Wedding music is, in my opinion, everything. Mess it up and the party is likely wavering in its energy, faltering in its fun, and winding down before it's 10pm.
I met Jamieson Hill, one part of the duo that makes up LYFGRDS, at a swanky party in LA that Stella Artois was hosting. He was spinning before and after John Legend gave a private performance --- so kinda a big deal --- and his set was so ridiculously good, I had to interview him.
LYFGRDS (Jamieson Hill & Charan Andreas) are highly sought after for celebrity parties and high-end events. They were most recently chosen by U2’s team to play for, as Page Six put it, their “Starry Bash”, after the bands KROQ show at The Roxy. Celebrities such as Courtney Love, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Danny Devito, The Edge, Bono, Aaron Paul, Derek Huff, Collin Farrell, Kate Hudson and Shawn Lennon were all seen getting down on the dance floor and praising the duo for their master selection skills. They've played for A-listers like Leonardo Di Caprio, John Legend, The Winklevoss Twins, Travis Barker, Lindsay Lohan, Jamie Fox, and Paris Latsis. But note to couples, they love spinning for weddings- just book asap because their calendar typically fills up a year out.
Q: Tell me about your style?
A: We are "Open Format" DJs. We have the ability to seamlessly mix any of genre of music together during our set to assure the whole crowd, rather than just one group of partiers, is entertained. In our set, you can hear virtually any artist in a live mash up because our inspiration comes from the crowd. We play to what they are jumping to and put our own twist on it, engaging them from the very start of any event. We're primarily LA-based but also bi-coastal, and play in Europe and Asia quite frequently.
Our style is pretty unique as a duo, we do quite a few different things that we incorporate into our shows. Such as play back to back, when each of us will play a song back and forth and vibe off each other's energy. People really enjoy that. We are much more entertaining to watch then the average DJ.
Q: What do you like about djing weddings?
A: The energy and the love! Everyone is there to celebrate such a special day with their loved ones, its a beautiful thing. Weddings are some of the most fun we have had DJing.
Q: Best experience at a wedding?
A: The best experience is definitely a tightly kept secret, as it gets incorporated into our performance. You can say we add our special touch to the speeches section. The second best was when we DJ-ed for a Hindu groom and Dominican bride's wedding in Hawaii. Blending these two cultures together with music was a lot of fun for us.
Q: There is little room for error with wedding music gone bad; if it's bad, it's a party killer. What are your thoughts on what makes for a great playlist?
A:Reading the crowed is VERY important, and knowing what's appropriate for that setting and that time of the night. To play a song and be able to see right away "Oh this isn't working" is key, a lot of DJs have a hard time with that. It's one of the things that sets us apart from most DJs. Keeping the mood very uplifting and happy is extremely important in a playlist, and having that perfect mix of classic oldies and current hits makes all the difference in the world. For most weddings we take the time to curate a specific playlist for each mood with the bride and groom to be. It’s the personalization that makes the music flow magically.
Q: What are your thoughts on a band vs. dj in general? I love how a band sets a vibe with live entertainment but so many sound the exact same. I've also seen many a bad Dj and man there's not much worse!
A:Live bands are great, we are both huge fans of live music! Live bands at weddings can be really hit or miss. A couple problems we see with bands at weddings is the volume control; it's really hard to have the band not be the center of attention at a wedding, especially if its a smaller venue. As a DJ, we can control the exact volume and control the energy of the room.
Also with bands, they usually have a set list of what they are going to play, and its hard for them to adventure out of that. As a DJ, we can have it go from a slow Father Daughter dance song to a get everyone on the dance floor high energy dance party, when the time is right. Also, we can take requests ;)
Q: What's your process of building a wedding playlist? How much do you collaborate with a couple on it?
A: It really depends on how hands on the couple would like to be. Knowing what they love and the energy they are going for just makes it that much better. We usually will ask the couple to send over a list of songs they'd like to hear, and then we build around that, to make the perfect set.
Q: What are your top party songs...
For this summer...
Lean On - Major Lazer & DJ Snake feat. MØ Take You There –JackU The Girl Is Mine (Beyonce vs Brandy & Monica) -99 Souls Teach Me – Bakermat King - Years and Years Afraid To Love - Philip George
Of all time...
ABC - The Jackson 5 Everybody Dance Now - C&C Music Factory Super Freak - Rick James Bye Bye Bye - NSync Push it - Salt N Pepper Hey Ya - Outkast 1999 - Prince Uptown Funk - Bruno Mars
Q: What Are Your Top Songs For the skilled couple on the dance floor?
At Last - Etta James Lover of the Light – Mumford and Sons
Kiss Me – Sixpence None The Richer
Q: For the unskilled couple on the dance floor?
Can't Take My Eyes Off of You - Frankie Valli
You Are So Beautiful - Joe Cocker
Your Song – Elton John
Kiss Me – Ed Sheeran
Q: For the father-daughter / SON-mother dance?
Dance With My Father - Luther Vandross Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers Isn’t She Lovely ― Stevie Wonder My Girl ― Temptations
Q: What's the key to a great playlist that gets everyone on the dance floor?
A:Happy up beat positive Energy! LYFGRDS is all about bringing nostalgia from every period we play. Think of the music that was playing the first summer you CAN’T remember. That’s the playlist we bring with us.
Q:Any playlist people should check out to familiarize with your skills?
Here is a playlist we created with a bride and groom from the south for their wedding at The Boathouse in Central Park.
Q What do your rates start at?
A:Our rates start at $2500 an hour.
Q: Parting Thoughts
A:The key to special music on your special night is booking talent that have expertise in making people dance. We have over 18 years of DJ and hosting experience, and since we’re two charming gentleman, one might just go over to your great grandmother and get her on the dance floor too!