In this episode of the Calvert County Lifestyle podcast i’m joined by Crow Entertainment owner, Brian McDaniel along with some his staff: CJ Curtis & Donald McGuinn. Here’s some of the things we talked about:
- How to select the perfect DJ for your event
- Difference between an employee based DJ company and an agency
- The top questions you should ask your DJ before you hire them
- The most requested wedding song(s) & the song your DJs could do without hearing again
- & more!
If you would like to find out more information about Crow Entertainment visit http://www.crowentertainment.com.
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Full Audio Transcript:
You’re listening to the yourcalvert.com Calvert county lifestyle podcast, episode number 8. In this episode, crow entertainment is going to tell us how to pick the right DJ for your event, we’re going to talk to them about DJing, lighting for your event, as well as the new photo booth company they acquired. You’re gonna learn some of the things like the top questions you should be asking your DJ, we’re gonna hear some of the most requested songs, we’ll hear songs your Dasher a lot, and songs that people at your event never want to hear again, and a lot more good tidbits about DJ companies. Stay tuned.
Welcome to the Calvert county lifestyle podcast, by your calvert.com, the original podcast exclusively for Calvert county, dedicated to helping you get the most from the place you love to play or call home. Listen for the latest events, and more. Now here’s your host, cliff bride gum.
I’m your host, cliff bride gum. You can get the show notes for this episode at yourcalvert.com/8. Your calvert.com/8. There you’ll find a full transcription of everything we talked about, and any links mentioned in the show here. Without further ado, we’re gonna get straight into our interview with brain and his team. Today I’m joined by crow entertainment, I’ve got the whole crew here in the studio with me, why don’t you each say hi and tell us who you are.
I’m DJ brain crow.
I’m DJ CJ Curtis.
My name is Donald gin.
Thanks for coming on, what’s up with crow entertainment.
Well, we can start at the beginning, or we can tell you what we’re doing now. What do you think CJ?
Crow entertainment is the only full time employee based DJ operation in Maryland. We specialize in weddings, we also do other events, school events, mitzvahs, corporate events. We all like what we do.
One of the neat things was learning that in order for you to grow, you have to drown from the inside, in 2005, when CJ came on full time we figured that from there we would grow a bit, but then in order to create longevity in the business and stuff like that, we wanted to grow from the inside, we went ahead and turned ourselves into an LLC, we employed everybody, later on we offered retirement and some health benefits to help these guys out.
Most of it is growth from the inside of the last few years, and then it just seems like we get better and better each time and each time we receive an award it’s more motivation to really serve those people and do a great job. I’m stetting with 5 star people, which is great. CJ’s an excellent operator, he goes out there and nails it every time. And that can be attr4ibuted to he loves what he does. I think that his passion for it trickles down to guys that he leads, and they don’t want to be like CJ, they want to be better than him, so they’re all out there, everybody’s busting their butt trying to do a great job, a lot of that causes some energy, especially in Calvert, that’s pretty much somebody told us one time that we own Calvert, that was very humbling actually. We just want to make sure we do the best we can when we’re out there.
Thanks, CJ you mentioned that you guys were an employee based DJ company, tell me more about that, explain the benefits that has for someone trying to hire you guys or hire a DJ service in general.
Most do companies are agencies, they will take your deposit, secure your date, later on put a body in that spot for your event. With us you’re gonna know who your DJ is gonna be at your event before you sign the contract, we feel that’s important, you’re able to build that relationship with that person that’s going to be there on your wedding day, which is the most important day of your life, you’re able to build that important relationship leading up to your event.
As someone that is looking to hire a DJ service, if they brose your website and see one of the DJs they like they can talk to that person and ask them questions and they can work with them through the process.
Exactly, we have some people that request certain DJs, other people ask us who we think is the best fit for their event, and we use our knowledge and expertise to assign the proper DJ for that event.
When people are booking a DJ, what kind of questions should they be asking of tier DJ company?
A lot of people come in and they don’t know what to ask, they have few questions, they got from the internet. We sit them down and go over some things, if we don’t think they’re asking the right questions, we will bring up a few things for them. Of some things they absolutely should ask, and it’s things like insurance, whether or not you guys are full time, are you gonna be able to accommodate our schedule, if the client is working a full time job and they get a break or something, a lot of times brides are stressed, they want to talk to the DJ, figure some things out. If you’re a part time guy, if you’re a bride you have to leave a message, and that gets stressful, if you call our office, we’ll answer the phone, anybody at the office can answer your question, we’re knowledgeable.
Some of the thing would be backup equipment, yes our systems basically mirror what we use, if in our systems have backups built into them, it’s great. If we have an epic fail, which knock on wood, if there’s any wood around here, there we go. We haven’t had any issues yet, but that doesn’t stop us from making sure that we have adequate backup equipment, we can make it rough a show, so many stories we get from brides and grooms, they’ll tell us how they went to a wedding and said that the DJ’s equipment failed and he went home and they pulled out a boom box, I can’t believe that, but that guy was probably 500 bucks, you get what you pay for in this business.
The other thing that people do, they do want to know, sometimes they’re afraid to ask, they don’t want to embarrass or insult you, they wanna know if you’re gonna act like an idiot at your event, with that they wanna know if you’re gonna drink on the job. Now one of the things that DJs do that we found in this industry is they go to events, and even through they’re working them, they get completely drunk, and if you’re at work, you shouldn’t be drinking, I found that weird. Early on when I started doing this, I would hear stories about that. I couldn’t understand that. They wanna know if you’re gonna do that, but not necessarily confident enough to ask you, but no we don’t drink on the job, nobody should. Also too, backup DJs, CJ and I were in a meeting one time, we had to cut the meeting short, because a venue that we service a lot called us up and said hey, the DJ’s not showing up, and come to find out, we had met with these people earlier on, we ended up being 100 dollars more than the guy they hired, and turns out that guy didn’t show up. So CJ and I had to cut the meeting short and head to the venue and bail this guy out.
That’s happened several times, we had that hurricane, what was it, a couple years ago, these people got married on a Sunday after rate hurricane, their DJ refused to come to the wedding, I didn’t have power at my house, I still went to the venue, Dyed their wedding, it was a hit.
You have to be prepared for all these things, there’s a thing out there that says prepare for the worst, expect the best, and I think that goes along with the excellence that’s our team.
Now that we’ve informed people about what to ask of their DJ service, and how you guys prepare for the worst and expect the best, why don’t we transition over and tell us about some of the most unique events you’ve done.
I think each event is unique. A lot of people ask us don’t you get timed of DJing so many weddings, and we don’t. we get to be part of someone’s happy day of their life numerous times year, we get to go to these awesome venues, eat great food, we get to see these people have a great time. We put a unique spin on each event, all of our clients get to request as many songs as they like, could be 5 songs, could be 25 songs. What we do is make a unique playlist for each event, so they feel like we put in the necessary time and effort to make their event a special event.
Now that we’ve talked about how you like to customize each event to the type of event you’re holding and hosting for, why don’t you tell us what the most requested song is, and while you’re at it, tell us that song that you could live without hearing again.
Well I would say last year the most requested song was blurred lines by robin thicken. It’s a good dance song, but I was tired of hearing it by the end of the year. It’s still good. Of all time, I would probably say don’t stop believing by journey.
The one you don’t want to hear again?
The song that’s most requested of all time. Because it’s we could call that a crowd pleaser or anthem, everyone knows the words to it, likes to sing along to it, especially after drinks.
The one I could live without hearing, is the YMCA. That songs has scared me since middle school.
So brain why don’t you tell us what songs get the crowd up and dancing, and how to keep the mood going.
I don’t think it’s one song thing, or two song thing, I think it’s what you play how you play it, and when you play it. people more and more are getting married or having a special event or whatever, and they want a DJ that is more of a performance style DJ, and less of a push play DJ. Just to explain, a push play DJ typically will just he’ll play a song, it’ll play all the way through, there’s a big pause, and then he plays another song. Maybe a different genre, or whatever, and for some environments, that’s fine, but for our clients and people that are more drawn towards us, they want us to be more performance style. So we get to an event, we basically feel the crowd, and we’ll start with certain songs, start mixing them, mash them up, and we start to feel the energy in the room. One of the things that CJ does as a program director, is he actually puts songs in rotation, and he’ll share certain bits of the song and where to drop them, and stuff like that, he’ll have little seminars and things like that, all of us will come in and learn from each other and just build on that, so the main things is if you can keep mixing the songs at the right times, and you know where to put certain tracks and things like that, the crowd is going to stay hyped, that’s kind of how our clients are geared towards us, I guess. Hopefully I’ve explained that right. Anything you wanna add, CJ on that?
I think you hit the nail on the head there.
so what are your favorite venues in the county?
I don’t have a favorite venue, I feel like Maryland is unique for weddings, you have several different feels lots of different places, and it gives a wedding a really cool experience, you have waterfront venues, you have the historic places in Annapolis, and if you want a hotel type wedding, you can go to Baltimore, if I had a favorite, I like to DJ at waterfront wedding, place son the eastern shore, places in Calvert, just has a nice feel, and definitely a beautiful view.
So brain in addition to DJing services, what do you guys offer?
We have a production department, the only reason we do is we have a leader for it, CJ and I wanna focus on all the DJ stuff and of course he leads all his DJs and we all have to focus on just being DJs, so we got a production department, we have Donald who will speak here shortly.
Great, we look forward to that one.
Donald hates the microphone, we’re doing that. We wanted to offer lighting, but not just normal lighting, offer specialty lighting, and in order to do that, you have to spend some time with it, completely different animal, we wanted to offer AV services, and digitizing, which is taking old home movies, things like that, and transfer them for people, keeping all the prices nice and low and things like that, you can’t do anything like that, you can’t do any kind of specialty item like that in your business unless you completely 100% focus on it, that’s what Donald does, when you ask for lighting, and anything else, that’s not DJ, it is most likely you’re gonna be talking to Donald.
It’s we call it a, production division, right Donald? Division, Donald handles that. I don’t want anything to do with it, neither does CJ, Donald handles the photo booth stuff, the lighting, the special designs for monograms, he handles all the other stuff too. He’s a busy guy, and you look at him, and he’s sweating bullets all the time, trying to make deadlines, I’m exaggerating, that’s how it is, he’s the man. And CJ and I, we will focus on being DJs.
So Donald why don’t you tell us a little bit about the production division, and more of what you guys offer?
There’s different types of options that we offer to our clients, have the up lighting, Led, you can program that to be any color that you can think of, we have our monograms, which are customizable for each event, I’ll work with you personally to design one you can have wedding date, your bride and groom, couples initials, you can have a nice floor design around it, you can do the sky’s the limit for that. We have what’s called a cake light. Basically, that’s just shining the light down over the top of the cake, you can choose whatever color you want for that, it’s also LED as well. We have our dance lights, which is sound responsive lighting, that’s only during the dance portion of the light, they don’t make a stroking during dinner time.
Make you sick.
We also have things such as screens, so we can do slideshows, we can help you build a slideshow for your event, we’ll digitize your photos, so we can do that and color correct them, and insert them to the slideshow, make it elegant, put some music behind it you can help pick out, and have that playing during your event.
CJ can you tell me a little about your acquisition of the photo booth company.
We had the opportunity to work with Florence at a couple of events, and we really like the way that she ran her company, a clean photo booth, an actual booth, not just a backdrop, and we thought about purchasing our own photo booth, before we did that Florence called us, she wanted to get out of the business, just wanted to spend more time with her family on the weekends, definitely the right time and the perfect opportunity to purchase the booth. We feel like our phtobooth sets itself apart from other people’s booths, it’s an actual booth.
It’s about the experience people can have when they get the photo booth, they can pick out great props, go inside the booth, it’s not a curtain, they can be as free spirited axes they want inside of it. when they come out, they get copies of the photos right way, they don’t have to wait and they can come in as many times as they want.
Before we close this interview, I’d like to ask one question, what do you love most about Calvert county, your favorite thing to do?
We talked about a little bit, when crow moved down here in 2001, what we found out was Calvert county is a little bit of rock, a little rib, a little country, a little of everything, it’s very diverse, and it’s really neat to be in those events and you get to play all those things, and even have the ability to mix those things together, which is fantastic, on the musical side of things, that’s one of the most favorite things, just in general, I think our favorite thing is end hunger, end hunger is so awesome because it does so much for the county and a lot they do a lot of elope don’t know about, and it’s probably one of our favorite charities to actually help our, I know that if we failed today, and we needed end hunger, end hunger would be there for us. Our company, we’re all unified on that, we end hunger is one of our main things we try to focus on.
Thanks brain. Speaking of end hunger, I’m going to get them in the pod case in the future. Brian, Donald, CJ, and the rest of the team, I’d like to thank you guys for coming on the podcast today. Before we close, I’d like to give you’re the opportunity to tell us where people can get more information about crow entertainment.
When people want their event done right the first time, call us. At 410-257-7936, or visit us at crowentertainment.com. thanks for having us on today, I want to give shootout to the rest of our crew, James, matt miller, sack, Kenny, Ivan, Doug.
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