All posts by Djmax

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.

DJ Max @Dakota Saloon and Dance Hall

I was Dakota’s original Resident DJ up until earlier this year (2016), I developed the bars musical format, extrapolated, and instrumented from 4 suggestions given to me at the time of a few weeks pre-opening. Those suggestions were Willy Nelson’s On The Road, Juice Newton’s Queen of Hearts, Dolly Parton’s Jolene and Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire. From these suggestions I developed and delivered a format encompassing current Nashville Pop, Old School Rockabilly (Carl Perkins, anyone), Classic Rock, Modern Rock and good old classic Country and Western.

Dakota Saloon and Dance Hall