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Mobile Disco's in West Sussex, East Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Kent & London

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Being a DJ

People often ask "what's it like being a DJ?". It's an interesting question, so we thought we'd try and answer it! Andy Foxhall writes:

The first thing to say about being a DJ and running a mobile disco company is that it's great fun and hugely rewarding. The second thing to say is that it's extremely hard work. Silly as it may sound, the only aspect of a mobile disco that you, as a customer or guest should be aware of is - the disco!! In reality, the hard work starts long before the first song is played and carries on long after the last guest departs. The catchphrase 'first one in, last one out' was written with the mobile DJ in mind (well, maybe not but it certainly feels like it should have been!).

So, the first job for any mobile DJ is to load up the transport! It's a little bit like solving those puzzles that you seem to get in your Christmas cracker every year - the ones which have a square missing. There's a lot of equipment and it takes some time and thought. Some of it, like the speakers or amplifiers for example are very heavy too, so it's a job that is difficult to rush - allow 30-45 minutes.

Next, we've got to get the disco to the venue. My DJs are dotted around the Home Counties and so probably will only be an hour away at the most from a venue. Traffic permitting we try and arrive about an hour and half before the first track plays. Access to any venue is hugely important and has an impact on the time we need to set off and arrive. If you know in advance of any parking issues or if the party is upstairs then it would be really useful for the DJ to know this beforehand to allow them to factor that into their timings. All things being equal, unpacking takes about 20 minutes.

Next comes the fun part - setting the disco up. Every venue is different. We might be setting up in the formal surroundings of a banqueting room in The Dorchester, Park Lane London or the clubhouse of a rugby or football club, or the very beautiful and intimate function room in The New Inn, Hurstpierpoint and they all have their unique challenges ranging from access, space, lighting requirements and acoustics. Setting up takes about an hour and should leave us with about 10 - 15 minutes to spare. Then it's party time!!

A good DJ should always play music to suit the occasion, the time of the night and the audience. What does that mean? Well, you wouldn't play Dizzee Rascal and Black Eyed Peas all night long at a 70th birthday party and you wouldn't start the evening off playing YMCA. If you book FoxRox Discos, by the night of your party, we will have discussed musical preferences and the DJ will have a good idea of what you want to hear. You can have as much or as little input into music selection as you want, but it is worth noting that your guests also want to have an enjoyable night and might not like all the tracks you've selected so I normally recommend selecting no more than 15 songs in advance and leave the rest of the music for the DJ and guests to choose. We do take requests and providing it's not on the 'don't play' list and it's suitable, then we'll play it. For a DJ there's nothing more rewarding than seeing a dance floor full of partygoers all having a good time and enjoying themselves. Some DJs like to introduce every song, some DJs like to make jokes. I'm passionate about music and have always felt that people would rather just let the music provide the entertainment - not the DJ. Of course I'll make announcements and get the crowd up and dancing if needs be, apart from that all you'll hear is music music music!!

So we get to the end of the night, I'll play the last song and then play another last song and maybe even another last song, but actually what I'm really doing is just putting off the inevitable - packing up! It all has to come back down again and packed away, methodically, back into the van. Funnilly enough it never seems to take as long taking it all down as it does putting it up - allow an hour - then I'm off! Sometimes, depending on where I need to be the following day, I might go onto another venue and set up early for the following days disco, but more often than not it's back home, unload everything and bed! Typically, if a disco finishes at midnight, I'm not horizontal until about 0245hrs - ouch!

Pretty much all of my music is on CD. I subscribe to a DJ only service that allows me to obtain copies of music that haven't even been released yet. All of my music is catolgued electronically on a lap top, so finding a specific request takes only a matter of seconds. All of my eqiupment is new and updated every 6-8 months to keep my disco looking fresh and modern. I want to be able to say that pound for pound my customers are getting the best mobile disco for their money and yes, you will find cheaper, but the end product will clearly be reflected in the price you pay.

So, do you think you have what it takes to be a DJ?? Have you a broad knowledge of music? Do you know what's in the charts at the moment? Have you a passion for music and excellent customer service? If so, get in touch - I'm looking for a new DJ to join my team, based in the Burgess Hill/Haywards Heath area I can provide equipment and training - you'll need to provde the transport, commitment and the passion!!

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