Toronto Wedding DJ Interview – DJ Rich Sweet
Have you ever been to a party where the DJ plays your favourite song? You get all excited, and in the corner of your eye, you see someone else getting all excited, and you know that whoever loves this song can be your friend? To me, this is the power of music. It connects people, makes them smile after a long day, and sometimes can even get them start dancing foolishly like no one else is looking. I know that choosing the right DJ is very important to many couples. With that in mind, I decided to meet up with one of the finest wedding DJ I know in Toronto – DJ Rich Sweet. We listened to some good music and had a chat about how a great DJ can make your wedding party an unforgettable one.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
My name is Rich Sweet, and I’m a Toronto wedding DJ. I do weddings, corporate events, private parties, as well as some bar and club nights.
I started DJing as a hobby as a teenager. I was always drawn to playing music (I was a bass guitarist in the school band), and as dance music and hip-hop became a bigger influence, I wanted to learn more about DJ culture. I saved up some money and bought a turntable and mixer set from a local record shop.
Early on, I did a few parties for friends and then started getting a few paid club gigs. Before long I was doing friends’ weddings, and then their friends’ weddings, and it grew from there. I launched Rich Sweet Entertainment in 2015 — this year I’ve brought on a second DJ to help with the workload, and we’ll do about 40 weddings by December.
How would you describe your style?
I’ve got a very eclectic taste, which I think is why I’ve found myself doing special events because each gig is different. I really like mashing up old songs with new ones, finding a link between the two and although it’s all digital now, I still use the same turntables I did a decade ago to mix. I think this helps me stay true to the DJs and culture which got me interested in the scene in the first place.
Why hire a DJ when I can just make a playlist with my favourite songs?
One of the many things a good DJ can do that a playlist can’t is to respond to what’s happening in the room. If the bride has a favourite song, a good DJ will wait until she’s on the dance floor to play it and keep her there with more songs like it. On the flip side, if a song starts playing that’s feeling a little flat, an observant DJ will switch things up before the energy starts to dip. Mixing songs together means no breaks and fewer opportunities for people to leave the dance floor, a playlist can’t do that.
Beyond that, the DJ is also sometimes the sound technician, lighting designer and MC — we wear many hats throughout the night!
What are you bringing with you to a wedding? Does the venue need to provide speakers, amplifier, etc.?
We do various sized events, and some locations require us to bring everything, while others have their own sound system we’re plugging into. A typical set-up could be a pair of speakers on stands, mixer and turntables, a wireless microphone and some dance floor lighting. If other rooms are being used for cocktail or ceremony, we’ll bring extra sound for those spaces.
There’s a reason this is called mobile DJ’ing: I recently did a wedding in Muskoka where everything was on a private island accessible only by boat! We can pretty much set up anywhere.
Where can future brides and grooms listen to a mix or a set you played?
I upload my mixes to Mixcloud. I try to upload a new mix every few months because there’s so much new music coming out all the time. I also like to show my versatility and include some Motown and 80s and 90s mixes on there too.
Can you describe the process of working with a couple from their first email to their wedding day?
From the minute I get a new inquiry I want to get the conversation started right away. This is to give prospective clients as much info as I can to help them make a decision, but also learn about them and what they’re looking for to see if I’m the right fit. Before booking, I’ll often meet with clients for coffee or do a Skype call to have an informal chat and answer any questions they might have.
When they book the date, those lines of communication stay open leading up to the wedding. I’ll meet or chat with them again closer to the wedding date, and we’ll talk about specific songs and the itinerary for the day, and I’ll offer suggestions where I can. Although I keep my own notes on each event, I don’t send out a lot of forms or paperwork for clients to fill out — I want the process to feel very comfortable like they’re just chatting with a friend about music.
On the wedding day, we’ll arrive a couple of hours before guests start arriving to set up and we’re there right to the end of the night when the lights come on!
Three tips for couples that are looking for a wedding DJ?
– Ask to meet your DJ. Some companies will book clients who won’t meet the DJ until the day of their wedding. The DJ they send might be fine, but a wedding is a very personal event! I pick up a lot of information just chatting and corresponding with clients along the way.
– Ask family and friends about their own experiences hiring a DJ. Although I use social media and various wedding vendor sites to get leads, word of mouth is still my most powerful form of marketing. Online reviews are also key.
– When it comes to the budget, consider how important music is to your event. Booking a DJ doesn’t need to break the bank, but this is an area where couples sometimes try to save money by getting a friend to do it or by hiring a company advertising cheap DJ services. Price is usually linked to experience, and a DJ who puts a real value on their own time and services will take pride in making your wedding the best it can be!
Here is a tough one – what is your favourite music album?
Getting a DJ to decide their favourite album or artist is an impossible task. But this morning I was listening to Amy Winehouse’s “Frank” album, so we’ll say that one 🙂
Can you share one memorable moment from a wedding?
Last year I did a wedding where the father of the bride contacted me saying he wanted to do a surprise flash mob following his speech. Admittedly, my knee-jerk reaction was an eye roll: this was a trend I was sure had outlived its lifespan. But what I didn’t know is that he’d covertly emailed every single guest without the bride knowing, and sent a YouTube video of him demonstrating the specific dance moves. When his speech ended, I cued up the music and one by one each guest came onto the dance floor in front of the bride’s table, until everyone in the room was doing this choreographed dance in unison to a now completely overwhelmed bride. It was a really sweet moment.
How much does it cost to hire your services?
Pricing for full day wedding service starts at $1,200, with the most popular package being $1,500.