Monday, September 26, 2011

Ambient DJ to Appear at Bridal Show at the Skylands at Randolph

Attention brides located in northern New Jersey and New York City, Ambient DJ is scheduled to appear this Sunday October 9, 2011 at "A Four Seasons Bridal Showcase Experience" at the beautiful Skylands at Randolph.  This event, thematically developed around the four seasons, has been organized by our friends at The Bling Event.  Bling's mission is to provide a luxury event experience for its clientele.  At  the Four Seasons Show, brides will be able to walk through rooms and have an opportunity to imagine what their wedding day can look like in each of the four seasons - with inspired decor, entertainment, delectable tastings, bridal fashions, and exceptional service.

All of the event details are shown on the flyer below.  Amenities include a free honeymoon giveaway to Cabo St. Lucas and a presentation by Sharon Naylor, an expert who has authored over 30 wedding planning books!

Ambient DJ Service will have a table in the exhibits area, and also provide a showcase presentation in the Coral Ballroom somewhere between 3:00 and 3:30 PM.  Please stop by to say hello and meet our marquee DJs!  We're sure to have some special surprises up our sleeves as well!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Myra's Marvelous 65th Birthday Party in Margate City

On Saturday, September 17th, I had the pleasure of providing DJ entertainment at Myra's Marvelous 65th birthday party held at Ventura's Greenhouse Restaurant in Margate City.  Myra learned about Ambient DJ Service while attending a Sweet 16 earlier this year with our DJ Iron Mike.  Mike was unavailable, so DJ Gregg Ambient stepped in.

Margate City is located along the ocean about ten miles south of Atlantic City.  Ventura's is located on the ocean, and immediately across the street from the restaurant (to the south) is this exciting landmark, "Lucy the Elephant."

Lucy the Elephant - Margate City, NJ
Lucy is a very unique piece of architectural history from the Victorian era.  At times, she served as a hotel, tavern, and now a national landmark.  She was the brainchild of James Lafferty, a real estate speculator, who commisioned the 65 foot pachyderm to be built.  He had hoped it would lure people to the properties he hoped to sell along the coast. Construction was done in 1881 by a Philadelphia contractor for the sum of $25,000. 

Myra is an energetic lady who loves to dance!  While we did not meet until the night of the party, after having some great phone conversations, it felt like I was meeting an old friend.  Myra wanted plenty of good fifties and sixties music, as well popular beach music of the era.  Late in the evening, I also played an extended set of current dance music that was well-received!  

To help create a fiesta atmosphere, Myra added various party favors to her package, which we sourced from our preferred supplier, Sherman Specialty!  We enjoy using Sherman Specialty for their high-quality products, great selection, reasonable prices and outstanding customer service.  Specific party favors used for Myra's birthday bash included silk flower leis, strobing glow rings, blinking long stem red roses and Blue Brothers style sunglasses.

After enjoying delicious culinary delights served by the friendly staff at Ventura's (the white pizza was outstanding with a garlicky finish), the dance floor kicked in to a variety of musical styles.  The younger guests enjoyed competing in a hula hoop competition and limbo exhibition.  What a great party!  Thank you Myra for trusting Ambient DJ for your celebration, and we wish you many more years of good health and fun.

Myra gives her grandson a tip during the limbo contest!
Key Tracks

Wildwood Days - Bobby Rydell
Sea Cruise - Johnny Rivers
The Twist - Chubby Checker
The Rubberband Man - The Spinners
Be My Baby - The Ronettes
You Got It - Roy Orbison
Midnight Confessions - The Grass Roots
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds - The Beatles (DJ Choice, dedicated to Lucy the Elephant!)
Higher Love - Steve Winwood
Mr. Saxobeat - Alexandra Stan
Be My Lover (House Mix) - La Bouche
The Summer Wind - Frank Sinatra (closer)

About Ambient DJ Service

Ambient DJ Service is an award-winning mobile DJ company that provides customized, family-friendly music and entertainment for all of the milestone celebrations in life!  Visit us on the web at

The Top Hip Hop Party Jams of All Time

In association with his 30th birthday celebration this past weekend, Ambient DJs' resident hip hop expert, DJ Iron Mike, compiled a list of his top 130 hip hop party jams of all time!  These top 130 songs were selected with danceability and actual dance floor results in mind. They span from the old skool to the present, but there is a scarcity of recent tracks to reflect their lack of perceived staying power.  Please comment with your own favorite hip hop party jams of all-time!

Listed in countdown fashion, let's get a drumroll please!

130. Feel Good Inc. - The Gorillaz feat. De La Soul (2005)
129. Roc The Mic - Beanie Sigel feat. Freeway (2001)
128. Dreams - The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)
127. Paper Planes - M.I.A. (2008)
126. California Love - 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre & Roget Troutman (1995)
125. Baby Got Back - Sir Mix-A Lot (1992)
124. You Can Do It - Ice Cube feat. Mack 10 & Ms. Toi (1999)
123. Do This My Way - Kid N' Play (1988)
122. Grindin' - The Clipse (2002)
121. Wait (The Whisper Song) - Ying Yang Twins (2005)
120. Protect Ya Neck- Wu-Tang Clan (1993)
119. Luchini (This is It) - Camp Lo (1997)
118. Freedom - Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five (1981)
117. De'ja Vu (Uptown Baby) - Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz (1997)
116. Hey Ladies - Beastie Boys (1989)
115. The Way You Move - Outkast (2004)
114. Stronger - Kanye West (2007)
113. Passin' Me By - The Pharcyde (1992)
112. If I Ruled The World - Nas feat. Lauryn Hill (1996)
111. The Bridge - MC Shan (1987)
110. Wild Out - The Lox (1999)
109. Eric B. Is President - Eric B. & Rakim (1986)
108. Zulu War Chant - Afrika Bambaataa (1993)
107. Ain't No N---a - Jay-Z feat. Foxy Brown (1996)
106. Me, Myself & I - De La Soul (1989)
105. Can't Deny It - Fabolous feat. Nate Dogg (2001)
104. Set Adrift a Memory Bliss of You - PM Dawn (1991)
103. Get Your Freak On - Missy Elliot (2000)
102. Slam - Onyx (1993)
101. Doo Wop (That Thing) - Lauryn Hill (1998)
100. Fancy - Drake feat. T.I. (2010)
 99. The Bridge is Over - Boogie Down Productions (1988)
 98. Check The Rhime - A Tribe Called Quest (1991)
 97. Time 4 Sum Aksion - Redman (1992)
 96. Pump It Up - Joe Budden (2003)
 95. So What'cha Sayin' - EPMD (1989)
 94. Lights, Camera, Action - Mr. Cheeks (2001)
 93. Get It Together - Beastie Boys feat. Q-Tip (1994)
 92. I Got 5 On It - The Luniz (1995)
 91. Make The Music With Your Mouth - Biz Markie (1987)
 90. Fu-Gee-La - The Fugees (1996)
 89. Touch It - Busta Rhymes (2006)
 88. Ante Up - M.O.P. (2000)
 87. Ain't No Fun - Snoop Dog feat. Tha Dogg Pound, Warren G & Nate Dogg (1993)
 86. Shook Ones Pt. II - Mobb Deep (1995)
 85. Bust a Move- Young MC (1989)
 84. Friends - Whodini (1983)
 83. 100% - Big Pun feat. Tony Sunshine (2000)
 82. I Got It Made- Special Ed (1989)
 81. Southern Hospitality - Ludacris (2000)
 80. Down Bottom - Drag-On feat. Juvenile (1999)
 79. Whoa! - Black Rob (1999)
 78. Around The Way Girl - LL Cool J (1990)
 77. Drop It Like It's Hot - Snoop Dog (2005)
 76. Paper Thin - MC Lyte (1988)
 75. Oh Boy! - Cam'ron feat. Juelez Santana (2002)
 74. It's all About the Benjamins (rmx) - Puff Daddy feat. The Lox, Lil' Kim, & The Notorious B.I.G. ( 1997)
 73. They Want EFX - Das Efx (1992)
 72. Shoop - Salt N' Pepa (1993)
 71. Shimmy Shimmy Ya - Ol' Dirty Bastard (1995)
 70. Funky Cold Medina - Tone Loc (1989)
 69. Children's Story - Slick Rick (1988)
 68. Who Am I? (What's My Name) - Snoop Dog (1993)
 67. Brooklyn's Finest - Jay-Z feat. The Notorious B.I.G. (1996)
 66. Jingling Baby (rmx) - LL Cool J (1989)
 65. Ha - Juvenile (1998)
 64. Vivrant Thing - Q-Tip (1999)
 63. Rock The Bells - LL Cool J (1986)
 62. Apache - Sugarhill Gang (1981)
 61. Go DJ- Lil' Wayne (2004)
 60. Nothin' - Noreaga (2002)
 59. Hip-Hop Hooray - Naughty by Nature (1993)
 58. Big Mama Thang- Lil' Kim feat. Jay-Z (1996)
 57. Hip-Hop Junkies - Nice & Smooth (1992)
 56. Off the Books - The Beatnuts feat. Big Pun & Cuban Link (1997)
 55. Quiet Storm (rmx) - Mobb Deep feat. Lil' Kim (1999)
 54. Party Up - DMX (1999)
 53. Flava In ya Ear- Craig Mack (1994)
 52. Good Life - Kanye West feat. T-Pain (2007)
 51. Jeeps, Coupes, Beemas & Benz - The Lost Boyz (1995)
 50. Juicy - The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)
 49. Treat 'em Right - Chubb Rock (1990)
 48. Peter Piper - Run DMC (1986)
 47. The 900 Number - Mark The 45 King (1989)
 46. Buddy (Remix) - De La Soul feat. A Tribe Called Quest, The Jungle Brothers, Monie Love & Queen Latifah (1989)
 45. DWYCK - Gangstarr feat. Nice & Smooth (1992)
 44. Brass Monkey - Beastie Boys (1986)
 43. Rosa Parks - Outkast (1998)
 42. Gin & Juice - Snoop Dog (1993)
 41. I Know You Got Soul - Eric B. & Rakim (1986)
 40. Lean Back - Terror Squad (2004)
 39. Puerto Rico - Frankie Cutlass (1994)
 38. Warm It Up Kane - Big Daddy Kane (1989)
 37. Work It - Missy Elliot (2002)
 36. The Breaks - Kurtis Blow (1980)
 35. Girl, I'll House You - Jungle Brothers (1988)
 34. Superthug - Noreaga feat. Pharell & Kelis (1998)
 33. Summertime - DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (1991)
 32. Doin' It - LL Cool J feat. Leshaun (1995)
 31. Jump Around - House of Pain (1992)
 30. Just a Friend- Biz Markie (1990)
 29. Da Rockwilder - Method Man & Redman (1999)
 28. Get Money - Junior Mafia feat. The Notorious B.I.G. (1995)
 27. Back Dat Azz Up - Juvenile feat. Mannie Fresh & Lil' Wayne (1999)
 26. Ruff Ryders Anthem - DMX (1998)
 25. I Get Around - 2Pac feat. Shock G & Money B of Digital Underground (1993)
 24. Scenario - A Tribe Called Quest feat. Leaders of the New School (1991)
 23. Nuthin' But a G Thang - Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dog (1992)
 22. Hot In Herre - Nelly (2002)
 21. Public Service Announcement - Jay-Z (2003)
 20. The Message (Tied w/) White Lines (Don't Do It) - Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five (1983)
 19. Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See- Busta Rhymes (1997)
 18. Top Billin' - Audio Two (1988)
 17. The Humpty Dance - Digital Underground (1990)
 16. The Next Episode - Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dog, Kurupt & Nate Dogg (1999)
 15. O.P.P. - Naughty by Nature (1991)
 14. Still Not a Player- Big Pun feat. Joe (1998)
 13. Be Faithful - Fatman Scoop (1998)
 12. The Choice is Yours (Revisited) - Black Sheep (1992)
 11. Push It - Salt N' Pepa (1986)
 10. Mona Lisa - Slick Rick (1988)
 9. Rapper's Delight - Sugar Hill Gang (1979)
 8. Get Low - Lil' Jon & The Eastside Boyz feat. The Ying Yang Twinz (2003)
 7. Hypnotize- Notorious B.I.G. (1997)
 6. The Show tie / La Di Da Di - Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew (1985)
 5. In Da Club - 50 Cent (2002)
 4. It's Tricky -Run DMC (1986)
 3. Planet Rock - Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force (1982)
 2. Give It To Me (I Just Wanna Love Ya) - Jay-Z (2000)
 1. It Takes Two- Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock (1988)

DJ Iron Mike and Afrika Bambaataa (#3, #108)

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, corporate parties, family parties and frequent 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.

To book Mike for your next party, please contact us at or 609.672.1270.

Iron Mike, celebrating his 30th Birthday Party on the Wheels of Steel!

Monday, September 19, 2011

DJ Spinz's Top 30 Dance Playlist of Fall 2011

Happy Fall!

The marvelous Christopher Smith, aka DJ Spinz, reveals his top dance tracks currently burning up dancefloors across the Tri-State area.  Spinzy is a Triple Threat, with polished Emcee skills, heavy mixing chops and a strong business savvy.  To book him for your next party, contact Ambient DJ today at or 609.672.1270.

For this installment, Spinzy has not listed his top picks in any particular order:

30) Tonight Tonight- Hot Chelle Rae (pop)
29) Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO (dance)
28) Pumped Up Kicks- Foster the People (alternative)
27) Add SUV (Armand Van Helden Vocal Mix) - Uffie f/Pharell Williams (dance)
26) How To Love- Lil Wayne (R&B)
25) Cheers (Drink To That)- Rihanna (dance)
24) In The Dark- Dev (dance)
23) Mr. Saxobeat- Alexandra Stan (dance)
22) You Make Me Feel- Cobra Starship (dance)
21) Otis- Kanyes West & Jay-Z (hip hop)
20) Headlines- Drake (R&B)
19) Moves Like Jagger- Maroon 5 (pop)
18) Tonight- Nicola Fasano ft Steve Forest (dance)
17) Take Over Control- Afrojack ft Eva Simons (dance)
16) It Girl- Jason Derulo (pop)
15) Sure Thing- Miguel (R&B)
14) Give Me Everything (Tonight)- Pitbull ft Ne-Yo, Nayer (dance)
13) My Last- Big Sean ft Chris Brown (hip hop)
12) Catch Me- Nicki Minaj ft Swizz Beatz (hip hop)
11) I'm A Boss- Meek Mills ft Rick Ross (hip hop)
10) On the Floor- Jennifer Lopez ft Pitbull (dance)
  9) Till the End Of Time- Beyonce ft Ester Dean (dance)
  8) Marvin's Room- Drake (R&B)
  7) Don't Wanna Go Home- Jason Derulo (dance)
  6) Good Life- Onerepublic (pop)
  5) Levels- Avicii (electro)
  4) Out Of My Head- Lupe Fiasco ft Trey Songz (hip hop/R&B)
  3) She Will- Lil Wayne ft Drake (hip hop)
  2) Cinema(Skrillex Remix)- Benny Benassi (dubstep)
  1) Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay- Big Sean (R&B)

To view Spinzy's Top 50 Awesome Tracks for your Sweet 16, click here.

To view Spinzy's Top 50 Dance Tracks of 2010, click here.

To view DJ Gregg Ambient's Top 25 Tracks of Fall 2011, click here.

Ambient DJ Service Featured in Article About Alumni Entrepreneurs

We are honored to have been one of the success stories profiled in the September 2011 issue of TCNJ Magazine, a publication for alumni at the The College of New Jersey.   The story, written by Tony Marchetti, is re-printed below.

Gregg Hollmann ’93

Company: Ambient DJ Service  (

Gregg Hollman was an equity analyst in Manila when 1997’s Asian financial crisis sent world markets reeling and landed him back in the U.S., unemployed. He caught on with a business valuation firm, but while the pay was great he found the work unfulfilling. “There’s some creativity involved with picking stocks. Business valuation is very quantitative; creativity is frowned upon,” he said. 

Looking for a new creative outlet, he rediscovered his passion for music. A lifelong music lover—he had turned down a music scholarship to study finance—Hollmann had amassed an extensive, eclectic music collection over the years. He started DJing parties on the side. “Performing for a room full of strangers every weekend was a great outlet for that other side of my personality.” A few years later he cashed in $15,000 in stocks, bought professional DJ equipment, and officially launched his business. 

Since the industry is largely referral based, Hollmann said his initial strategy for attracting clients was pricing below market rate. He also made a conscious decision early on not to follow the “old school way” of building a DJ business (appearing at bridal shows), concentrating instead on Internet marketing. He paid a professional to overhaul his website, then drove traffic there by dedicating a percentage of profits to advertising on wedding portals. Weddings now make up about half of the company’s sales dollars, with the rest coming from corporate and private parties, community events, and dances.

When he started earning more money DJing than from his first job, Hollmann quit the valuation firm and dedicated himself to the business. He now has six DJs working for him and is training two new employees. “We’re seeing an acceleration in business” he said, noting sales were up 32 percent over last year. 

His workweek is a little different. “My peak time is Friday through Sunday,” he said. “Mondays are my so-called weekends. Tuesdays through Thursdays I’m prepping for upcoming events, selling new jobs, and training DJs.” Despite the odd hours, he’s enjoying it. “It doesn’t feel like work.”

Asked what he’d tell someone considering starting a business, Hollmann advised to follow your passion—but proceed cautiously. “I wouldn’t recommend anyone blindly jump into something on a whim. I followed my passion, but did it part time at first to validate that I could make money. Thus far, it’s working out well.”

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our Halloween Mix CD 2011

It's an annual tradition at Ambient DJ Service to record a Halloween-themed "Mix CD."  2011 will mark about the eight installment of the series, so we are well beyond the Halloween party anthems such as "Thriller" and the "Monster Mash."

Rather, the mix CD is a dark and psychedelic journey, with a focus on genres such as electronica, alternative, dub, hard rock, metal, goth rock, 80s/New Wave, hip hop, sound effects and eerie drops.  We are now accepting nominations for tracks that you feel would make great additions to the 2011 Halloween Mix CD.  As evidenced by the playlist below, the songs do not necessarily have to be Halloween-themed, but more fit into the feel of an underground party held on a spooky night in October.  All of those who suggest songs will receive a FREE copy of the mix CD, mailed to their home courtesy of Ambient DJ Service.

Ambient DJs is now accepting bookings for Halloween weekend 2011!  Please visit us on the web at  

As a sample, here is the cover art and track list for 2009's Mix CD.

Track List:

1) Toccata and Fugue - Bach (Classical)
2) Wolfman is Coming - DJ Tino (Dub)
3) Ghost Town - The Specials (Ska)
4)The Principles of Lust - Enigma (Electronic)
5) Landing, Dubby Style - Peter Munch (Dub)
6) Mushrooms (Justin Martin RMX) - Marshall Jefferson vs. Noosa Heads (electronic)
7) Ghosts n' Stuff - DeadMau5 f/Rob Swire (techno)
8) I See You, Baby - Groove Armada (dance)
9) I'm a Hustler - Simian Mobile Disco (dance)
10) I'm in Miami - LFMAO (dance)
11) La Musica (Tribal Mix) - Alexdoparis (tribal)
12) Nightmare - Brainbug (trance)
13) Zombie Nation - Kernkraft 400 (trance)
14) Blood is Pumpin - Voodoo and Serano (trance)
15) Thriller (DJ Jagged Edit) - Michael Jackson (party classic)
16) Empire State of Mind - Jay-Z with Alicia Keys (party jam)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Sandler System and Wedding Sales

Last night I attended a meeting of the ISES Northern New Jersey chapter at the beautiful Green Brook Country Club in North Caldwell, NJ.  ISES, standing for the International Special Events Society, is a professional organization comprised of leading event planners and related industry professionals.  

An hour of networking accompanied by delicious culinary offerings was followed by a formal presentation by Danny Wood, an executive sales trainer from Sandler Training.  Danny's presentation was "Don't Sell the Steak, Sell the Sizzle - Selling in a Recession Economy."  With the U.S. unemployment rate stuck above 9% and many families hurting, this was quite a timely topic.

Danny Wood in a Parody, describes the Features and Benefits of Rubber Chickens!
For small business owners such as myself, there is no dedicated sales department.  This function is picked up by the owner.  Selling wedding and corporate services can be challenging, frustrating and rewarding.  

Wood explained how in the typical sales system, clients are pre-qualified, then given a features and benefit presentation (see rubber chicken photo above), followed by an attempted close (sometimes a hard close), followed by a persistent follow-up process.  Prospects, justifiably so, are guarded in these sales presentations and probably carry many negative impressions of salespeople going into the meeting.  As a result, there can be a song and dance with neither party - prospect or salesperson - being completely honest with one another.  Also, neither party is very happy with the process.

Wood suggested a new paradigm comprised of interrupting typical sales patterns and using a personal approach and "real talk" to lead to faster decisions and a compressed sales cycle.  For example, what if you were to start off a sales meeting with the statement.... "I'm a wedding DJ who loves to perform and don't really enjoy making sales presentations."  How might that affect the tone of the meeting?  Or, at the end of the meeting when the bride says, "thanks for the information; I'm going to be meeting with a few more DJs... we'll get back to you," what if you were to collect additional information about their decision process and  feedback on where you stand?

A good portion of Wood's presentation focused on big picture concepts that are essential for successful sales - such as the willingness for us to change and to move outside of our comfort zone, to carry a positive self-image, and to view life positively.  For example, if we were to accept the statement, "every bride is a price-shopper," then we may doom ourselves to that result.

Thanks to ISES for organizing this informative and thought-provoking presentation.  Danny Wood was an excellent speaker!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Miss Universe Pageant 2011 & Brazilian Music

Last night, the Miss Universe pageant was held at the Credicard Hall in São Paulo, Brazil.  Congratulations to Miss Universe 2011, Leila Lopes of Angola, who inherits the crown from last years's winner, Ximena Navarrete of Mexico.  Contestants from 89 countries and territories participated in this year's pageant.

Congratulations to Miss Universe 2011, Leila Lopes of Angola!
Despite never having visited Brazil, I have always had a love for its music and culture.  Whether it's the Samba (a symbol of the Brazilian national identity and soundtrack to Carnival), the relaxing sounds of Bossa Nova or even Brazilian 'Baile Funk' (a groovy dance music popular in the slums), the music of Brazil reflects its beautiful landscapes and love of the fiesta!  Remixers have had great success in taking a beautiful Brazilian melody and then giving it a lush electronic wrapper.  These Brazilian remixes are perfect for cocktail hours, including wedding cocktail hours.  Brazilian music is also interesting in that it is a fusion of various cultures, including African (great percussion!), European and Amerindian.

In the 2011 Miss Universe pageant, three prominent musical pieces of the evening were:

Opening:  Mas que Nada - Sergio Mendes f/The Black Eyed Peas
Swimsuit Competition:  Locomotion - Claudia Leitte (live performance), and
Evening Gown Competition:  Close Your Eyes - Bebel Gilberto (live performance)

Listed below are fifteen favorite tracks for your next Brazilian-themed party:

1) Aganju (Latin Project Remix) - Bebel Gilberto
2) Ceu Distante (DJ Spinna Remix) - Bebel Gilberto
3) The Girl from Ipanema - Stan Getz 
4) Corcovado - Stan Getz, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Astrud Gilberto, Joao Gilberto
5) Look to the Rainbow - Astrud Gilberto
6) 70s Samba - Wagon Cookin'
7) Sambodromo - Bobby Brazil
8) Wave - Antonio Carlos Jobim
9) Desafinado - George Michael w/Astrud Gilberto
10) Brahma vs. Antarctica - Bobby Brazil
11) Bossa Pre Due - Nicola Conte
12) Baile Funk Medley - Funk On Lata & Ivan Meirelles
13) Lambada - Kaoma
14) Mas Que Nada - Sergio Mendes
15) Trem da Central - Claudio Jorge

Finally, check out these three recommended albums below.  Pop any of these CDs into your player, and create a magical atmosphere for your next cocktail party!

About Ambient DJ Service

Ambient DJ Service is an award-winning mobile DJ company based in Central NJ that prides itself on a broad, international palette of party-friendly music.  To learn more, visit us on the web at 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Kaskade - America's Best DJ 2011

Congratulations to the winner of the 2011 winner of the "America's Best DJ" competition, Kaskade!  This annual contest, sponsored by Pioneer DJ, allows the public at large to cast vote for their favorite DJs from a list of 100 top DJs nominated by DJ Times Magazine.  Notably, Kaskade vaulted from 35th place in the 2010 contest to the top of the charts in 2011! The final standings for 2011 were:

1. Kaskade
2. Skrillex
3. Z-Trip
4. BT
5. Steve Aoki

Who did you vote for and why? 

Congratulations to 2011's "America's Best DJ," Kaskade
Who is Kaskade?

Ryan Raddon, aka DJ Kaskade, grew up in Illinois, and later honed his DJ skills while attending college in Utah.  His DJ name originated when Raddon viewed a picture of a waterfall in a nature book.  In 2000, Kaskade moved to San Francisco where he worked for Om Records.  He released his first single, "What I Say" in 2001 (see the video immediately below):

In 2006, Kaskade signed with electronic dance label powerhouse Ultra Records and stepped up his production efforts.  His style is best described as house, deep house and electro.  In recent years, Kaskade has achieved greater prominence in collaborations with EDM giants DeadMau5 and Tiesto.  He has also remixed countless headline acts, ranging from Empire of the Sun to Outkast to Nelly Furtado to Mark Farina.  In the case of Kaskade, his well-known sound and production chops have expanded his audience as a performance DJ.

Perhaps my favorite Kaskade production is his collaboration with DeadMau5, "I Remember."

Another favorite of mine is Kaskade's groovealicious "Roots Remix" of Afro Mystik's  "Natural":

Free Kaskade Mix

To access a free exclusive Kaskade mix, become a fan on Facebook at

You can also follow Kaskade on Twitter at

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gig Log - Wedding at the English Manor

September 10, 2011, or 9-10-11 proved to be a remarkably popular date for weddings.  We were fortunate to work with an energized group of party people for David and Stephanie's ceremony and reception party at the English Manor in Ocean Township, NJ.

Earlier this year, the English Manor recently revamped its grounds - the outdoors ceremony area is very spacious, and the landscaping beautiful.  Despite some concerns about rain, the weather remained pleasant throughout the afternoon.  Stephanie and David exchanged personalized vows in a heartfelt ceremony officiated by our friend Celia Milton.

For the reception, Ambient DJ provided a two person DJ/Emcee combo - call it "Team Gregg," with myself, Gregg H. on the mixing board, and our energetic DJ Gregory Lambiase (aka DJ Greg Nice) on the microphone as Emcee.  We also uplit the reception room and foyer in a lavender shade, adding some modern ambience to this classic banquet hall.  

David and Stephanie have similar tastes in music as myself, and provided a very long leash in terms of musical programming.  Songs used for the grand entrance were Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia) - Us3, Beautiful People - Chris Brown, and Now That We Found Love - Heavy D. & the Boyz.  The newlyweds shared their first dance to "Stay With You" by John Legend, and parent dances followed with Songbird - Fleetwood Mac (Father-Daughter) and Memories - Elvis (Mother -Son).

After the salad course, we were able to pack the dancefloor and enjoy a high energy dance-set before dinner.  The dance floor action only got hotter after dinner, with a high-energy dance mix and 90s throwbacks at the fore.  

A couple of unique features of the wedding:  First, for the bouquet toss, ALL ladies (married or unmarried) were called to the floor, and Stephanie's bouquet splintered into mini-bouquets so that there could be many winners.  Second, as is often the case when the bride is of Chinese heritage, Stephanie had a wardrobe change later in the reception, changing into a beautiful red, silk Chinese dress.

Congratulations to Stephanie and David!  We enjoyed collaborating with a very competent and cool group of professionals:  Debbie from the English Manor, Carla and Tara from Blooming Studios (photography) and Art from Villanovisions Video (videography).


Halo (cover) - Aston (Bride's Ceremony Processional)
For Once in My Life - Stevie Wonder (Ceremony Recessional)
Stay With You - John Legend (First Dance)
What You Won't Do For Love - Bobby Caldwell
The Light - Common
P.Y.T. - Michael Jackson
Mr. Saxobeat - Alexandra Stan
Motown Philly - Boyz II Men
Ladies Night - Kool and the Gang (Bouquet Toss)
The Last Dance - Frank Sinatra (last dance)
Thank You - Jay-Z (postlude)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Harmonic Mixing and Mixed In Key Software

Particularly in the realm of electronic dance music, many top DJs primarily program their sets based on harmonic mixing.  In other words, records should be in compatible keys, and sound harmonious.  Some of my favorite DJs such as Sandra Collins, Hernan Cattaneo, Paul Oakenfold, Steve Lawler and Dubfire rely primarily on harmonic mixing.  In the world of high-energy trance music, not only are successive records programmed in compatible keys, but they tend to be steps up the musical scale, contributing to an effect of increased energy, as the DJ works his dancefloor towards a euphoric peak.

Mixed in Key is a software product that has been developed to determine the key of a particular song.  Then, using the Camelot Wheel pictured below, a DJ can pick harmonically compatible songs.  Please, do not confuse the Camelot Wheel with Pat Sajak's Wheel of Fortune!

Using Mixed in Key, select an MP3 to be analyzed, and in about 30 seconds, the software program will reveal a code corresponding to a particular key.  For example, "Mr. Saxobeat" by Alexandra Stan was tagged as 10A, or the key of B Minor (see 10 o'clock).  According to the theory of the Camelot Wheel, compatible keys would be another song in B Minor (10A), one step up to F-Sharp Minor (11A), or one step down to E Minor (9A).  The "A" codes refer to minor keys; the "B" codes refer to major keys.  According to Mixed in Key, "You can also mix between inner and outer wheels if you stay in the same 'hour.'  For example, try mixing from 8A to 8B, and notice the change in melody as you go from Minor to Major."

Back to Saxobeat (10A, B Minor), some potential songs in a similar beats per minute (BPM) and style that could be compatible under the Camelot Wheel include My Feelings for You - Avicii (11A, F-Sharp Minor) or Down on Me (Disco Fries Remix) - Jeremih (9A, E Minor).

One popular mix among mobile DJs is the Michael Jackson "Bille Jean" into Justin Timberlake's "Sexyback."  According to the Camelot Wheel, these records, although while both in minor keys, are not really compatible, at 6A and 2A, respectively.  However, Dev's "Dancing in the Dark" at 6A, would be a harmonically good match for Bille Jean.

For a sample of a harmonically mixed set, visit this page on the Mixed in Key site here, and look on the right side of the page for the blue audio wave forms that say "Audio Demo of Harmonic Mixing."  Can you tell the difference?

As mobile DJs, we are often expected to bang out the hits of a strict playlist and may not have the flexibility to mix harmonically.  However, when given free reign to mix, as DJs we should strive to keep our dancers locked into a groove with a harmonically sound mix.  To truly achieve a seamless mix, listeners should not discern any changes in the incoming record that could be detected due to a jarring key change!

DJ Hernan Cattaneo - His harmonic mixes are seamless!
A word of caution - just as it would be unwise to solely program a set based on beats per minute, so too would it be foolish to pick records solely on the Camelot Wheel.  Rather, it is just another tool for a DJ to pick the perfect record for the perfect moment, and tell a story!  

Monday, September 5, 2011

DJ Gregg Ambient - Top 25 Songs

On a periodic basis, Ambient DJs' music mixologists reveal the hottest tracks in their crates.  In this installment, head honcho DJ "Gregg Ambient" reveals 25 dance floor winners, plus twelve "classics in rotation."  The songs are listed in Countdown Fashion.  Drumroll, please......

25) Rolling in the Deep - Adele
24) Under the Cover of Darkness - The Strokes
23) Bright Lights, Bigger City - Cee Lo Green f/Wiz Khalifa
22) Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5 w/Christine Aguilera
21) Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People
20) No Church in the Wild - Jay-Z & Kanye West, w/Frank Ocean
19) I'm on One - DJ Khaled w/Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne
18) Always Changing (Giuseppe D.'s Midnight Club Mix) (f/Sophia Cruz) - DJ Zilos
17) Super Bass - Nicki Minaj
16) In the Dark - Dev
15) Sofi Needs a Ladder - DeadMau5 (featured in the summer hit movie The Hangover 2)
14) The Show Goes On - Lupe Fiasco
13) See the New Hong Kong (Love Rush U.K. Club Mix) - Josie Cotton
12) Grove Street Party - Wacka Flocka Flame
11) Down on Me (Kidd Spin vs. Scene Remix) - 50 Cent & Jeremih
10) My Feelings for You - Avicii & Sebastien Drums
 9) Turbulence - Steve Aoki w/Laidback Luke and Lil' Jon
 8) Edge of Glory - Lady Gaga
 7) You Make Me Feel - Cobra Starship f/Sabi
 6) Don't Wanna Go Home - Jason Derulo
 5) Cinema (Skrillex Remix) - Benny Bennassi
 4) Rain Over Me - Pitbull f/Marc Anthony
 3) Favorite DJ (Disco Fries Remix) - Clinton Sparks w/Jermaine Dupri
 2) Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO (heavily requested!)
 1) Mr. Saxobeat - Alexandra Stan (this song could become the new Calabria!)

Classics in Rotation

Hot Mess - Chromeo
Party in de Ghetto - Crystal Waters
Wishing on a Sucker M.C. (mash-up) - Rose Royce vs. Run-DMC w/Jim Jones
Closer to Me (12 inch mix) - Chab
Off the Wall - Michael Jackson
Escape (the Pina Colada Song) - Rupert Holmes
Waiting on a Friend - The Rolling Stones
Native New Yorker (12 inch mix) - Oydssey
Love Come Down - Evelyn "Champagne" King
Return of the Mack - Mark Morrison
Mr. Wendal - Arrested Development
Set it Off - Strafe

To view DJ Gregg Ambient's Top 50 tracks of 2010, click here.

To see his favorite songs of the 1980s, click here.  To view his favorite dance tracks of the 1990s, click here.

About DJ Gregg Ambient

Ambient DJs’ Founder and Owner, Gregg Hollmann, 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.  A multi-faceted performer, Gregg also mixes music videos.

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.'  

To book DJ Gregg Ambient for your next party, visit the Ambient DJ Service website at

DJ Gregg Ambient

Does Blogging Work?

Recently,  I viewed statistics from Blogger (Google) who hosts our blog.  On December 24, 2009, the Ambient DJ Blog at was born, with a New Year's resolution to deliver quality content in the future.     In 2010, we published 77 blog entries, getting into a regular routine of putting the pen to paper.  After reading Gary Vaynerchuk's outstanding book "Crush It!" we were sufficiently inspired to accelerate our creation of high-quality content.  In year-to-date 2011, we have published 89 entries.

According to the statistics, our Blog has received a lifetime 22,223 page views.  This equates to an average of 132 readers per blog entry - far more than I would have expected.  We primarily blog about our passions for music, parties and wedding planning - with occasional forays into pop culture and business issues.  Many readers learn of our content as we distribute it over Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In; but many also find it organically through searches on Google.  

A blog has the power to drive prospective consumers to a company's website - a surprisingly high 8% of visitors to our corporate site at originate from the Ambient DJ blog!

Our Top Five Most Popular Blog Entries

1) What is Dubstep? (554 Pageviews)

2) DJ Spinz's Top 50 Dance Songs of 2010 (550 Pageviews)

3) The Royal Wedding Processional Song (438 Pageviews)

4) 100 Suggested Songs for New Year's Eve (231 Pageviews)

5) How to Plan a Successful Sweet 16 (203 Pageviews)

Also, please check out our latest blog entry, a profile of DJ Cassidy, the DJ of choice for celebrities like Jay-Z, Oprah Winfrey, Kim Kardashian and Barack Obama.  Click here > Who is DJ Cassidy?

For those interested succeeding in Social Media, check out this book!
Thank you to all of our current readers, and if there is a topic that you'd ever like covered, please don't hesitate to contact Ambient DJ Service at!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Who is DJ Cassidy?

Earlier this week while discussing business and life between riding waves in Spring Lake, the topic of the Kim Kardashian wedding came up. My friend and colleague DJ Greg Nice mentioned that it was DJ Cassidy who performed at the Kardashian wedding.  Greg proceeded to provide a brief dossier of this celebrity DJ.  Curious to learn more, I sought to answer the questions, "Who is DJ Cassidy?" and "what lessons can be drawn from his success?"

Cassidy Durango Milton Willy Podell grew up on the Upper East Side in Manhattan where he continues to reside.  In 1991, he asked his parents to buy him turntables and a mixer for his tenth birthday, and DJ Cassidy was born!  DJ Cassidy's resume is awe-inspiring.  His clientele includes Jay-Z, Diddy, J. Lo, Kanye West, Naomi Campbell, Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys, Russell Simmons, Mary J. Blige, Tommy Hilfiger, Louis Vuitton and Victoria's Secret. In 2009, DJ Cassidy was hired by Barack Obama to perform at the President's Inaugural Ball.  Jay-Z, perhaps the sharpest mind in modern music, recently told the media that "DJ Cassidy is my favorite deejay" (accordingly, he spun at Beyonce and Jay-Z's wedding reception).

Other interesting facts about DJ Cassidy - he is a huge fan of Michael Jackson, and a very sharp dresser having been featured in print ads for Tommy Hilfiger, Fila and Rockport.   To see Cassidy's 20 favorite Michael Jackson tracks of all-time, click here.

Below are several video clips starring DJ Cassidy.  Following are five takeaways - contributing factors towards Cassidy's success, some of which can be applied to our own careers as mobile DJs.  Of course, it is unlikely that Diddy will be calling us anytime soon to DJ his next party in the Hamptons, but small changes can yield big results towards our success! Interestingly, DJ Cassidy cut his teeth on the mobile DJ circuit prior to making it big in the corporate, celebrity and club scenes.  Watch him flex his emcee chops on the Barack Obama inauguration video clip!

5 Takeaways for Success from DJ Cassidy

1) Have a passion for the music that you play!  Your audiences will feel the difference.  In the case of DJ Cassidy, he is so passionate about collecting music memorabilia that he uses valuable kitchen cabinet space to store some of these items!

2) Position Yourself in an Active/Affluent Market.  As I understand it, DJ Cassidy was discovered  while performing in affluent New York City.  For those DJs domiciled in suburban markets with a limited nightlife, it may make sense to re-locate or consider marketing your services in more active and cosmopolitan areas.  A small piece of a big pie may be better than a big slice of a tiny pie.

3) How You Dress and Carry Yourself is Important.   While most of us lack the naturally good looks of DJ Cassidy, we can all make an effort to dress better, show some style and accessorize!  Technical skills are important, but one of the distinguishing factors between a regular DJ and a celebrity DJ is image!

4) Make the Music Your Own.  While DJ Cassidy draws from a wide musical range, I was surprised to learn that many of his selections are similar to the tracks that the working mobile DJs of the New York Tri-State regularly use in rocking parties.  However, as demonstrated in the Barack Obama inauguration video, DJ Cassidy takes these classic jams and stamps them with his own personality.

5) Success Attracts More Success.  From a mobile DJ to New York party DJ to international club DJ to celebrity DJ to fashion model to an endorsement from Coca-Cola.  Cassidy has clearly parlayed his successes in a relatively short period of time.  For those of us whose careers may be stuck in a rut, it's important to remember that we are always just one party away from getting our big break that could set off a positive chain reaction of events.  Of course, the harder and smarter one works, the better the chances for this opportunity to emerge!


Website:  (the music section contains some of Cassiday's favorite songs and download links).

Twitter:  (his preferred social media platform)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fun Photo Shoot at Jenkinson's - Pt. Pleasant Beach

Late this afternoon, I was in Pt. Pleasant Beach at Jenkinson's Amusement Park... as a civilian!  However, when this bridal party started posing in the amusement park, I just had to get involved with the action.  It was a beautiful late afternoon - warm and sunny with a gentle breeze... the Jersey Shore wedding that every bride dreams of!  Music is my expertise and not fashion - that said, I liked the color choices for the bridesmaids, groomsmen and the floral bouquets.  The guys were all wearing matching Margartaville loafers!  According to a groomsman, the reception would later be held at Clark's Landing. In our humble opinion,  Clark's is the top wedding reception venue on the Jersey Shore!  Beyond the delicious food, the stunning views and the QSC speakers installed in the ceiling above the dancefloor (so that guests at surrounding tables enjoy quieter conditions) - the huge standout factor for Clark's is its professional and well-trained staff.

Congratulations to these newlyweds, and they are so fortunate to have avoided Hurricane Irene's wrath!  Shout-out to Jenkinson's for maintaining a family-fun environment for so many years - the Jenkinson's that I enjoyed as a child, my own children now get to enjoy!

Rise - Herb Alpert

Ambient DJs' last blog entry dealt with Michael Jackson, and particularly our love of his 1979 album "Off the Wall."  In that spirit, here is another favorite from that era, "Rise" by Herb Alpert, the title track of his 1979 album.  This song, with Alpert playing the lead part with a muted trumpet, has a great groove, and is a favorite of ours for a jazzy cocktail hour.  At over seven minutes long, it's also a great song for a DJ to step out of the booth for a bathroom break or to line up a bridal party.

Do you know what well-known 90s hip hop song sampled Herb Alpert's "Rise"?  The answer, of course, is the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize," whose video is shown below.  Both songs remain alive and well many years later and could easily be "mashed up" by a crafty disc jockey!

Here's hoping that you "Rise" to the occasion this Labor Day weekend!