Monday, January 25, 2010

DJ Gregg's Top 30 Songs - Winter 2010

Ambient's DJs update their hot playlists on a quarterly basis, as customized to general mobile DJ audiences. The lists are primarily new material, but sprinkled in are classics in rotation and a few esoteric selections. These lists should give a good idea on an individual DJ's style. As for my own style, I am partial to electronic dance music, reggae, old school hip hop, alternative rock and disco. Left to my own devices, I tend to avoid classic rock and country music. For weddings though, I generally play a gamut of genres, spanning from the 50s to the present, including classic rock, 80s, 90s and some country (particularly ballads). Line dances - it depends on the crowd and preferences of the client on the "cheese factor." Ambient DJ Service is extremely flexible in its musical programming, playing only those styles of music that you care to hear at your celebration, and avoiding those that you don't!

Top 30 Songs of Winter 2010 (sorted alphabetically by artist)

1) Destination Calabria - Alex Gaudino f/Crystal Waters
2) Heaven Scent - Bedrock
3) Single Ladies - Beyonce
4) No Woman, No Cry - Bob Marley (this song works really well for audiences of all ages when you need to slow things down!)
5) 3 - Britney Spears
6) Evacuate the Dancefloor- Cascada
7) I Took the Night - Chelley
8) Got to be Real - Cheryl Lynn
9) God is a DJ (DeadMau5 Remix) -Faithless
10) Empire State of Mind - Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
11) Tik Tok -Ke$ha
12) Paparazzi (Moto Blanc Remix) Lady Gaga
13) Telephone - Lady Gaga f/Beyonce
14) Paper Planes -M.I.A.
15) Cupid Shuffle - Cupid
16) Party in the USA -Miley Cyrus
17) Fireflies -Owl City
18) Hotel Room Service -Pitbull
19) It Takes Two -Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock
20) Fire Burning (Jody Den Broeder Remix) Sean Kingston
21) Give it Up to Me - Shakira f/Lil Wayne
22) She Came Along -Sharam w/Kid Cudi
23) Rapper's Delight -Sugarhill Gang
24) Love TKO -Teddy Pendergrass (RIP Teddy)
25) Human -The Killers
26) Feel It -Three Six Mafia w/Tiesto
27) LOL Smiley Face :-) -Trey Songz (w Gucci Mane & Soulja Boy)
28) Say Aah -Trey Songz f/Fabolous
29) Bedrock -Yung Money f/Lloyd
30) Toes- Zac Brown Band

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Press Release - Ambient DJ Service Receives 2010 Bride's Choice Awards

East Windsor, NJ – January 19, 2010 - WeddingWire, the nation’s leading wedding technology company, just announced Ambient DJ Service, LLC has been selected to receive the 2010 Bride’s Choice Awards™ for Disc Jockey Entertainment!

The annual Bride’s Choice Awards™ recognizes and celebrates excellence in quality and service within the wedding industry, as determined by recent reviews and extensive surveys from over 500,000 newlyweds.

Ambient DJ Service is among the top five percent of all vendors in the WeddingWire community, which includes over 100,000 wedding professionals across the US and Canada. Awards were given to winners across 19 different service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers.

“We are excited to recognize and honor the success of the top wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Community” said Timothy Chi, WeddingWire’s Chief Executive Officer. “The annual Bride’s Choice Awards™ program has given us the unique opportunity to highlight the best wedding professionals in each region as reviewed by brides and grooms who have utilized their services in the past year.”

"We are delighted to announce that Ambient DJ Service is among the very best wedding disc jockeys within the WeddingWire Network, which includes WeddingWire and Martha Stewart Weddings," said Ambient DJ's President, Gregg Hollmann. "We would like to thank our past newlyweds for entrusting us with their once-in-a-lifetime celebration and for nominating us for the 2010 Bride’s Choice Awards™. I would also like to thank Ambient's staff of mixologists for their hard work, attention to detail, and dedication to the DJ craft."

For more information, please visit our WeddingWire Storefront today at
or at our corporate website

About WeddingWire, Inc.
WeddingWire is the only online wedding planning resource designed to empower both engaged couples and wedding vendors. WeddingWire enables engaged couples to search, compare and book over 100,000 reviewed wedding vendors nationwide, from wedding photographers to wedding cakes. WeddingWire also offers an online community and a suite of cutting-edge planning tools, including wedding websites and wedding checklists, all at no charge. For wedding vendors, WeddingWire provides free online management tools creating the only market opportunity that gives businesses control over their clients, reviews, leads and performance. In addition, WeddingWire has partnered with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (NYSE: MSO) to provide its network of local vendors and online wedding-planning tools in the Weddings section of For additional information, please visit

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Top Ten Parties of 2009

In a given year, I perform at up to 100 parties. What does it take to get into the Top 10? Great guests, heavy dancefloor action and a spectacular or exotic venue are some of the key ingredients. It was actually difficult this year to limit the list to ten parties.

In countdown fashion, here are my top ten parties of 2009:

10) Fitzgerald Wedding, The Taylor-Butler House, Matawan, NJ - This wedding occurred in late February in the historic Taylor-Butler House, a two-storey Victorian mansion built in 1853 by a wealthy China merchant. Scott and Theresa were a great couple to work with. The planning process was detailed, given some of the physical characteristics of this historic property. I entertained an enthusiastic dance crowd in the backdrop of an era long gone. The evening was only slightly sullied by a drunken punch-up on the front lawn after the event.

9) Princeton University, Cap and Gown End of Year Dance Party - Make no mistake, the students of Princeton party as hard as they study. At this end-of-the-school year video dance party, I primarily spun hip hop music in a dark, wooded library, to a large, amped-up crowd. Thanks to Graham Power from East Coast Entertainment for lining up this job.

8) Adule Wedding, Wayne, NJ - This reception was memorable for the enthusiastic dance floor action, extended dancehall reggae sets and potent Haitian music selections by the likes of Sweet Mickey. I am quite fond of reggae music, but for most wedding receptions, rarely have the opportunity to dig very deep - this reception was the exception. As aside, on my list of 40 goals before age 40 ("40 before 40"), I am hoping to vacation in Jamaica.

7) Sandy Hook Wedding, Fort Hancock - On a beautiful summer afternoon, a Navy pilot married an animal trainer who works at Sea World. The ceremony occurred on a small beach on Sandy Hook. The reception party was in the adjacent Fort Hancock Chapel. The groom prepared an unforgettable animated video slide show presentation illustrating their endearing love story that had spanned many years and locales. At cocktail hour, I asked the Best Man (also a pilot and dressed in uniform) if it would be OK to play a Top Gun selection... he lightly discouraged it. Still, later in the party, I dropped in Highway to the Danger Zone to great reaction!

6) Keane Wedding, Crystal Point, Pt. Pleasant, NJ - It was a treat to DJ my friends' Chris and Laura's wedding reception near my hometown, among many of my good friends. DJ Spinz pitched in on the tag team, and after dinner, tricked the guests into a massive conga line! Later on, guest Nutty Esquire rocked the mic to the House of Pain's Jump Around. Definitely fast times on the Jersey Shore!

5) 80s Night - Tavern on the Lake, Hightstown, NJ - In this Relatainment event, I worked in a tag team with with DJ Iron Mike (dressed as DMC), while I donned a white linen suit and lavender shirt, DJing as Sonny Crockett from Miami Vice. The combination of fashion, 80s music videos on the 90 inch screen, along with clusters of enthusiastic 80s afficionados made this a party to remember! Props to Rel Relatainment for organizing this bodacious event.

4) Cooper Wedding, Caffe Aldo Lamberti, Cherry Hill, NJ - Ben and Georgiana (a former gymnast on the Romanian national team) wed on a Sunday afternoon at the trendy Caffe Aldo Lamberti (I would love to return there for lunch or dinner for the amazing food and ambience!). Sunday receptions can be hit-or-miss, but this was event was a stone cold winner. Highlights included salsa performances by two energetic guests (calling themselves The Two White Guys translated in Spanish) and a guest who did a dead-on Mick Jagger impression! The bride and groom, family and friends were all great to work with.

3) Rosenbach Wedding - McLoone's, Long Branch, NJ - this late May wedding featured a beach ceremony, followed by a reception upstairs with beautiful ocean views and open windows to the fresh sea breezes. This new and upcoming area of Long Branch was hopping - the weather was pleasant and there were many people sunbathing on the beach and walking the boards. The ceremony occurred in a roped-off beach area, but surrounded by the beach crowds, boardwalk observers and scents of coconut oil! Dan and Stacey, who love music, put great thought into creating their playlists, contributing to a frenzied dancefloor after dinner. Memorable touches included a surprise first dance (morphing into It Takes Two - Rob Base) and ice cream couriered in from Thomas Sweets in Princeton.

2) Bloomberg Corporate Party - Ambient DJ was engaged by Eggsotic Events, to provide music and sound reinforcement for Bloomberg's Skillman campus, which has hundreds of employees. Egils Matisse and his wife Shelley from Eggsotic Events transformed the venue into a magical Brazilian rainforest. DJ Spinz and I provided the music to compliment the theme. In particular, I enjoyed mixing Brazilian-themed electronic dance music by the likes of Bobby Brazil, Martin Denny and the Groove Junkies. The technical staff at Bloomberg/Aramark were great guys to work with, and helped us navigate the technical and logistical challenges.

1) Rose Wedding - The Berkeley Hotel, Asbury Park, NJ - DJ Spinz and I tag-teamed this event, providing ceremony music, cocktail music and entertainment for the main event in the restored and majestic Berkely Hotel. I grew up on the Jersey Shore (Manasquan), so there was a sense of nostalgia in performing here. Despite an unforgettable odor for the dumpster area load-in and a walk through Freddie Krueger's basement, the reception itself was amazing and we were commissioned for an hour of overtime. John and Alix (the newlyweds) are awesome people and were fun to work with! The peak hour dancefloor, to a frenzied crowd, featured the Boss' "Rosalita" and 90s jams such as "The Humpty Dance" and "Jump Around" (to which DJ Spinz stood up on the subwoofer and hyped up the crowd!).

I had a great time DJing in 2009, and look forward to more unforgettable parties in 2010.

> Photo above courtesy of Wendy G Photography (

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday Night Outing - DJ Francois K. in NYC

DJ In addition to being active performing disc jockeys, we all enjoy attending the performances of other DJs, particularly industry icons such as Francois Kervorkian, aka DJ Francois K. In addition to being informative (watching how DJs build their sets and work dance floors), it is immensely entertaining!

Last night I attended Monday night's "Deep Space" event at Cielo in New York City. The event is tagged as "an adventure into future dub, spacey vibes and abstract grooves featuring resident DJ Francois K." Actually, I've been meaning to check out this party for years, but always found a reason to miss it. Getting home at 4 AM on a worknight might have been the primary reason! My daytime unemployment status has solved this problem. Plus, it was DJ/Producer Francois K's birthday with no cover charge and free vodka drinks until 11 PM! For those of you not familiar, Francois is one of the New York house music pioneers - an industry icon.

Located on 12th Street in the meatpacking district, my first observation was that the club was much smaller inside than I'd envisioned. It was more like a cozy lounge than the cavernous, multi-roomed dance club that I'd expected. The dance floor, found in the middle of the rectangular room, was not particularly large - maybe 10 feet wide and 25 feet long. There were balloons on the ceiling above the floor, as well as various disco balls. Upon entry, the music was at low volume - deep house music, to set the mood. I collected my free vodka drink and chilled.

Francois K came on at around 11 PM. He kept it in a deep house groove, but still low volume. Some dancers ventured out, and at some point, the music just kicked in. It's been a long time since I've went out to hear a DJ who takes guests on a journey - so it was a very enjoyable evening. Deep house, Brazilian funk, lush electronic pieces, obscure Stevie Wonder and Steely Dan tracks - I barely recognized any of the songs, yet it was all fantastic! Great crowd with a very international feel- they were into the music and along for the journey. When the music got louder, it was warm and never uncomfortable to the ear. The lighting was subtle and complemented the music well.

What a great evening! I hope to do it again some time in 2010.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Mix Podcast "Enero" from DJ Marquez

DJ Marquez, an Ambient DJ alumnus, moved to the warmer climate of Texas a few years ago. Growing up in New York City, Marquez developed a taste for the finer things in life, including house music! His latest mix, entitled "Enero", is a hot house mix, designed as a counterbalance to the cold January weather permeating the United States.

To listen to Enero and Marquez's other free house mix podcasts, check out the following link:


DJ Iron Mike's Top Ten Parties of 2009

It is an annual tradition where Ambient's mixologists (i.e., disc jockeys) list their top ten parties of the year. DJ Iron Mike kicks off this year's walk down memory lane. His list is presented in countdown fashion -

10.Mercer County Dragon Boat Festival @ Mercer County Park (West Windsor, NJ)
Typically this event is an endurance trial of epic proportions. Set up shop at 7:30am... Spin from 8:30am til 6ish in the middle of a field in front of a lake. After ironing out many details, I think the set up for this event was pretty comfortable in 2009. I played a serious variety of tunes throughout the race and received many compliments from many people of different age & race. I figured out the formula. Don't stick too long to any one genre and play tracks that will pump up the competitors.
Key Tracks: "Alone in The Ring" - Bill Conti, "Rock The Boat"- The Hues Corporation, "Empire State of Mind" - Jay-Z f/ Alicia Keys, "Proud Mary" - Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Smoke on the Water" - Deep Purple

9."Live @ The Tavern" Comedy Show w/ DJ Spinz @ Tavern on The Lake (East Windsor, NJ)
This was my first (of many) Relatainment Events. Teaming up with Spinzy, this was the first comedy show I ever spun at (definitely one of my all time DJing fantasies). I always wanted to do the Kid Capri thing at Def Comedy Jam, so this was a nice rendition of that. Before and after the comedians, Spinz & I set the tone for the evening with classic material in the pregame phase and party music for the post show. It's a cool thing when you can spin and get to check out a great comedy show in between... Trev's the Man!!! The buffet table was also conveniently close to the DJ booth, which is another huge plus.
Key Tracks: "Blame it on the Alcohol" - Jamie Foxx f/ T-Pain, "Before I Let Go" -Maze & Frankie Beverly

8.Randy Hill's Birthday Bash @ Celebrant's Residence (Franklin Lakes, NJ)
A staple for Ambient's Calendar, Randy Hill has had Gregg, (2 times), Marquez, Gary G and Myself once before all spin for his extravagant BDay bash in his "Scarface-like" backyard. The previous year was a solid party, but due to Randy's penchant for Doo Wop, 50's rock and The Song "Brown Sugar" by The Rolling Stones, I wasn't allowed to really entertain the young and sexy portion of the crowd. This year was slightly different. Battling a monsoon like rain storm, I played to Randy's musical tastes early and often. Following the first of three sets by the Disco band, I was encouraged by Randy's personal assistant to cater to the younger demographic. The results were amazing and even Randy got into it (kinda hard not to when you have several hot women in their 20's bumping and grinding against you). The party could've easily raged on, but the bus came to bring the guests to the hotel. Love this party!
Key Tracks: "Brown Sugar" - The Rolling Stones, "Calle Ocho (I Know You Want Me)- Pitbull, "I Gotta Feelin" - Black Eyed Peas, "At The Hop" -Danny & The Juniors, "Don't You Want Me" - The Human League

7.Susan & Arastu's Wedding @ The Princeton Airport (Princeton, NJ)
Ever DJ in an airport hangar??? Thanks to Gregg, I got the opportunity to spin where normally jet propellers do. The hangar was transformed into a lavish-looking Indian Palace with a huge Big Screen to show a slide show of the newlyweds growing up. The Groom (Indian), Bride (classic American) were one of the cooler couples I have ever worked for and the two families seemed to really bond. The dance floor was packed for the majority of the night, with both cultures dancing together to Punjabi beats and other world music favorites before the older crowd trickled out before the final hour. At that point I went Old school 90's by request and played A Tribe Called Quest's "Award Tour" to a good reaction. I nailed all the must have songs and covered 90% of the long playlist. Between there being a limerick contest running throughout the night, an eclectic cocktail hour selection (see Alice Coltrane & Fela Kuti), and a unique range of food, I'll never forget this wedding!
Key Tracks: "Jai Ho" - A.R. Rahman, "Beware of the Boys" (Remix) - Punjabi MC f/ Jay-Z, "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like That)" - Digable Planets, "Groove is in the Heart" - Dee-Lite f/ Q-Tip & Bootsy Collins

6.Lawrence High Senior Prom w/ DJ Spinz @ The Hyatt (Princeton, NJ)
Typically, teen-related events don't make my year end best of list. But as Spinzy would attest, this prom had a giant nightclub feel with a dance floor that never rested once it got started. Plenty of short videos available on Spinzy's Youtube Page!!!
Key Tracks: "Calabria" - Enur f/ Natasja, "Hot & Cold" - Katy Perry, "Boom Boom Pow" - Black Eyed Peas, "Kiss from a Rose"- Seal

5.80's Night @ Tavern On The Lake w/ DJ Jagged (Hightstown, NJ)
This is probably my all time favorite Collabo Gig with The Jagged One. Gregg dressed Miami Vice Style, I came in with RUN DMC apparel and Rel Reprised his Flavor Flav get-up. With an awesome lighting scheme, sound system fronted with a high powered bass & the projector screen showcasing classic 80's music videos & films, the room had such a nostalgic vibe to it. More people dressed the 80's theme than expected adding to the fun. Gregg and I weaved through over 100 80's tunes throughout the evening. The Trivia games were well received also. I hope we do another one in '10!!!
Key Tracks: "Like a Virgin" -Madonna, "Electric Avenue" - Eddy Grant, "My Prerogative"- Bobby Brown, "Walk This Way"- Run DMC w/ Aerosmith, "Raspberry Beret" - Prince

4.West Windsor Plainsboro High School Class of 1999 HS Reunion @ Mercer Oaks (West Windsor, NJ)
This gig had been a fantasy of mine for a long time. I started getting into DJing the summer following my Freshmen year, so by the end of Senior Year you either knew me because of that or because of my last name. I just wasn't particularly known as a "Good" DJ just yet. To come back and show my progress was a great feeling. Even though I vowed to mix in more current music, I kept the night 80% '95-99. Early detractors suggested the reunion would have no place for dancing. I proved the naysayers wrong and filled the dance floor for the last 90 minutes of the evening. Staying within the timeline and seeing the people's faces really made it feel like I took a ride in a time machine if only for a moment.
Key Tracks: "Hypnotize" - Notorious B.I.G., "Tonight is The Night"- Le Click, "What I Got" -Sublime, "1999" - Prince

3.Corporate Party w/ DJ Spinz @ The Radisson (Freehold, NJ)
I wrote an extensive gig log on this one back in October, so I won't go nuts talking about it now... but this was a banger of a party. Even with a group of less ostentatious guests than usual, Spinzy and I brought the Smauz Standard ("A Game") for those who don't know) and the results were off the wall. Shout out to Jay Lucas for his assistance with crowd control!
Key Tracks: "Sexy **" - David Guetta f/ Akon, "Let the Bass Kick" - Chuckie, "Ice Cream Paint Job" - Dorrough, "Bad Girls" - Donna Summer, "You Can Do It" - Ice Cube f/ Mack 10 & Ms. Toi

2.MY BIRTHDAY PARTY featuring Black Sheep @ Brewster's (East Windsor, NJ)
With so much hype and anticipation going into this one, execution was essential. Having several of my best friends Spin (Spinzy & Big Jae) & one of my best friend's rock a live set on the mic (Subliminal) and to follow all of that up with a classic group (Black Sheep) was a great way to spend my born day. Rel organized a hell of a show and even though it wasn't as big of a success in terms of attendance as it should've been, I hope he knows how much I appreciate him putting his neck, money and subsequently knee(!) on the line the way he did. Spinz set the tone with an insane Dancehall Hour, Big Jae blazed the current material and it all set me up to keep it classic. I felt like I was at the top of my game that night. Melinda even complimented me on my mic skills, she said she was blown away. Dres delivered a dope 25 minute set and rocked the crowd of 60+ like it was a crowd of 200+. This was an excellent night that I will cherish for a long time to come.
Key Tracks: "The Choice is Yours (Revisited)" - Black Sheep, "Flavor of the Month" - Black Sheep, "Dem Bow" - Shabba Ranks, "DWYCK" - Gangstarr f/ Nice & Smooth, Dreams- Notorious B.I.G.

1.NEW YEAR'S EVE @ Killarney's (Hamilton, NJ)
Maybe I'm still feeling the buzz, maybe not. Besides having continued success on the mobile circuit in 2009, I put in work at several establishments throughout the year. Many of these bars, taverns & restaurants had some good nights to boast, but none had the drawing power of Killarney's. With an eager staff and good sound set up (my speakers in the side room in front of me, sound wired throughout the bar elsewhere), this was a huge winner. On to the party, after a slow start, things picked up around 10:45 and a good crowd rolled in. I had at least 30-40 friends to mix in with the other 70 or 80 in the building by 11:15. I kept an all Decade theme for a while busting out everything from: Mr. Cheeks "Lights Camera Action", Method Man & Redman's "Da Rockwilder" to Mojo's "Lady" and Daft Punk's "One More Time". I also kept current crowd pleasers in the mix such as Ke$ha's "Tik Tok" and Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance". When the Ball dropped, I let a minute of The Drop Kick Murphy's rendition of "Auld Lang Syne" ride into LMFAO & Lil' Jon's "Shots". The height of the party came when I stormed the crowd with a barrage of early 90's Hip-Hop Radio Hits (The Humpty Dance, Shoop, Hip-Hop Hooray & Rump Shaker). The party ended around 2:15am. Shout-out to Anna for hooking me up with my first event at Kils (which lead up to this event) It was a Great Night and a great way to close out my first full decade of DJing parties!

To read DJ Iron Mike's professional profile, see

To book DJ Iron Mike for your upcoming party, contact him at or call 609.672.1270.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Pros and Cons of Digital DJing

All of Ambient's DJs have gone digital, primarily mixing music using high-quality MP3 files. The specific program used, Serato Scratch Live, is a revolutionary product. DJs lose none of the tactile elements of mixing - in other words, using a time-coded CD or piece of vinyl (i.e., record), DJs can manipulate the digital file that is stored on a laptop computer or external hard drive just as they would a regular CD or piece of vinyl. The time-coded vinyl can even be scratched. Importantly, music can be mixed with Serato.

Benefits to the mobile DJ of digital DJing include:
* Portability (no more lugging huge briefcases of CDs or crates of records);
* Speed in fielding requests (with a keyword search, a DJ can locate a song within 5 seconds... no more digging through the books);
* More time to focus on the party - since songs can be located and cued quickly, a DJ is free to focus on his party guests!
* Longevity (MP3 files do not wear out or get physical scratches);
* The ability to pre-set cue points, freeing a DJ to "hot mix" multiple tracks in mix-show style, or what I like to term "Vegas mode." This feature of Serato comes in handy at Sweet 16 candlelighting ceremonies where the birthday celebrant selects 16 songs for each of 16 individual/groups who come up to light a candle..... by pre-setting cue points, the DJ can quickly jump to the sweet spot of a song, such as the chorus.

Potential negatives of DJing from a laptop include:

* System failure (i.e., laptop crash!) - in my case, to mitigate this risk, for weddings and other formal events, I play special songs such as the first dance off a physical CD in a CD player. The laptops used have very fast processors and we have removed as many programs as possible so that there is minimal potential for competing programs to place a drain on the processor. And of course, a book of backup CDs is brought - just in case the laptop goes down in flames or is ruined by a spilled vodka & tonic!
* DJ Fedde Le Grand of "Put Your Hands Up for Detroit" fame doesn't use a laptop as he believes that it is visually unappealing to see a DJ working off a laptop. That said, for those guests who like to see a DJ spinning the platters (the so-called "trainspotters"), a DJ may still be very busy on the wheels of steel, even if having a laptop in his equipment rig. I agree though that it would be boring to watch a DJ clicking a mouse all night (which I've seen).
* The use of low-quality MP3 files - with illegal filesharing still rampant, many files used by individuals who find their music through filesharing are available only in lower fidelity versions. Many guests would not notice a difference, but audiophiles would likely notice a muddy or tinny fidelity, particularly at certain frequencies. Ambient DJ Service uses only legally downloaded, high-quality digital music files, or music ripped from physical CDs. First and foremost, this is to reward the musical artists who work hard to bring us the best content possible. Second, legal downloads just sound better.