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Thursday
Apr222010

Happy Earth Day!

Here are a few Earth-friendly tunes to stick on the ol' iPod (which by the way, does leave a carbon imprint).

1. Sing a Song - Earth, Wind & Fire

2. Tall Green Grass - Awesome Cool Dudes

3. 3 R's (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) - Jack Johnson

4. Mr. Blue Sky - Electric Light Orchestra

5. Shapes of Things - The Yardbirds

6. Carbon Monoxide - Cake

7. Idioteque - Radiohead (Thom Yorke's a big climate-change awareness advocate)

8. Mother Earth - Neil Young

9. Earth Song - Michael Jackson

10. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) - Marvin Gaye

Wednesday
Apr212010

MOTOWN: Bring on the funk...

Tracey & Mike recently emailed me asking if I had some suggestions for great Motown & funk song titles, sure to pack the dancefloor. Good thinking. Motown is one genre where everyone will dance, old & young guests alike.  I usually start off with a Motown set, so the older guests feel like something is being played for them....it makes them a little more forgiving when Sexy Back comes on later. You can sample most of the titles below by checking out our music player. A few of my favorites, in no particular order:

 

1. Rock Steady - Aretha Franklin
2. Sugar Pie Honey Bunch - The Temptations
3. Ain't Too Proud to Beg - Four Tops
4. The Love You Save - Jackson 5
5. Can't Hurry Love - Diana Ross & The Supremes
6. Get Up Offa that Thing - James Brown
7. Shake Your Body - Jackson 5
8. Give It Up - Marvin Gaye
9. Heatwave - Martha & The Vandellas
10. It's the Same Old Song - The Temptations
11. September - Earth Wind & Fire
12. Superstition - Stevie Wonder
13. Double Dutch Bus - Frankie Smith (more of a Philly favorite)
14. Take Me In Your Arms - Kim Weston
15. Don't Stop Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson
Tuesday
Apr202010

I wanna rock right now...

Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock's "It Takes Two" is without a doubt one of the greatest dance songs of all time. And it usually makes an appearance on most couples' wedding playlists.  Released in 1988, its been able to get people on the dancefloor for over twenty years.  It usually makes an appearance when groomsmen are wearing their ties around their heads, a circle has been formed on the dancefloor, and a cousin you really don't keep in touch with decides to showcase his killer breakdance moves.

Of course, it owes credit to the original songs & breaks it samples, most notably "Think (About It)" by 70s soul singer Lyn Collins.  "Think" is one of the most sampled songs, having been used by not only Rob Base but Chubb Rock, Slick Rick, Mariah Carey, 2 Hype Brothers & A Dog ("Doo Doo Brown"), and Missy Elliot. The 70s hit was co-written & produced by Mr. James Brown, a frequent Collins collaborator.

"It Takes Two"'s famous intro "Right about now, you're about to be possessed..." is over 1978 song "Space Dust" by The Galactic Force Band. And the rest is pure Lyn Collins.  Here's "It Takes Two" broken down. - John

"Space Dust" - The Galactic Force Band

"Think (About It)" - Lyn Collins

"It Takes Two" - Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock

Monday
Apr192010

CEREMONY: Vitamin String Quartet

Ever thought about walking down the aisle to Dashboard Confessional?

If you're looking for song ideas for your ceremony, love strings & that classical sound but not so sure about Pachelbel Canon in D or Air on the G String...consider Vitamin String Quartet. They're a group of LA-based classical musicians who cover contemporary artists & songs -- everyone from Coldplay to Rage Against the Machine to Radiohead to Snow Patrol.

I was introduced to them when Nicole walked down the aisle to VSQ's cover of "Beautiful Day" by U2 in 2007 and I've been recommending them ever since. They have so many titles it's tough to pin down how many albums they've released but it seems like it's over a hundred.  They've covered just about everyone, so chances are you'll hear something you like.

You can find the complete listing on iTunes but here's a small sample to give you an idea of the titles they've covered.  

Classy! - John

 

Processional: U2/Vitamin String Quartet - "Beautiful Day"

Processional: Fall Out Boy/Vitamin String Quartet - "Sugar, We're Going Down"

Processional: Coldplay/Vitamin String Quartet - "Yellow"

Processional: Deathcab for Cutie/Vitamin String Quartet - "Sould Meets Body"

Tuesday
Apr132010

Congratulations, Lucky..

Eunice & DanielI dig letterpress.  Letterpress business cards. Letterpress thank-you notes. Letterpress envelopes.  I'd use letterpress Post-It notes if they made them. And one of my favorite places to buy from is Hello, Lucky. Recently, Hello Lucky Creative Director Eunice Moyle was married to Daniel in a whimsical, colorful, fun Tim-Walker inspired wedding.

From the photobooth (complete with faux mustaches) to the invitations, chalkboard menus, parade of animal puppets, a vaudeville-stage altar, and square dancing...it's one of the most surreal but sophisticated weddings I've seen --- packed with ideas galore. - John  

Check out their feature in Martha Stewart Weddings 

Photography by Gian Canali

Monday
Apr122010

Real Quick! Ask your DJ...

1. Will you be my DJ?

Ask to meet with the specific DJ who will be there the day of your wedding.  Some larger company owners have years of experience, are reliable, responsible & excellent at what they do (and give polished presentations).  But the DJs who work for them can sometimes be a different story. You'll want to be sure you have a good rapport with one another and get a sense of their experience, personality, etc.Collarless shirts: bad idea.

2. What do you wear?

You've spent a lot of money on your dress, flowers and centerpieces to create the perfect setting....so a DJ in a tux vest with fish wearing sunglasses isn't necessarily going to blend in.  Or, a lot of DJs wear collarless shirts or black tux jackets, black suits, black ties - they look like Funeral Directors. For much of history, DJs have assumed black is the color that helps them blend in - personally, I think it makes them look like they're on a high school stage crew.  So if you prefer, ask your DJ if he/she will consider wearing a tasteful, well-fitting suit. 

3. Do you have a certificate of insurance?

99% of the DJs out there do.  This means they are protected & covered in case of an emergency. All venues require a certificate of insurance so that let's say a speaker falls on one of your guests -- the DJ would get sued, not your venue.  If you hire a DJ who does not carry a certificate of insurance, there's a chance your venue will not let them perform.  I once did a wedding on a day's notice because the DJ hired off Craigs List didn't have a COI. It's the DJs responsibility to fax/send the certificate to your venue at your venue contact's attention at least 7 days in advance.

- John

 

Friday
Apr022010

Off to Buenos Aires...

...until April 11th. Enjoy the beautiful NYC weather!  - John
Wednesday
Mar312010

CEREMONY: Alternatives to 'Here Comes The Bride'...

I met with a great couple last night, Joanna & James, planning their October 2010 wedding.  Joanna is looking for alternatives to "Here Comes The Bride" or "Canon in D" and it took me back to Orly & James' 2006 wedding - they were big Wes Anderson fans (Rushmore, Royal Tenebaums, Life Aquatic) and loved composer Mark Mothersbaugh's music from his films. You might remember Mark as one of the guys wearing a red ashtray hat in 80's band Devo.

Orly & Anton were looking for songs light, airy, with bells, strings and appropriate for a wedding ceremony and thought Mark's songs would be a perfect match.  Also threw in a few titles from Orba Squara for good measure (their song "Perfect Morning" was in the first iPhone commercial.) - John

Processional: Mark Mothersbaugh - "Let Me Tell You About My Boat"

Processional: Mark Mothersbaugh - "Sparkplug Minuet"

Processional: Orba Squara - "Sky Cloud Winter Breeze"

Processional: Orba Squara - "All Around the World"

Processional: Orba Squara - "Warm Fuzz"

Recessional: Zoot Sims - "Blinuet"

Recessional: Apollo 100 - "Joy"

Tuesday
Mar302010

COVER ME: "Just Like Heaven" - Katie Melua

Whenever I play Katie Melua's cover of The Cure's "Just Like Heaven," people always come up & ask "Who is that?" I don't mention its from a Reese Witherspoon movie for fear the die-hard Cure fan may find it sickly sweet and ask for the original but during cocktail hour or dinner, it's perfect. A beautiful take on a classic. Not too sappy, not too somber, and pleasantly, you find yourself singing along (even if at a slower pace) while eating your filet. - John


Monday
Mar292010

Yellow cab, gypsy cab, dollar cab, holla back...

What better way to test out the new blog "insert music here" feature than "Empire State of Mind?" Glad that by harnessing the power of Alicia Keys and H.O.V.A., I could get this thing to work. Big lights will in-spy-a you. - John


Thursday
Mar252010

I'm gonna make a brand new start of it...

Whenever I meet with a couple to discuss their wedding reception music, I suggest they start with the "Do Not Play" list.  Sometimes it can be the most fun part of the process because everyone has music they love to hate...music they vehemently don't want played at their wedding. No Mambo No. 5.  No Cha Cha Slide. No My Humps. No We Are Family. No Funkytown. "Just write down every song you don't want...everything you hate...it'll help you think of everything you do want."  

That's pretty much how Aria Melody DJ started in 2004.

 My older brother Paul and I were trying to figure out what to write in our very first ad on TheKnot.com when I said "I wish we could just list everything we're not...no lights, no fog, no Macarena, no blow-up saxophones, no mispronouncing names, no singing along with the songs, no banners, no eating meals, no drinking alcohol, no hitting on bridesmaids....."

So we did.

And that very first year, thinking it would take 2-3 years for us to get going, we DJ'd 32 weddings. Seems people were looking for ponytail-less DJs like us.

Since then, we've stuck to that motto - never, ever do anything that would embarrass the bride & groom.  

We don't want to be That Creepy DJ from Your Wedding. We want to return phone calls, meet with you before your wedding, go over all the details, let you pick as much or as little music as you like, make sure you're comfortable you'll get music unique to your tastes. We want to pronounce your names correctly. Can you believe a DJ would mispronounce your name? Insane.

We've come a long way since 2004.  We've worked with 200+ couples.  I can remember details about each and every one:  the Herninko's 1st dance was "Please Forgive Me" by David Gray; Hilary Soltz & husband loved Fred Astaire and Tammany Hall NYC; Thea & Ryan Zagata danced to "Shelter" by Ray LaMontagne and had a mashed-potato bar during their cocktail hour and Meg & Matt danced to Shama-Lama-Ding-Dong. One of the best First Dances ever. 

We hope you dig what we do and like what we write -- client or not, hopefully this site will help your music planning -- because it really should be the perfect soundtrack for your wedding day.   -John  

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