It was a busy year for Wedding Jam South, and towards the tail end of the season, Katy and Dean lucked out with a lovely sunny day.
Personally, I’ve played some incredible venues lately, and the beautiful Artisan of Clerkenwell was the perfect scene for a Wedding Jam party. The venue is stunning, nestled away in a lovely cobbled square just behind Clerkenwell Road near Old Street in Clerkenwell/Hackney. The dÃ©cor is great, exposed brickwork and warm but kooky lighting give the place a really welcoming but slightly leftfield vibe. They’ve got an impressive selection of ales and spirits (which I sadly couldn’t partake in this time:) but the thing that really made the experience for me was the staff, led by the in-house wedding planner Meg, everyone in the team was super-friendly, helpful and chilled out which relaxed me from the off and I could tell it was going to be a top night.
The groom, Dean is a DJ himself (we’re notoriously difficult please!). He told me from the start that he’d been struggling to find someone to spin tunes that he would feel confident in, and was really pleased to have found Wedding Jam. The brief was to keep a dance-floor going with a selection of northern soul, indie and the right kinds of 60s, 70s and 80s and when I heard that, I jumped at the chance to be their wedding selector.
Being a former indie kid and a big northern soul fan myself I was in my element and when I saw Dean and Kate’s playlist I knew it was going to be a great Wedding Jam. One great perk of this job is that as our clients are usually massive music fans, we often learn of new tracks from their suggestions and there were one or two great soul nuggets from Dean’s selection that I’ll be keeping in my record bag for the future. The dance floor was moving throughout the night as brilliantly captured by Sam Gibson as you can see in the accompanying photos; he and I bonded over some beer battered fish and chips. http://www.samgibsonweddings.co.uk
So congratulations and cheers to Dean and Kate for getting us involved in another special Wedding Jam!
You have booked your dream venue, found the most perfect dress and tasted a divine wedding breakfast. It’s now that your thoughts might turn to deciding on how you are going to entertain your guests and celebrate your marriage with a party to remember!
The best night of your life deserves the perfect soundtrack. Speak personally to DJs you are researching to find out if they share your passion for music and can give you ideas for your reception. An experienced wedding DJ at the top of their game should be able to bring some alchemy to the table, creating a bespoke musical recipe just for you – perhaps a serving of soul, a sprinkle of swing and a dash of disco!
Good communication should be paramount. Getting to know the bride and groom, that inside knowledge of their tastes, guilty pleasures, and of course Dad’s favourite Elvis track, or Mum’s best disco tune for throwing shapes, will really help to shape the set they plan. As the Big Day draws near, tunes from stag and hen dos are often added into the mix! Equally important are â€˜Do Not Play’ lists, which often tell DJs as much about their clients as the tracks they have requested, and provide clear limits and expectations. An experienced DJ should be used to working with bands, singers and musicians, making sure different acts flow seamlessly into others. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about any details you may think of.
As wedding DJs, we share in the couple’s excitement in the lead-up to the wedding, and maximise the feel good factor on the night. A good wedding DJ can play right across the musical spectrum, and include requested songs and genres while responding to the atmosphere on the night. Given the love and celebration in the room, most wedding soundtracks are loads of fun and often very emotional!
With this in mind, we would like to share three of our current favourite wedding-themed tracks that musically span Rhythm & Blues, Swing and Rock ‘n’ Roll, and capture the anticipation and joy of a wedding!
Prince La La – Gettin’ Married Soon. We have to mention this little gem of a record, a slice of vintage New Orleans R&B from 1962 written by Charles Julien and performed here by Prince La La. It always seems apt to play this record at wedding fairs, as it captures the mood of anticipation of the brides, their grooms and families in attendance. It’s a fun tune and while planning a wedding can be overwhelming and often stressful, it is also a lot of fun!
Evelyn Knight – A Little Bird Told Me. Recorded in 1948 with The Stardusters, this perky swing number reached no.1 and stayed there for seven weeks. Knight’s success with Decca Records meant she was included among the original 1500 stars on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame in 1960.
Chuck Berry – You Never Can Tell. Also known as â€˜Teenage Wedding’, this classic rock â€˜n’ roll track is sure to get people dancing, most likely as part of a Twist Contest in homage to that famous Pulp Fiction scene! Released in 1964, this was one of Berry’s most successful songs, telling the story of a teenage wedding, the couple’s life afterwards and their eventual trip to New Orleans in a â€˜souped-up jitney’ (car) to celebrate their anniversary.
It’s International Women’s Day, so we decided to highlight five of the most inspiring women in music. From the beauty and power of Beyonce to the gentle grace of Joni Mitchell and on to the combination of the spiritual and the political that makes Erykah Badu so essential. Each and every one of these ladies brings something truly special to the world of music.
Click play on the video below to see all these artists and many more besides. As ever, we also hope that you get inspiration for your own playlist, some of these songs could make perfect alternative wedding songs…
Part of being feminine is about self expression and celebrating your uniqueness – which is something that Kate Bush personifies better than just about anybody else.
There is nobody on earth who can match Beyonce in full flight. Yes, some of her songs are ropey, but when she gets it right, there is no stopping her. Can you believe Crazy in Love is 10 years old already?
A supreme musical talent who survived the 1960s and ’70s with her grace and her sanity intact. While Bob Dylan pushed folk into rock territory, Joni went deep into the challenges posed by jazz. Joni’s songs are timeless and will continue to inspire for many years to comeâ€¦
The arch-motivator in the re-invention of soul music in the 1990s, Erykah is in touch with the past, present and future of music, life and everything. In the video in the playlist above, she takes charge of herÂ band in a way that would make James Brown proud…
Unique is an oft-misused word, but for Bjork it is never enough. Always able to take you to places you’ve never been before, we salute the Icelandic beauty for brightening our days.
This week’s Wedding Jams are utterly adorable and sweet cover versions of classic songs. It’s a collection of songs that would be perfect for your early-doors chilled wedding playlist. Every one is familiar without being slap-in-the-face-obvious and, as ever, they are still brilliant records that stand up well to the originals.
We’ve highlighted six of our favourites, but the playlist is much longer. Click on the video below to hear every one of them…
Gretchen Parlato – I Can’t Help It
However achingly lovely this version may be, it’s impossible to top Michael and Quincy in their prime. Still, Ms Parlato gives it her best…
Quincy Jones – Summer in the City
Speaking of Quincy, his masterful cover of The Lovin’ Spoonful takes things into hot, steamy, jazzy and very feminine territory.
Amy Winehouse – Girl From Ipanema
This version is less bossa nova and more super nova as the bright star of Amy Winehouse went back to her jazz roots and delivered a surprising cover of this Brazilian classic before her light sadly faded. An intriguing cover that keeps this wonderful yet maligned song relevant.
Paul Anka – Smells Like Teen Spirit
This is either an inspired cover version or it’s a nightmarish vision of what life will be like when the children of the 1980s hit pension age. In my view it’s the former – seeing a song so vehemently associated with youthful rebellion being enjoyed by the over-sixties is a reminder that we’ve all been there, however long ago it may have been.
BJ Smith – Umi Says
This psyched-out, folked-up version of Mos Def’s classic tearjerker ‘Umi Says’, that has been re-interpreted by a young Londoner in 2013, is an unexpected delight. A surprising cover it may be, but sometimes it’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at.
Innerzone Orchestra – People Make the World Go Round (J88 Remix)
The Stylistics are taken to new places by Detroit’s modern masters of soul Carl Craig and J Dilla. This never ages.
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After watching the Brit Awards this week, aside from reminding me to cancel my Britannia Music Club subscription, it also got me ranting and raving at the telly. Why? As ever there were some winners that were as surprising as they were bad. Although there were a few pleasant surprises along the way, we were generally disappointed. So, what to do about it? Come up with our own alternative Brit Awards of course! Do you agree with the changes that our expert panel of alternative wedding DJs (well, Paul and myself), have come up with? Check out the videos in the playlist below and then let us know in the comments…
Best British Female – Jessie Ware
We have closely watched Jessie’s rise into the mainstream ever since her SBTRKT collaboration ‘Nervous’ first started doing the rounds. She has a knack for making pop music with one foot still firmly in the underground. To be fair, we quite like the real winner, Emelie Sande, but she has been lauded enough in 2012 already.
Best British Group – The XX
Perfectly reflecting a bleaker and more introspective time for the UK, The XX are the perfect representatives of generation XX. There are whole swathes of musicians who seem to have followed The XX’s less-is-more aesthetic and are produced gorgeously nuanced pop music as a result.
Best British Producer – Disclosure, AlunaGeorge and Hudson Mohawke
We have really enjoyed the productions of Disclosure, AlunaGeorge and Hudson Mohawke during 2012 – so we may as well give them all the award. Conveniently, they have made a song together too! You’ll find it in the playlist above, so check it out.
Best British Newcomer – Laura Mvula
During 2012 she made her name, but for 2013 she’ll be releasing an album and we can’t wait; Laura Mvula is the future of British soul music.
Best British Single – Rudimental – Feel the Love
How can you resist this? Pop meets jungle and takes the top of the charts by storm. Never mind Emelie Sande, Rudimental were the sound of London 2012 – just check out their performance at Radio1′s Hackney Weekend to see what we mean.
The ones we couldn’t argue with
The international winners seemed to be fairly spot on to us. Both Lana Del Ray and Frank Ocean seemed like very worthy winners indeed, although we would be tempted to swap The Black Keys, good as they are, for Tame Impala in the International Group category. Another winner that we liked was the British male gong being handed to Ben Howard – proving that you don’t need number one singles and pages in Heat magazine to make it big.
Seen as this is our alternative Brits, we’ve put a more unusual Lana Del Ray number in the playlist above; a song she features on from Bobby Womack’s recent album – The Bravest Man in the Universe. They complement each other perfectly; his worldly-wise warmth with her cinematic narration.
It’s nearly Valentine’s Day, so we thought it would be appropriate to share a few of our favourite love songs with you. If you don’t splash out on flowers and chocolate, just stick a few of these records on a mixtape for your loved one and you will be sure to get into their good books!
For couples who are already going strong, we also think that these could make a good first dance or warm-up wedding playlist, especially if you are looking for alternative wedding music that isn’t too predictable.
Here is our guide to the first few tracks on the playlist. To watch the videos simply click play on the video above and it will take you through them one-by-one…
Stevie Wonder – As
Is this the best love song ever? Probably; it’s just so intense both lyrically and musically. We can vouch for this as a first dance too; not only is it such an achingly romantic song, it can’t help but tempt the guests to join in. Perfection.
The Beatles – Something
The first major hit to be written by George Harrison, it signaled his songwriting genius to the world. This was Frank Sinatra’s favourite love song, which says a lot. The boys certainly knew how to turn the charm on.
Jon Brion – Here We Go
At first this may seem like a bleak listen, but there are few songs more tender and more perceptive about love. It may be the theme to the Paul Thomas Anderson film ‘Punch Drunk Love’, but it barely appears in the movie. The video is also not taken from the movie, and it’s possibly the greatest music video that doesn’t involve dancing zombies or fish-eye lenses.
Paris – I Choose You
Hey baby, come over by the fire and lets listen to a little two-step soul. Aaaaaaahhhhhh yeah.
Jill Scott – He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)
There are many Jill Scott love songs to choose from, but this is the one that feels most laden with romance. It is a hymn to Jill’s former husband (Lyzel Williams) and is as sensitive and lovely as modern soul music gets.
Al Green – Stay Together
When you are choosing the finest love song, this classic always comes into it. The Reverend Al Green’s greatest hit works so beautifully at a wedding too – make sure it’s on your wedding playlist. Some songs are so good that they escape being a cliche, no matter how much they are played.
Floetry – Say Yes
At the end of each of Floetry’s LPs they turned the sexiness up to 11; this is the kind of music that makes babies. What’s more, it’s sung by a South Liverpool lass, Marsha Ambrosius, who remains almost totally unknown here on Merseyside, despite having a Grammy on her mantlepiece and counting Michael Jackson and Dr Dre amongst her collaborators.
Grady Tate – Moondance
You know the song, but do you know this version? It’s surely the finest there is, which is why I tend to always play this at weddings, if I get the chance.
Jamie Lidell – She Needs Me
One of the most talented singers to ever emerge from these shores, Jim is in full on soul-mode here. Want the perfect alternative first dance? You should try this.
King – Hey
To the best of our knowledge, King are three New York sisters who have had just the one record out – but what a record it is. Devine.
Happy Friday everybody! To get you ready to party, we have put together our favourite dance-floor-friendly rock songs. There are so many great rock records, but some work a lot better than others at a party. Being a wedding DJ in Liverpool means you have to be prepared to play anything, so it helps to know what gets people dancing and what doesn’t. We just had a quick chat about what we believe are the finest rock anthems to play to a busy dance-floor, but do you agree with the selection we have come up with? If you have other ideas, then please let us know in the comments below…
The playlist above features… The Cure – The Lovecats, INXS – Need You Tonight, The Clash – Rock The Casbah, Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor, The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army, and more…
The Wedding Jam posse are reformed ravers who turned a passion for clubbing into a desire to DJ. Between us we have experienced magic moments in many different venues, but Cream and Full On at Nation in the 1990s were to have a tremendous impact on us. Personally, I absorbed so much knowledge about DJing from simply looking into the DJ booth as the likes of Roger Sanchez, Tony Humphries and LTJ Bukem controlled rooms packed with hundreds of clued-up clubbers. Although you can never beat getting behind the decks for yourself, so much of what we know about our trade was mapped out in the world-famous club on Wolstenholme Square.
On occasion we have been fortunate enough to be invited to play music at Nation, the fabled home of Cream. Indeed, we even have original Cream DJ Andy Carroll on the books here at Wedding Jam; so if you are looking for a house music wedding DJ then we are the ultimate!
A conversation in the office this week turned to our favourite Cream anthems – and we realised there are quite a few! We decided to keep it to Cream’s early days, so these are all pre-1997, which for us was a golden era – after that we were all about Bugged Out!
Anyway, here are ten of the best records from that time; you can listen to them by clicking ‘play’ on the Youtube playlist below. You’ll find that the playlist goes further than just ten records – that’s because there were so many that we could put in there!
Wedding Jam’s top 10 Cream anthems…
Alison Limerick – Where Love Lives
Seven Grand Housing Authority – The Answer
Gusto – Disco’s Revenge
Jaydee – Plastic Dreams
Mighty Dub Katz – It’s Just Another Groove
The Bucketheads – The Bomb!
K Klass – Let Me Show You
River Ocean feat India – Love & Happiness
LTJ Bukem – Horizons
Mory Kante – Yeke Yeke (Hardfloor Mix)
It’s time for some more Weekend Wedding Jams, this time looking ahead to the music that may well be rocking a dancefloor near you in 2013. These exciting new artists could very well be a part of your wedding music playlist in the future, so take a first listen right now. Click on the playlist below to get started, let us know if you love these songs as much as we do and share your 2013 music tips in the comments below…
AlunaGeorge – Your Drums, Your Love
Do you like R’n'B? How about UK bass music? Well, AlunaGeorge love them both so much, that they’ve merged them to create their own deeper take on pop music. While the big US pop producers are taking inspiration from far more in-your-face European electronic music, Aluna Francis and her pal George Reid are carving out their own niche. With a fan-base that has been built the right way – through word-of-mouth – AlunaGeorge now boast major label support and an increasing profile in the press. So, it’s now or never for them to appear in your local HMV, if it still exists later in 2013. AlunaGeorge are on the verge of something special, but for now we will have to make do with last summer’s “Your Drums, Your Love” until their new material arrives.
Inc. – The Place
Like Disclosure, Inc. are two brothers who have shared their musical upbringing and turned their passion into their profession. Residing in LA and formally known by the boyband-esque name of Teen Inc., they are set to take soul music into the same subtle and sensitive realms that The XX have taken British indie rock. “The Place” is about as heartfelt and hypnotic as music gets; expect their forthcoming album to soundtrack as many intimate moments as D’Angelo did in the ’90s.
Disclosure – Control
Disclosure may only be young, but they have been sending dancefloors into a frenzy since the summer of 2010 when the brothers’ intricate and sophisticated “Carnival” was released when they were barely old enough to sneak into the clubs playing their music. Now they have already had a big hit with “Latch” and an LP is in the works, they could become the go-to dance producers of this decade once the pop fraternity catches onto their accessible yet underground update on garage music. They are pretty handy at DJing too…
Hiatus Kaiyote – Nakamarra
Making music as warm as the climate, Hiatus Kaiyote hail from Down Under where they are poised to wow the world of soul and jazz. “Nakamarra” is a favourite of Gilles Peterson, the arbiter of taste in the dance music world, so expect them to make it big on the underground scene that he is an ambassador for. You may not hear them in the top 40 any time soon, but we’ll just make them our little secret, OK?
Laura Mvula – She
How Laura Mvula can make music that sounds so unique, yet so warmly catchy and seemingly familiar, is beyond us. The absolute shining star of British soul music in the 21st century.
Thom Yorke’s new project, King Krule, the return of Jamie Lidell, Delphic and Bonobo are also looking like delivering some great records in 2013. Who else should we keep an eye on?
It’s time for another selection of fabulous songs – this time we look at some of our favourite new releases of the year. This isn’t the sort of music that you hear at too many weddings, it’s just a few songs that we have found ourselves putting on repeat during the past year. It’s so hard to narrow down the best new music 2012 has delivered, but here goesâ€¦
Jessie Ware – ‘Running (Disclosure Mix)’
THE garage anthem of the year from two crossover success stories; both Jessie and Disclosure deserve all the plaudits and record sales that have came their way in 2012.
Jai Paul ‘Jasmine (Demo)’
The mysterious Jai Paul and his lo-fi high-quality love song has been a constant favourite of ours, particularly late at night.
Frank Ocean – ‘Thinking About You’
Frank Ocean has been one of the most talked about artists of 2012. So, stop the talking, and listen to the catchiest, cutest cut from the Channel Orange album.
Mutt – ‘Womack’
Calling all junglists! There have been a few anthems from the D’n'B scene this year, but this is perhaps the most suitable for listening at home on your laptop. This went down a storm in the Theatre at Chibuku a few months back.
Kindness – ‘House’
Another record that deserves to be heard again and again; so play it, then play it again. Divine.
Records from Rudimental, Flying Lotus, AlunaGeorge, TNGHT and the astounding Dorian Concept remix of Cid Rim round out the top ten. Do you agree with our selection? What have we missed? Let us know in the comments below…