All posts by Drake Johnson

Detecting a Not so Great DJ

An inexperienced DJ can ruin a potentially amazing night; that is why it is best to detect a not so great DJ before they have the opportunity to play at your event. Luckily, there are many ways for you to look through a list of DJs and determine who may not be the best for you. Here are a few signs you must look out for before signing your contract with a potential DJ.

Does Not Have Prior Samples

It is always best to ask a potential DJ for samples of when they have played at previous events. This gives a feel for how they will fit in at your venue, the types of songs they are comfortable playing, and the number of times they have DJ’ed. If he or she is unwilling to offer samples, it is a clear sign of inexperience or that they are uncomfortable of showing samples, as the quality of their work may not be good enough for the job.

Does Not Have Backup Equipment Included

If the DJ tells you that backup equipment will cost extra or is flat out not available for the day of the venue, he or she may not be right for the job. Proper DJs will always have doubles of everything — all wires, lighting, everything in order to replace any mishaps that may occur the day of.

Does Not Speak Clearly

Many DJs will have to speak to the crowd and get the party started (literally). Many professional DJs will pay special attention to their own voices and do many vocal exercises or practice to ensure a clear and crisp voice so that all attendees can understand. A DJ who does not speak clearly or in a way that is suited for the crowd most likely has not been DJing for a long time and can potentially ruin the mood of th atmosphere.

Pricing is Too Low

This point is a bit subjective and often requires your best judgment.  However, DJs who charge ridiculously low prices may not have the highest quality equipment in their setups. This also often means that other services such as lightening, projectors, etc. may not be included in the package.

Is Unwilling to Listen to Requests or Bad at Communicating

Some DJs prefer to continually play their same setup regardless of what event they are going to. This unwillingness to bring variable performances to different events may be a sign of inexperience or a lack of being able to take requests. Since this is your event, it is essential that the DJ be able to perform in a manner that suits your vision. If they are unable to actively communicate to you as to what you want, it may be best to move on.

Anything Else?

Overall, if your DJ is not being responsive or willing to take requests, he or she may not be the DJ for you. Experienced DJs will always be willing to talk about your concerns and are more than happy to show samples of previous events they played at. If there are no obvious signs of an inexperienced DJ, always trust your best judgment or go online and find reviews.

One more thing that we thought of is that if you are having an event and bringing in a DJ, you might consider creating a Google “My Map” to show people how to get to your event from different areas around town.  The plumber in Springfield


that we recently DJ’d a party for sent a Google My Map out to all of the invited guests and we overheard several of them talking about how helpful that was to be able to find the event center.  Just a thought!

An experienced DJ can completely transform your venue and make it an extremely fun night. On the other side, however, an inexperienced DJ could potentially ruin an otherwise memorable night. Therefore, it is important to look for specific signs when hiring a DJ while being confident of your budget early on. Taking time to look for details and reviewing your contract can help make your special day run smoothly.

What is Your Budget? 

Before even looking through a list of potential DJs, be certain of how much you are willing to spend. This will help to streamline the process while you are looking. It should be noted, however, that more experienced DJs tend to cost more (on average, they can cost anywhere around $1000 for a single night).

If you notice that a DJ is giving many services for a ridiculously low price, it may be too good to be true. Always use your best judgment when deciding how much a DJ is worth and don’t feel obligated for paying too much money for subpar service.

How Experienced is the DJ?

When speaking to a potential hire, ask for how many years of experience he or she has. If DJing is a full time job, there is a greater likelihood that he or she will take the job more seriously, will have better equipment, and will be more responsive to a your requests. However, this is not always the case, and the number of venues the DJ has played at may be a better indicator for experience.

Experienced and professional DJ’s will always have samples of songs they have done at different venues; taking time to look through a DJ’s portfolio is another great way to gauge their experience and professionalism.  They will often also have their own website detailing past events they have played at and  even personal reviews from satisfied (or not so satisfied) customers.

Is the DJ Specific For Your Event?

There are many types of DJs who perform at very different types of venues. For example, DJs who play at a club may not be suited for a wedding (although this is completely up to you and the type of venue you’re trying to pull off). If you are hosting a wedding, hiring a DJ that is specific to weddings may be your best bet as they have experience with playing music that is suited for that specific venue.

Once You Find Your DJ then What?

Once you have looked through reviews of several DJs and have found the one for you, it is time to contact them and set up a contract. Always make sure that there is backup equipment included in the contract; never agree to anything verbally. Also, make certain of the amount you need to pay for your deposit and how much time you have to pay the rest of the costs. Most professional DJs will work through an agency that will help make this process as easy as possible.

A Quick Marketing Note for Other DJ Services

Always be thinking.  Recently we ran DJ for a local party here in Springfield.  A local plumber in Springfield MO put on a big bash for graduating college students hoping to secure their trust as many of them become local home owners and renters in the area over the next few years (pretty smart if you ask me).

Root-Rooter Party in Springfield MO - Drakes DJ

We put on a good party for them, and also used it as an opportunity to earn the trust of hundreds of young adults who will be getting married over the next few years.  Each one of them will be looking for a DJ service for their wedding, and we want to be the ones that they call!  Never miss an opportunity, we like to say!

Final Thoughts

Finding a DJ takes time and effort, but keeping in mind the type of DJ and your available budget can make the process faster. When you review your written contract, always make sure the DJ has backup equipment ready for the day of the venue; also determine whether additional services such as lightning, projectors, etc are included.

Your wedding is meant to be one of your most memorable times; so make sure it is memorable for the right reasons. You can spend days planning your wedding, but having a terrible DJ could very well make or break your momentous day. Highly experienced DJs often do not have many problems, and even if something were to go wrong the day of, they are able to quickly bring around the situation. However, inexperienced DJs may be prone to having terrible quality equipment, no backups, and are simply unresponsive. The following is a list of some things that could go wrong at your wedding reception all thanks to your DJ.

Equipment Failure

Your reception is a time for your many loyal friends and family (and yourself too of course!) to have a fun filled night with music, dancing, and memories. A DJ, both through the music he plays and any other services such as lighting or projections, can totally transform a venue into the perfect setting. However, equipment failure, especially if the DJ has no backups, can ruin your night. The worst situation is if the music is unplayable thanks to a faulty DJ set; and no music can lead to a very awkward and silent wedding overall.

Static-y sound equipment can also bring down the level of quality. Therefore, always make sure your DJ has replacement equipment for these situations.

Intoxicated DJ

There will most likely be a few drinks at your reception as a way for attendees to unwind and have a night of fun. However, an intoxicated DJ is no fun to listen to or look at. It is always a requirement for a good DJ to be able to communicate clearly to the room, to help in giving smooth transitions throughout the night as different things are happening. A good DJ should also be able to judge the audience’s reactions and be able to change things up as need be. However, a DJ who is clearly inebriated will be unable to do even these simple things, leading to a more chaotic night of events.

Canceling at the Last Minute

This is probably the biggest heart attack for any couple to have to experience. This normally occurs if a  contract was not signed with a respectable agency or individual, and can lead to a last minute panic as you scramble to find anyone that is available.

Taking the Spotlight

At the end of the day, the wedding is meant to celebrate the true guests: the bride and groom. If a DJ begins acting obnoxious or tries desperately to get all the attention, it ruins the purpose of hiring him or her in the first place. A good DJ should be able to blend in with the background while commanding the audience  when needed (such as when speaking to the crowd) and accentuating the bridge and grooms presence.

Wrong Song Choices/Not Using the Songs You’ve Chosen

Certain songs should be played at certain times (and some songs should just flat out not be played during any time during the reception). A DJ who is uncommunicative or is inexperienced will play improper music at times or will simply not use songs you have chosen for your memorable day. Wrong song choices can completely change the vibe of the venue for the worse.

Final Thoughts

A proper DJ is tasked with transforming a place into something that fits your vision. After all, this is your night, not the DJ’s, and so it is important to get a DJ who is respectful and well experienced to prevent these sorts of mishaps from occurring.

Welcome to Drake’s DJ Equipment!  I’m Drake Johnson…yes, I get that my initials are DJ and I sell DJ Equipment…you weren’t the first one to have your light bulb shoot off a spark.

I picked up this site recently and it looks like someone else has already been here…their site was pretty sh**ty, so I’ll try to be a better owner than they were!

Look, we are purveyors of premium sound equipment.  That is what we do.  That is who we are.  We will throw some links up to our online store when we get it launched, but in the meantime, we are going to try to bring some value to the table to keep you coming back for more.

There’s lots to learn about crafting the right sound for the right event.  Lots of little hood rats runnin’ round thinking that they can spin a record or shoot digital sound rainbows out their laptops…but it isn’t that easy.  We will bring a word to that here and give people a place where they can learn more about this industry.

A DJ doesn’t just play music.  A DJ entertains.  Have you ever been to a party where somebody is kickin out music, but everything is flat?  The atmosphere feels like a heavy blanket of boredom?  Yeah, a respectable DJ is constantly reading the environment, the crowd, and the mood 0f the dancers, and knows how to manipulate the moment thru music to liven everything up.

A DJ creates outstanding moments for the attendees.  Ever see a DJ change it up at just the right time to create a magic mix that whips everyone into a frenzy?  That’s a good DJ.  As I said before, we hope to bring you a lot of information, helpful articles, product reviews, and tips of the trade that will help you understand our business more, and serve as tool for other DJ’s.

Here is one of our historically favorite DJ’s – Armin van Buuren