Drink Slingers Vendor Spotlight - DJ Mo Jamail
Gratien Myles "Mo" Jamail is obsessed with music, so naturally he became a DJ.
This eclectic "out and proud Queer Transman" is also a singer, songwriter and a bartender. Mo picked up up his first musical instrument in 1994 -at age 14- and recorded his first album in 2000. He bought his first set of turn tables in 1999 and started DJing on the Austin scene around 2001. From residencies at Halcyon and Karma Lounge to a 150 person lesbian boat party, Mo bounced all over Austin for years. He attended bartending school in 1997 and on the day he turned 18 he had his first bartending job at Rascals, a gay nightclub in Houston. At the young age of just 18, and on his fourth day of working there, Mo broke Rascals' sales record during Houston's gay pride parade. Mo understood then that he had a natural skill behind the bar as well as with music and so he has dedicated his life to both with his event service Texas Bar Ninjas.
We asked Mo what he liked most about both being a DJ and about events themselves and this is what he had to say:
"My favorite part of being a DJ is the ability to share my music obsession with people. Because of my unique musical background, I am able to steer in and out of the top 40 playlists without losing the crowd. I love discovering new music and the challenge of keeping people on the dance floor for hours at a time. Listening to music has always been the light of my life, and I feel like I've won the lottery after every gig. I get paid to do one of my very favorite things. I also really love to be in control of the ambience of a room. The lighting and the music transform a quiet and dull room into a party that people remember for years to come. That is an incredible power to wield. I provide an environment that fosters hapiness and good vibes. These nights heal people, including myself. Music is so important for the soul. What could be better?
And an event transforms a regular evening into a grand masquerade. Teams of industry professionals work hard to provide a few hours of memorable bliss for a group of people. Everyone loves a great event! What I like most about events is being a part of something bigger than myself and using my skills to help make it the best it can be. This fills me with a sense of purpose and pride.
I DJ for a lot of weddings. I am a sappy, dappy, hopeless romantic and weddings make me so happy. They are also the most challenging. I am an absolute perfectionist when it comes to my work. I probably spend anywhere from 10-20 hours just preparing the schedule for each wedding, but there is no greater feeling than witnessing the happy tears of a bride while she thanks you for helping to make her day absolutely perfect. I also really love to watch people's grandparents get on the dance floor. I have seen some seriously impressive dance moves come from elderly folks. That's gold right there!"
We wondered what his process was for preparing the schedule and playlist:
"It varies from event to event. In general though, I focus on the needs of the client. I create a custom playlist every single time! I have never used the same playlist twice. For weddings, I sit with the client and I ask them to tell me about themselves and their special day. I get to know them and what they like, and I ask for a small list of their favorite music as well as any specific songs for the evening. I use the wedding planner's schedule to build a play by play spreadsheet that maps out every second of the evening. I prepare every song and submit the entire playlist to them before the wedding for approval. I don't leave anything to chance for a wedding. I do however, always leave room for last minute changes as well as dance floor requests."
And finally, we asked him to share with us his favorite piece of advice that he gives to his clients when helping them plan their music selection:
"I am often asked for help choosing special songs, such as the first dance, etc. I feel fortunate to have such a thorough musical background. I can pick at least one great song for any occasion. The best advice I give my clients is to have fun and relax during the planning process. Event planning can be extremely stressful and that can tear all the fun right out of it. When it gets overwhelming, take a step back and a deep breath (or ten), and remind yourself why you are doing it in the first place. It's meant to be fun, so have fun with it! Also, trust your professionals to help you. I always tell my clients that I will be the one to do the heavy lifting. That's the way it should be."
We couldn't agree more, Mo! Now let's go dancin!