Why is having a good DJ important? I mean, you're just playing music right?
Not true at all. We set the tone, we control the atmosphere, and we make the party a party. A bad DJ can ruin an event, and having no DJ at all can be just as bad in most situations.
Consider this: if rain starts pouring down on your lovely outdoor ceremony, your guests will grin and bear it. If the dinner is too salty for your grandparents or too spicy for the kids, nobody will complain. But… IF THE DJ SUCKS, PEOPLE WILL LEAVE!!!
Let’s face it, you’re probably not going to hire another DJ again for a long time. You’re probably looking for a DJ for your wedding, or for a Christmas party, and you just want your event to go well. So do yourself a favor: hire a professional DJ.
What makes a "professional DJ" different from, say, my cousin who owns some speakers?
I’m not going to try to convince you that your friend or relative who has some equipment lying around is a bad DJ. However, you absolutely need to ask yourself a few questions about your friend:
1) How much experience does this person really have providing DJ service?
2) If this person gets sick or injured last minute, who is going to provide the service for your event?
3) If this person’s equipment gets damaged, broken, or just doesn’t work once it’s at your event, do they have a backup plan?
4) Is this person likely to join the party at some point and completely abandon their responsibilities?
5) DO YOU REALLY TRUST THIS PERSON?!?!?
I get dozens of calls every year from couples who had their cousin Fred, or aunt Betsy, or a friend of a friend PROMISE to provide the DJ services for their wedding, only to back out at the last minute. Again, I’m not going to say that all of this information applies to your friend, but you really need to make sure that this person is reliable.
And just FYI, here’s our answers to the above questions:
1) I have personally hosted over a thousand events. I have acquired a great knowledge of music of all genres, and have plenty of experience entertaining all types of crowds, ranging from small children to seniors, and from all walks of life.
2) If one of our DJs gets sick or injured and is unable to provide service for your event, we have backup staff who are ready to go! In the EXTREMELY UNLIKELY event that even our backup staff are unable to provide service, we are a member of a DJ association called the CDJA, and we will source out a replacement for you.
3) Our equipment is professional grade (we do this for a living), so we’re 100% confident that it works every time. We also carry backups of items that can fail without warning, such as laptops and hard drives, and have backup equipment which we can have delivered in a big hurry if something serious happens.
4) We act professionally and responsibly at our events. Remember: our business relies heavily on referrals, so we want you to have a great time and tell all of your friends how awesome we are. You wouldn’t do that for somebody who just showed up for the free booze, right?
5) We’ll send you a contract that guarantees that we will be at your event. We have never missed – or have even been late for – a show, and we have glowing track record to back that up.
What if I just want to attach an iPod to some speakers? Will that work, in place of a DJ?
Ahhhh… the classic iPod wedding!!! These are really hit-and-miss, and they don’t work for most groups. Here are a few things to consider:
1) People are going to be fighting all night long about who gets to plug their iPod in next to play a song, and SOMEBODY has to mediate those arguments, and that SOMEBODY is usually the bride or the groom.
2) SOMEBODY has to operate the mixer to make sure that the music isn’t too quiet/loud, and that SOMEBODY is typically the bride or the groom.
3) If you just want to plug in YOUR iPod and play a pre-generated playlist that you’ve spent DAYS WORKING ON, expect NOTHING BUT COMPLAINTS from your guests. Do you know what your aunt’s favorite waltz is? Do you know what your grandpa’s favorite doo-wop gem is? Did you remember to put that song on there from that time when you did that thing with your bestie? Do you really want to spend days working on a playlist just to listen to people complain about it at the event?
If the above reasons didn’t deter you, we will happily rent you all of the equipment that you need to run your event. In all seriousness though… don’t do it!!! Enjoy your special day, and let us take care of the hard work!
Okay, I've decided to hire a professional DJ... so why should I hire Grindstone Productions?
I (Chris the owner) have been DJing private shows for 15 years. Each year, I DJ about 80 shows. So (just doing the math here), with over 1000 shows of experience, I know what it takes to get any party started and keep it going all night long. I have the music knowledge, people skills, and the professional equipment to make your event memorable.
My DJ staff are all seasoned professionals, who I have hand-picked. I don’t take resumes or post HELP WANTED ads. The only way that I will hire a DJ is if I’ve seen them work and can verify first-hand how good they are at their job.
Check out our GLOWING TRACK RECORD!!! I can’t stress this enough: this is a complete list of in-house testimonials that we have received, and links to our social media accounts where our latest reviews are posted.
Regardless of which one of us you want to host your event, you’ll be in for a great night.
What sort of advice can you offer that will help me shop for a DJ?
1) Make sure that whoever you hire is properly licensed!
Licensed? Yes! DJs require CONNECT (formerly AVLA) licenses to legally be allowed to play music to audiences in Canada! The last thing that you should be worried about is having a private investigator show up at your event and start hassling people because the DJ is unlicensed. And yes, this is a thing, and it actually happens!!!
Our company is part of the Canadian Disc Jockey Association, who provide our CONNECT licensing. We adhere to the highest professional business standards and are continually striving to improve the business practices of all entertainment companies in Canada.
2) Ask a lot of questions. Spend some time getting to know the person that you’re talking to, and give them a chance to identify your needs. If you don’t like what you hear on the other end of the phone, or if the person is being shifty and avoiding giving you direct answers, hang up the phone. There are still A LOT of shady companies out there in the entertainment world who will take your money and provide you with horrible service, if they even show up at all.
3) Research!!! If you have the time, ask the companies that you talk to if they have any shows close to you so that you can see them in action, before you book them. We have shows going on all the time, and would be happy to have you down to see what we’re all about.
4) Buyer beware! Don’t get suckered by these common sales lines:
“Best music selection in Edmonton!” This is a straight up lie. Professional DJs all get their music from the same places. There isn’t a single song in the world that one DJ can get that another DJ can’t get.
“Award winning DJs.” This is really just a misleading line. There’s only a handful of DJ associations in Alberta, each of which only has maybe a few dozen members. Basically, “award winning” means that these dozen or so people are just giving each other “recognition.” Most DJ associations are kind of like school science projects: everybody gets a prize, nobody really wins.
“We know all the halls around here better than anybody!” If the hall is equipped with electricity, it’s just as easy for one DJ to work there as it is for another.
5) CONTACT US!!! We take DJing very seriously! Moreover, we’re straightforward, and honest. If we don’t think that we’re the best fit for your event, we will direct you to a company that can better suit your needs.
Why does shopping for a DJ seem really complicated?
Simply put, there are a lot of options. Professional companies, shady cut-rate companies, weekend DJs… unless you’ve had experience hiring DJs before (I’m assuming that you’re reading this because you haven’t), you need to do your homework on prospective companies before you book them. This, unfortunately, means taking time out of your life to sit down and meet with people, or at least talk to them on the phone. Otherwise, you’re basically gambling if you use the “eenie meenie” decision making method, or the “just call around and hire the cheapest guy” approach. These sound like good ideas at the time, but they don’t work, and it’s very likely that you’ll end up being very disappointed.
DJs – just like the caterers, cake bakers, dress makers and hall owners – all charge different prices. If a DJ company seems to be insanely cheap compared to the rest, there’s usually a good reason: they’re probably a shady cut-rate company that hires inexperienced teenagers to perform at their shows, they probably aren’t operating legally, they probably aren’t any good at what they do, and there’s a good chance that they won’t even bother to show up.
We have had hundreds of wedding couples who refer us to all of their engaged friends, and professional clientele that bring us back year after year for company parties because we’re good at what we do, and we don’t charge the earth to do it. If that sounds like what you’re after, use our Quote Builder now!
What does your basic package come with?
We believe in providing complete service, and our basic package provides you with everything that is required for most events.
Our basic package is called the Essential Party Package and here’s a detailed list of what it gives you:
- Music: two loudspeakers and a professional digital audio work station equipped with a 1/8″ jack for connecting media players (like iPhones and iPods).
- Lighting: coloured LED lights to create a good atmosphere for fun and dancing.
- Complimentary cocktail and dinner music (if necessary).
- Party until 1:00 AM (standard shut down time).
- A cordless microphone, which can be used throughout the night for speeches, announcements, games, etc..
- A professional DJ to interact with your guests and take song requests.
Get in touch with us to find out more!
You mentioned above that you use professional equipment... what exactly do you use?
While the exact gear that we use differs from show to show, here is what I generally have with me:
Two ElectroVoice SXA250 loudspeakers. These 15 inch speakers provide crystal clear audio, and are capable of putting out a lot of power. I do shows at gymnasiums for 300+ students with just these speakers, and I have yet to have a client tell me that I just wasn’t loud enough. These speakers also have great low-end response, and put out quite a bit of bass.
For my larger shows, I use 18 inch subwoofers that are also made by ElectroVoice, and put out plenty of bass for clients who just aren’t happy unless their entire venue is thumping.
In terms of electronics, I use Denon mixers exclusively, and Chauvet lighting controllers.
The lighting that I use is specifically made for mobile DJs by a variety of companies. Primarily, I use Chauvet lighting, but I have a few items from other companies like Microh and Big Dipper.
I run software called VirtualDJ on my laptop, which I use to mix the music.
Why doesn't your website - or ANY DJ website - have a price list?
There are so many factors that we need to know about your event that are going to determine what we charge, for example:
- Location and venue
- Type of event
- Time of year
- Start and end times
- Gear required
- Your expectations
Get in touch with us and we’ll give you all the information that you need!
I've heard that the fog machines that DJs use are unsafe... what can you tell me about the chemicals used in the fog?
The fog that we use – all purpose stage fog – is a water based propylene glycol solution. Propylene glycol has been tested thoroughly by a variety of organizations, including the Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA). They have laid down guidelines for fog usage that, “are not likely to be harmful to otherwise healthy performers, technicians, or audience members of normal working age, which is 18 to 64 years of age, inclusive.”
At peak exposure – that is to say, if an individual was in a room completely saturated in stage fog for an extended period of time – the adverse reactions found where mild irritation of the mucous membranes (red eyes, stuffy nose, etc.). We use very little fog to achieve lighting enhancement; far less than the fully saturated rooms used in the testing. In 15 years of DJing, I have never had an audience member report an adverse reaction.
To sum up, while there’s just no telling how a given individual is going to react, should a problem arise, we will immediately turn off the fog machine at your event.