“I love that photo you took of them dipping right in front of us at the wedding…”
Music is very important to me. There’s a constant soundtrack playing in my head. So, when I’m photographing a wedding, I’m always paying attention to the music. And, if, say, the band plays a cover of The Smiths…well, then I am really sucked in…
That’s one of the many reasons I love working with The Engagements.
How many couples do you work with each year, approximately?
For Lucy Music about 100 each year, that includes our string quartet doing ceremonies. For The Engagements we do about 25-30 a year. But we are kind of a niche item.
What ‘niche’ do you serve?
Most of the people who come to us are not having typical weddings. They’re not doing things traditionally — like there might be no first dance.
Well, that’s certainly not ‘traditional’! What was the impetus to get into weddings?
That was kind of by accident. Like everybody who moves to NYC, you kind of end up picking up random gigs. The one thing I swore I would never do was weddings. I had heard horror stories from musicians people showing up and they’d never worked with the other musicians before. They never practiced together.
I was doing corporate events with my friends and we really enjoyed working together. But we’re all friends and we get along really well, so we decided to create a brand that was for all of us who had worked together.
A friend of mine contacted me and said, “Would you put together a band for my wedding? We love 80s music…”
Friends!!! It always starts with friends!!
And I thought, “No, I don’t wanna do weddings…” and then we did it – and the caterer called us to do another wedding. And we sort of freaked out because it was really fun and high quality.
We looked at each other and said, “Wow, man, we’re actually doing this…I think we’re gonna be doing a lot of weddings.”
So, I put together a brand called Lucy Music that oversees all of our individual bands.
I would say you’re a very particular style of wedding band, you do covers that I think most other bands wouldn’t touch…
Other bands might not try the songs because it’s not their style. The musicians might actually be great, but they don’t take the time to work together and craft something. They’re just trying to get through it.
We get a little more nerdy…we can get a little more intricate – like if we’re doing Talking Heads, we can really dig into it.
I’m a huge 80s music fan nerd, so I could pick a lot of songs I would want to cover. How do you choose songs?
We tend to start from an appreciation standpoint. We’re not gonna do a song we don’t like. Starting there and going where it takes us. Some songs don’t go anywhere and they’re more straight up covers. And others are more malleable and we work them into our style.
People go through our list, and they’re referencing Spotify or YouTube, thinking a certain song might seem weird to do, and I say, “It may not seem ‘dancey’ until you hear the way we do it…”
We often do “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode during dinner…
I’ve heard you cover that, I had to do a double take because it took me a minute to place what the song was, and if you ask my wife about my ability to identify songs, especially from the 80s, that’s saying something…
That’s one of the great things about a live band as opposed to a DJ. You have more flexibility in how you do the song.
What’s your favorite part of the wedding?
Really, it’s when it’s a dance party! The main course for me is playing some of my favorite songs with my friends for a bunch of people who want to have a good time. We don’t get to see a lot of the rest of the day because we’re busy running around. It’s sort of like herding The Muppets.
When you’re starting out in the wedding industry, there’s sort that phase where you’re concerned about the technique/technology. It has to become second nature at some point if you really want to enjoy what you’re doing, do you remember when that moment was for you?
Yea, I know when it came to me. The first few times we were like “Okay let’s get through this and not make any mistakes”. And you think “Yea, they’re having a good time but they’re really drunk.” But then it dawned on me, we are taking these people on a journey. And I think that is the point you have to get to. It’s a pretty beautiful thing, we’re in this room, having this moment all together.
Were there any covers you didn’t want to play?
I resisted Don’t Stop Believing for a while. But then we played it, and I was like “HOLY SHIT, this is like the national anthem!”
What is something most couples and wedding bands don’t think about?
As musicians, we’re used to being on stage, and sometimes it is hard to remember what it is was like the first time getting up in front of people. And these people, they’re getting up in front of a room full of their friends and family whose opinions really matter to them.
You can’t really understand what it’s going to feel like to walk into a room and everybody you know wanting to talk to you and follow you around and making you the center of attention.
If you could give any one piece of advice to couples getting married what would it be?
Instead of scripting every moment, allow room for things to just happen. Allow yourself to be in the moment….and don’t drink too much!