From background music during cocktail hour to post-dinner dance party, music plays an important role in the success of your event. We sat down with DJ Jon Wiley to learn more about just how critical this element is and the role of a DJ at your event.
Everyone knows a DJ’s job is to provide music, but as behind-the-scenes professionals, we know there’s much more to it. So, what else does a good DJ do at an event?
“A good DJ is paying attention to what is working for the guests through physical cues,” says Jon. “What music is making people bob their heads or tap their feet. Usually you have a playlist prepped, but you will need to adjust based on what the guests are connecting with or what is being requested.”
From your perspective, how do the event planner and DJ successfully collaborate on an event? In your experience, has an event planner been an important partner to you?
“A good Planner is instrumental in making sure that the client’s expectations are being met and we’re all on the same page. Also, the Event Planner can suggest add-on things like up-lighting, video screens and dance floor lighting that can liven up an event significantly. The goal is to make the client happy and all of those things can help elevate the evening.”
How much preparation goes into an event for you?
“At least 4 hours of music prep – and that’s not including emailing the client back and forth. There is usually a ‘Don’t play’ list, familiar favorites I will suggest, setting the mood and then mixing up the decades from there. If the event has a specific theme or time period representation, like a ‘Great Gatsby’ party, then it becomes challenging to find music and prep time increases.”
DJ Jon Wiley working a Great Gatsby party!
Any other tips in working with a DJ on a company event?
“Keep it current and the DJ will make the event as fun as possible. A top DJ will ‘work’ the party and your guests will be pleasantly surprised to have a good time!”
We’d like to thank Jon for his time and for sharing some great insight when working with a DJ on an event. Some key takeaways: trust your DJ to read people and adjust music accordingly, event planners are essential (hire Swank today!) and stick with current tunes and rely on your DJ to handle the rest!
Contact us for more tips regarding music at your next event.
Benway Entertainment: Frank Benway
Photo Credit: Erin Curran Photography
We had the pleasure of working with Frank during Kim and James’ wedding this past September at the New England Aquarium. He was a good friend of theirs who also offered his DJ services for their wedding. Not only was Frank fantastic to work with, but he kept everyone on the dance floor the entire night and really knows how to read the crowd. We look forward to working with Benway Entertainment again soon! In the meantime, get to know Frank.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Milton, MA and graduated from Milton High School. I then went on to Northeastern University and graduated with a degree in Communication Studies.
How long have you been in business and how did you get started?
I have been in the DJ business for 15 years. I first became interested in the DJ business as a middle school student, helping the DJ set up and break down our monthly school dances. By 8th grade, he was letting me DJ during some of the school dances. As a high school sophomore, I started DJ’ing professionally at local middle and high school dances. After a few years of learning the business, I was DJ’ing college events, private parties, and weddings across Boston and Southern New England.
Photo Credit: You Ought To Be In Pictures!
What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of the job is watching my clients enjoy the most important day of their lives with their closest family and friends. After spending many months helping plan their big day, it is truly exciting to watch it become a reality.
How would you describe your style?
I take a lot of time to listen to my clients and make sure that the music I play at their wedding reflects their personality and style — I tell all of my clients, “it’s your wedding reception, not mine.” However, when a client asks for my input on their itinerary or a song selection, I am happy to share my suggestions with them. I work very hard to make sure that my client’s weddings remain classy, elegant, and fun. I think it’s important to engage the crowd and make announcements in an upbeat manner, while maintaining the elegance of a wedding reception. When the formalities are over and the dance floor opens, I put down the microphone as much as possible and let the music do the talking. People came out to have fun and dance with the bride and groom, not hear my voice all night!
Photo Credit: Barefotos Photography
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Two of my favorite comedies: Wayne’s World and Wayne’s World 2.
What’s your favorite quote?
“I’m the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy.” -Mark Wahlburg, The Departed
What makes you unique in your field?
I try to get to know each and every one of my clients on a personal level. In the months leading up to a wedding, I want to learn all about my clients – how did they meet, how did they get engaged, will the wedding be more friends, family, or both? This allows me to tailor my performance to them.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to a couple?
At the end of almost every wedding I DJ, the couple comes up to me and says, “I can’t believe it’s over, it went by so fast!” My best piece of advice to every couple is to make sure to take some time during their wedding reception and enjoy it. They worked so hard for months or years to plan every detail of their big day — make sure to take time to enjoy each other’s company, look around the room and take lots of mental pictures, and make sure to get out on the dance floor with your family and friends!
Photo Credit: Sedman Photography
Click here to get in touch with Frank and to book him for your next event.
The Swank Team