Jay and I worked together a few years ago on a lovely ceremony at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. I appreciated the way he knew instinctively how to create mood and energy. I contact everyone involved in the ceremony ahead of time and touch base with them onsite to make sure we’re on the same page. It was immediately clear that Jay had my back. He was prepared and ready, and more importantly was a team player. That support shines through as we all strive to make the day as seamless as possible. He’s a pro. Without further ado, here’s JAY McELFRESH!
What was the path that led you to become a DJ?
Some of my earliest memories are going through my mom’s crate of records she had bought in her teens/early 20s. As I listened to the music, I would obsess over the album art. The whole experience would take me to a different world. That’s what started the music bug for me. By the the time I got to high school, I started my own record collection. I would go to whatever thrift stores I could find, and basically buy ALL of the records. I started producing Hip Hop in the 90s, which lead to learning how to DJ.
What excites you about weddings?
Having a packed dance floor at the end of the night, with everyone literally losing their minds to the same song. Sharing that experience with a group of people is so powerful…and fun! I also get excited for the details. To see how the venue is decorated, how the bride and groom and wedding party are dressed, and how the food is presented. It’s always a thrill to see all of the unique talents and tastes on display.
What do you look for in a couple?
My best advice for wedding couples is to hire vendors you trust — then turn us loose. I really enjoy working with couples who are more focused on the party side of the wedding and less on the pomp and circumstance. It’s a relaxed vibe that permeates the entire event. You could get married in a parking lot and have pizza delivered! As long as the couple is smiling and have a good time, it’s going to be a great party.
What is the greatest compliment you’ve ever received?
A groom once told me I changed everything he thought about wedding DJs. He was a record collector and huge music nerd (like me). I was able to talk with him in-depth about the 80s new wave bands he was into, and also be genuinely excited about the pop music the bride liked. I mixed those two musical worlds for them in a way that he just didn’t think it was possible. He shared that thought with me at the end of the night, and it was something I never forgot.
What do you desire for your business?
Right now with this virus pandemic I would really just love to be DJing again. I know it will pass and my hope is that we all come back more appreciative of each other. I have a small tight knit group of DJs that work for my company. We are all unique in what we bring to the table, but have the same overall philosophy when it comes to weddings. We get to know our couples and their music taste and deliver the soundtrack to their lives. I think having a small DJ business keeps it personal for couples. I would consider adding to my team, but I would never do it at the cost of diluting our vision.
What are you grateful for?
I am grateful to get to work with so many amazing couples. To have them share their vision and trust me to help create memories that will last a lifetime. I am grateful to have a different “office” every weekend. I am grateful for all the dedicated and passionate vendors I have had the pleasure to work with. Every time I set up my equipment, I take a moment to witness the sea of people working together like a symphony in the name of two people celebrating their love. It’s always an honor to be a part of that.
Any recent cause for celebration?
I got my little backyard ready for spring : )