"I start in the middle of a sentence & move both directions at once" - John Coltrane
I started as a radio DJ (KAOS, KCMU), but made my reputation in the clubs as an excellent old-school DJ. From my first mobile gig in late 1997, where I had to rent equipment (including a mirror ball!), it took me about a year and a half to build it up to where I could actually call it a business. All my clients in the early years were via word-of-mouth. For some reason, I found a niche among musicians. Being a musician myself, and having a lot of friends in the music scene, I could understand and relate to them. Birds of a feather. And I can't overstate the support I got from friends and family. I never could have gotten established withour their kindness and generosity. In 1999, I borrowed $1500 from my dad and purchased my first pair of speakers, Mackie SRM-450's, which had just come out at the time. They were being billed as "the world's first active loudspeakers", meaning self-powered, and they were exactly what I needed. I still have that pair to ths day, and they still sound great. And yes, I paid Dad back on schedule.
When I set out to start my own Mobile DJ Company, I wanted to do it a little bit differently. With a background in both radio and the clubs, the mobile world was new to me, and at first I wasn't terribly impressed. The few mobile jocks I'd worked with all seemed to be a bit ham-handed. Some of them actually had their music on the now-obsolete DAT format, the sound of which could best be described as "mushy". Still, I went into it with an open mind, exploring different avenues. At one point I applied for work at the Northwest's Biggest Mobile DJ Company. But upon finding out what they were paying their deejays, relative to what they were charging their clients, I decided I'd rather do it myself, so that's where Disco Royale was born.
When it came to building my business, there were several pitfalls I wanted to avoid. I mean, let's face it, everybody has a Mobile DJ horror story to tell. The stereotype is so cliche that it's practically embedded in the collective unconscious: shows up late wearing a polyester monkey suit. Takes repeated "smoke breaks". Thinks he's headlining at a club when he's doing a wedding. Hangs a banner at your wedding. Probably couldn't pass a drug test to save his life. Yadda yadda. No, I wanted my company be different. Where so many mobile deejays were cheesy, we would be clever. Where they were corny, we would be witty. Where they were bombastic and self-important, we would be understated and magnanimous. And where they were so often ham-handed musically, subtlety and imagination would be our hallmarks. Or, in the words of Miles Davis: "It's not what you play, it's what you don't play".
Now in our 21st year, Disco Royale has been providing a much-needed alternative to the cookie cutter DJ experience; taking dance floors to a higher plane through music and keeping things light and lively with our MC skills, All the while making scores of friends who are as passionate about music as we are. And although the company's philosophy hasn't changed, I believe our current product is the best it's ever been. We now provide a variety of lighting options, a large selection of wireless microphones, and the ability to cover multiple rooms in crystal-clear sound with multiple speaker systems. And brand new for 2018, even a Photo booth! We still love doing what we do. We just have a lot more bells and whistles with which to do it.
Kevin Olson, Owner/DJ/MC