George Hilton is one of Headliner’s most popular DJs, known for his versatility and great sets. In this short Q&A he talks about everything from working at weddings to hotels and clubs, how he got started, and how to keep an audience entertained.
First of all, who is George Hilton?
I’m a multi-genre DJ, record collector and producer working in London.
What type of events do you usually play at?
Because I play a lot of Soul & Disco I work at a lot of high end hotels and restaurants, but I also do a lot of club nights playing Hip Hop & House. I like playing different styles of sets, it makes my job more interesting and gives me a chance to play a variety of great music.
If you can pick one, what is the most memorable and fun event you have DJed at?
When I was 18 I won a competition to open the MixMag stage at the Global Gathering Festival. It was a terrifying mix of nerves and joy. My set started as they opened the gates and finished with a crowd of 300 plus people. It was my first taste of DJing to a large crowd and was something I wanted to keep on doing.
You have played at some really cool clubs, but you also have a reputation for being a no-cheese wedding DJ. What’s the key to pulling that off?
I feel a wedding DJ usually comes with a stigmatisation of being a bit hacky. So when I began working as wedding DJ I wanted to break that mould and play music that people love without being too obvious or cheesy. I also think it’s important not to sacrifice how I mix records at a wedding, and even though I often bounce from genre to genre I make sure the songs are mixed well to create an energy-packed set.
You play a whole host of music styles, from Funk to Garage, Disco and more. Do you have a favourite genre?
I don’t really have a favourite genre, but instead I have favourite decades within each genre. I love 90’s-00’s Hip Hop, 70’s Disco & 80’s Funk. When it comes to genres I like to work closely with the client to get a feel for the type of music they’re into and create a set list perfect for them.
How do you like to finish off an amazing set at the end of the night?
Finishing a DJ set can be a tricky thing to do. Most venues have a pretty strict cut-off time for music. So it’s always a good idea to slow things down with a track everyone knows. The Mary Jane Girls, Donna Summer, Luther Vandross & En Vouge are a few of my favourite wind-down anthems.
Finally, what do you think is the most important thing to ensure that guests and audiences are enjoying themselves and having an absolutely amazing time?
I always feed off the energy of the crowd. The best parties are when me and the client both have a good understanding of what they want or when the crowd is responsive. Nothing makes my job easier than when the crowd knows what they want and just want to dance.