An interview with YARRA VALLEY'S BEST DJ/MC

June 20, 2020

ARTICLE BY ASHLEIGH HAASE

Over the years I have seen some massive fails at receptions. Couples wanting a full dance floor and end up with a couple of boppers and then crickets for the remainder. Inexperienced DJs hired on the 'cheap', not being able to read a crowd. I am always asked if I prefer a DJ over live music, and I honestly believe both have their purpose, but today I'll focus on DJs.

I first met Shannon from Music with Memories in 2014. I was photographing my 7th ever wedding and I will never forget how impressive the dance floor was. The night ran so smoothly, he read the crowd and continued to play banger after banger appealing to all the guests. I just knew he had a natural talent for it, and we have been friends ever since.

In just under 300 weddings, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. From Spotify playlists to Jukeboxes, from Karaoke machines to live music, and then there's DJs. I have seen some absolute fails, but also some epic environments created by the entertainment, but when I think about the best receptions I have witnessed, I am always drawn back to the nights spent with Music with Memories. 

If you are considering a DJ for your wedding, but really don't know where to go or what to look for when making your decision, I've made it easier for you. Shannon is one to lock in stat!

"Living within the heart of the Yarra Valley ensures that I am within 15 minutes to so many magical wedding venues. I am so grateful that I have built up lifelong friendships with the wedding venues and suppliers in the surrounding area due to the passions we share – weddings! 

Since a young age I have always heard music in a different way, when I listen to a song, I hear every beat and sound which often would go unnoticed to others. I have always loved music! At the age of ten I picked up a set of drumsticks and instantly felt connected with them. A few years later I was playing in bands at local pubs, events and weddings. 

I married my high school sweetheart Natalie and together we share our passion for weddings and have since created our other two wedding businesses The Photobooth Girl and The Event Hire Girl. We chose a DJ for our wedding day and I just loved how the music mixed from one song to another (without a pause) creating an amazing dancefloor atmosphere. It was from this moment I knew I wanted to be a wedding DJ and shortly after it became my full time job. 

My reputation was quickly established in the industry due to my passion and dedication to not only providing premium DJ / MC services, but to relationships I share with the couples and venues. I pride myself on offering not only a premium DJ / MC service, but many behind the scenes tasks that ensure your wedding day is perfect. I love offering a fun, talented, enthusiastic, entertaining service and I honestly live by the quote ‘find a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life’."

Click here to get in touch with Music with Memories

"Your wedding entertainment is something that your friends and family will be talking about for many years to come. It’s important that everything is planned to how you desire, flowing smoothly on the day, but you also have the right DJ / MC to create the atmosphere that you are after for your special day.
 
As a professional DJ / MC the service I provide is personal as you are only dealing directly with myself.

Your wedding reception makes up 80% of your wedding day. I strongly believe in investing and entrusting your wedding reception with a premium full time DJ / MC to have the peace of mind that your day is everything you hoped for. 

You only have one shot to have a pumping dancefloor and high quality running of formalities so let’s do it right!

I am passionate about educating couples about the difference between a DJ who simply presses stop and play between songs and those who are able to perform the skill and art of DJing and mixing music continuously. Majority of other wedding DJ’s do not have this ability. This basically means that you have a human iPod where there are noticeable gaps in between songs and there is no smooth transition which then effects the mood and environment on the dancefloor. You also run the risk of songs not being seamlessly played at the right time or volume such as your reception entrance song and first dance song.

Nothing worse that awkward silences or mistakes while your trying to create a magical moment!

Being an outstanding DJ / MC on the day of the wedding reception is one thing, however I also owe my success to the planning that I commit to prior. I understand that many DJ’s simply arrive on the day and utilise the basic running sheet provided by the venue and will then often have a generic separate piece of paper with your song requirements for formalities. Unfortunately, this allows room for error and is a very impersonal service. I am dedicated to making a detailed running sheet for each of my couples which allows personalisation of each wedding and what is important to them.

As a professional full time wedding DJ / MC I possess a rare quality which is the adaptability to each and every crowd to ensure I am playing a mix of various music genres to get everyone up and dancing!"


"A music catalogue is a task that is never truly completed! I commit hours to carefully crafting playlists which will allow for setting of the mood and to create an upbeat, excited atmosphere from the moment the guests enter the venue.

The background music that I play involves a range of different genres allowing suitability to each guest, it is crucial that this background music is upbeat allowing the guests to become captivated from the moment they enter the venue. The background music sets the atmosphere for the remainder of the night and I find whilst I am roaming the venue taking ‘happy snaps’ that the guests are singing or bopping along to the music.

From the upbeat background music, I can then smoothly transition into party mode! As guests have been captivated by the music previously, they make their way to the dancefloor very quickly when they dance music begins.

Experience is everything and knowing what each different crowd need is essential. A lot of planning and structure goes into making your formalities look effortless or casual! There is a difference between we want a cruisy relaxed wedding and a shambles with no opportunity  for memories. Likewise for more formal weddings timing, on the night organisation and communication is key to make those moments truly breath taking. "

WHAT'S SO IMPORTANT ABOUT BACKGROUND MUSIC?

Shannon strongly recommends checking out your potential suppliers' social media accounts. 'This provides an indication of their experience as well as how in demand they are.' Shannon uses his Facebook page to establish a reputable brand and sense of community. His account shows dedication, trust, hard work, respect, good relationships and the reviews simply speak for themselves. His Instagram account can show you who he works with as well as all the venues he works at too.

Are social media channels a clear indication of quality?

what makes hiring a professional dj/mc so important?

Now this is the most important part, Shannon says:

"• Knowledge of Venues – Does your DJ or MC possess knowledge of existing and upcoming wedding venues offering extensive advice.

• Quality and Presentation of Equipment – Does your DJ and MC have the top of the range equipment? Is the equipment presented well and safely?

• Backup Equipment – Does your DJ or MC have a full set of backup equipment in case of an emergency? If something is to go wrong on your wedding day can it be fixed within minutes allowing the minor hiccup to be forgotten?

• Prior Planning – Is your DJ or MC organised and committed? Have they discussed the prior planning that they commit to prior to your wedding day to assist with the smooth running and enjoyability? Does your DJ or MC discuss your ideas whilst offering their professional advice?

• Reputable Experience – Have you taken the time to read through Facebook and Google reviews? Regarding a DJ have you viewed the music catalogue to ensure they play your favourite genres?

• Reliable and Recommended – Is your DJ or MC recommended by any venues surrounding Victoria (or within your state)? This shows that a DJ or MC possesses a range of positive qualities including professionalism, reliability, commitment, respectability etc.

• Commitment and Understanding – Has your MC committed to spending time getting to know you asking personal questions allowing your personalities to be reflected within your wedding day? Does your MC have a thorough understanding of your needs documented within a detailed running sheet?

• Seamless Mixing – Does your selected wedding DJ have the ability to mix songs seamlessly to ensure that the dancefloor is always thriving, or do they simply press start and stop allowing for large gaps between songs? This effects the atmosphere on the dancefloor significantly and reduces the number of guests dancing. 

Personality – Does your DJ or MC have an engaging personality? Are they friendly and approachable? Can they blend in with the crowd and further create a fun atmosphere?

• Awards – Has your DJ or MC won any industry specific awards? The industry specific awards are based off a voting system where previous couples rate their wedding suppliers and vote accordingly. I like to think that these awards alongside Facebook and Google reviews are an honest and genuine reflection of the services I provide."

things to consider when hiring a dj / mc

Shannon, Tell us more about who you are.