationship. A smart DJ realizes that if he/she doesn’t assist with promotion and deliver repeat customers, then the bar will lack revenues to pay their fee. Too many money-losing nights will result in the night being shut down. A smart DJ realizes that he may need to initially accept lower pay until the night ramps up. A smart DJ takes the job seriously, doesn’t call out on a whim, and always lets a bar owner know if a substitute must be sent. A smart DJ builds relationships with the bar’s customers and staff, which in turn leads to higher-paying private party bookings.

    A wise bar owner realizes that it takes time to build up a new night, but that consistency often works and profits will come in time. A wise bar owner helps the DJ to promote the night and doesn’t put 100% of that responsibility on the DJ. A wise bar owner pays the DJ as promised, and when concessions are needed, asks for them in a tactful and not heavy-handed way. A wise bar owner respects a DJ’s time and talent.

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  • Congratulations to the Winners of Our 2013 Client Appreciation Drawing

    As a thank you to out clientele, we randomly selected several clients to win prizes. The grand prize winner received an Apple iPad Mini, with two runner ups receiving gift cards, mix CDs and Godiva chocolate. Another 10 runner-ups received music and chocolates. Thank you to all who supported our business during the past year - we truly appreciate you!

    Click below to view the winners and learn about our "Pass a Mix CD" promotion for 2014.

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  • Mixology Session with Warren Bobrow (aka "The Cocktail Whisperer")

    Reflecting our love of music and the mix, our DJ entertainers are affectionately know as "music mixologists." Yesterday, we had the opportunity to enjoy a private tasting party with expert cocktail mixologist, Warren Bobrow. We were introduced to Warren at an event organized by ISES Northern New Jersey last year.

    Warren is the author of "Apothecary Cocktails - Restorative Drinks of Yesterday and Today." Apothecary cocktails are curative cocktails that were originally created in early pharmacies and apothecaries, from ancient times to the early 20th century. Apothecary cocktails can aid digestion, warm up the body on a cold night, relax the mind/body, reduce pain, or even cure a bad hangover. As Warren writes in the book's introduction, "These days, drinkers are more interested in the ingredients and lore of the apothecary-inspired cocktails, and don't necessarily visit cocktail bars to be cured of an illness." Reflecting this hot trend, apothecary-themed bars such as Apotheke in New York City are cropping up across the country.

    Following are five lessons learned from the Cocktail Whisperer, with parallels drawn to the world of music mixology.

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  • Miami Vice Wedding Cocktail Hour

    Miami Vice is an iconic television series of the 1980s. The show, which ran from 1984-1989, drew heavily upon New Wave culture and music. The show became noted for its heavy integration of music and visual effects to tell a story. 327 songs were used over the course of the show's 109 episodes. Michael Mann, the executive producer of the television series, went on to direct a film adaptation of Miami Vice that was released in 2006.

    Our playlist includes a mixture of original songs from Miami Vice and our own picks that channel the vibe of Vice and Miami. Genres featured include 80s/New Wave, classic rock, house music, Latin styles and hip hop. This playlist could be particularly welcome at a summer beach wedding, or for a bride-groom who love the 80s! Towards the bottom of this article, check out a free, one hour Miami Vice dance mix by DJ Gregg Ambient!

    Ambient DJ continues its tradition of selecting a signature cocktail for each wedding cocktail hour playlist. During the course of their undercover work, we can imagine Detectives Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs sipping on Cuba Libres. View the recipe for this signature drink by clicking here.

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  • Valentines Wedding Cocktail Hour Playlist

    Valentine’s Day (or weekend) is a popular date for weddings. The following playlist is a super-sweet and romantic themed playlist for Valentine’s Day couples. The selections span jazz, vocalists, Motown/soul, R&B, reggae, modern acoustic rock and even electronica. Not getting married this Valentine’s Day? Then why not create a custom mix CD for that somebody special? Your mix CD can be enjoyed long after the roses have died and the chocolates have vanished!

    Ambient DJ continues its tradition of selecting a signature cocktail for each wedding cocktail hour playlist. For an accompanying cocktail, we recommend a Godiva Chocolate Martini, the recipe for which can be seen by clicking here. Now let's get into the music....

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  • 25 Wedding First Dance Songs Used By Celebrities

    At some level, we are all fascinated by celebrities and their lavish weddings. This blog lists the first dance songs of 25 couples, spanning celebrities from professional sports, politics, Hollywood, television and music. By and large, celebrities select many of the same classic songs as every day couples. However, unlike you and I, they often fly in the artists to perform the songs live at the wedding!

    Musicians in particular offer some of the most thoughtful first dance selections, often in a nod to their musical influences. Read on to view the list of 25 songs used by celebrities for their first dance.

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  • James Bond Wedding Cocktail Hour Playlist

    James Bond, Agent 007, is a man of international intrigue. A creation of writer Ian Fleming, James Bond was adapted to the silver screen in 1962 with "Dr. No" starring Sean Connery. Skyfall (2012) was the 23rd installment in the film series and Spectre (2015) was the 24th and most recent Bond film. The series has grossed over $6 billion to-date, making it the second-highest-grossing film series ever (behind Harry Potter) and the single most successful when adjusted for inflation.

    In addition to colorful characters, exotic locales and clever gadgets, Bond films have contained a wealth of great music through the years. To this end, it was relatively easy to compile a list of songs for a James Bond-themed cocktail hour - with artists ranging from Adele to Duran Duran to Louis Armstrong to Sheena Easton. Our playlist even contains several soca-calypso tracks that were featured in Dr. No and Licence to Kill.

    Ambient DJ continues its tradition of selecting a signature cocktail for each wedding cocktail hour playlist. The "Vesper Martini" is a drink that was invented by fictional secret agent James Bond in the 1953 novel Casino Royale. Its namesake was inspired by the beautiful female character Vesper Lynd. Of course, Mr. Bond would want his Vesper Martini "shaken, not stirred." The recipe and history of the Vesper Martini can be viewed by clicking here.

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  • Do Lyrics Matter for Wedding Music?

    How important are song lyrics at a wedding? This is a controversial question among wedding disc jockeys. Should the overall feel and danceability of a song trump questionable lyrical content? Or should the evening's playlist be dictated primarily by lyrics?

    Even within our own company, there is some difference of opinion regarding what makes an appropriate wedding song. For example, our DJ Iron Mike has a photographic memory for lyrics and is quick to ring the alarm on songs with the wrong lyrical message. On the other hand, our DJ Gregg Ambient never forgets a melody, but doesn't pay so much attention to song lyrics.

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  • Wedding Music Master Class 2014

    Congratulations on your engagement! Now it's time to get planning. Building an appropriate musical playlist for a wedding can be a daunting task for many couples. Special songs such as parent dances can be particularly challenging.

    Unfortunately, there are many inferior musical playlists circulating the internet that were not compiled by working wedding professionals. To that end, we are sharing this Master List of our best song ideas for a wedding: from ceremony music, to the reception portion with lists for Grand Entrance songs, First Dance, Father-Daughter Dance, Mother-Son Dance, Cake Cutting, Bouquet and Garter songs and Grand Finale songs. We also share our Top 100 Songs for a 2015 Wedding, 59 Themed Cocktail Hour playlists, 10 Songs NOT to play at a wedding and 7 Musical Programming Tips for a Wedding. The majority of the songs in this blog were used by our actual clients, while the rest were selected with great care with regards to lyrics, mood and danceability.

    If you find these lists and ideas useful, please share them with a friend by posting on Facebook or Pinterest. You can follow us on Facebook here or on Pinterest here. We are a New Jersey-based mobile DJ entertainment company with an expertise in weddings. If you are a New Jersey-based bride or groom, please keep us in mind for your special day!

    For a wealth of additional planning tips, check out our new book available on Amazon "The Bride's Guide to Selecting the Perfect Wedding DJ". It is available as either a hard copy or ebook.

    Now let's get into the music!

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