Birthday Party, Playlist & Mixes FAQs

I find myself regularly answering questions about DJing at birthday parties, helping with playlists, and creating mixes. Here’s some handy FAQs.

Is a DJ really necessary at a birthday party?

It depends.  If you want a big proper party with a jumping dancefloor, then almost certainly yes.  The party will be better if a good DJ is there in person.  That’s just a fact.  But you may not have the budget for that.

Can you get access to a PA/speakers? 

Does the venue have its own speakers or PA system?  Would they let you use them?  (You just need to check the speakers are going to be powerful enough for your purposes.  Rule of thumb: wall-mounted rectangular type speakers are designed for mics, not music, and aren’t going to cut it once there’s some bodies and buzz in the room. They will either sound like a low tinny rattle, or in worst cases actually blow up!)

Alternatively, are you booking a live band?  Would they let you use their PA to play songs through – before, during their break, and/or after their performance?

If one way or another, you can get access to decent speakers, then a playlist can be perfectly acceptable.  At my own 40th birthday party at The Savings Bank I used a Spotify playlist through the venue’s sound system (playlist below including The Clash, the Green Hill Zone music, and Daniel O’Donnell), and some friends formed a band and performed some covers (contact details available on request).  My wife Wendy had her 40th birthday party at The Art Club.  She also used a Spotify playlist, playing through my equipment, and the brilliant Ginny and the Tonic played live.

Do you rent out speakers, lights, mics?

Yes, I can come and install them, and take them away again, for less than I’d charge to be present and DJ all evening.

Can you help with a playlist?

Yes.  If you make a playlist on Spotify, I can put it into an order which works, and also potentially add things which I know are bangers (in the context of the tunes you’ve chosen), and remove things that I know are duds (nobody ever dances to “What have I done to deserve this?” or “Pull up to my bumper”, there are huge intros to (off the top of my head) “Faith”, “Like a Prayer”, “My First, My Last, My Everything” and “Sing It Back” that you’ve probably forgotten about, etc. etc.)

A couple of kind reviews of my assistance with playlists and parties are below.

Can you prepare special mixes that for example would “cut to the chase” in certain songs, mix in and out of others, etc?

Yes.  For example, I recently worked on a half hour of 90s dance classics (TTF, N-Trance, “Toca’s Miracle” etc.) for a couple who wanted something to play during their ceilidh band’s break. You can listen to it here. It’s not exactly what I’d stick on at home, but it’s going to be a lot of fun on the night.

While we’re here – do you DJ at kids parties?

I would consider it.  I have done the honours at my wee boys’ school disco.  It’s been a steep learning curve. The “production” has evolved each time to include party games, a bubble machine, and very many glow sticks.  I did a boys vs girls dancing competition, then spent days in terror that I was going to be “cancelled”.  Next year it will have to be boys vs girls vs non-binary people.  Overall kids’ discos are kind of like dealing with 100s of drunk folk at the same time.  Not entirely unlike the time I DJ’d at T in the Park…

I have 3 wee boys and would consider arranging a non-profit charity halloween kids party this year. If anybody wants to work with me on that, let me know.

I hope this all helps. If you have any questions, contact me, thanks.