Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Evolution of a DJ

I will turn 40 years old this June.  Unlike many, I didn't DJ a party until my late twenties.  Despite being a late bloomer in the DJ world, I was disposed towards music from an early age.  The few vinyl records and cassettes that I was able to secure during elementary school were played into the ground.  These early albums spanned everything from Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, to Billy Idol, Queen, the Beach Boys and Run D.M.C.  Having some disposable income during the teenage years, I turned my attention towards collecting jazz records, savoring trips to Tower Records in New York City where I would load up on vinyl.  

As well as listening to music, I also studied piano, tuba and alto saxophone.  I was a good player and considered a career in music.  I also enjoyed the fast paced world of the stock market, so instead opted to study finance and investments.  During my twenties, I had an amazing job at Merrill Lynch as an investment analyst covering the markets of the Far East.  I traveled frequently to exotic locations such as Japan, China, Indonesia and Vietnam, further broadening my world experiences and musical tastes.  Regrettably, these booming stock markets crashed hard in late 1997, and I was forced to take a more sedate finance job in Princeton.  It was at this time that my interest in music re-emerged in full force.

A good friend of mine, Mike Z. and his architect friends had a passion for throwing house parties with elaborate party environments. I volunteered to DJ at one of these parties.  The experience was utterly enjoyable, from planning the party around a theme, to preparing my "crates" to the amazing adrenaline high of seeing guests going wild for the music.  That was how I caught the "DJ bug"!  I will save the tale of my first forays into the world of weddings for a future blog installment, but suffice it to say, these early parties were magical experiences that I still treasure.  Sure, my equipment and mixing methods may have been crude.  Compensation?  There was none, unless factoring in the free beer.  

The first two photos below were taken at a house party in Connecticut, circa 1999.  The last two photos were both taken during the past two years.  While my looks and equipment have changed, the one constant is my passion for performing at parties where the vibe is intense.

DJ'ing at Velocity, circa 1999 with Aiwa System and Bankers Lamp

2010 - Emceeing a Prostate Cancer Fundraiser in Hightstown

Ambient DJ Sweet 16 Setup, 2010

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day... Ambient DJ is Going Green

At Ambient DJ, we strive to stay on the cutting edge of music and technology!  We recently upgraded our service offerings to reduce our environmental footprint, while at the same time providing the very best in event and decor lighting services for our clients! Light Emitting Diodes ("LED") lighting has quickly become a mainstay for mobile professionals in the event industry.  Some benefits of going "Green" with LED lighting include:

1) Rich and Vibrant Colors

Today's fixtures come in many shapes and sizes ranging from can style (e.g., Chauvet LED Rain par cans), slim par can style (e.g., the Puck by Blizzard Lighting or Chauvet Slimpar 56) and bar style (e.g., Chauvet COLORstrip).  The color saturation and brightness of these fixtures are amazing and can be used as effect lighting for your dance floor, wash lighting or perhaps for uplighting.  Have a theme color for your event? With color mixing, the exact color you want can be mixed with stunning detail and clarity.

2) Small and Lightweight Fixtures

In years past, lighting fixtures were often heavy and cumbersome.  In addition, they were power hogs and ran extremely hot (particularly dangerous when small children are running around and drawn to  lighting like moths to a flame!).   The LED revolution has made the mobile professional's job easier and safer.  Mobile professionals love small and lightweight as our trade requires us to store, move, set up and take down  gear very frequently. Our clients trust us to bring the party to them, and these wonderful tools allow us have a huge impact, while still remaining mobile.  Regarding temperature, LED lights do not generate any noticeable heat, and never require cool-down periods.

3) Green Fixtures Result in Environmental Savings

LED lights draw very little power, meaning that many fixtures can be operating from a single 15 or 20 amp circuit.  In addition LED fixtures typically have an average life span of 50,000 hours of usage. In other words you could run a fixture 24 hrs a day for 2,083 days, or 5.7 years before the LEDs would burn out (WOW)!  More likely, a DJ might run an LED fixture  250 hours a year, meaning that properly stored, the fixture will last well more than the length of an average DJ career.  Less power draw and a longer replacement cycle result in big environmental savings!

4) DMX Control and Color Mixing

DMX control allows you to create lighting scenes such as chases, strobing, color fades and more.  For moving light fixtures, pan and tilt adjustments or gobo selection can also be manipulated. In other words, DMX gives you total control over a lighting show and the ability to do very cool things such as spotlight a couple's first dance, or wash a room in a specific color (such as red for Valentine's Day).  Color mixing allows you to create virtually any color in the spectrum, either with a DMX controller or special DMX software controlled from a laptop computer.

5) Power Linking

Power linking is the ability to power one fixture from another using a power link cord.  Using the power link cord from one fixture, you then daisy chain other fixtures down the line in the same manner. Most fixtures allow up to 31 additional fixtures to be linked this way, giving greater flexibility to the operator who no longer has to use long extension cable runs to areas lacking a readily available power outlet.

It is easy to see why LED technology has become so popular.  Do you want to add a "Wow Factor" to your next event? If so you, should consider one of Ambient DJs' amazing lighting packages utilizing the latest in LED technology. We can also customize a light show specific to your event.  Lighting is the best way to dramatically change the look and feel of your event, whether it's adding a punch of color to accent the theme, or creating an immersive club environment.

For more information, please visit us at , on Facebook at , or on Twitter @

Happy Earth Day!

DJ Spinz, on Behalf of the Ambient DJ Mixologists

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ambient DJ's Royal Wedding Special!

Let's face it, royal weddings don't come along often.  I have vague childhood memories of the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, watching it on a black & white television in my parents' kitchen.

With entire industries being formed around the upcoming Royal Wedding of William and Kate, why not join in the fun?


Couples who book a wedding with Ambient DJ between now and up until the wedding date (Friday April 29th) will receive these "royal" VIP benefits:

1) A discount for the British Pounds Sterling equivalent of US$100 from your wedding package;

2) A DVD of 2010's Best Picture - "The King's Speech";

3) The 2-CD set of Sir Elton John's Greatest Hits (1970-2002); and

4) A jumbo-size Cadbury Milk Chocolate Bar.

Hope that this package captures your imagination!  To claim your Royal Wedding Special, contact Ambient DJ today at or 609.672.1270.  We promise to treat you like royalty!

Monday, April 18, 2011

DJ Gregg's Spring 2011 Playlist

On a quarterly basis, Ambient DJs' music mixologists prepare playlists reflecting their top dance floor selections.  Listed is below DJ Gregg's (aka DJ Jagged's) Spring 2011 playlist, reflecting a wide variety of tracks across multiple genres.  Gregg is known for his deep and semi-eclectic musical tastes, with a bent towards alternative, electronic and international genres.  Songs are listed in no particular order!

1) Beautiful People - Chris Brown f/Benny Benassi (Disco Fries Electro Remix) (Dance)
2) Uprising - Muse (alternative)
3) Dog Days are Over - Florence and the Machine (alternative)
4) Rocketeer - Far East Movement f/Ryan Tedder (R&B)
5) Firework - Katy Perry (dance)
6) Only Girl in the World - Rihanna (dance)
7) Hey Baby - Drop it to the Floor - Pitbull (w/T-Pain) (dance)
8) Forget You - Cee Lo Green (dance)
9) Raise Your Glass - Pink (pop/dance)
10) Pretty Girl Rock - Keri Hilson (R&B)
11) I Like That (We No Speak Americano) - Yolanda f/D-Cup w. Nablidon (dance)
12) I Can't Go for That (Members Only Mix) - Hall & Oates (80s/dance)
13) Take Over Control - Afrojack f/Eva Simons (electro)
14) Tarantella - Chicco Secci Hurricane Radio Edit (electronic)
15) Stereo Love - Edward Maya f/Vika Jigulina (electronic)
16) Bromance (Avicil's Radio Edit) - Tim Berg (electronic)
17) Raise Your Weapon - DeadMau5 (techno/dubstep)
18) Carbonated - Mt. Kimbi (dubstep)
19) C'Mon - Tiesto (f/Diplo) (trance)
20) Grenade (DJ Joey C. Remix) - Bruno Mars (dance)
21) Black & Yellow - Wiz Khalifa w/Snoop Dogg & Friends (hip hop)
22) When a Woman Loves - R. Kelly (R&B)
23) Sweat (Wet) - Snoop Dogg (hip hop/R&B)
24) Roman's Revenge - Nicki Minaj (hip hop)
25) Hold it Against Me - Britney Spears (dance/electro)
26) Teach Me How to Dougie - Cali Swag District (hip hop)
27) Fancy - Drake f/T.I. and Swizz Beats (hip hop)
28) Barbara Streisand - Duck Sauce (dance)
29) Party Rock - LMFAO (electro)
30) Coma Cat - Tensnake (electronic)
31) Bromance (Aviciii's Radio Edit) - Tim Berg (dance)
32) Hello - Martin Solveig f/Dragonette (dance)
33) Cowbell - DJ Shiftee (dubstep)
34) Make the Floor Shake - Afrojack w/Wiz Khalifa (MaxMethods Remix)
35) Take Me Back - Kings of Tomorrow f/April (Sandy Rivera's Original Mix)
36) Rolling in the Deep - Adele (Vocalist)
37) The Cave - Mumford & Sons (Alternative)
38) Yeah (3x) - Chris Brown (Dance)
39) Born This Way - Lady Gaga (dance)
40) Marry Me - Train (acoustic)
41) Animals - Neon Trees (alternative)
42) Loca - Shakira w/Dizzee Rascal (Dance)
43) On the Floor - Jennifer Lopez (dance)
44) Down on Me - Jeremih w/50 Cent (hip hop)
45) You Be Killin' Em - Fabolous (hip hop)
46) Heat You Up (Melt You Down) - Shirley Lites (house)
47) Grand Central (Deep Into the Bowel of House) - DJ Sprinkles (house)
48) Monster - Kanye West (hip hop)
49) Ripple Effect - Evey Styles (ambient)
50) Cut the Lights (Acid & Skribble's Lights Out Edit) - Chris Reeder
51) Hey Muma - Cam'ron w/Vado (hip hop)
52) I Do - Colbie Caillat (pop)
53) Bow Chicka-Wow - Mike Posner (pop)
54) Lovesong (cover) - Adele (vocalist)
55) Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap (alternative)
56) Give it to Me (Jay Dabhi Smooth Remix) - Nelly Furtado, Timbaland, J. Timberlake (lounge)
57) Green Sky - DJ Tiesto (trance)
58) Teenage Dream - Katy Perry (pop)
59) Give Me Everything - Pitbull f/Nayer, w/Afrojack (dance)
60) The Time (The Dirty Bit) - Black Eyed Peas (dance)

Classics in Rotation
1) Show Me Love - Robin S. (90s dance)
2) Make the World Go Round - Sandy B. (90s dance)
3) Sing Hallelujah - Dr. Alban (90s dance)
4) Around the World - Lisa Stansfield (90s)
5) Say It Ain't So - Weezer (alternative)
6) Where It's At - Beck (alternative)
7) True - Spandau Ballet (80s)
8) Oh Sheila - Ready for the World (80s)
9) I Wanna Be Your Lover - Prince (80s)
10) Take Your Time (Do it Right) - S.O.S. Band (80s)
11) Didn't Mean to Turn You On - Cherrelle (80s)
12) Flashlight - Parliament (funk)
13) Low Rider - War (funk)
14) Do I Do - Stevie Wonder (soul)
15) I Wanna Know - Joe (R&B)
16) Cry for You - September (dance)
17) Chameleon - Herbie Hancock (jazz)
18) Lambada - Kaoma (Brazilian/world)
19) Waiting on a Friend - Rolling Stones (rock)
20) Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes (rock)
21) Sara - Starship (80s)
22) London Calling - The Clash (Punk)
23) How Soon is Now - The Smiths (80s)
24) Karma Chameleon - Culture Club (80s)
25) Return of the Mack - Mark Morrison (90s)
26) The Promise - When in Rome (80s)
27) Don't Stop Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson (disco)
28) You Belong to Me (cover) - Jason Wade (acoustic)


To see DJ Jagged's Top 50 tracks of 2010, click here.  For booking information, please visit Ambient DJs' website here.

Gig Log - Tiffany & Jae, Valley Regency - Clifton, NJ

On April 16, 2011, I had the pleasure of providing musical entertainment for Tiffany and Jae's wedding reception held at the Valley Regency in Clifton, NJ.  The couple, both professionals based out of New York City, originally found Ambient DJ via WeddingWire.  

Mother Nature was in a foul mood on this particular day, delivering abundant amounts of rain and cool temperatures.  Accordingly, the onsite ceremony at the Valley Regency was moved indoors.  The florists (Designs by Ahn) decorated the ceremony room beautifully with fragrant cherry blossoms, complementing the cherry blossom trees in bloom visible through the windows.

Prelude music included songs entirely by the Vitamin String Quartet (VSQ) who cover pop and rock classics in a classical strings configuration.  The parents of the bride and groom were seated to "You're Beautiful" (by the VSQ), followed by the bridal party entering to VSQ's version of "Love Story."  Tiffany was then walked down the aisle by her father to VSQ's version of "Yellow" by Coldplay.  Pastor Abe Cho gave a very articulate and meaningful sermon.  Perhaps the most moving part of the ceremony came when Tiffany and Jae honored their parents with remarks that they had prepared, but that were read by family members.  Meanwhile, I played very softly an instrumental version of Josh Groban's "The Prayer."  After taking their vows, the couple exited to the original version of U2's "Beautiful Day."

Tiffany and Jae wed among family and friends, surrounded by Cherry Blossoms
Cocktail hour followed in a separate room, with a delicious "Viennese-Style" smorgasbord!  During cocktail hour, Tiffany and Jae enjoyed a traditional Korean ceremony known as "Paebaek" as shown below.

The reception was held in the Valley Regency's majestic ballroom.  Guests enjoyed an evening of fine dining and dancing, with the formal part of the program emceed by the bride's brother, Mr. Eric Lau.  Despite an ambitious program that included numerous wardrobe changes for the bride, events flowed smoothly.  Special touches included a video slideshow and a special flambe jubilee presentation provided by the staff of the Valley Regency.  Another special touch was a "kissing game" - when guests tapped their glasses for the bride and groom to kiss, the Emcee would "randomly" select a couple to come to the dance floor and kiss - they would then be followed by the bride and groom who had to follow the first couple's kiss choreography.  This twist on the traditional glass tapping ceremony made things interactive and fun!

Open dancing kicked into high gear for the final hour, with guests dancing to a mix of modern dance music interspersed with ballads and rock n' roll classics.  A particularly vigorous reaction from the ladies resulted after the dedication of Justin Bieber's "Baby" - apparently Bieber fever is in season.  For the final song of the evening, guests gathered arm-in-arm in big circles with their friends and family, cherishing the moment.

A big shout-out to Michael Gross at Michael Gross Photography who captured the many special moments!

Ambient DJs' Radiance Package, featuring backlit Facade
Bride and Groom enjoy the final dance of the evening

Memories are Made of This !
Key Tracks:

I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas (grand entrance of Bride and Groom)

First Day of My Life - Bright Eyes (first dance, with special edit for a ballroom dance presentation)

You Raise Me Up - Josh Groban (parents dance)

The Lady in Red - Chris DeBurgh (for Tiffany's change into a red Chinese dress)

Baby - Justin Bieber (for the ladies!)

You Belong to Me (cover) - Jason Wade (closing song)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Meet Our DJs - Updated Bios

A mobile DJ entertainment company is only as good as its talent. Ambient DJs' lineup is stacked with talented and experienced entertainment professionals.   Just five years ago, Ambient DJ Service was a one man show!  As demand for its services exploded, our company's owner opted to bring on additional staff who shared his vision of musical entertainment.

Given the continued growth of the company, we always look forward to meeting our next Ambient DJ "music mixologist"!  Key attributes of past successful hires include:  a love of music, broad music knowledge, client-focused attitude, good team player, professionalism, reliability, humility, attention to detail and a strong work ethic.  Being located within 30 minutes of Princeton is a big plus.  To be considered, e-mail to the attention of Human Resources.

Gregg Hollmann 

Ambient DJs’ Founder and Owner, Gregg Hollmann, has formal musical training on several instruments, including the piano and alto saxophone. He is known for his creative mixing and chameleon-like ability to play in different musical styles. His musical knowledge allows him to excel in environments ranging from elegant wedding receptions to convivial dance parties. Gregg's specialty is weddings.   A multi-faceted performer, Gregg also mixes music videos and emcees karaoke parties.

A graduate of the College of New Jersey, he holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration and has lived and worked abroad in Japan and the Philippines. He enjoys working with clients and personalizing events to their tastes. Gregg was the subject of a feature article in the January 2011 issue of DJ Times magazine titled 'DJ Takes Stock in Niche Wedding Market.'  

Gregg resides in East Windsor, New Jersey. His hobbies include international travel, writing, bodyboarding, tennis, listening to music and recording mix CDs. A recent career highlight was meeting his idol Grandmaster Flash at the International DJ Expo in Atlantic City.

Chris Smith (aka DJ Spinz)

Chris began DJing as a sophomore in high school, and spent the next decade perfecting his craft.  Chris joined Ambient DJs in 1997 and quickly proved himself as one of the company’s best-reviewed performers across a wide variety of event types.  Chris often works at Ambient’s most demanding events, where performance and attention to detail are a must.  

Chris has an extensive music library and diligently follows trends in the music industry. He specializes in Disco, Pop, Alternative Rock, Hip Hop, R&B, Club, Electro and Top 40 hits. His portfolio of work features Sweet 16s, Corporate Functions, Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Family Parties and School Dances.

Chris enjoys mixing tunes on his new MacBook Pro using Serato Scratch Live.

Greg Lambiase (aka DJ Greg Nice)

Greg Lambiase has nearly 20 years of experience in the DJ/Entertainment industry, having performed at thousands of private and corporate events.  A "DJ's DJ," Greg was born in Manhattan and developed a passion for music at an early age.

A well-rounded performer, DJ Greg Nice, has received client accolades in events ranging from Weddings, Bar/Bat mitzvahs, Sweet 16s to Kids Parties.  Greg joined the Ambient DJ team in 2010 to focus on high profile events, particularly weddings and mitzvahs.

Greg believes strongly in providing clients with the highest quality entertainment possible.  His people skills, outgoing nature, warm smile and hands-on experience cannot be duplicated!  Greg continues to elevate his craft by participating in continuing education and annual DJ conferences. 

Brian Dzbenski (aka DJ Extreme)

As a professional DJ, MC, and dance motivator for over 18 years, Brian has the knowledge and experience to make certain your affair is exactly the way you want it.  A polished and articulate Emcee with a strong stage presence, Brian is the perfect front man for important celebrations. His specialties include Weddings, Sweet 16s and Corporate Events.

In the past, Brian has worked closely with the 94.5 WPST DJs including Mozes, Chris Rollins, and Mark at Kat Man Du in Trenton.  DJ Brian is also Ambient's technological wizard, and an expert in intelligent lighting.

Mike Bacon (aka DJ Iron Mike)

Mike began DJing in 1996 while attending West Windsor-Plainsboro High School. His passion for DJing grew while spinning monthly Firehouse Teen Nights over 1997-2000. Thereafter, he spun live sets on stations such WPRB 103.3 FM and WMCC 107.7, also serving as Station Manager at WMCC 107.7.

DJ Iron Mike is a well-rounded performer with a deep passion for the music that he plays. His portfolio of past events including weddings, high school dances, bar/bat mitzvahs, corporate parties, family parties and various nightclub appearances. His musical specialties are hip hop, R&B and reggae.  His deep music collection also includes liberal doses of pop, classic rock, Motown and soul.  Mike is Ambient's Sweet 16 and Teen Dance specialist, bringing a night club environment to these special celebrations. 

For those preferring an “old skool” party atmosphere, Mike is the perfect choice, performing on the legendary Technics 1200 turntables.

Larry Sargent

DJ Larry Sargent has been a DJ/Entertainer for over twenty years, That doesn't make him old - it makes him experienced!  A graduate of The Connecticut School of Broadcasting, Larry has performed at over 1,000 private events, including 500 weddings.

Larry has a great knowledge of all genres of music, and knows how to create a compelling mix that keeps people dancing. He interacts with his audience as needed and can instruct all of the traditional and modern party dances. Larry’s unmatched level of professionalism proves that he loves what he does, and it shows!

DJ Irwin Cox (aka DJ All Day)

Irwin was born and raised in New Brunswick and holds an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts (English).  From 2004-2009,  Irwin worked at Prime Time Entertainers based out of Edison, NJ, where he was one of Prime Time’s star performers.  Irwin performs under the stage name “DJ All Day”, punctuating his total dedication to the DJ craft.  With over 500 performances under his belt, Irwin’s performance specialties include Weddings, Sweet 16s, Corporate Affairs and Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.  DJ All Day’s performance skill set includes refined music mixing, video mixing, interactive emceeing and dancing.

Anthony Ferretti ( aka DJ Anthony F ) 

Anthony Ferretti is a relative newcomer to the Disc Jockey profession.  Trained by Ambient DJs’ senior staff members, Anthony has been performing for over two years.  Full of energy and charisma, DJ Anthony’s passion for the DJ craft is visible from all angles.  His specialties include Weddings, Teen Dance Parties and Family Parties.

Anthony is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice at Rutgers University.  In the summer months, he enjoys attending the International DJ Expo held in Atlantic City, sharpening his performance skills and mingling with industry colleagues.

Jamie Herman (“The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Queen”)

Jamie Herman has been dancing, emceeing and assisting the DJ at Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Sweet 16’s, Father/Daughter dances and Weddings for over 18 years.  Jamie’s career began in the early 90s with a professional dance troupe called “Party Shooz.”  Subsequently, she went on to maintaining a busy performance schedule with some of the Northeast’s top companies.  Jamie has also enjoyed success as a dance choreographer and staff trainer.

Jamie takes her roles at parties very seriously, ensuring that the event runs smoothly and that you are able to celebrate with friends/family and have a fantastic time!   

Gary Giarretta (aka DJ Gary G)

Gary began his mobile DJ career in 1995. His appreciation for music began much earlier during elementary and high school where he played the sax in various orchestral and jazz bands. Gary maintains an extensive selection of music ranging from oldies to the current hits, and welcomes requests to keep guests involved in the party. Gary's specialties include Weddings, Sweet 16s, School Dances and Corporate Affairs.  

His relaxed and responsive nature make Gary a great choice for planning and performing at your event. Gary's equipment includes EV speakers, Denon CD players, various lighting effects and a video projector/portable screen. A recent career highlight for Gary was DJing a corporate party for a pharmaceutical company in a packed ballroom at the Trump Taj Mahal - plugging into the Taj's monster sound system.

Jesse Lambros (aka DJ Stav the Greek)

Jesse has been a DJ entertainer ever since graduating from the College of New Jersey.  Now, coasting into his late 20s, Jesse is a valuable asset to the Ambient DJ team, specializing in Weddings, Teen Dance Parties and Family Parties. His equipment rig includes Pioneer CD players, Bose speakers, intelligent lighting and a portable projector and screen.  With a music library exceeding over 75,000 songs, Jesse is sure to have the right song to get your dance floor moving! 

Jesse applies himself beyond everybody's expectations, making sure that your special event is fun-filled and an everlasting memory.

Tom Costagliola (Tommydrums)

Tommydrums is a seasoned percussionist who performs with Ambients' DJs during dance sets, providing a unique party experience.

Emm Pakdee (DJ Emm Bangkok)

Based out Manhattan, Emm was born in Thailand before moving to the United States during his teenage years.  Emm built his reputation in Washington D.C. where he promoted and DJ'd a series of successful parties.  DJ Emm Bangkok currently spins at various Manhattan lounges, also performing at private parties across the New York Tri-State area. Emm owns a record music label and, interestingly, is a highly accomplished karaoke performer.

To book any one of these fine professionals, please contact us today to discuss your party and how we can make it special!   Visit us on the web at  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Musical Celebration of "Yuri's Night"

Today, April 12th, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the human exploration of space.  Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin was the first human being to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961.  Sadly, Gagarin was killed during a jet accident in 1968.

To honor Yuri and his accomplishments, every April 12th global dance communities celebrate "Yuri's Night."  For 2011, 217 such parties are being held in 57 countries across the world.   For more information, visit

It is amazing to marvel at the progress man has made in just 50 years.  Currently Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic is booking trips for the public to travel into outer space!  While fares ain't cheap, this is an exciting development.  To make a reservation, visit  

If asked to DJ a "Yuri's Night" party, here are some tracks that I might put into the evening's mix.  Many of these selections are futuristic electronic productions.  Richard Branson, if you're reading, I'd love to be your resident DJ on Virgin Galactic!  Thanks.

Ambient DJs' Top Fifteen Songs to Celebrate Yuri's Night

1) Space Oddity (Munk Machine Remix) - David Bowie

2) Deep in Space - Korsakov

3) Space Walk - Lemon Jelly

4) Landing Dubby Style - Peter Munch

5) Space Manoeuvres - Stage One

6) Exploration of Space - Cosmic Gate

7) Mars (from the Planets) - Gustav Holst (composer)

8) Set U Free - Planet Soul

9) Resurrection - P.P.K.

10) Welcome to the Future - NOVA

11) Intergalactic - Beastie Boys

12) Rachel's Song (from BladeRunner) - Vangelis

13) Summerbreeze (Universal Religion Mix) - Dido & DJ Tiesto

14) Star Wars (Main Title) - John Williams (composer)

15) Rocket Man - Elton John

Top Freestyle Tracks of All-Time

"Freestyle" or "Latin Freestyle," also called Latin Hip Hop in its early years, is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in the early 1980s. Mostly popular during the mid-to-late 80's, its following declined as it was displaced by house music.  It continues to be produced today and enjoys some degree of popularity, especially in urban Hispanic and Italian communities, as it did when it first came on to the scene.

Freestyle music is almost always between 110 and 130 beats per minute, with most songs residing at 118 beats per minute for a nice, danceable party groove.  The songs are typically about love and relationships.

Notable performers in the Freestyle genre include Stevie B, Shannon, Cynthia, Collage, Lil' Suzy, Sa-Fire, Johnny O, Judy Torres, Information Society, Exposé, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, La India, TKA, Corina, Nocera, Company B, The Cover Girls, Noel, Pajama Party, Shana, Will to Power, Sweet Sensation, Seduction, Linear, George Lamond, Lisette Melendez, Laissez Faire, Coro and Rockell.

While not frequently requested, freestyle music evokes a sentimental feeling among those who grew up with these danceable jams.  Ambient DJs' freestyle hound, DJ Greg Nice, suggests these 20 songs for your freestyle playlist or DJ crate: 

DJ Greg Nice's Top 20 Freestyle Tracks of All Time

1. TKA - Louder than Love
2. Debbie Deb - When I Hear Music
3. Nice & Wild - Diamond Girl
4. Giggles - Love Letter
5. Val Young - If You Should Ever Be Lonely
6. Latin Rascals - Arabian Nights
7. Connie - Funky Little Beat
8. Stevie B - I Wanna Be the One
9. George Lamond - Bad of the Heart
10. Nu Shooz - I Can't Wait
11. Judy Torres - Come Into My Arms
12. Pretty Poison - Catch Me I'm Falling
13. D'Zyre - Forever Amo'r
14. & More - You'll Never Find Another Love
15. Hanson & Davis - Hungry For Your Love
16. Cynthia - Change on Me
17. Coro - Where are You Tonight
18. Nocera - Summertime, Summertime
19. Johnny O - Fantasy Girl
20. Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam - Can You Feel the Beat

To request a copy of DJ Greg Nice's latest freestyle mix or book him for your next party, contact  

For even more Freestyle favorites, check out this Top 100 list provided by Digital DreamDoor.

Please comment with your own freestyle favorites!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Photos from Catalina & Michael's Wedding - Lake Valhalla Club

Here are a few photos from this evening's wedding reception celebrating the marriage of the new Mr. and Mrs. Michael and Catalina Kowal.  The wedding reception was held on a beautiful early Spring day at the Lake Valhalla Club in Montville, NJ - a Tudor-style structure rich in character.  

The Ambient DJ team featured DJ Gregg on the 1's and 2's, DJ Greg Nice as emcee, and percussionist Tommydrums.  We also projected a custom monogram designed by the bride (!) onto the dancefloor.  Guests were in great spirits and danced all night long to a variety of Latin styles and modern dance music.

Key tracks:

* Little Heaven - Toad the Wet Sprocket (first dance)
* Tu Guardian - Juanes (Father-Daughter dance)
* Your Song - Elton John (Mother-Son dance)
* Clavado en un Bar - Mana (dedication to Catalina's cousins)
* El Preso - Fruko y Sus Tesos (salsa party starter)
* La Gota Fria - Carlos Vives (massive Latin hit)
* Rain or Shine - Matthew Perryman Jones (cakecutting song)
* I Like It - Enrique Iglesias (peak hour dancefloor fire)
* P.D.A. (We Just Don't Care) - John Legend
* Lovesong (cover) - Adele 
* You are the Best Thing - Ray LaMontagne (first song in final set)
* Forever - Chris Brown (closing song)

Stay tuned for additional narrative, photos and video footage later this week!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

American Cancer Society, Relay for Life - Rutgers University

In 1971, when Richard Nixon launched the "War on Cancer" just one in three of those diagnosed with cancer survived.  Fast forwarding to the present, two in three of those diagnosed are survivors!  This massive stride forward is thanks to advances facilitated by the American Cancer Society. 

One of the ACS's key programs is its Relay for Life community events held across the country.  Teams of walkers get sponsored and must walk for 12 hours to show their support for those fighting cancer, or in memory of those who have lost the battle.  Ambient DJ has had the honor of providing musical entertainment services to various Relay for Life events in the past.  Last night, we returned to the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center at Rutgers University's Busch Campus to help keep 50 teams and some 700 participants pumped up throughout the evening!  The Rutgers event has been growing fast - while 2009's event raised $12,000, 2010's raised $50,000!  Through the years, the ACS has donated some $9 million to institutions at Rutgers towards basic research in the cancer field.

This year's theme was Pirates of the "Cure"-a-bean.  Get it?  Activities for the evening included DJ entertainment, a live band (the Melillo Brothers), bellydancing entertainment and a beauty pageant (by male contestants in drag!).  The student organizers at Rutgers led by Theresa Bartone did an awesome job planning this ambitious event.

Enjoy the photos below, and for more info about Relay for Life, visit      

P.S.  Don't forget to get your recommended cancer screenings!  Early detection is a key to survival.