Last night a DJ saved my party
Lissa Monet’s 5 tips for the perfect mix
Curating the perfect dinner party playlist is a skill that takes practice, much like whipping up a perfectly airy soufflé. Lissa Monet, one of Toronto’s most in-demand DJs, has it down to a science. Adept at reading a crowd, she dabbles in almost every music genre to get even the most staid partygoers grooving. She shared some advice with us on how to make your next gathering a hit.
1. Prepare Ahead by a Century
The last thing you want to do when you’re juggling dishes, drinks and conversations is fiddle with the music. You’ll want to create your playlist ahead of time, keeping your phone handy to skip a song if needed. Bank on about three to four hours of music for the whole evening, allowing for between 12 to 28 songs for the dinner portion, depending on how many courses you’re serving.
2. Press Play
If picking out 50-60 songs is too daunting, enlist some professional help from pre-set playlists. Monet highly recommends Google Play’s dinner party-specific radio stations and playlists. “They’ve got amazingly tailored, precise lists for almost any genre,” she says. You’ll find mixes broken down by mood, era or even record label, like CTI Records’ late ‘60s-early ‘70s jazz, soul and Brazilian fusion.
3. In the Mood
At the dinner table, when the focus is on conversation, you don’t want to overwhelm the room with lyric- or rhythm-heavy tunes. “Pick something super chill with not too much of a beat,” says Monet. “I try to go as instrumental as possible.” Nostalgic songs tend to spark discussions, so sprinkle in a few vintage tunes. And don’t lean too heavily on any particular theme. “If you’re hosting a holiday party, you don’t want to kill it with Christmas songs for three hours straight,” Monet says.
4. Baby Don’t Cry
Monet only has one major no-no: “No heartbreak love songs,” she says. “Treat your party as if you were planning a wedding.” You don’t want to stir up any angst, especially after you’ve all had a few drinks. Stick to something upbeat and not too abrasive; you can’t go wrong with Stevie Wonder or Motown, Monet advises.
5. Get Into the Groove
At the end of the eve, you’ll want to have some options ready if people are in the mood to cut a rug. “Save the last hour or so for the super popular songs that everybody knows,” Monet says. Whether it’s ‘90s Backstreet Boys (we’re not judging) or something more contemporary, you be the judge of what will get your guests out of their seats, and then hopefully out the door before they overstay their welcome.