Life on a London DJ – Continued…london-events

In our last blog post we talked about all the planning that goes into doing an event in London and how the life of a DJ can sometimes be not as glamorous as you may think, what we in the event industry say is from a customers point of view it all looks like fun and games as your at an event every night but what they don’t see is all the hard work that goes into everything the weeks before and the amount of physical labour that goes into setting up the equipment. Lets get back into the story at hand here though, I may be a DJ and I can waffle but I know when I’m going off point.

So we got all thlondon-discoe equipment in the venue via the small ramp at the back on Tavistock Street, however the main entrance being Wellington Street this secret entrance took some time to locate and so did parking when your unloading speakers, lighting and a big dj booth. Once all the equipment is in the venue then begins the short discussion with the events manager of where they want us, how they want everything setup and what music they want us to play. There are a lot of nods of agreement and we then start with a matter of urgency and speed putting speaker poles up, unravelling cables and connectors and putting together the DJ booth. The first thing you always do when setting up is visualise where you want everything usually this starts by working from the DJ booth in the centre outwards, you then put the speaker poles up either side and get the speakers, this time being Wharfedale EVP speakers lifted up on top of them, with a final tighten of a grip bolt the speakers are secure and in position and the only thing knocking them off tonight is an elephant travelling in the wrong direction from London Zoo. You then put the DJ booth up, which today is an S&H solid metal frame with a star light LED black cloth with white twinkles that wraps around it, the great thing about this is at acts as protection when the dancing gets a bit out of control and people lean on the DJ booth, many of the smaller and cheaper DJ booths just fall over or get pushed backwards. With this up you can start unpacking the amplifiers from their protective case and wiring them up to the speakers and the mixer, as we’re using a Traktor combined controller and mixer the phono cables plug straight into the back of that and then into balanced XLR cables in the amplifier. We always carry a spare amplifier with us as no matter how much you service and look after your amplifier you just never know when one day it’s going to have a hissy fit and cut out on you, however to this day (touch wood) it never has.

london-film-museum-eventsWith the audio, speakers and DJ booth all setup and ready to go the final step is some lighting. The best thing about technology is the vast improvements this has made to lighting in the dj and disco industry especially with the onset of LED technology. Where as these were only found originally in the standby light of many components they are now used for a vast away of lighting equipment as the main lighting output, we used to rely highly on high wattage halogen lamps that had a tendency of blowing and over heating. All our uplighters are now LED type meaning they can keep going all night, don’t get hot and aren’t dangerous to touch, we place these strategically around the room especially in corners or by pillars then they have more of a prominent area to display the light and create a better effect. With these all set out we adjust the timings on them to either go to the music or to gently rotate through all the colours. The final setup for lighting is the moving head lights, these really are the party centre piece and work jointly to the timing of the music moving around flooding the dancefloor and room with different colour lights in different timings.

Watch our video of everyone dancing at the London Film Museum at a corporate event we provided the DJ and Disco for.

london-djWith everything setup we now move on to the few final checks before the guests start arriving. The first and most important is the audio, the guests will notice straight away if there’s a problem with the audio so we press play on our personal favourite of the moment Pharell Happy then slowly increase the power on the amplifier to start warming it up and check the sound. We go up to the speaker with the sound on low just to check all components of it are delivering a crisp clear sound we then crank it up and walk round the venue and everything is sounding good! Excellent news so now it’s time to have a quick visual of the lighting with the music and see if we think it needs any final tweaks, we decide to change the mode on the moving head lights to run a bit faster then every things good to go! We give the thumbs up to the event manager and they respond with a big smile and straight away put a message out on the walkie talky that we are GOOD TO GO!

london-partyIn the next blog post we cover how the event itself is ran, how as DJs we choose the music and mix it plus we also tell you how to deal with guests who think they can DJ. Thank you for taking the time to read our blogs and if you have any questions please let us know and we’ll blog our answers.

Take care and happy partying!

Simon Feldman, Events Manager