Win Your Dream Wedding 2015 Dream Team member Stephen Buckley of Mix It DJ has set the mood for movers and shakers at all kinds of events – including international superstars. We asked for his advice on top tracks and tips for the groom with two left feet.
What makes you different from other DJs?
I’ve always thought that the real talent in DJing lies in the ability to walk into a room full of people you don’t know and use your emotional intelligence and knowledge of music to get everyone up and dancing. If you can nail that with an eclectic wedding crowd, then the guests will dance the night away and leave with that “best wedding I’ve ever been to” impression. This is what I and all our Mix It DJ DJs specialise in creating.
I’m also very passionate about discovering new eclectic, upbeat mixes and try to avoid overdone clichés. I like to work with vintage rock, soul, funk, ’70s and ’80s remixes that are nostalgic but refreshing, classic hip-hop, indie and what I’ve termed 'family friendly' house. If you asked me for a reference, it would be the kind of music you'd hear if you were having a wedding at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs! That said, the music I play at any wedding is determined by what I read off the people attending, and what the bride and groom have expressed are their preferred genres.
Have you ever DJed for big-name celebrities? If so, what got them on the dance floor?
Hmm, is Katy Perry famous enough?! I was pretty excited when I was asked to play at her after-party when she was in New Zealand. The guests were really easy and fun to play for as most of them her back-up dancers and they kept requesting old-school hip-hop throwbacks. The only other ‘famous’ people I’ve opened for are American pop band MKTO.
What are some classic tracks that never fail to get the party pumping?
In an eclectic crowd with a mix of ages: Ray Charles’ “Hit The Road Jack”, Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious” and Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie”.
What’s the trend these days: are couples going for choreographed dances? Have you seen anything truly memorable?
I rarely see choreographed dances these days, but the best first dance I’ve seen was a full-blown flash mob to a custom mash-up that involved the entire bridal party. They must have practiced it a thousand times because it was flawless.
What’s your advice for the groom with two left feet – what song will have his back if he wants to try one dance?
I can definitely understand this! My advice would ironically not be about the song choice, but more about how to involve others in the first dance, which will take the heat off him. The best way to do this is to start by taking the floor and doing the primary-school shuffle (moving from side to side) until after the first verse and chorus, then have the rest of the bridal party join in for the next verse and chorus, and finally the rest of the crowd for the final verse and chorus. It’s a great way to turn four minutes of being in the spotlight into one. It’s also worth mentioning that this is a fairly common strategy for couples who don’t like the idea of a full first dance and would prefer to share this moment with their family and friends.