True Life: I DJ Funerals


At some point in your life you may have sat there, spaced out, imagining what your funeral will be like… attendees, speakers, the stories they will tell, the secrets they will divulge, or even the pictures they’ll choose for the slideshow. Eh, no worries, it’s normal. However, the big question remains, when your loved ones come together, will they be mourning your death or celebrating your life?

Although, certainly not the case in all cultures, here in the US it’s pretty standard to expect friends and family to be dressed in their all-black attire and tears of sadness when a loved one passes. However, then there are those individuals who make a side-note in their will, stating there will be absolutely none of that nonsense. They would much rather prefer bringing everyone together to eat, drink, jam out, reminisce the good times and, well…have a party. If this type of farewell sounds more up your alley, you might be pleased to learn there are people who assist with the ‘party’ planning, or the most critical element – the music.

As a DJ, it is one’s job to ensure the right mood is set, given any specific event, audience, atmosphere, etc. There is already a decent amount of pressure a DJ feels on a normal night, when guests are expected to arrive excited, perked up, and ready to have a good time. Now imagine having the same responsibility for a group of people who have just lost a loved one. For all you know, in such a vulnerable situation, one wrong song could bring that party to a screeching halt. However, British DJ John Headly of Spirit in the Sky Entertainment, is quite confident with his work as a “funeral DJ”. Yes, apparently there is such a thing and THUMP sat down with him. According to satisfied customer testimonials, despite whatever grieving was occurring at the time, he still managed to get the party poppin’ by playing all the right jams.

Pretty fair question, what exactly does this DJ play at a funeral? Contrary to what one might first assume, no, he does not scroll through his iTunes and handpick his favorite feel-good tunes. Instead, he gets background on the deceased and compiles a playlist of the songs they sang, treasured, partied to, and reminded their loved ones just how fun-loving they truly were. As expected, there are some who find this gig quite unusual, however, Headly explains this is actually quite beneficial when it comes to the grieving process. In a recent interview with Thump, the DJ states, “It’s the next day, when they go home, that’s when we all deal with the grief of losing a loved one. But on that day, it’s about remembering and celebrating that special person who has passed away.” Since death is in-fact inevitable for all, Headly jokingly informs us he is now “accepting deposits”.

Source: Thump