Cloud And Sun DJ Services Weekly Blog

Hi And Welcome to my regular blog. I will try and keep it humorous which may mean mildly colourful language at times. I hope you enjoy it and won't be offended. In order to protect the guilty; no Customers will be mentioned by name unless it's complementary and even then I may opt for anonymity. This is only because I wanted to impress you by putting in the word "anonymity."  If I can think of any other slightly more pointless and annoying rules, I will let you know in due course.


 

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  1. This year and last I've updated the show with some great lighting and speakers. The whole show is lighter and brighter than ever before.

    a friend and other local DJ who uses the same software has been on at me for a few years now to get this new controller (digital decks) and I've declined due to other upgrade priorities. He showed me one for sale on Ebay recently (Good as new and half the price) and I bit the bullet and went for it .

    denon-hc4500 rack-mount-dj-controller-

     

    I'm so glad I did! It controls the main DJ software so well, it's shortened my job a lot and now I just can't get enough of it! 

    So come on and book me! I'm itching for more action!

     

  2. Hi all, I've heard a lot of stories about tin pot mobile discos over the years. I've heard it from the guy who repairs my equipment. I've heard it from customers and I've heard it from other DJ's.

    I've had the phone calls that go something like.....Hi, we've been let down by our DJ (Great! Opportunity for me) and can you fill in this Saturday/some Saturday etc.

    I check the diary and I can do it. "Oh great! How ,much do you charge?" Me: "XYZ..."  Them: "Oh that's a little bit more than we were hoping to pay" or: "OK, I'll call you back" - Meaning that I'm never going to hear from them before Earth freezes over... Sometimes if I'm awake enough or get the chance, I ask what price they were quoted from the guy who let them down or what they were hoping to pay. It's usually somewhere in the region of £100.00 to £150.00 for a five hour gig. Well, let's see about this. Let's break it down:

    Music

    You may think that is a fair price for a DJ. I mean, he only plays a few records/songs for christ's sake. How hard can it be?

    Of course what you don't see is the time and years spent getting together those tracks. Processing them so that they sound even and don't jump in volume like your own MP3's do on your ipod for example. Every track I upload has to be:

    1.Volume normalised.

    2. analysed for BPM (beats per minute).

    3. Analysed for key (Ab, C minor etc.)

    4. converted to one other file format as well as MP3 as one of my systems uses it's own format which has a little extra information added.

    5. Renamed from "track 5 (on album) and song title" to "Artist and Title".

    6. Loaded onto 4 seperate hard drives - Two for the road and two for back up back at the "lab". 

    When a customer want's their own song list, this can involve hours of unpaid work and music costs, none of which we usually charge for.

    Equipment.

    Equipment costs have come down in recent years, but a decent show with yes (i'm always asked whether I bring this) decent lighting will still not leave you much change out of around ten grand. And that's not counting the back up equipment back at the yard that you collect over the years, which is needed more often than you'd think. For example, you can't do a massive marquee gig with the standard village hall/hotel set up. You have to load up with those mostly decommissioned extra bass cabs and maybe extra top speakers too. 

    We all start out with very basic show set ups until we get an idea of what is required. The difference between a professional and a cheap amateur is: Do you build it up as fast as you can or do you continue with what you've got whilst undercutting everyone else until you can't afford to maintain what little you have? I've heard stories of "DJ's" turning up with a laptop and one or two Maplins speakers with maybe 50 MP3's. Well it hardly makes for what I'd call a "show" does it?

    Then there is the guy who maybe has a little more beaten up old equipment (like the guy who did my cousin's wedding and convinced me that I could easily do better) and who will drop you like a stone at the last-minute if he get's a more lucrative offer. - No ethics at all.

    Talking of ethics, all equipment must be tested every year by a qualified technician. Some DJ's make this up. I don't.

    Setting up time.

    I'm constantly asked if I charge for the whole time I'm at the venue, ie: Setting up time as well as playing time. Well guess what? I don't charge for that either and neither do most other pros.

    So what SHOULD I expect to pay?

    What you should expect to pay is what you'd expect to pay any other professional tradesman like a plumber - At this time of writing, around £50-£60 per hour is a good bench mark, I resist the urge to mention garage mechanic, as they can be up to £90.00 per hour. But to be fair to them, they have one hell of a lot of equipment to buy and maintain.

    Conclusion

    The gist of this blog is that we are no different to any other service in that you really do get what you pay for. The only difference with us is that we are artists and there is an unmeasurable quality to how we feel what we do. How we have to have heightened perception of reading the crowd's mood at any given time of the night and what track will drop in at just the right time. How to address the crowd with confidence, clarity and engaging friendliness. This requires knowledge, taste and experience, but you have to love it to succeed in the long run.  Particularly when you are humping heavy gear upstairs or hundreds of yards in the rain from/to the van from/to a venue with terrible access!

    I hope you found this helpful. I will now meta tag it up so anyone asking "How much to pay for a DJ in the UK" will find it. 

     

     

     

     

     

  3. Well finally after all these years of investment I have the best equipment set up ever. 

    This year and some of last year I ploughed money into replacing speakers with higher quality ones than ever when I went all out for Electrovoice subs and tops which have the added benefit of being lighter as well as punchier sounding and cleaner then the previous JBLs. Somewhere in amongst these upgrades I bought some Yamaha DXR 15" tops which make a very nice addition to a bigger set up and so are definately not wasted! I just got new replacement circuit boards for the JBLs which has the effect of stopping all the age crackle that I was getting - You could have them at a steady volume but there was no ajusting mid gig! Now smooth and clean like new again. Recycling at it's best, as they sit nicely in a six speaker set up as extra top (treble range).

    september 2015 starlit floor gig

    My most exciting puchase of late is the gigbar 2 from Chauvet. It used to take me 20 minutes to set up the lighting rig and to be honest I'd probably still be using that system now if it wern't for the fact that the special electric mounting bar wasn't seriously worn out from many years of gigging. Trouble was, they've stopped making the damn things and liquid metal (JB coldweld) repairs only hold lighting units up for so long before the weld fails and the units fall off. So the upshot is that I bought this new unit with all the same lighting effects including strobe, ultra violet, Moonflower (floor patterns) , Colourwash (for room colour) AND laser too all in and on the bar in miniture. Permanantly attached and brighter than the previous effects, it all fits into a guitar sized case and can be up and running in five minutes! I This tegether with the lighter speakers and more compact console means set up is much improved to what it was only a year or two ago.

    2016 cloud and sun mobile disco from the side

     

    This means I enjoy gigs more than ever now, as there is less hassle getting in and out of venues and less time for staff and customers to wait for me at the end of the gig. Colours are brighter too which gives a different dimension to the performance.