Ask the Expert: Music

The Music Man DJ Service has been packing dance floors throughout Maine, New Hampshire, and northern Massachusetts since 2001. Jason Strycharz, DJ/MC and marketing manager, is one of the company’s most recognizable faces. 

Strycharz holds a degree in Music Industry from the State University of New York at Oneonta and continues to share his love for music through his work and playing drums. When he is not DJing or working, he loves to flex his green thumb attempting to garden, walking around a disc golf course, and spending time with his wife and 3-legged cat. 

We asked Jason to tell us about himself and The Music Man and share his take on how music fits into the overall wedding day. 

How did you get into the DJ business?

I got into DJing while I was drumming in a cover band. I realized pretty quickly that bar owners didn’t like us to take set breaks because that gave the patrons a chance to leave and walk across the street to their competition. I taught myself how to DJ to fill in the set breaks and play some club tunes that we couldn’t pull off live as a band. 

When the band ended up parting ways, I still wanted to keep performing and had full intentions of starting my own DJ business. My father was the one who suggested I talk to Mitch Dugan, the owner at The Music Man DJ Service, and the rest is history!

What is the one thing you wish clients looking for a DJ knew ahead of time?

One of the biggest things I wish clients knew before considering a DJ is understanding how important a role they play during the wedding day. I think it comes from the old stereotype of what a DJ was. A DJ was someone who showed up, played music, and hopefully made sure everyone had a good time. 

Today, a good DJ wears several hats. Not only do they play music, but they also provide audio engineering during your ceremony to make sure your vows can be heard by everyone attending.  They work in tandem with your other vendors and make appropriate announcements to ensure your guests know what’s coming up next, and nobody is confused. They act as the “voice” of your wedding as they introduce your wedding party and make those announcements. Not to mention, they should rock your dance floor!

What advice would you give to couples who are just starting to search for a DJ service?

My best advice is to choose your DJ early. The truth is: good DJs are booking 12-18 months in advance. If you want your first choice, do your research and make your selection early. I also recommend jumping on a call or Zoom conference to make sure you jive with them. Notice how they steer the initial conversation. Is the DJ asking about what you want for your wedding or explaining how great their equipment is? The DJ ends up acting as the personality for your wedding day. It’s kind of like dodgeball in high school; the good ones always get picked first!

What sets The Music Man DJ Service apart from its competitors?

I think that any DJ company with a solid track record can do a great job. I think The Music Man DJ Service excels because of our fantastic staff and the transparency that we offer our clients. We strive to make sure our couples talk to and maintain the same DJ throughout the process, from initial sales consultation to the wedding day. 

We don’t want to be just a DJ. We want to be a resource and friend! Planning a wedding can be challenging enough, and choosing your music can seem like a daunting task. We want the whole process to be fun and engaging for our couples. Having a designated DJ throughout the process allows them to consider ideas and ask questions about what will and won’t work.

What are the fundamental differences between hiring a DJ and hiring a live band?

I’m a drummer first and a DJ second. I love bands. Don’t tell my boss – I had a band at my own wedding! There are a few significant differences that I see between a band and a DJ:

The first is repertoire. A band needs to take the time to learn the songs for your wedding, especially if you have eclectic tastes. A DJ doesn’t have that problem because we can simply get the master recording and play that during the wedding day. 

The second is beat matching. Bands are incredible while playing songs and putting their own spin on them. However, there will still be pauses between songs during the set. Any DJ worth their weight will be able to blend songs using similar tempos and musical keys to make sure the dance floor never skips a beat. 

Finally, the DJ also often acts as the Master of Ceremonies (MC). If you can find a band that offers this, fantastic! However, the DJ is usually expected to double as an MC and is comfortable speaking in front of your guests while they introduce your wedding party and make the appropriate announcements throughout your night.

When should a couple planning a wedding hire a DJ?

I think a couple should plan to hire a DJ early on in the process. When you think about throwing a great wedding or a great party, what are the key ingredients? Usually, it’s a location, food/alcohol, and music. I’ve never been to a truly great party without music. 

When I sit down and chat with couples, I ask them, “What do you want your guests to say about your wedding the Monday they return to work?” Do you want them to say, “Yea, it was okay,” or do you want them to complain about how much their feet hurt and how they haven’t danced that much since their wedding? Almost everyone answers with the latter. 

What would you like readers to know about wedding music and the process of selecting a DJ service?

I would like the readers to know that the music you choose for your wedding should be an extension of you and your personality. I’ve performed at many weddings where the couple came up to me at the end of the night, mentioning how they had a great time. However, the best weddings for me are when the couple comes up at the end of the night with a massive smile on their faces and says, “You nailed our vision. You understood the vibe we were going for.”

When you select your DJ service, no matter who they are, make sure that they will advocate for you. Do they listen to your likes and dislikes? Are they going to enhance your wedding day or bring it down? DJing is a field with a low barrier of entry. There is a big difference between someone using your wedding for the experience or a DJ who understands and accepts your vision for the day. 

What’s the strangest request that you have ever had at a wedding?

I did a wedding pretty early on in my career with an amazing couple. The bride has since become a very successful wedding planner. Her “must play” list of music included “Bodies” by the band Drowning Pool. I love heavy music from time to time, but this just seemed so out of the ordinary. I asked her about it, and she mentioned it was pretty much an inside joke amongst the family. 

The wedding day came, and during the dance time, I dropped Bodies by Drowning Pool. The entire dance floor exploded. I’m talking all of the couple’s friends, all their family, heck, even grandma was going nuts! There was body surfing involved as well. It was amazing! That’s just proof positive that I will never know my clients as well as they do.