DJ’ing In The Time Of COVID

The strange and challenging times we find ourselves in. COVID-19 is running rampant. Trumps USA is imploding. The Black Lives Matter movement is, justifiably, exploding. We have uncertainty in the UK with BREXIT. We have an impending NZ election with referenda on legalised Euthanasia and Cannabis. The World seems to be spinning in a craze of uncertainty, dysfunction. We’re being subject to changing climate and ever increasing violence. Amongst all these things, we’re all trying to find some normalcy to cling to. New Zealand seems almost normal due our largely managing to hold COVID at bay, for now.

Why I’m writing this.

As with other of my writings on my website, I expose myself personally. This is just who I am, I tend wear my heart on my sleeve. I want to share my life with my potential clients, give them a sense of who I am. Like attracts like. I’m being invited into some of their, your, most personal moments, Birthdays and Weddings, etc. It seems only right to try convey a sense of myself in what I write. Some of these writings are about me and some about my business.

DJ work.

We’ve all experienced changes, due COVID. In March, April, May and June, 2019, I was working regularly. I had joined the Mesalagroove DJ Agency. Due the agency, I had had a steady supply of interesting DJ work across a wide variety of bars. This includes the likes of Fortune Favours, Dillinger’s and Fox Glove. My favourite was outside, out front, the Macs Brew Bar. We had some cancelations at this venue due inclement weather, and I worked amongst some decent winds and some splattering showers. The Mac Brewery was great, it was on a Sunday and I could take my dog and I developed some cool playlists. It was enjoyable to watch the effect of capturing passers by with a tune, see them stop, buy a beer and sit for a while. The intended purpose of having us DJ’s there. The nature of some of the venues I was working in, and the musical direction for those places, saw me developing a quite different style of DJ’ing. Lots of variations of music to suit those diverse venues. To me, adventurous, challenging and interesting.

Out of the ‘teens’ and into the ’20s.

Leaving the ‘teens’ behind and the idea of the ’20s, was exciting. I had my greatest number of Weddings booked for a long time. I guess I wasn’t alone in my excitement about the ’20s. There was my increasing bar DJ work. There were some challenging and well paid Birthdays booked. The 2019/20 Wedding season saw me DJ for the first times at the Tauherenikau Racecourse, Tauherenikau and Anam Cara Gardens, Otaki, The Lodge, Pauatahanui as well as work at some of my regular ‘haunts’. Namely, The Milk Station, Otaki and The Boatshed, Wellington, to name a few. I also DJ’d Chris Hipkins Wedding At Government House, which was my childhood dental clinic. That was an interesting day, to say the least.

Chris Hipkins Wedding, Government House, Wellington. Pinky Agnew officiating.
Anan Cara Gardens, Otaki. Paula Bennet officiating.
Boatshed Wedding Ceremony on the deck between the Boatshed and Wellington Rowing Club
Milk Station, Otaki. Beat Girl, Andrea ‘The Singing Celebrant’ Sanders officiating.

Road tripping 2020.

In February I had my regular visit to Splore. My post-Splore holiday, this year, on the Tutukaka Coast was amazing. Staying on a friends family’s coastal farm. My first time visiting this area. I want to go back!Maybe next year. In mid-March, the cusp of the COVID lockdown there was a road-trip with a US based cousin and her husband in NZ for 15 days. It was excellent to show of some bits of NZ to them, and I saw a few places I had not visited in a longtime, including Rotorua. The driving was relaxing with the roads being very quiet in the absence of other tourists and logging, and other, trucks .

Splore Main Stage 2020
Whale Bay, Tutukaka Coast

Concert Work.

Pre-COVID I was doing production driving work on concerts and had worked on the John Prine and Bryan Ferry concerts. John Prine R.I.P. (a COVID victim), had me crying side of stage to the lyrics in one of his songs. An incredible musician and performer, his performance will be one I’ll always treasure experiencing. I also drove on the Six60 concert at Hutt Park in January, a massive sell out crowd of what seemed like, predominantly, young Woman. It’s great to see NZ bands selling out huge events and leaves me keen to see other NZ outfits getting a similar chance to shine in the absence of touring internationals while our borders remain locked down.

Splore.

I can’t recommend the Splore festival highly enough. Diverse, friendly, engaging, exciting, child friendly, no one looking at their phones, it is truly brilliant. I have tickets for next February’s Splore, which will likely be an all NZ affair. This, versus the many internationals I have seen in previous years. Splore is for me, as much as anything, an opportunity to watch and hear other DJ’s techniques and to try to work some of their methods into my own work. It is a fantastical social, visual and aural feast and gives me something to take me away from work during the Summer. It is also a congregation of friends I don’t get to see except at Splore. I invariably end up turning down several opportunities to work, mainly Weddings, to head to Splore, and my holiday afterwards, but it is always worth it! I work to live, not live to work.

Splore, one of the Planets best music and art festivals. A huge inspiration for me musically.

New Equipment.

Before the 2019/20 Wedding and party season I upgraded my PA (Public Address) to a JBL rig from my previous HK Audio equipment. I purchased a pair of 2000watt 12″ top boxes and a pair of 1000watt 18″ subs. I’m enjoying the new rig. Upgrading the PA also meant the purchase of a pair of K&M crank up distance rods to set the top boxes above the subs. After an issue with a microphone that had suffered a fall, I upgraded my wireless microphone sets to Sennheiser broadcast quality kits. Quite a step up. Then there was the purchase of a pair of Pioneer CDJ2000 Nexus II media players. The purchase of the Nexus II’s has meant a significant amount of work to reorganise my music to suit how they function and and their work flow. It has been a decent expense buying a collection of 32GB USBs and SD cards to meet the technical limitations of the Nexus. Quite a significant spend and all now largely idle, (barring my use of of the media players and my Rane mixer for Danger Danger – see below), in my lockup as I await the my next non-bar gigs. I’ll talk more about my upcoming and current work shortly.

Income in the time of COVID.

PRE-COVID I also had a steady flow of Airbnb guests that I was sharing my house with. This was good income and company as I form solid friendships with most of my guests and the majority of my guests are, were, long stayers. With COVID, and this was the common experience of all working in the hospitality and entertainment sectors, all my/our work fell to zero. Airbnb became largely defunct. I was very thankful for the Government wage subsidies, as a Sole-Trader, they have been invaluable in helping me live and maintain my business. I detail some of how this was spent below

DJ’ing in Level 1 2020.

Come to level 1 2020, my bar DJ work is picking up and I have bookings for numerous bars part of the DJ agency. I’m DJ’ing 4 nights, 2 weekends, a month at Danger Danger. The 4AM finishes, 6 hour sets are tough but I’m enjoying the technical challenges of bringing retro, recent and current tunes together in a cohesive way. My dance floors are pumping.

Home.

I am currently house sharing with a border, who arrived at the beginning of level 2 (via Airbnb). John, from Portland, Oregon, arrived with a letter of permission to travel from the Government and has settled in for a long stay. Stimulating the economy, I’ve spent some of my subsidy money, income from my tenant and an excess of spare time working on my home in Mount Victoria. The ‘worst house on the street’ it is very much a ‘fixer upper’. However, it’s Sun, it’s views are incredible. It also backs onto the Townbelt (perfect for my dog). It was my late Sister’s home, and is 2 doors along from my family home, still occupied by her widow. Some of the recent sunsets have been stunning, but we have also been subject to some fierce Nor Wester winds and torrential rains.

Nina.

The most positive recent change in my life came in September of last year, 2019, I got Nina, a Border Collie/Labrador Cross. I haven’t been owned by a hound for about 20 years, with my last being a Rottweiler bitch, Kif, (1983-1998).

Nina, Pauatahanui Inlet, Paramata
Nina, Mount Kaukau.

Nina has changed my world. After the loss of my Sister to cancer in 2016, then my Mum in 2017, things were relatively bleak. I closed down emotionally. Nina has woken me up and is keeping me grounded, involved and happy. Having Nina, and an overlapping bubble with her surrogate Mum, Maya, during lockdown was significant. I I would not have come through this period as intact as I have without her and Maya around. I enjoyed my lockdown, it was quiet and restful, lots of sleep, exercise, dog walking and home cooked food. It was a good tonic to one of my busiest Wedding seasons for many years.

The immediate future.

So now to upcoming Weddings etc. Due to the timing of COVID, I only had 2 Weddings left on my books, one in May, that has shifted to October and one in August, which has been canceled and I’ve refunded those clients my retainer. The October Wedding is to be held at Poppies, Martinborough. I know the owners Katie (Poppy) and Shane from my time living in Ohakune in the 80’s and 90’s, as they both come from there. I have yet to work there, but went there for the first time a year or 2 back to eat and check out the venue. I’m looking forward to DJ’ing there. I have a few Birthdays on my books, always a lot of fun. It is especially interesting working up play lists based on the clients tastes.

I have some School Discos on my books. There is a likely Collage Ball. A 90th Birthday. My on going work at Danger Danger. Multiple bar work via the Mesalagroove agency. I’ grateful that it really is steady as she goes. I have a mid-week seasons pass to Ruapehu and time enough to go enjoy some snowboarding. I also get to take my dog, as the places I stay are dog friendly and Nina is a friendly dog.

Pricing.

I’m getting multiple enquiries every week for Weddings, Birthdays, etc. The prevailing attitude seems to be that us entertainers should be giving ourselves away at heavily reduced prices, and no doubt some are. Such is my perception of some of the enquiries I’ve been fielding. I appreciate that many are feeling insecure about their work and incomes, we all are to some degree. Some of the enquiries are people looking to hold Weddings postponed under COVID, some were originally supposed to be off-shore etc. With all this in mind, I’m leaving my prices were they sat last year. I’m not prepared to compromise myself by a race to the bottom of the ‘pricing pile.’

My reasoning.

Not altering my pricing to meet my competition might seem counterproductive to getting work but these are my reasons. A Wedding for me sees me leave my house, for my lock up to load my van, around 9AM the morning of the Wedding. I’m usually not getting home till 3/4AM the next morning. I charge what I’m worth, I charge a price that reflects the $45,000 of equipment I bring to a Wedding. Close to $30,000 spent in the months prior to COVID. I charge to reflect the many hours of prepping my clients playlists/requests. Sorting their music is time consuming and I oft end up buying music. I maintain regular contact with my clients. I site check venues, independently and with my clients, working out the minutiae of layouts and the anticipated flow of the day. I apply these same efforts to any of the functions I undertake but Weddings are especially demanding.

Solo operator.

I’m a single operator, that is, I undertake my work on the day solo. Although there are occasional exceptions to this if a job is big enough I will hire some labour. As to the DJ component, If you book me, you get me. Hire me, get me. You will not get a substitute you may not even have heard from till the week before the Wedding. I had an online ‘discussion’ with just such an operator pre-lockdown this year, chastising him for advertising in a DJ Facebook group for a DJ for a Havelock North Wedding just days away from the Wedding. He charges at least as much as me and that’s his level of service? No thanks.

Stay safe, stay well, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line with any questions.

Me, DJ Max.

2020 Weddings, a New Year a new decade.

Where to start? Before I move onto 2020 Weddings, a bit about the last year or so. Last year was very busy, after taking a few years out away from DJ’ing in bars and clubs I signed with an agency that has me doing a lot of DJ work in bars again. A lot of this work has been afternoon and early evening work, but some does encroach into the night, although I’m oft done and dusted by midnight and home to my bed. With the various musical genres directed by the various bars I’ve been getting to explore aspects of my large collection of music that had not been getting much ‘airtime’ prior and this has been refreshing.

My 2020 Weddings and other function work has also taken off, it seems a lot of couples have been waiting for 2020 to roll around to get married. I’ll be working across several venues in the coming months that are new to me and yesterday I site checked Otaki’s Anam Cara Gardens for a Wedding I’m DJ’ing in February. This pace is stunning, beautifully set up and I’m excited to have the opportunity to work there.

www.anamcaragardens.co.nz/

I also got a puppy, Nina (thank you Wellington SPCA), a Border Collie/Labrador cross, and she has changed so much about how I live and the things I look forward to. This is her high in the hills with one of her Mum’s. I look forward to every moment with Nina and it is hard to be away from her for the long days that my Weddings are but I, and she, have a network of friends and neighbours that are all helping out and the peak of the Wedding season, the majority of my long days, is not too long.

I’ve invested heavily in new equipment over the past year and now boast a thumping JBL sound system and Pioneer Nexus II media players. I’ve also added 2 sets of Sennheiser microphones and a plethora of other ‘bits and bobs’, this has significantly improved my set ups and shows and reduced some of my labour. All great things.

I have a busy summer ahead and this includes my annual pilgrimage to the 3 day Splore Music Festival in February, to relax, dance and enjoy the music of others. This will be followed by the 3 day Club 121 Festival in March (again just a punter) at the Tauherenikau Racecourse, where I DJ’d a fabulous Wedding in December last year. This place too is stunning and Rose and Smith are supreme operators, if you’re hunting venues you definitely need to visit this one. I also have work on various concerts driving production crew and musicians and drove for the John Farnham production in December and next month have Randy Newman and then in April, one of my heroes, Patti Smith in Christchurch.

www.tauherenikau.co.nz/weddings/

In March, the tail of peak Wedding, I’m back at The Otaki Milk Station (OMS) themilkstation.co.nz/, another sublime venue and under the auspices of the brilliant Norbert and his beautiful German Shepherd, Bella. This is a Ruth Pretty Catering (RPC) www.ruthpretty.co.nz/ catered affair, as they oft are at the OMS. I’ve done a lot of work with both the OMS and RPC and I credit Paul Pretty with where I stand now with regards my position as an experienced Wedding DJ.

That’s it for now, thanks for reading. #herewego2020weddings

Summers End 2018

Hard to believe it is Autumn 2018 already. I’ve had a relatively quiet year to date, no bookings in February, for the first time in about 10 years, and only one booking in January, my second quiet January.

No bookings in February allowed me to extend my annual Summer holiday, which  I was not unhappy about. I went to the Splore music festival, my second time there. Splore is truly brilliant, outstanding music and outstanding production values. It is very valuable research for me as to what people are listening to outside the narrow realms of the charts and mediocre bars that dominate the NZ music scape. This might sound overly critical, and I enjoy a cheesy pop tune as much as anyone, but there is only so much auto-tuned vocals, sexist/misogynistic and nonsensical lyrics, that I can stand. Don’t get me started on the extraordinarily poor sound and lighting systems most bars (and their patrons) seem to be content with nowadays.

The location for Splore, in the very picturesque Tapapakanga Park, Orere Point, is perfect with great camping and swimming. Splore is set to become the centre of my Summer holiday for the foreseeable future and I’ve already booked my post-Splore campsite @Opoutere. To date, I’ve only had to turn one client away, that was to attend the 2016 Splore. I missed last year as I was booked to DJ a friends 50th and having DJ’d most of his Birthdays since his 40th, I really couldn’t say “no”.  It would have to be a very tempting, interesting, high value job to deter me from attending future Splore’s. – my life is decidedly not all about work and money … it is definitely about music, fun and sun

Post-Splore I went to stay at the Opoutere Coastal Campground and from there went to Auckland City Limits with Grace Jones being the primary draw card there. From Auckland it was 4 days in Mangawhai Heads. It was tough having to come home but I was booked for the March 10th WIPP after party.

My January Wedding was on Kawau Island and was a Wedding for friends. My first Island Wedding and my first visit to an Island in the greater Auckland region (strangely,  I’ve not even been to Waiheke). It was a beautiful, but very physical, experience. By physical, I mean it lots of lugging heavy equipment to and fro, including a generator into the Ceremony area. Thankfully there was help at hand from various bodies including the camp managers. Kawau is stunningly beautiful with superb swimming and fishing.

I’ve been busy the last few weekends with 50th birthdays being the function de jour and have 2 more booked Weddings in April and June, both at the fabulous Otaki Milk Station – if your looking for a great venue handy to Wellington, look no further!

I’ve spent yet more money on equipment upgrades this year and am now the proud owner  a HK Audio Soundcaddy, bought to simplify my Ceremony set ups. I’ve also upgraded from my HK Audio 600watt 18″ Pulsar series sub-woofer to a HK Audio L3 series 1200watt 1800A 18″ sub-woofer, it rocks a ‘mean as’ bass and I’m enjoying it immensely.

I’ve also added a Denon SC5000 Media Player, which is yet to leave the confines of my house whilst I work at mastering it’s many variables. At some point it will replace my Pioneer CDJ2000’s, but I want a lot more practice on it first.

I have a few interesting non-Wedding functions on the horizon, high value work for compelling clients whom I hope to form on-going working relationships with. It’s cool when clients return to you year on year and I enjoy those relationships. As and when these jobs become concrete, I may comment on them again in the future.

 

An Anecdote cont

… This same Auckland service has themselves text me numerous times over recent years seeking last minute DJ’s to service their clients. I literally saved the day for that couple and they were rapt at the quality of the DJ I helped them to secure (a very notable NZ musician). The warning signs were there from early on with said Auckland service. The most important sign being their constantly failing to respond to communications from the client. I pride myself on prompt and clear communication, this is one of the most important aspects of any good client and supplier arrangement

It turned out that they had told the client they had a DJ secured for them. Said DJ, whom I spoke to around getting this sorted, was an extremely nice and helpful bloke. He was being forced to apologise for the Auckland service whom he had told several times over several months, that he was not available

A good DJ is expensive, and this Auckland service was very expensive for what they were to provide. That they had also failed to talk to the venue, compounded their sins. This venue had very strict controls on any outside equipment and the Auckland service’s price included a whole lot of gear that would ultimately not have been permitted to be used, gear the clients had paid for

 

An Important Tip

Still not naming names! Weddings can be quite loud, especially by the time a DJ or Band gets rolling. The tip here is, talk to your venue about whether they have ever had any noise complaints made against them and will the noise you intend to make be a problem. What do they do, what conditions might they impose on you around this problem

Said venue above has tried to negate issues around noise complaints from neighbours by buying a shrieky $800 sound system from a low cost supplier. This is the only audio gear they’ll allow. Even then, the venue till won’t let the DJ turn it up due the neighbours complaining. I wonder how they cope with a band?! The Wellington based DJ working for the Auckland service had no knowledge of the imposition of the no outside gear rule, something I discovered after a single phone call. He would have turned up to find his gear disallowed, again, gear the clients had paid for. To conclude, It is said that “you get what you pay for”, which is oft true. Sometimes, you don’t get what you paid for and then you’ve been ripped off!- Auckland service paid a full refund, but not till after they had contacted the client asking that my DJ submit his invoice to them for them to pay MINUS THEIR CUT! My DJ was paid direct by the client. A happy ending, but lots of unnecessary stress for the couple, 2 days out from their Wedding

My Responsibilities to my Clients

My clients need to know that I take my responsibilities to them very seriously. If you book me, I’m yours. If I’m unavailable for your chosen date, circumstance dependant, I’m open to helping source another DJ. I have a few I refer work on to

Winter 2017

Here we are, DJ Max, Winter 2017 and above a beautiful Black Barn sunset from a January Wedding this year. Something to remember Summer by, although it was an especially appalling Summer, where the weather was concerned. Lets hope for better weather next year!

Interestingly and thankfully, all my Weddings were largely unaffected by  ‘said’ Weather with regards to the outdoor Ceremonies everyone has nowadays. The one that was affected, @Wallaceville House, the drizzle, rain and cold arrived just as we finished the Ceremony. It was a traditional Scottish styled Wedding with the Bride piped in, a knot tied and some Kilts in evidence. I made the quip “that it must be just like home” to some of the guests who had traveled from Scotland to be greeted with some chuckles and agreement at the comment.    We had a great hooley with a few Reels and some more Bagpipes thrown into the dancing.

Generally, Winter is a time of hiding indoors  and Brides and Grooms are starting to think about their upcoming Spring and Summer Weddings and are nailing down the finer details.  It is also the time of year when DJ’s are starting to think about their marketing and what new gear they’d like to have in time for the seasonal rush.

Last year I added a Rane 64 DJ Mixer (Rane are pretty much the most acoustically pure, ‘off the shelf’ mixers on the planet), and after a decade plus of using Pioneer DJM series mixers, I’m blown away by the lift in quality of the Rane audio versus the Pioneer.  I also added an 18″ HK Audio Pulsar Subwoofer and K&M crank handled windup distance rod to support placing my mighty HK Audio L5 series top box on. It’s an expensive business staying up to date with gear and I’m alway working to upgrade each time I buy anew. My intention, around November, is to add a 2nd Pulsar Sub and to potentially upgrade my Wedding Ceremony system from my current HK Audio S.M.A.R.T. ( a very cool and powerful wee system) to a HK Audio Soundcaddy, tho’ I’d really like a Sennheiser LSP 500. The Soundcaddy is very cool, but requires power. The LSP 500 is Lithium Battery powered and can be fitted with up to 3 wireless Sennheiser microphone systems. The LSP 500 with mics runs to about 4.5 times the price of the Soundcaddy, with the questions being … do my clients really want this? Will they and can they afford to pay for it? Am I just doing this for the satisfaction of myself in offering my clients the ultimate in convenience and technology? It is very easy to over capitalise!

Today I renewed my Google Adword and Facebook marketing, these are just a few of the hidden costs that my clients don’t necessarily see or have an awareness of but that can come with real benefits for my business and for my prospective clients as it puts me ‘in front of them’, so to speak, and gives them access to my superb services.

Winter is obviously a much quieter time of year for most of us Wedding specialists, people hibernate and plan. However, it is not entirely quiet and over the next few months I have a spate of 50th’s to DJ; I’ve already done 3 this year and several last year. They are very much a thing and they have all been a lot of fun. At 50 people have been exposed to a wide gamut of tunes and so you get to DJ a wide variety of genres and eras, which I love and thrive on. It is extremely satisfying to get a party rocking to the Rolling Stones Honky Tonk Woman and blending/mixing it out to something like Ram Jams Black Betty, or even Whitney Houston, and then into something like Rihanna or Jax Jones House Work.  Three of the 50th’s were quite large scale and required a lot of physical work setting up and many hours and site visits to plan. They looked and sounded brilliant, especially a Warehouse party where we rigged a large lighting and Mirrorball cluster, a rig I emulated on a lesser scale for another 50th a month or 2 later (check out my DJ Max Facebook for some images) . One day I’ll have a roadie! One of the 50th’s had close to a $100,000 thrown at it and is easily one of the most extravagant parties I have participated on. With that kind of a spend you want to be very on your game and I was and it ROCKED. The most recent one I DJ’d for 10 hours, starting @5PM and finishing @3AM, I was having so much fun and they were such cool clients. Though it was a bit of a mission lugging my large volume of gear up the steps of their beautiful home … and then back down again. Again, one day I’ll have a roadie :~).

Until next time, ciao my amigos.

My love of music!

In 1969, when the Summers were long and hot (at least to my child like eyes) and when New Zealand Television was only one channel and broadcasting only 65 hours per week, I, DJ Max, was given a small Transistor Radio for my 6th Birthday (actually, it had been gifted for my 5th, but my parents withheld it for a year fearing it’s influence. Rightly so!). Suffice to say it was an addiction from day one. Today, many decades, later you can still find me playing music from that era and all the subsequent intervening years in between. Music from then that sits quite happily alongside today’s alternative, recent and chart hits.

In the1970’s my station of choice was Wellington’s 2ZM, now ZMFM, and many a happy hour was whiled away listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 on a Saturday afternoon (actually I was glued to that thing day and night 24/7, or as much as my parents would allow and the batteries would last). In 1970 pop music was all about Soul, Funk, and Rock, musicians like The Beatles (who broke up that year), Led Zeppelin, Simon and Garfunkel, James Brown, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5 were amongst the Artists to feature in the charts. 1970 was a magical musical time and the rest of the 70’s, even more so. Disco was starting to happen in the US, but was yet to break out of the underground Gay scene and David Bowie was only 2 years away from Ziggy Stardust and the creation of Glam. I would probably argue that there has never been a better time in music, the charts were musically diverse and anything seemed possible.

In 1987 I started my journey as a DJ At Ohakune’s Hot Lava Night Club (an awesome old wooden Picture Theatre) every Friday night during the peak of the ski season several thousand people would arrive in town, many hundreds of them would come to the only club, and the towns most happening bar, The Hot Lava. In those days the club owned all the music and I was playing off a mix of Vinyl LP’s, Vinyl 12″s, Cassingles (remember them?!) and very early CD’s. We also had some Music Videos that our sparky used to record from Australian TV and deliver to us periodically. A couple of times a season my boss would give me some money and I’d head over the Para Paras to Whanganui to buy new tunes, heady days. Music I especially remember from this time were things like S-Express, C&C Music Factory, Duran Duran, Guru Josh, Kool and The Gang et al

Five years after commencing my DJ residency @The Hot Lava , I was shoulder tapped to go work at Ohakune’s Powder Keg performing for their Après-Ski period and then making the party happen during the night. I was resident DJ at the Powder Keg for around 5 years.

During my Hot Lava years, there was a well-developed live music touring circuit around New Zealand and thus every Saturday at Hot Lava was a live band, many of NZ’s musical legends performed there and I got to play support DJ to the likes of The Johnny’s, Supergroove, The Exponents, Ardijah and The Headless Chickens, to name but a few. It was a great time to be a DJ and a great location and situation in which to break into DJ’ing. I was a natural from day one, instinctively knowing what to play and when to play it. I also had a great time utilising the venues quite sophisticated dance floor lighting system. Things have not changed much.

If you’re hosting a party or a Wedding and want your guests to have a great time perhaps singing along, definitely dancing, then talk to me. I will consult with you to create a DJ experience toned and fitted to meet the likes, and to exclude the dislikes of you, your family and your absolutely important guests.

Draw on my long practical performance experience, and academic musical experience to help create your very special day. – I have a BA with a triple Major in Media Studies, Film and English Literature, as part of this program of study I have completed 3 levels of Popular Music Theory as part of Wellington’s Victoria University Media Studies programme.

I estimate that I have now DJ’d over 200 Weddings, several hundred functions and thousands of nights of Club and Bar work, and have done many on-air Radio shifts from Ski FM (Ohakune), Iwi FM (Ohakune), The Breeze (Wellington) and Groove FM (Wellington) there would be very few DJ’s, mobile or otherwise who would be operating with this broad experience. I can wield a Microphone with the best of them, but ever discretely so. The last thing you want and need at any function is a verbose DJ killing the vibe.

I am a proficient beat matcher and where feasible will beat match the music.

Since leaving Ohakune in the mid-90’s, I’ve had residencies at: The Loaded Hog (1996-97, 2005-2006), The Big Easy/Rain (1997-1998), The Ballroom Billiards Saloon (1997-1998), Dockside Restaurant (2002), Shed 5 (2002-2003), Boogie Wonderland (2004-2008, I was one of their original DJ’s, resident from their opening night- when it was still playing great 70’s Disco), Four Kings (2013-2014), Dakota Dance Hall and Saloon Bar (2014-2016,( the original DJ there) and some cover nights at Electric Avenue (Current) round out the list.

No problem is too difficult to solve, no song too hard to find.

For hassle free music for your next function, for the certainty of a great party adhering to a high level of production and performance  talk to me, DJ Max, I’m your DJ for any occasion.

 

If Music be the food of love, play on. William Shakespeare.

First Dance with DJ Max

First Dance for the fabulous new couple (also the Bride is my Webmaster, very talented!- ask me for her deets!!), that’s me, DJ Max, in the background. Check out my mighty HK Audio L5 Series Top Boxes also in the background of shot, German designed and manufactured brilliance. @Llandaff Country Residence … if you make it out to site check this place, mention before going that you’ve heard they have the most fantastic Scones with Quince Jelly, you might be lucky and arrive to some home made deliciousness!

DJ’ing @ Llandaff

DJ in full effect, as is my Martin Wizard effect light, visible in the back of shot, love this light! I also have massive 24″ Mirror Ball and some additional Martin Lighting available to project on to it. Talk to me if this appeals to you.