Q: What type of events do you work?
We’ve played art openings, fashion shows, PR events, major corporate functions, fundraisers, benefits, all of our regular club gigs, and of course, loads of weddings (>400/year). This site is specifically designed around your nuptials. However, if you think we’d be a good fit for your non-wedding soiree, you’re probably right. Where won’t you see us spinning any time soon? Children’s birthday parties, class reunions, Bar Mitzvahs, Cotillions, and high school dances. We’re open to most anything else.
Q: How much do you charge? Do you have package deals?
For a detailed list of our rates, please refer to our pricing page.
As far as packages, we don’t do them. All prospective clients receive the same hourly price quote, and we only charge for the time our music is playing. That’s it. We don’t really understand the idea of package prices, as we feel it’s only common sense to give every client the same level of service. No bells or whistles, remember?
Q: What kind of music do you play?
One of the company’s best attributes is the versatility all of our DJs possess. Our collective arsenal of music is absolutely enormous (15,000+ vinyl records for starters), as we’ve all been collecting since long before we were ever interested in being DJs. The last thing we want to do, however, is play only what we want to play. We know what works best for our caliber of clientele, but we want to learn about your musical tastes as well as what your friends and families are really into. Once we’ve got a good feel for the styles and genres you and your guests dig most, we’ll put our own creative touch into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a party. If you’d want to create a list or compilation of tunes you’d like to hear at your event, great, we have no problem with that. In fact, we encourage it. However, we know what to expect with certain artists and songs, and we won’t hesitate to tell you what’s likely to clear the floor. The more input you can give us, the better, but at the same time, use our knowledge. We’ve put endless hours into researching what works and what doesn’t at weddings, so please feel free to pick our brains. Now, without providing a full list of artists and tunes we feel work well for the weddings we perform for, I can tell you that all of us have dedicated our lives to the beat and we stray just about as far away from the typical (read: stale, tired, cliche, hokey, unoriginal) musical formats as possible. We want to stand out, and we feel that we’re highly creative with what we do. When the kegs go dry and the lights come on, we want your guests begging for one more tune. Nine times out of ten, they’ll get at least that. In fact, often times it’s difficult for us to take the needle off the last record because we’re almost always having equally as much fun as you and your guests. What it comes down to is this: we’re all incredibly passionate about great music. When we’re asked to be the ones in control of it for the night, it shows.
Q: Do you have a sample play list or promotional mix CD?
In our listen section, you’ll find our new SoundCloud page with an assortment of aural delights. Every mix we create will provide you with a very broad sample of what you might hear at your event, but more importantly, they showcase technical skill, the style in which we mix, and what’s possible using the equipment we use. In no way should any promotional mix ever be considered a full-fledged sample play list. We don’t possess such a thing, and we never will. It would be impossible to determine what to include and what to leave out since every event we work is specifically designed around you, and your musical interests.
We’re not going to leave you in the dark completely, below is the closest thing to a sample play list we could come up with. It includes a handful of artists for each stage of a typical wedding reception. Everything here has received quite a bit of attention from myself, and the other Style Matters DJs recently:
Cocktail Hour: Feist, Joss Stone, Twin Shadow, Christopher O’Riley, Local Natives, Shuggie Otis, Alt-J, John Legend, St. Germain, Pink Martini, Thievery Corporation, Vampire Weekend, AIR, Zero 7, LCD Soundsystem, Raphael Saadiq, Wilco, Nouvelle Vague, Eryka Badu, Grizzly Bear, Tame Impala, The Doobie Brothers, MGMT, The xx, Lykke Li, Lana Del Rey, Bonobo, Bat For Lashes, Beach House, and Astrud Gilberto.
Dinner Hour: Charlie Parker, James Blake, John Coltrane, Brad Mehldau, Bon Iver, Yusef Lateef, Miles Davis, Phantogram, Jonsi, Tortoise, Bibel Gilberto, Melvin Sparks, BB King, Duke Ellington, The Urbs, Jem, She & Him, Real Estate, Billie Holiday, Madeleine Peyroux, Thelonius Monk, Fleet Foxes, Hank Mobley, Frank Ocean, Stan Getz, Toro Y Moi, Sigur Ros, and Nina Simone.
Early Evening: Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Van Morrison, Al Greene, James Taylor, Bill Withers, The Beatles, Hank Williams, Nick Drake, Marvin Gaye, Louis Prima, Sam Cooke, Norah Jones, and Sinatra.
Peak Time/Party: MJ, Prince, The Talking Heads, Daft Punk, Madonna, The Temptations, Deee-Lite, The Beastie Boys, Hot Chip, Jamiroquai, Shakira, Aretha Franklin, Duck Sauce, New Order, Cut Copy, Usher, Stevie Wonder, Chromeo, Martin Solveig, The Four Tops, Earth Wind & Fire, & Kanye.
Q: Can we provide you with our own play list and do not play list?
Of course you can. As I said, the more input you provide us, the better. And don’t sweat actually providing the music, either. We’ve most likely got the majority of what you’d like to hear, and if we don’t, we’ll find it on our own. We’re pretty adept at reading dance floors, but we can’t read your mind, so tell us about a handful of tunes that hold some kind of significance to you and your crew. In the end, you’ll be glad you did.
Q: What kind of equipment do you use? Do you bring back up?
We invested an unbelievable amount of money into sound in 2006. In 2011, we did it again. Why? Because we’re audiophiles and we want you notice how pristine the audio quality is the moment you walk into the room. No matter how great a DJ might be, if they’re playing on a crap system, whether your guests tell you or not, they’ll notice. We’re determined to have one of the best rigs out there, and after our recent investment, we don’t think anyone can touch us. Included for every event will be, at a minimum: two powered QSC K-12s on stands, one powered QSC KW-181 sub, a QSC K-8 Monitor, two Technics 1200 turntables with Shure M44-7 cartridges, a Pioneer DJM-800 mixer, a pair of MacBook laptops, a 500GB external harddrive, Serato Scratch Live, and a Shure SLX wireless SM58 microphone. As for aesthetics, we like the rig to look as good as it sounds, and we streamline everything at events so all your guests will see from their seats or the dance floor is the glow from the laptops & speakers. As for backup equipment, we haven’t had to use any yet, and we definitely don’t plan on it. That said, we couldn’t imagine going into a gig without backup, and if something were to ever go wrong, we bring at least one alternate of most everything I just listed. When DJs have equipment failures, the majority of the time it’s due to the amplifiers overheating or blowing. Since all of our speakers are active (powered by an internal amplifier), we don’t have to deal with this risk.
Q: Do you use tapes or CDs?
We’ve been asked this before…more than once. If you’re curious about the number of cassette tapes we’ve got in our collection, we probably shouldn’t be, uh, spinning at your wedding. We use cutting edge technology, and combine the best of both the digital and analog worlds. In addition to bringing a small original vinyl records, we also perform digitally using a revolutionary new piece of hardware/software called Serato Scratch Live. This program essentially allows us to mix MP3 or WAV files stored on the laptops’ hard drives through specially designed “control records”. Every last one of our DJs use turntable technology so your guests will see us mixing records, in one form or another, on the decks. Not only does this allow us a great deal more creative control, but it will intrigue your invitees to no end. In addition, because of Serato’s highly accurate search function, we can play a request literally within three seconds of someone asking for it. Now, if I sound overly excited about Serato, it’s because I am. It’s changed the art of DJing all together, and we’re taking as much advantage of it as we can. New doors have been opened for what we can do on the fly, and we’re having a blast mastering old tricks, and learning new ones. An example: say somebody requests both Gnarls Barkley and Dolly Parton (this actually happened recently). Within a few seconds of determining the proper pitch & tempo, we can take the “Crazy” instrumental, and lay Dolly’s “9 to 5″ vocal over it. Commonly referred to as a mash-up, and certainly nothing new to us when working in clubs, this adds a whole new element to wedding entertainment, and keeps things fresh for everyone. You have to consider how many other weddings your guests will be attending in addition to yours. This is one small way for you to separate yours from the rest.
Note: As much as we love mixing with vinyl & Serato, we haven’t completely forgotten about the trusty compact disc. We can certainly play anything given to us on CD, whether before the event or the night of.
Q: Are you insured?
Yes, we have a one miiiiilllliiioooon dollar liability insurance policy. No, seriously.
Q: What kind of lights do you have?
The kind you ask for to accompany your cigarette. We don’t really like the idea of lights. They remind us of High School parties in dingy basements. They look cheap. They make you look cheap. Regardless of your thoughts on the matter, please, don’t be fooled into some of these guys and their “special package pricing” for a more elaborate lighting display. When other DJs try to sell you on the added benefits of “intelligent lighting”, do your research on what that term can entail. It doesn’t necessarily mean quality, and it certainly doesn’t scream class. Our thought is that 90% of lighting displays at weddings are uber-corny. Unless a DJ company has a regular gig going on tour with Radiohead, their lights stink. Okay, maybe hyperbole took over there for a minute, but you get the idea. We always advise going without lights all together, as the classic look of a dimly lit room with candles is far more appealing.
Q: How interactive will you be with our guests?
If it were up to us, not very. Although I’m ridiculously detailed in writing (wait until you see the contract, haha), we aren’t nearly as verbose at events. We speak through the music and have very little in common with the DJ who feels the need to yap on the microphone all night long (uh, all of them?). Sure, we may have a bit of a collective ego, but this is your big day, and we don’t think it’s our duty to be the focus of attention. Our feeling is that, at weddings, “entertaining” is too often synonymous with “annoying”. We’re DJs, and our job is to A) control the flow of the evening, and B) provide a memorable mix of really great, well-programmed music. If you’re looking for a group to do more than that, we’re probably not the best choice for you. We’ve never had a problem inducing the party vibe, and we see no reason to be overly obtrusive to your most near and dear. We’ll be as vocal as you’d like us to be (within reason), and will certainly take care of all the necessary introductions and announcements, but we prefer to keep the “emceeing” bit to an absolute minimum. Instead, we focus our efforts on creating a clever and sophisticated mix of tunes that will match the mood and style of your event.
Q: What do you wear when you're working? When setting up?
Clearly that depends on the type of event, but for weddings, usually a stylish get up of some sort. The idea is that we’re dressed like any other guest. Sometimes we rock the fancy suits, other times, for relaxed affairs, we opt for a more fashion forward ensemble (linen suit, shades, no tie, and chucks @ an outdoor wedding, for example). There’s an additional charge for a flare-filled vest and over-sized tuxedo. Kidding. We’ll be in street clothes for load in and sound check well before any of of your guests arrive.
Q: Do you require a meal?
Yes. One hot meal is required. We’re machines but we need fuel.
Q: Can we choose our DJ?
Usually I like to sit down with every prospective client myself to determine which DJ will be the best fit for your event. We hand-picked everyone on our team very carefully, and not only are they all incredibly passionate (ah-hem, obsessive) about music, but while they clearly share a similar creative mindset, they each have their own individual artistic style. Even after a brief hour long initial meeting (max), I will usually have a very good idea of who you’ll most enjoy working with. Also, as mentioned above, we host DJ showcases two or three times a year for our clients to get a feel for each of our DJs. While you can certainly let us know who you’d prefer to have spin for you, it is completely dependent on their availability, and we write the actual DJ into the contract two to three months prior to the event.
Q: What happens if our DJ has an emergency and can’t make it?
To avoid this possible (yet highly unlikely) scenario, there’s always at least one DJ who is on call for every night we’re contracted to work. We never book more than fifteen events per night, so there’s always somebody available in emergency situations. We’ve rocked thousands of parties since our inception in 2006 and we have never once had a DJ cancel.
Q: How many events do you work per night? How many DJs are on your team?
There are currently over thirty DJs on the team, and we plan on adding two more to our roster in 2016. We can work up to fifteen parties per night.
Q: Can we come see you play at somebody else's wedding?
You certainly could, but we don’t think it makes a whole lot of sense. Not only will you be uncomfortable at a stranger’s wedding, but since every set we spin is specifically designed around the couple and their guests, you won’t necessarily hear the style of music you envision for your own event. There’s an easy solution here: meet us for a pint at one of our other gigs around town. We play out all the time, and it’s a great way for you to see how we “work” in a different type of setting. Plus, you don’t have to get all gussied up. Also, keep checking back, as we will be posting information on our next promotional event very soon.
Q: How early do you typically arrive for an event?
It takes us less than an hour to load in and set up, but we’ll be there about two hours prior to the start of the event. You never know what to expect in this city traffic-wise, and we love debunking the myth that DJs are rarely punctual.
Q: What if we want you to play longer than we’ve contracted you for? Do you have an overtime rate?
No. We are putting our faith in you, kind party people. We have no inflated overtime rate, and we’ll stay as long as you need us. Aside from the rare dates that we’re playing afternoon weddings, we usually have nowhere else to be after the gig. So, if you want your DJ to stick around and rock the proverbial spot a bit longer, cool. It happens a lot. We trust that you will pay them accordingly (one extra hour = $275 + ???) when the event has come to a close.
Q: Do you know of other vendors with a similar vision for their business?
You bet. We can refer you to the standouts we’ve seen. When we sit down, please ask us.
Q: Do you offer any other services?
There are three unique services we offer in addition to the DJ work. The first is live chamber music for the ceremony and/or cocktail hour. This is a trio called String Theory that consists of two violinists a piano player. The second new service we’re offering is a drummer to play live alongside the DJ during the dancing portion of the evening. You can learn more about String Theory and our drummers on the Musicians page. The last service we’re excited to announce is a high-quality 320Kbps MP3 recording of the entire evening. This will include all speeches, music, and general revelry.
Q: Do you have references?
Of course we do. We’ve got a whole lot of them. We are happy to send you to any and all couples so you can get the lowdown on how we conduct business, how we performed, crowd response, etc. To protect clients’ privacy, references are available upon request. You can, however, refer to our testimonial section for some comments on recent events, as well as our Yelp and Weddingwire pages.
Q: Should I tip my DJ?
Tips are never expected but always very much appreciated. A whole lot of time and effort goes into making your party success, not just the five or six hours you’ve contracted us on your wedding day. If you realize what a crucial role we play, a tip is your way of letting the DJ know they went above and beyond.
Q: Our event is over 25 miles away, what is your travel fee?
Our travel fees breaks down as follows:
25-35 miles: $75
35-45 miles: $100
45-55 miles: $150
55-65 miles: $200
65-75 miles: $250
75 miles or more: case-by-case basis
Q: Where and when do you conduct meetings?
Initial meetings are held at our new event space, Ovation: 2324 W. Fulton (www.ovationchicago.com). For all subsequent sit downs, as long as it’s in the city, we’ll come to you. We prefer to meet between Monday and Thursday (until 10pm), as we’re concentrating on gigs over the weekend. We do not meet on Sundays unless it is the only option.
Q: How many events were you contracted for last year?
In 2015 we played about 500 hundred contracted Style Matters events. 80% weddings, 20% other.
Q: Are you comfortable DJing ethnic weddings? How about gay weddings?
Yes, very. As long as you clearly communicate your music ideas well in advance so we can prepare accordingly, practice mixing, etc. Of course we’ll DJ gay/lesbian weddings! Hurrah!
Q: Why can’t I find you on Facebook or Twitter?
It’s just not our style. We’d rather be digging for new records than updating our collective status. We’ve grown to be one of the largest DJ companies in the midwest based on word of mouth, an advertising campaign with CS Brides (check out the back inside cover), and rock solid online reviews. We’re not opposed to all social media sites. Most of us are Instagram addicts so check out @lokkenic and @ovationchicago for pictures from parties, life on the road, etc. Tell Only Your Closest Friends™.
Q: My wedding is not in Chicago. It’s in ___________. Will you travel outside of Illinois?
Yes. We’ve worked Style Matters events in Jamaica, Mexico, New York, LA, Boston, and all around the Midwest. Pricing for these types of events is on a case-by-case basis but we’ll generally require round trip air fare, a hotel for two nights, and for the equipment rental to be covered.
Q: Can you provide music and/or mics for our ceremony?
Absolutely. We charge the same hourly rate for ceremonies. This would include music and/or one handheld wireless mic on a stand. Easy!
Q: What are the next steps?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us a little bit about what you’re trying to accomplish, how you envision your wedding reception, and what you like (or dislike!) about us so far. Initial meetings take place at our new event space, Ovation (2324 W. Fulton). This way you can check out the music, equipment, contract, pictures of recent events, etc. From there, if you decide to move forward with the agreement, we ask for a 25% deposit. A week or two before your event we’ll come to you to discuss all of the last minute specifics–final timelines, overall flow of the night, individual song picks, etc. Of course, by this time, we should already have a very good idea of how the event is going to be structured from our email correspondence. Also, if you think it’s necessary to sit down more than twice, we have no problem with that. Whatever makes you most comfortable. If you’re not quite ready to meet in person, that’s fine too. Just drop us a line, tell us a little about yourselves, and what you’re looking to accomplish. If you’re interested, we’d be happy to invite you to an upcoming gig.
Q: How do we secure Style Matters for our event? How long will you save our date?
Locking everything up is simple, just fill out the red sections of the agreement (you can download it off the pricing page) and send it to us via snail mail along with your 25% deposit check made out to Style Matters DJs. And please, feel free to round up or down, we didn’t do so well in math class and we’re not so keen on busting out the TI-85 graphing calculators at 1:00AM on your wedding night. Also, personal check is the preferred method of payment. If you need to use your credit card, let us know. As far as saving your date, we’re pretty lax on the matter. Generally, I’ll get back in touch if I haven’t heard from you within two weeks from our initial meeting. After two weeks time, we will start to entertain other inquiries.
Q: What's the best way to communicate with you and/or our DJ?
Email. Consider us the Schwa of the DJ game: we don’t care for the phone and you won’t have an easy time getting a hold of us that way. We expect over 500 wedding clients in 2016 and communicating via telephone simply isn’t practical. We’d rather have a record of our conversation so please email us any time and rest assured, we will always get back to you promptly.