The founder of Stylus, Jane has been a DJ and independent record label owner since 2001. She played her first gig at CBGB, hosted The Breakfast Club at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia from 2010-2015, and currently hosts the Tainted Love 80s Dance Party at The Bell House in Brooklyn. Although well-versed in all genres and time periods of popular music, she holds a special place in her heart for alternative, indie, B-sides, and deep cuts.
Self-employed for over 15 years, Jane is extremely organized and efficient and manages all the behind-the-scenes details and bookings for Stylus. Whether in front of a computer or behind the DJ booth, she is described by her clients as “friendly,” “enthusiastic,” and “very easy to work with.”
“We can’t thank you enough for making our night great. I don’t have the best memory, but I will never forget my time on the dance floor at our wedding. In particular, the last 7 songs or so (when I had spare time to dance my little booty off) was literally the best half hour of my life. Thank you so much for helping to make it happen…P.S. my cool uncle had some high praise for your Bob Dylan choice and asked that I pass it on to you.” -Josh Taylor
Photo by Sarah Fry for Lauren Fair Photography
What kind of equipment do you use?
I use Electro-Voice brand powered speakers and currently own 5x 12”, 2x 15” and 1x 18” sub-woofer, as well as 1x Samson Expedition compact, battery-powered speaker with Bluetooth wireless mic; 1x Line 6 digital wireless mic; Shure wired mics; Gator Frameworks self-lifting speaker stands; countless extra cables and extension cords.
My personal setup is extremely compact and simple – I run Virtual DJ software on a 17” touchscreen PC laptop with an internal controller/mixer and an external Numark sound card for cueing in the headphones. I then run a stereo RCA out to a tiny Mackie line mixer, which also has inputs for the wireless mic and my personal wired mic.
In situations where more inputs are needed (extra microphones, live musicians, multiple DJs, turntables, etc.), I have a larger Mackie line mixer and a Numark M6 4-channel DJ mixer.
For ceremonies, cocktail hours and tight spaces where only one speaker is needed, I can plug my laptop and mic in directly without a mixer.
What does your setup look like?
Simple and tidy to blend in. No logos, lasers, or anything that glows (some optional uplighting shown).
I typically use a standard banquet table and linen from your venue and the Scrim-King Table Topper with a black or white cover to keep my gear and cables tidy and hidden from view.
You are certainly free to rent a DJ booth (a portable bar also works) that highlights your aesthetic. For example, I have used an industrial-looking metal structure for a celestial-themed bat mitzvah, and a wood paneled booth for a rustic park wedding.
Do you have any videos of you DJing?
No, but we do post videos of guests having fun on our Instagram page from time to time.
What is your MCing style?
Like a fun flight attendant – friendly, accessible, professional. Some clients don’t like being in the spotlight and prefer minimal MCing, while others have asked me to introduce wedding parties of up to 24 people, each with their own theme music. Check out my latest live mix from an actual wedding to hear more.
What is your personal mixing style?
In the context of most Stylus events and my 80s night, I like to let the music speak for itself, without any knob twiddling, scratching or fancy moves. I am not a fan of effects, and believe EQ is something best saved for adjusting to the acoustics of the space. I am a fan of mixing in key, beatmatching, seamless segues, and knowing when to play tracks all the way through, leaving in those familiar intros and outros that crowds love.
Reading a crowd or a room isn’t mindreading – it’s simply paying attention, not getting caught up in doing your own thing, and being willing and able to make on-the-fly adjustments to keep the party flowing. As they say in poker, a good player doesn’t look at her cards before making a move – she looks at the other players. I am a terrible poker player, but successfully apply the same principle to DJing.
How do you handle lulls?
Every event has natural ebbs and flows, but generally, lulls are not to be feared by an experienced, confident DJ. They are opportunities to change things up when appropriate, or to work in a Must Play that might have broken the mood before. Some of my greatest “lulls” were ones where my clients (or the grandparents, or the kids) have a chance to enjoy each other and a song that means something to them while most of the crowd is taking a cake break. They always come back!
How did you get started DJing, and specifically weddings?
I started DJing in NYC in 2001, around the same time that I became a distributor for a European record label. I was spinning mostly industrial and experimental music, vinyl and CDs, up to 4 channels simultaneously, to create new and interesting soundscapes for late night club gigs, art openings, between bands at shows, and also made a number of streamable live mixes before it was a thing.
In 2010, I moved to Philadelphia and often found myself having brunch at the local gastropub. One day, I noticed some turntables and joked to the bartender that I had a bunch of 80s new wave and post-punk vinyl, and that I should try to get a gig there. One thing led to another, and The Breakfast Club at Johnny Brenda’s was born.
Up until this time, I had been DJing purely for pleasure, and distinctly non-dance oriented music. In 2013, a friend of a friend, who had heard about The Breakfast Club and had similar tastes, asked if I would DJ her wedding. I told her I would be happy to, I already had the gear, but that I had never DJd a wedding before.
She said that was probably a plus – that she just couldn’t stand the idea of hiring the typical, cheesy wedding DJ, who wouldn’t play the kind of music she wanted and ham it up on the mic – and that hiring a female DJ was particularly important to them.
I learned so much from that first gig – that there is so much more to being a good wedding DJ than just being a good DJ – and was attracted to the challenges and pressures of it all. From coordinating with vendors, sticking to a timeline, being organized, the physical work – I taught myself everything from scratch with the inspiration that there might be other couples out there looking for something a little different in a wedding DJ.
Rather than simply billing myself as DJ Jane Elizabeth, I am an ambitious person and intended for Stylus DJ Entertainment to be a scalable endeavor from the beginning. It took some time as a one-woman operation, but as my fourth full wedding season comes to a close in 2017, I am incredibly proud and thankful that interest in what I’ve started has built us into a team of six with hundreds of happy clients and a busy 2018 calendar.
What other kinds of jobs have you had?
I was Director of Production for a translation company from 1998-2002, and a freelance translation editor from 2003 until I started DJing full time in 2015. My first job was at Nordstrom when I was 15, which taught me a lot about customer service. In high school, I was a Game Play Counselor for Nintendo and later went on to write for Nintendo Power magazine.