Qool Marv’s advice to brides and grooms: “Feel free to let me know what you’re both feeling”
Although his master’s studies were in journalism, it’s easy to mistake veteran New York DJ Qool Marv as a psychologist as he counsels brides and grooms on the topic of wedding music.
“At weddings, I put my ego and DJ persona aside and I become YOUR DJ for the evening,” Marv tells the couples with whom he works. “I compile a running list of your requests between now and when the wedding happens – you can give me 10 songs or 50 songs – and I put them into that pool of selections and I apply my skills to your songs on the night of the wedding.”
“You know you asked for it but when I play it and it hits you, it’s a thrill because you didn’t know it was going to happen,” Marv added. “The surprise is part of the evening for me and you.”
Marv grew up in Philadelphia. As a teenager, listening to jazz on the radio helped him get through a monotonous construction job. Attending Emory University, frustration with a lack of musical diversity in Atlanta commercial radio made him a fixture at record stores and he quickly amassed a collection of vinyl that continues to grow to this day. Producing mix tapes for friends allowed Marv to build a reputation for magical meshing of unconventional tracks and seemingly incongruous genres.
“The blending had to be so smooth that people listening would be a minute into the next song before they knew it,” Marv said, recalling the mixes that built his reputation.
When he moved to New York to attend Columbia , Marv’s turntable skills and ability to keep dance floors packed at East & West Village cool spots & clubs caught the attention of Russell Simmons and HBO. His DJ career flourished and went global, bringing his unique sound to venues in the Bahamas, Barcelona, Dubai, Dublin, London, Moscow, Oslo and Paris. When the entertainment industry giants like HBO celebrated, Marv was manning the decks for shows like Sex in the City, The Sopranos, Oz and The Wire, and at Emmy and Golden Globe after-parties in Hollywood.
Despite his star power, Marv is steady, grounded and comfortable in the role of the laid back consultant during his frequent pre-wedding planning sessions with brides at grooms at Scratch Weddings.
“Consider me your human iPod for that night. Don’t worry that you are imposing or affecting my artistic senses,” Marv advises. “Feel free to let me know what you’re feeling & songs you prefer, and I will bring everything together with the technique and flow that you’d expect from a pro DJ.”
Among the helpful tidbits for couples working with their DJ:
- Don’t only think about dance floor jams. “Think about those songs that you vibe to when you’re in the car or on the train or chilling out at home when the TV’s off and you’re cooking. It still has a place at the wedding. It has a place at the cocktail hour, or when dinner is being served.”
- Feel good that any style of music that you enjoy will be mixed and presented with professional enthusiasm. “Your musical taste becomes my musical taste when I play your reception.”
Because guests at weddings often encompass multiple generations and cultures, Marv strives to include various tempos, decades and styles into the musical vibe.
“I really take pride at giving everybody something during the night, whether you’re 13 or 63,” he said. “I look around the room and pay attention.”