Being a DJ seems so easy — decks, vinyl, a hard-drive full of music and off you go.
However, to be successful, to make it into an actual business, you have to be extremely organised and provide a service so good people will pay for it.
Importantly, you have to remember that you’re not the star, the guests are — and not just anyone can do that.
Ally Murphy is originally from Fintry but today he’s better known as DJ Ally Bongo — and he’s one of the most sought-after wedding DJs in this part of Scotland.
This is his tale.
“Growing up I was always never too far away from my father’s 1960s vinyl collection,” he explains.
“I was a very keen radio listener, too, at an early age and kept up to date with the current music.
“I first had a go at DJing around the mid-90s when I got into dance music. My friend had a set of decks and I loved playing the tunes and mixing the beats together.
“I always fancied getting into this as an actual career”.
Working as an operations manager looking after a number of licensed premises, including function suites, in the north-east gave Ally a chance to develop a real attention to detail for party planning.
So he came up with a plan.
“I purchased DJ equipment and started to advertise through Facebook. My first advert was a Like and Share competition for a free disco. This went down a storm.
“Through reviews and word of mouth, I started to become more popular throughout the north-east. I designed my own website and started to receive bookings through this, too.
“Each wedding reception is very carefully crafted. It’s personalised and suited to each client through an initial consultation meet-and-greet followed by telephone conversations and my attention to detail questionnaire.
“A wedding could well be the most important day of your life so it’s imperative the day goes without any hitches. I treat each event as if it’s my own celebration and offer a service I would expect to receive.
“The music side looks after itself and the entertainment side has become more of a forefront.
“I’ve developed a knack for laying on different entertainment, games, routines on each evening — but the essential key is to personalise each one to suit the client and to suit the occasion.”
You really can make dreams come to fruition
“My advice for anyone wishing to do this as a living is, follow your dreams,” said Ally.
“However, give your clients more bang for their buck.
“I offer services they’re not getting from many other DJs, HD photography, my photo booth and atmospheric surround lighting.
“Always keep your focus on making the customer’s night special. I feel that reading the audience is probably the most important part of the job. If a reception seems to be going through a lull, I’ll put a real crowd pleaser on, something that’ll get the party started for sure.”
You can see Ally play a house set at the Dundee Dance Event on May 6 at Q Bar in Nethergate, or visit his website djallybongo.co.uk