Despite having only just celebrated his 25th birthday, English DJ Jack Wilson has already racked up over ten years of experience. Combining his love for music and interest in all forms of technology, Jack’s business Kent Discos not only provides DJ and Emcee services for parties and weddings, but also a wide variety of extras, including lighting, effects, and photography.
Growing up in the South of England, just outside London in Medway, Kent, Jack was fortunate to enjoy a happy childhood. He was fully supported in his musical endeavors by both his mother and step-father, who gave him his first musical instrument at a very young age (a Casio keyboard). Jack was also very young when he first had the opportunity to play recorded music for a crowd, as he was responsible for putting on the CDs as his classmates walking into assemblies at primary school!
Having always had an interest in music, Jack is able to pinpoint the experience that led this to develop into a love. “My dad owned a bar in Spain and I was out visiting him in the school holidays. His friend ‘Jim’ came in and played keyboard and sang one evening and I was completely hooked! Seeing the effect that music can have on a crowd made me want to be a part of that in some way.”
At High School Jack signed up to become part of the ‘stage crew’, helping to setup and run the sound and lighting equipment for concerts and plays. Jack’s love of music, combined with his natural interest in – and aptitude for – technology, meant that this soon became a big part of his life. It also led him to become the school’s DJ, providing music for the end of term parties. “I started DJing ‘properly’,” Jack told us, “when I was around 12/13 years old. I was the DJ for our school discos, which we called ‘Neon Nightz’… the ‘z’ at the end was cool in those days…”
As well as developing his DJing skills, Jack also excelled at performing music throughout his time at school. He gained qualifications in Music and Music Technology and learned to play guitar, keyboard, and drums. It was also while still at school that Jack began to transition from just playing music for his school friends to becoming a fully-fledged mobile DJ.
“My introduction to DJing for an adult crowd came when I was around the age of 15,” explained Jack. My family attended a New Year’s Eve party at a local social club and, If I’m honest, I was a little bored! My stepdad jokingly approached the DJ and said that I’d give him a hand if he wanted, and we were both surprised that he said ‘yes’! So, there I was for the rest of the night! Little did I know, that night was the start of my professional DJ career!”
Since then Jack has DJed at hundreds of parties and has built up Kent Discos to become a market-leader in his area. Primarily a party and wedding DJ business, Jack and his team also offer a wide range of ‘add-on’ services. These include lighting upgrades, mood-lighting, photography, dry ice, dancefloors, confetti cannons and big-screen TVs. Jack has also recently started offering ‘all-day hosting’ (Emcee) services for wedding couples, which he is finding to be very enjoyable.
Based close to London, and in a town with good road links to the rest of southern England, Jack has DJed all over the UK. “I’ve DJed in many venues,” he told us, “from backstreet social clubs right through to the 5-star hotels on Park Lane in London, and do you know what? I’ve loved every single one, even those pain-in-the-butt places with loads of stairs!”
Kent Discos offers a variety of lighting packages to suit all venue sizes, as well as client budgets, and all but the most basic option feature moving head lights. DMX-controlled lightshows have proved popular with Jack’s clients and they have become one of the key selling points for the business. To take this to the next level, Jack has recently invested in a set of ADJ Focus Spot Three Z moving heads to complement his existing inventory of ADJ fixtures.
His equipment setups are central to Jack’s business model, along with a general commitment to good customer service. “My personal approach is to always strive to give the customer the very best I can”, he explained. “I aim to offer a professional service from start to the finish and I’m very OCD with the way my show works. I love to have it just perfect – symmetrical, clean whilst still being stylish.”
Photography also plays a big part in the service offered to Kent Discos’ customers. Not only do Jack and his team offer photo booths and event photography, but they also have an experienced wedding photographer on staff, allowing them to offer a full entertainment and photography service to wedding couples. This unusual combination has allowed the Kent Discos team to develop a ‘signature first dance shot’ which involves backlighting the couple with moving heads to create a dramatic photographic keep sake to help clients remember their first dance as a married couple.
When it comes to music – as is true for most DJs – Jack has eclectic tastes. “Of all the music I get to play, I’d say my favorite is acoustic or big band/swing. Probably because it’s not something I get a chance to play in an ‘evening’ situation too often, that and you just can’t beat the sound of a talented vocalist and musicians paired together. I love a bit of Frank Sinatra; I’d say he’s one of our family favorites! But filling a dancefloor is another matter. Lately, in the UK, 90s/early-00s dance sets have become popular, the most common mix being: Robin S – ‘Show Me Love’, Livin’ Joy – ‘I’m a Dreamer’, and Bobby Brown – ‘Two Can Play That Game. But my favorite little set I love throwing in is: Ini Kamozi – ‘Here Comes The Hotstepper’, Will Smith – ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air (Theme Tune)’, and DJ Jazzy Jeff + The Fresh Prince – ‘Boom! Shake the Room’!”
Over the past 10 years Jack has developed a strong network of fellow DJs across the UK, both through social media and by attending trade shows, who he can call upon for help and advice. “The thing I like most about the UK mobile DJ market,” he told us, “is that we have a great social network and we all talk to one another – of course there’s always a few ‘odd-balls’ – but most of us get on and are always there to support one another. I, for one, love to help people out wherever I can.”
In fact, socializing with his peers came up as Jack’s answer when we asked him to tell us about his most memorable time as a DJ. “There’s so many to choose from, but let’s go with the most recent… my 25th birthday party! Why was it a memorable occasion? Well, I promised myself that I wouldn’t DJ but I couldn’t help myself and I ended up throwing in a few tracks and doing a 30-minute set. It was amazing for me, as the room was full of many local - and not so local – DJs who have all become my friends over the years. Everyone got right into the spirit and had an awesome time! What more could a DJ want than a ‘headlining’ spot at your own party with all of your DJ mates… DANCING! It was just complete madness that I’ll know I’ll never forget!”
We don’t think it’s unfair to describe Jack as a ‘workaholic’ as when he’s not DJing he’s busy with one of his other, related, jobs. In addition to running Kent Discos, Jack is the Technical Manager at a local leisure center and also the Marketing Manager for the UK subsidiary of Italian pro audio manufacturer FBT. On the rare occasions that Jack isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his family as well as playing football (soccer) for a local team sponsored by his company.
Having achieved a great deal of success, despite his young age, we were interested to hear Jack’s advice for other aspiring DJs. “My Advice to all DJs”, he told us, “is enjoy what you do. Be yourself, don’t strive to be someone else, make yourself unique and put on a professional show. And, most importantly, always be open to learning! You can always learn something new. Also, if you’re in the UK, make sure you visit the ADJ showroom; I went yesterday and it’s awesome!” In fact, the ADJ UK showroom is open to dealers and end users alike. Check out the showroom Facebook page and book an appointment HERE:
Great advice from a successful DJ and business owner with a humble attitude and incredible work ethic. Looking at what he’s achieved over the past 10 years, the future is sure to be bright for both Jack Wilson and Kent Discos.
For more information on Jack Wilson and Kent Discos, or to connect with him on social media, follow the links below.