Scratching the surface with DJ Ricky Fox; Singing with Adele to gigging inside Hugh Grants home

Last night a DJ Saved my life

When I tell people I’m a DJ in London. They always do that ‘scratching the decks’ and ‘holding a headphone to their ear’ gesture, followed by the repetition of my job title ‘D-e-J’ in a Craig David style… I think being a DJ must be one of the only jobs where people seem to have this reaction to. It’s classed as a ‘cool’ profession, and it definitely can be. But there’s a huge deal more to DJing than most people seem to think. “Your job is easy! All you do is just press play and then relax” People tend to think DJing in London is all about mixing and scratching, but actually, it’s completely the opposite. Of course, these are beneficial skills to acquire and certainly help, but I feel strongly that these are least favourable strengths over many other things a ‘D-e-j’ must have.
Re-e-wind My company and I have had the pleasure of DJing in some of the finest and most luxurious venues in London. From One Hyde Park, to swanky celeb hang outs like Shoreditch House and recently played in Hugh Grants living room! Yet we’ve also been in tiny dingy village halls and pubs in some areas I’d rather not visit again… All in all, every gig is totally different.
hugh grant
ricky shoreditch house
First and foremost a DJ is there for the people. It’s about looking out, understanding and playing to the crowd. A DJ has the power to completely electrify and pump the atmosphere into a room, but scarily they have the power to completely destroy a party, and as a wise man once said… With great power comes great responsibility…
This is my gift, my curse… Who am I? (These are Spiderman references by the way) I started out as a performer; trained at the BRIT School sharing the stage performing alongside Adele and Jessie J to name a few, and I suppose in some ironic way I still do… Their voices resonating through my speakers at many gigs. From there I went on to study at East 15; one of the top drama schools in the country, toured the west end stage and have been seen on the small screen. I currently teach Modern Jive and run CF Entertainment – Passionately trying to lead the way in entertainment for events. I am so lucky to actually love what I do, and try to pass my dedication on to every member of our team.
When training up our DJs I take them to various gigs for different events and occasions and show them the importance of understanding a crowd; how if you play three songs in a certain order at one gig, then change the order round at another, it can have a completely different effect on the floor. It’s really quite magically. Don’t get lazy   If I had a penny for every wedding I went where the background music throughout dinner tended to be a Michael Bublé or Corrine Bailey Rae album on repeat Id be rich! (I’ve got nothing against these artists – It’s predictable, it takes no effort and it shows).
It’s the same for the start of a set at private parties; some DJ’s get the less popular or slower tunes out the way. This is lazy. There are so many incredible songs from so many decades and artists, with more being added every single day, so is it really that hard to play tune after tune even from the start? Of course you probably wont want the guests up and dancing right from the off, but you cannot tell me they want to listen to less popular, predictable and slightly dull songs before you bring out big tunes later on. I’ve been told by other DJ’s that they use pretty much the same playlist for every gig. How can you play the same songs every time for different events and different ages? I completely change up my playlist when playing a 21st birthday as I do for a 25th wedding anniversary. Of course I’ll play some of the same songs, but never ever the same entire list. That’s like a football team using the same tactics for every game whether it’s working or not. Smooth Criminal I hear of horror stories from clients who tell me they’d booked a DJ who never played a single song from the playlist given and wouldn’t take any requests on the night. This baffles me. That’s like getting in a taxi and the driver taking you to the wrong destination, or a surgeon operating on the wrong part; they have all the equipment yet none of the sense.
Wedding disco - DJ Ricky Fox
Working the crowd   When I DJ in London, I move around the audience, I mingle, I chat. I suppose I’m blessed with the gift of the gab and a cheeky smile. I ask as many people at that venue what music they love dancing to – Sure the client might have given me a 100+ song playlist, but I still need to
know their guests will enjoy and dance to what I play. I take my iPad around and note down people’s favourite songs, artists and decades. It still amazes me that although most people listen to music every day of their lives, when asked ‘What’s your favourite songs?’ they can’t think of a single one! “Come back and find me! I can’t think of any… Oh.. Actually, what’s that one that goes…la, la, daa, da’. Fortunately I’m like a human Shazam and can normally help out ☺ Don’t’ just go with the cheapest option   Next time you book a D-e-J or any entertainment think twice about going with someone just because they’re the cheapest option, as they normally can’t provide the same quality, service or support you’re after. Find out what they do and how they do it before booking. Written by Ricky Fox; DJ and Company owner at CF Entertainment

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