ALL OF THE BEST parties you’ve ever been to had one thing in common – good music. Sometimes it’s obvious, other times it isn’t, but it’s always the music that makes the vibe (although shots can also help).
I chatted with Matt Calabro from Calabrotive Sound who told me about the worst mistake a DJ can ever make, the artist you would never guess guys request but do, and the weirdest thing he’s ever seen happen on a dance floor (warning: it’s pretty weird.)
How important is music at a party?
“A party without music is like Facebook with no friends, YouTube with no videos, and Google with no results. Completely useless! Music brings life to a party, sets the scene for the night and gives the guy in the corner the courage to ask the hot chick for a dance.”
What are your favourite kinds of gigs?
“Our favourites are the corporate shows where everyone lets loose and can’t control themselves. There are no real formalities and it’s interesting how office people come out of their shell… I remember one show with an IT department and a marketing department… propeller heads losing it on the dance floor with the hot marketing department… man, was that crazzzzzzzzzzy.”
Your best gig of all time?
“Corporate show, 600 people, 400 dancing… perfect venue, went from 6pm-2am… happy days.”
What’s the worst mistake a DJ can make?
“Deadly and unforgiveable mistake: dance floor full of people, atmosphere perfect… change genre to play something the DJ loves, not what suits the crowd… total screw up!”
(DJ Tip #1. This is why the record scratch – “vrrrrrrrrp” – has become the universal sound effect used to signify an awkward moment.)
(DJ Tip #2. Maybe avoid the record scratch, unless you’re Mix Master Mike)
Are there any special DJ moves you know about that are guaranteed to get the party started every time?
“A magician never reveals his secrets, but depending on the show, playing some classic tunes always seems to hit the right chord… stuff from the 70s, 80s or just all time classics.”
Any songs you don’t put on your set lists but that you’re always hoping someone requests because you secretly want to play it?
“We’re fans of good crowd pleasers… so Return of the Mack – Mark Morrison – is always a fav of ours, but depending on show we don’t always get to play it.”
Do you take requests?
“Absolutely. We take requests from people that aren’t slurring and don’t slouch all over our DJ system… oh, and sexy ladies.”
What’s the most requested song of all time?
“Tough one… depends on the show, but I’ll go with Billie Jean. Strangely enough ABBA is requested by more guys than you would suspect.”
(DJ Tip #3. Never smirk when a man requests ABBA.)
What does a real-life DJ have that an iPod doesn’t?
“A real life DJ brings a level of responsiveness that you simply can’t get from a set playlist on an iPod. The DJ judges the crowd, finds genres that work, creates the atmosphere… gets on the mic (although not many do) and hits the home run on a show that people will not forget…We have had some amazing shows where the music worked, the crowd loved it and everything fell in to place.”
What makes a great DJ?
“Good range, ability to communicate, great setup and plays songs that suit the crowd, not what the DJ wants to hear.”
Who’s your favourite DJ?
“We are fans of Swedish House Mafia… what they have done is amazing. It’s hard to choose one but favourite current DJs include Tiesto, Hardwell, Armin Van Buuren, Deadmau5 and Calvin Harris to name a few. We can’t overlook those DJs that shaped the industry like Armand van Helden, Daft Punk, Carl Cox and Pete Tong along with others.”
Have you ever told people to “raise the roof”?
“If we said possibly, will we be judged…?”
Do you ever laugh at some of the antics you see on the dance floor?
“Absolutely… music brings out the best (and worst) in people. There have been too many antics to mention, but we had a guy rip his shirt off like in dirty dancing and try to lift a girl up… what a disaster! Or the time some dude thought our speaker was a chick, chatting her up, making love to her… strange I know!”
(DJ Tip #4. Always carry a spare shirt in case someone has to suddenly rip theirs off while they’re on the dance floor.)