Northern California Weddings with Steve Buzzard – E107

Wedding Songs Podcast 107 Steve Buzzard

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Matthew Campbell of My Wedding Songs and Steve Buzzard from Buzzardball DJ Entertainment chat about DJing weddings in Northern California, music, lighting, and so much more.

Show Notes:

  • Tip For Engaged Couples
  • DJ and Auctioneer
  • About Steve Buzzard and Buzzardball DJ Entertainment
  • Northern California Wedding Itinerary
  • Times of Weddings
  • The Music Funnel
  • Playing Older Music
  • Different Music Styles
  • Do Not Play Lists
  • Music Knowledge
  • Popular Wedding Music
  • Catering to Diverse Audiences
  • Explicit Lyrics
  • Successful DJ Traits
  • Wedding Games
  • DJ Lighting
  • Heartwarming Wedding Stories
  • Beginner DJ Tips
  • Contact Buzzardball DJ Entertainment

Podcast Transcript

Welcome everybody to the Wedding Songs Podcast. I am Matt Campbell. Today I have a DJ from Sacramento. And in case you don’t know, Sacramento is hidden between Lake Tahoe and San Francisco, or should I say Oakland because he’s an Oakland A’s fan.

But we’re going to talk about weddings in the Northern California area. Steve Buzzard from Buzzardball DJ Entertainment. Welcome to the show, Steve. Thank you very much, Matt. It is an honor. Awesome. So I’m going to change up the question. I don’t get the initial question.

Yes. The initial question I’m going to change to what is one wedding planning tip you would give to every wedding couple. Oh, wow. Okay. Well, man, you really did change it up because I prepared for my best wedding moment. So maybe we’ll get an opportunity later on in the podcast. As I have told Matt, I am a big fan of the podcast and the show.

Tip For Engaged Couples

So my wedding tip is this. It’s the last thing that I say to couples. I’ll say, listen, whether I am the first DJ that you’ve spoken to the second, or the last, ultimately, it’s going to be about who you vibe with the best, right? Because it’s very hard to say, for example, some couples have said, Hey, can we see a video of your work?

I don’t offer that. And so I really have to base it on the conversation that we are having on Zoom. And so it always comes down to that. Who do you vibe with best? Because ultimately that is going to be the best person for you. Because there’s no way of knowing on the music side, how it’s really all going to turn out. But if you’ve got that good vibe with a DJ or any other vendor for that matter, I think things are going to go well for the couple.

DJ and Auctioneer

I can hear that DJ’s voice, and I also read that you were an auctioneer. How do you mix in the DJing and the auctioneering? Well, it’s so great that you say that because I actually studied to be a broadcaster.

I was in sports broadcasting, spent some time with the Sacramento Kings back in the late ’90s in the early 2000s, and did public address announcing for a couple of years there in the old Arco Arena. and I’ve been able to just kind of move that through everything. done and auctioneering to me is kind of like play-by-play.

So I grew up to be a play-by-play announcer. Didn’t pan out for me. Started having kids and a family and everything and actually ended up being a teacher which I just retired a few years ago from 26 years of teaching. So I am a jack of all trades, but I love the part where you can use your voice.

And then with music, I always say music makes everything better. Even if you’re having an argument, you’ve got a little music in the background. It’ll just make it that much better. Music to me and being able to announce and kind of have this voice, I guess you could say it’s a gift that I’m truly very blessed with.

About Steve Buzzard and Buzzardball DJ Entertainment

Yeah, it’s a great voice. That’s a great transition. Can you talk a little bit about you and your company? Absolutely. Buzzardball DJ Entertainment. Interestingly enough. Now here’s another caveat. I run a youth basketball program. And so that basketball program was called buzzard ball.

And when I had the opportunity in the early 2000s to dip into the DJ world, I was trying to think of a name. I’m like, I gotta go with something different. And of course, my beautiful wife said, why don’t you just call it buzzer ball and then put DJ entertainment on it? I’m like, wow, genius. So that’s what I’ve gone with.

And I’ve been able to do. Cool. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 125 to 150 parties a year. But as I was going along, and I’m grateful for all those parties, because really I think it was part of putting things in my tool belt to get me ready for what I truly love, which are weddings. The first thing I say to couples when we jump on Zoom, I say, let me start by saying this.

I love weddings, right? Because really, truly, I think they are the essence of being a DJ because not only is it the music, it’s reading the room, it’s making the appropriate announcements, it’s, vibing and just kind of feeling the energy of what that wedding is all about. You can do hundreds of weddings.

But no wedding is the same. And I tell that to couples as well as your unique experience is yours. And even though we are going to do the first dance and we’ll do some toasts and we might cut the cake here and there, it can be whatever you want. So I look for that unique experience and that’s what I absolutely love.

So the auctioneering part, to me is the play-by-play part. I don’t break out into my auctioneering voice when I’m doing a wedding. It’s a little bit more professional, I guess you could say, but probably in my mind. I wouldn’t mind auctioning off something that’s a centerpiece on the table or something.

That’s a great selling point for an extra 20. Well, instead of the honeymoon dance, we can break out into an auction that might be a good idea in 2024. Actually, I love that idea because everybody’s tired of the same old bouquet toss, garter toss, and money dance. Yeah, I love it.

Northern California Wedding Itinerary

Just to give people an idea around the country, what is a common itinerary or format of weddings in your area? Yeah. I’m glad you asked this because I thought it was the same across the board. Then I realized that the East Coast is a little bit different. I’m like, wow, that’s interesting where they almost have like a party before the formalities. I’m like, Oh, okay. So on the West Coast, This is how it lays out, at least for me.

Not much has changed. You have your pre-ceremony. I always start music 30 minutes beforehand. I always tell the couples, I want to create an ambiance so that when that first person walks in, they are walking into an experience. And you’ll hear me use that word a lot, experience, which is very big with me.

And then, of course, we have the ceremony. I’m big on sound, so I’ll have a setup for the ceremony itself. And then we’ll move into the cocktail hour. Most couples eight out of 10 are gonna be taking photos afterwards. Although I see that changing a lot of couples. Now what they’re doing is trying to get those photos done beforehand so that they can have more time to enjoy with their guests.

Because, you know, getting photos, especially at that amount, right after the ceremony, when you’re feeling this high It can bog people down a little bit. So, you know, a lot of couples go in that direction, but for the regular ones, it’s cocktail hour, which usually lasts about an hour or so. Then we go into the grand entrance from the grand entrance.

A lot of couples are the trend I see now. Is there going into that first dance, which I absolutely love because all eyes are on the couple? From there, you move into, a blessing dinner from the dinner. We go to toast and from the toast, we go into the special dances and then we get it going. So with the cake cutting the bouquet toss.

The garter toss. Those things are now kind of optional as I’ve seen on the West Coast and then we party until they shut us down. Out here we do have a time ordinance. I don’t know if that’s true across the country. But in a lot of cases, I’m out by either nine o’clock or 10 o’clock.

Times of Weddings

It’s very rare that I go to 11 or midnight. In fact, I can count on one hand in 2023 that I went to 11 o’clock or midnight. So that’s kind of the rundown of weddings in California. So how long is your dancing time than during the reception? Yeah, I would say a good two hours. I think it varies based on how the couple sets up the day.

Typically I would say a 3:30 to 10 format is really what we’re going after, which would be probably the most common. My six-and-a-half-hour package is ultimately the one that most couples settle on. So 3:30 starting music. By the time we’re dancing. Yeah, it’s going to be somewhere in the vicinity of 7:30 o’clock and done at 10 o’clock.

The Music Funnel

And again, with me, I’m big on the music funnel. That’s kind of what I use as an analogy. Let’s make sure that the music is up top. Is good for everybody, right? We want to make sure that grandma’s having a good time. Aunt Joan, Uncle Joe, we want to make sure they’re all having a good time because those people obviously are going to start leaving and then we’re going to funnel it down.

So whatever that music. for example, if you like nineties hip hop or the 2000s or whatever area you want to throw in there, where the music would not be for grandma or Uncle Joe or Aunt Joan and stuff. That’s where you want to put it. And when I describe that to couples, they go, okay, that, that makes sense.

So some of the couples actually will make me a playlist in which way they will give me the music for the top part of the funnel, and then give me music for the bottom part of the funnel, which I absolutely love.

Playing Older Music

That takes me to another question. I heard a DJ recently say that they don’t typically play anything earlier than the seventies. Are you finding the same as well? I think it varies. if we want to talk, during cocktail hour, I think a lot of times I’m always putting some Motown in the cocktail hour and sometimes dinner because I see things as a progression. So, it used to be when I got into the industry that I’m like, okay, we’re going to settle on the rat pack, right?

And the rat pack is going to take care of cocktail hour and it’s going to move right into the dinner. But what I realized is that’s just kind of In a way, and no discredit to these great artists. But it’s kind of just like background noise, and you kind of want it to be part of the vibe. And that’s what I kind of learned.

I’ll do a doors-open format, which, Ray LaMontagne, You’re the best thing. start with that one and then play some love fun songs and then I’ll move into a Motown set. If it’s a country wedding, boom, I’m going to throw some country in there. And then the last part of my cocktail hour is going to be music that almost people can sing along to.

Or tap their toe to because what I’m doing is I’m getting them prepared for the dance floor, which is coming next. So the music before the seventies, I’m definitely playing some fifties or sixties in there because I find that that music is honoring the parents or the grandparents are there because that goes back to what I was talking about. You want to make sure everybody It’s having a good time. That’s funny. Cause I was going to ask you about the different music styles.

Different Music Styles

How do you handle somebody who has a wide variety of music that they like? And I think that that’s exactly how you handle it is playing that funnel and hitting a lot of different genres.

Cause you know, as a DJ, if you’re playing country and it’s not going off well as the doors open, you know, you’re likely not going to play that during the dancing part. Well, what comes up in the meeting is what kind of music do you like? And I, I know you’ve interviewed other guests where they say this next part, which also tells me what you don’t like, right?

Because you don’t want to put songs in there where people are going, yeah, that does not fit this wedding. The other analogy I use too, is the spectrum. I will tell couples, to listen, I’m going to send you a DJ outline. You’re going to fill it in. It’s going to give me all your special songs. You’re going to tell me your top 20.

I can fill in the gaps. You can give me as little as you want and just let me know what genres you like and then I’ll take it from there. Also, tell me the songs you don’t like so that we don’t play an accident song as I like to call it. and then on the other side of the spectrum, I’ll have couples that will prepare a Spotify playlist for me for every aspect of the wedding.

And then what I do with that is I’ll take the music. And I’ll navigate through that music. And then the other part is if you give me a long playlist, I mean, some couples will give me 200 songs. I’ll say, great, can you do this for me? Can you highlight 10, or 12 songs that you absolutely need to hear on your wedding night I’ll make sure those are played, and then I’ll take the others and then kind of fill in the gaps from there.

Do Not Play Lists

You mentioned the do not play lists. Are there certain artists that you’re seeing that are on the list? I hear a lot is Ed Sheeran, and Bruno Mars, just because they were overplayed the last 10 years. Are you seeing any particular artists on those lists now? Okay, well, the funny part, is I crack up on do not playlists and I’m laughing because I’m thinking of one of the weddings that I did.

The do not playlist I think was longer than what they wanted to be played. And I’m like, okay, I’ve got to make sure that when I fill the gaps, I’m definitely not hitting someone on this list of 30 artists and it was Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, all those which are great songs for weddings.

I’m like, man, this is going to be a challenge, but see that speaks to why it’s great to be a DJ because you really have to operate within what the couple wants. I mean, there’s something exciting for me. I always describe it as being the wedding being a blank canvas. Okay. And we’re just painting this picture as we grow and, it just looks different for every single couple, but on the do not playlist, I think the most common would be interactive dances.

I think there are a lot of couples that say they don’t want any part of the cha-cha slide. It’s The Cupid Shuffle definitely do not play the YMCA. If you play the chicken dance, we’ll pull the plug. You know, it’s those kinds of things. So I’m always aware of that. I actually tried to steer away from interactive dances unless the couple was saying yes.

And by the way, you can get a vibe from a couple to say, yeah, I’m definitely going to throw in a cupid shuffle there because this, this group is going to get into it. And that leads to another point as a DJ, we hear these songs hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times. Here’s my mantra. You must treat the song like it’s the first time you ever heard it because I think that is what makes the difference.

So Don’t Stop Believin, that comes to mind. I have played that so many times, but when I attach it to the memories of the couples who have used it, Oh man, it takes on a special meeting and that’s, that’s what I love about music and being able to really be excited for every wedding. And it goes back to, I love weddings and it’s for that reason.

Music Knowledge

Well, I think that music knowledge is probably one of the most important aspects of a DJ. It’s so funny. You were saying do not play listen. I just think of Whitney Houston’s I Want to Dance with Somebody eventually people are going to be totally tired of that song. And I was looking at, some song lists today.

One of the popular trending songs is My Love Is Your Love by Whitney Houston, which has a great dance remix. And I’m like, wow, what a great song. And that music knowledge of, okay, instead of playing this play my love is your love the dance remix. It may not have the same reaction, but it’s still going to have a great, great reaction to it.

Absolutely. And you know what? It never gets boring to go back to that list. So my playlist, I have a plan A and I have a plan B and there are hundreds within there, right? We have so many resources that we can go to to be able to pull music, which is absolutely beautiful. And I probably have more playlists I need.

So I’ve actually worked throughout 2023 to really scale it down to a few. So I have my wedding, pre-ceremony music, and then a cocktail hour and dinner music. These are all by the way, playlists that I share with the couple saying, Hey, go through there and either say, yes, I want this one or extract what you like and make your own playlist.

Being able to give these resources to couples, I think is absolutely huge. And I think another big thing that came out of COVID was Zoom. I mean, we’re doing it right now. We knew nothing about Zoom before COVID. And now it’s the only thing I do use to meet with couples. That’s been a big asset to DJs like myself who do weddings. I love it.

Popular Wedding Music

What do you see as popular music at your weddings? I know everybody says the nineties and the 2000s, but what are you seeing in your area? You know what? I’ve heard your other episodes and I’m just like, what is different? And it’s really not that different.

You’re playing the top 40, the songs are going to make people dance, and then you’re just going to hit those greats of each era. And there’s greats and you single them out. I think I need to do in 2024, what would be the Matt Campbell challenge. And here it is. This is the challenge to take all those lists that you put so much work into that list of songs that you’re going, man, I would love to play it.

But I don’t know, I don’t know if I play it, will it work? Will it be familiar? So this is the small fear factor that I believe that all wedding DJs have. I’ll speak for myself, but I’ve got to believe that if we all could speak up on this, there are sometimes those songs that were like in our head, man, I think this would work.

But we’re so scared to play it because we’re not sure of what that reaction will be. And I think that’s why we go to the go-to. In California, I cannot tell you that it’s any different because I believe it’s unique to the couple and what they want, right? And so your typical wedding is going to have all the typical wedding songs that you like.

But remember you treat it like it’s the first time that you’ve heard every single song that we’ve mentioned here, Whitney Houston’s journey, goes on and on, right? Dancing in the Moonlight for a final song, all of those right there. But to be able to tap into the seventies, the eighties, and the nineties and sprinkle that in is great.

And then for me, look, I have a bias. I love country weddings. Like country weddings to me are the best because there’s something. It’s weird. It’s even more special. And I think it really lends to the music of country music. And then within the couples, I get to wear my cowboy hat. I’m not even a cowboy, but to be a cowboy for a wedding for a few hours is, is pretty exciting. So in California, again, I can’t say that we’re doing anything different.

Catering to Diverse Audiences

How do you create a playlist that caters to a diverse audience at a wedding? I love this. Okay. So my very first wedding was my worst wedding. Okay. So imagine being thrown into the fire at this time. I was working for someone and my first big event it. is a multicultural wedding.

Picture this. We’ve got one, and I’m not going to mention the cultures. Okay. So, we have one type of music this way. One type of music this way. I’m coming in in the early 2000s when at the time CDs were just going out. So when I came in, I bought my big CD library, right? Of course, we couldn’t trust the CDs.

They might skip everything and a lot of things would happen. So we’re moving into technology. And all I can remember is that I had one group of people giving me a CD saying play this and it was simply me. Yeah. Play this, because my next question would be, well, which track? And it was, the answer was, play all of them, right?

And I’m like, well, I can’t do that because in my mind, now remember, I’m raw, right? I don’t really know much of anything in terms as it relates to weddings. So I start the music and guess what? Half the crowd is dancing. The other half is going, yeah, don’t relate. And then I have the other side come to me, shoving a CD in my face and going, play this.

And so let’s say I have a little PTSD when I think about that moment, things have obviously changed now in 20-plus years now of in the business. And what I realized is I love these types of weddings. because what’s nice about it is it introduces me to something that I know nothing about. In a way, I am telling the couple to educate me.

So obviously I think the two big ones that I have played in California would be Hispanic or Spanish music. And then it would be indie music from India, that kind of deal. Those are the two I have dealt with. And all I tell the couples is you let me know what the wedding bangers are.

Just let me know what they are. And then what I’ll do is I’ll preview it and then boom, we’ll, we’ll just get right into it. So really I am putting. Kind of the work back into the couple’s hands to help me out because I said, I’ll be able to navigate it, but I really need your help here. And I think that’s an important thing as a DJ, I’ve heard this thing about DJs, all DJs have egos and stuff like that, but you know what?

I would like to believe that that’s not completely true. Because when it comes to a wedding, it is truly not about us. That’s another line I use. I say, listen, I am not the one in the spotlight. I actually use the reference of, I am here to steer your ship. All right. And it’s so very important for me to make sure that everything I do musically, all the announcements I make, everything I do creates that experience or what my good DJ friend Joe Calamar said, the soundtrack of your day.

I love that. That’s like, that is such a great line. The soundtrack of your day. And we’re not just talking about the dancing part. We’re talking about the pre-ceremony, the ceremony, music, the music you use to walk up the cocktail hour, which it’s easy to put on a playlist. Don’t do that. DJs are in the moment.

I think that’s very important. And then obviously into dinner and then the apex of everything that’s going on, which would be the dancing. I just love all aspects of it. I think one of the things that you brought up that was very important to mention was the multicultural music that you have to know.

And I think it is very important to put some of that on the couples because even Indian music, are you talking about Sanjit? Are you talking about different areas of India? The same thing goes for the Latin music. Are you talking about Nortenio music? Are you talking about, all of the different styles, bachatas?

There’s so much music that even goes for, even in America, you have Country, you might have the Texas country or, everybody knows George straight, but is it the bro-country, the newer music, or is it the female country artists that are booming right now?

The Laney Wilson’s, the Kelsea Ballerini’s, or is it the older music, Fishing in the Dark, that’s really trending right now. So yeah, you really have to know what your couples want and they need to help guide you. I love that. Did you guys hear Matt Campbell?

Just preach right there. That’s music knowledge. Just the way you did that. I was like, oh, man, there he goes. I’m not going to say a word. But it is so true because what’s nice is that I’m doing these weddings and getting these songs from different cultures.

What I’m doing is I’m plucking those and now I’m making a playlist so that I have something available because you don’t just want to play it and then get rid of it. You want to keep the ones that work so that when you get that scenario again, you can refer and say, Hey, is this what you’re kind of looking for?

And they’ll either say yes or no, we’re looking for this. And so you’re always adding, I guess it goes to that, that thought of, we are always learning, right? And that’s so very important to just not be in one place to make sure that we’re always elevating our game and what we do is wedding DJs.

Explicit Lyrics

Speaking of music, then I heard recently that couples are requesting songs with explicit lyrics. Are you seeing that in your area as well? Okay. So it’s a small percentage. And I’m glad about that because I am very big on it. This is a family-friendly environment. In fact, I treat all my parties when I would do high school dances

the kids I put on a song, they’d be like, you know, right? Listen, by the way, the hardest event to do is a high school party. Okay, especially at my age, right? And I stopped doing those years ago. I’m like, I’m done with those. Let’s go to weddings where it’s a little bit, people love you a little bit more.

It’s good stuff. But with those in explicit lyrics, obviously, you want to cater to the couple, but my advice or where I try to steer them toward is let’s play that in the bottom part of the funnel. The final, I don’t know, 30 or 45 minutes. I will use the term. Hey, it’s now time for club, whatever their last name is.

And then boom, I’ll hit a banger right there. And I’ll even give a warning. I’ll say, listen, some of the words that come out here, I don’t even know what I use, but if it doesn’t appeal to you, plug your ears or whatever. It depends on the couple. I will play it if they absolutely ask for it because it is part of their experience.

But again, I want to get it as far to the end as possible so that if grandma is lying around, that wouldn’t be good if grandma heard it. Yeah, it’s funny. I think that one of the things that’s causing that is access to all of the music on Spotify. That’s explicit. And so that’s what they’re hearing even on YouTube.

I think that that’s what’s it’s tough, right? It’s tough. Think about this as a music artist. To me, I just think and maybe this speaks to my age, but is it necessary? I think it’s just crazy that artists have to do an explicit version and then they have to do a clean version.

And I think where I get frustrated is a big one is, you know, on the California West Coast is Mac Dre. So Mac Dre isn’t a rapper, but he has no clean stuff, but he has three or four-bangers, right? That is really good. So those would be good examples of songs that I play, but I played the tail end and I know exactly what is coming down the pike, right?

But I’m like, man, I wish there was a clean version. And then you’ve got the flip side. The clean version isn’t clean because what happens is you play it and everybody on the dance floor is singing the lyrics that are in it, which happened to be explicit. So it’s a no-win situation. Just like a school dance. They’re singing the lyrics, whether you’re playing the clean version or not.

Successful DJ Traits

What are some qualities you think that a DJ should have to be successful? To me, it’s customer service. It really is. I don’t know, putting yourself out there to say I’m here for you. Again, that whole thing of not being in the spotlight, you’re not hiring me as a DJ to put a spotlight on me and do my thing and put my microphone in the middle of the dance floor.

I’m not that guy. I am here for you. I want to make sure that when I talk to you at the end of the night, I say, what do you think? Or how was it that it’s over and beyond what you had as a vision? That’s, that’s really big to me. The other aspect is the teamwork aspect. I am so big on working well with other vendors.

So whether it be wedding coordinators, which obviously are big, or the venue day of coordinators, the photographer, and I’m going in order videographer. then the caterer and then the Officiant. So those are kind of the bigs right there. Establishing those relationships is why I get to do more weddings.

Because we get a familiarity with each other and we just refer each other. That’s all we do. I remember for years, it was hard for me to get on the preferred vendor lists, right? I never understood that. I’m like, how do I get on? And some, some country clubs would say, yeah, you need to come in for an interview and this I’m like.

Well, why don’t you just watch me work? And if you like what I do, put me on the preferred vendor list. Let’s not make it difficult, right? You either like working with a person or you don’t. And then what I found along the way was just getting those relationships or forming those relationships with people who were doing the same thing I was, but in a different capacity.

And that’s worked very well for me. So for me, it’s just, to take care of the couple and then work well, be a team player, and be proactive because when I get on-site. Two hours ahead of time. If I don’t know the photographer, and that’s usually the case for the videographer, I am finding them. I am introducing myself and I say, Hey, I am here to take care of you because I, there’s been a couple of instances where I’d go up to a photographer and they almost had this defensive.

Kind of like, I’m not sure if I want to shake your hand, and I just simply go, Did you have a bad experience with a DJ? And they go, How’d you know? I’m like, Yeah, the body language says it all. So to be able to take that stress off to say, Hey, I’m here. I’m a team player. I’m going to work around you. I’m not going to work around me. I’m going to work around you, and we’re going to have a great experience together. And it all seems to work well. Love it. Great tips.

Wedding Games

Speaking of experiences, what about games at your weddings? Are you doing the shoe games? What are you doing in your area? Here’s the deal. I am not a big games guy, but because of what I’ve done, so I taught PE for 26 years.

I can orchestrate a game and see again. This is where the broadcasting the auctioneering and everything comes to play. It’s your wedding. So if you want to play the shoe game, we’re going to make it the best shoe game ever. And again, going back to the thought. It’s the first time I’ve ever played the shoe game.

I can’t wait to see what this turns out to be. That’s really how I treat it outside the shoe game. My favorite one. And I do want to recommend this. It’s not an old thing, but I love it. Dancing to dinner. Have you heard of this, Matt? No. What? Go ahead. Tell everybody. I’m giving you something new. Oh my gosh.

This is mind-blowing because I thought this was something a lot of people did. So a wedding coordinator said, Hey, you know, I, I tried this with another DJ and it’s called dancing dinner. She told me the format. I’m like, Oh my gosh, I love it. So think about the time when you have to release tables, right?

As a DJ, if we were to rank the things we have to do, I think yeah. Releasing tables could be the toughest one. It’s not for me because I love people. But what I’m talking about is the last two or three tables where you’re trying to be friendly and establish a relationship for that night. They’re looking at you with that eye of man, we really want to go to dinner.

Here’s how you do it. Every table has a song. Now the song can be posted on their dinner table. So you have table one. And it could be whatever song by Ed Sheeran or whatever. When you play that song, everybody gets their plates and they have to dance to dinner. So they have to dance by the couple and into the buffet line.

So obviously this works for buffets and not sit-down dinners, but I will tell you. What a great way to kind of move things along in a time where it’s like, Oh man, I want to go to dinner because now the anticipation is what’s going to be the next song. So that’s the fun part for me is being able to play clips of songs and it helps me with timing to stay on top of things to make sure everybody gets fed and I don’t have that law where I forget to say a table number if that makes sense.

So dancing to dinner, write it down, DJs. It’s a good one to use in 2024. I love that idea, especially as a music fan. But I heard from a very Influential DJ say that if you’re going to release the tables, you never announce it. You go physically go to the table, but to have that song, that’s one way to say, Hey, I don’t have to go to the table and I can be behind the booth, especially if it has a single person there without a helper, that’s a fantastic idea.

I love that idea. Well, and Matt, listen, one thing doesn’t fit all right. like I am very personable and I would love to go over. I don’t mind speaking to people, but this is just a different way to do it. And right. Are we going to dance to dinner for every single wedding? No, it’s just an idea that you can throw out to couples Hey, would this interest you?

And you’ll know right away that it’s going to be a hit or miss. Right. And then you can test your music. You’re going to play true and get your love. Oh, no, they’re not dancing. I got to skip that era. Right. Right. And guess what? Incorporate their music into those songs. So when you get that playlist of songs, where you’re like, yeah, that’s not going to fit the dance floor.

Oh, my gosh, this would be perfect for dancing to dinner because now it has an attachment. To the couple. I want the couple throughout the evening, and the day, to be able to hear songs where just, and they don’t have to make any reaction I remember that song or whatever the case might be.

So finding a way to sprinkle it in. I was reviewing the songs released in 2023 and there’s not a lot of great dance songs, but there’s still fun songs that are on there. And I think that that’s when you can play those types of music, especially for the younger couples. Yeah, I agree. It’s, it’s interesting because I have a little trio of songs that I’d love playing in a row. I go Hooked on a Feeling, Come and Get Your Love, Stuck in the Middle. Those are three, types of music right there.

I love that little set and I do not mind playing that over and over and over again for each wedding. I love Stuck in the Middle is one of my favorite songs of all time, especially like you said during dinner.

DJ Lighting

I have not talked about lighting at all on the podcast yet. What type of lighting are you having at your weddings for your couples?

I keep it simple. When I came into the biz. I’m like, okay, I got to get big lights set up and everything. And so I did that. And I kind of had a hokey little setup with five lights attached. And I think a couple of times it fell over because it was too heavy on top and everything. And I’m like, I’ve got to change this up because when you’re a DJ, I think your full concentration has to be on what you do and that’s being the MC and playing the music.

Listen, I have a lot of respect for DJs who do multiple things. And you know what I’m talking about. There are a lot of DJs out there that add a photo booth. I don’t know how you do it. DJs. I don’t know how you could do too, because if I want to run a photo booth, I want to give my full energy to that, right?

But being a DJ, you got to have a full focus on being a DJ. So when it comes to lighting, I said, I just want to make it really simple. So I have two lights. And I got an attachment that allows me to put them on top of my, tower speakers. so I have the evolve, EV fifties, which by the way, are great by white.

If you’re a DJ coming in, because that is the most common, comment that I get is I love your speakers and I love that they’re white. And I think that’s just so funny. so my lighting is simple. I tell couples I don’t do uplighting again. Other DJs do up lighting as kind of a add-on and everything to me.

It’s just, I want to keep it simple. I put everything in the back of my truck. I have no more room. That’s all I got. And I will not buy a trailer. I’ve told myself there are 2 really good lights, but they’re very simple and can be set up on top.

They’re never going to tip over. I don’t have to worry about it. And the fact that I can attach it to the speaker now is great. So it’s not a separate setup that I have to do. if you want to go over and beyond, what I tell them is listen, I can refer you to a company that will take your lighting to the next level.

And a lot of that has to do with uplighting. And then you could talk about extended lighting for the dance floor. But when you’re talking about a wedding. I don’t think you want much more than the basic that, I mean, that’s just me. I’m the same way I used to have par cans that used to shoot people right in the eye.

And I’m like, nobody really wants that anymore or the strobe lights. It’s like, why are we doing this to people?

Heartwarming Wedding Stories

So now we’re at the time that you’ve been waiting patiently for. Can you give everybody a heartwarming wedding story, your favorite wedding moment? Okay. So if you don’t mind, I’ve got three hits. The first hit was when I came into the biz, I obviously did Canon in D I did everything that was traditional.

My first introduction was a couple that came into Florence and the machine dog days are over and it was energetic. It was fun and it really turned me on to, okay, there’s some personalization that can go on. So that is one moment for me. Number two would be, and this just happened recently. It was a Friday the 13th of October.

So just recently happened in 2023. I had the Halloween theme, which is fine, but that was not the highlight. The highlight, and I’d never seen this was the bride. Had long hair for the ceremony during the switch to go into the reception. She had a hairstylist cut off all her hair. She went short and she had a totally different hairstyle coming into the reception and the room went nuts because it was a total surprise.

The groom didn’t know it. And obviously, that could go 50 50, right? Like, wait, I love the long hair, but it was just an awesome reaction. And then number three. Full circle moments. And when I talk about those, these are weddings that I do for either a bride or groom or bride and groom. And so I just recently did a Tahoe wedding in which the bride and groom had gone through my youth basketball program.

Okay. So they were little kids, kindergartners, first graders. I eventually probably did their middle school dance, probably did their high school prom. And now here they were getting married to me. That’s, that’s when the hair stands up like, wow, this is awesome. I mean, it’s such a great moment. So those are the three great moments that I wanted to prepare and share with you because it shows.

Why it is great to be a wedding DJ. There’s so much, so much good in it. I think that’s why country music is like you were talking about earlier. Country music is so popular at weddings because it has that love story feel. They’re having that moment. And I call them the goosebumps moments.

They’re one of a kind for sure. And I’m getting them right now. as you say that, because when you think about country music, right? The country songs are written perfectly. They write about love. They write about drinking. The only ones you don’t play at a wedding are the breakup songs.

You just kind of leave those to the side, but everything else is great. You’re George Straits, you’re Alan Jackson’s, you’re Garth Brooks. You are always going to play those greats and they never get old. Wonderful.

Beginner DJ Tips

Is there anything that we didn’t talk about today that you wanted to talk about? Well, Matt, I would just say this, anybody getting into the business, when I got into the business, for me, I was eager to learn.

So I was learning from another DJ and eventually got to a spot where I felt good enough to get my own stuff and, you know, just kind of get into it. And now I’m looking at my boys. So my boys, Christopher called Toph and Max are now DJs. And so they are doing their own thing. And my wife and I, we gifted them.

A whole set because I wanted them to be independent and say, listen, if you need dad’s help, I’m here for you. Right? So I would get the frantic calls during those first couple of them. It’s like, dad, where does this plug into and this plug into? I’m like, okay, slow down, take a breath, right? Those are over now.

And now they’re off and running. So if you’re a new DJ, you have resources. Like this with Matt Campbell, there is so much out there. Dive in. You don’t have to go to a university. You can find out and figure out how to be a DJ, but really take it seriously because that’s the thing I think is the stigma of what a DJ does, especially as it relates to a wedding.

And that’s one of the lines I use with couples as well. It’s like. Listen, I want to break the stigma of what you may or may not think about what a DJ is. And so the spotlight thing, the other thing is. Yeah, we play music, but there’s a purpose to what we do. The reading the room, I think is a big thing that we could easily probably do a full podcast on because I think that is the one gift as a DJ.

If you have that ability to read the room, you’re going to do very well. And that’s just not being a wedding DJ. That’s being a DJ for any event. You have to know how to read the room and then not take things personally. So when I was referring to those kids, giving me the thumbs down or the next. You know what?

I got to carry on. This is my set. If you don’t like it, you represent maybe one or two people and the other four or 500 are doing okay. And so not getting locked up in the negative and staying with the positive. If you want to be a DJ, definitely find the way to do it and just go in because it is a great business and you can do very well for yourself.

You can make it a great career. That’s a great tip because there are so many part-time DJs that if you do take it seriously, I think that is exactly what you’re saying that the profession is going to the next level, I’d say maybe in the, in the last 10 years, and that is only going to increase over time. Totally agree, totally agree, Matt.

And here’s the thing is like, if there’s a DJ in Sacramento that reached out to me and said, Hey, I heard you on the podcast. Would I be able to learn from you? My answer would be yes, absolutely. And I have other friends. So I partner with other DJs who have 20, or 25 years of experience. And I will even refer people to them.

Like, yeah, come watch us. If you want to watch us do our thing and see if this is something that you want to do is great. I, you know, I have a little PTSD from my Kind of moment and listen, I, I love the guy that got me into the industry, but the one thing that always freaks me out is I’d be with him and he’d go, he’d look at me.

He goes, what song would you play next? And I’m like, I have no idea. Right? And I, I carried that with me because I don’t go in with a preset on what I’m going to do. You have a playlist. Yes. Or you have a feel for a father-daughter dance or a wedding or whatever it might be. But really everything’s going to ebb and flow based on what you see in front of you.

And so you have to be in the DJ spot to be able to do that. And so just know that if you’re a preset guy or a preset gal that is DJing, it’s usually not going to work out that way. You have to have the ability to read the. That will be on an upcoming episode. So stay tuned for that.

Contact Buzzardball DJ Entertainment

Steve, can you tell everybody how they can reach you and contact your company? Yeah, absolutely. We make it very simple. you can go to buzzerballdj.com. I meant to ask you this, Matt, and maybe you can answer this. I show my prices. Okay. I have heard within the industry that it’s better to hide them. I don’t believe in that because, to me, I’m sorry.

I think the analogy I think of is a used car salesman where you’re like, okay, what is it? What, what, what’s the price? Just tell me the price. And guess what? I go back to when I got married 30 years ago to Kristen. And I remember. I remember Rocky, I think it was his name and just the way he presented it. I was just in my mind, just like, tell me the price.

That’s all I need. So I show my prices. You can go on there, buzzardballdj.com. and then on Instagram and I only use Instagram. what I figured out over the years, it was too hard to go down the different lanes, although I do believe people receive things differently, I think you can also steer them where you want them to go.

So my Instagram handle is @buzzardballexperience. And that is all one word. So the website built it up during COVID. It’s really strong. Gives you everything that you need at buzzardballdj.com and @buzzardballexperience on Instagram. Well, thank you very much, Steve, for being on the podcast.

Stay tuned for next week when I’m going to interview another wedding pro. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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