Let’s face it a dinner party isn’t a party without music. I mean great conversation is essential but so is the appropriate soundtrack to the night. Here are our top 5 tips for creating the perfect dinner party playlist.
1. Tempo and volume
The trick here is moderation on both fronts. Too fast or too loud and you risk taking over and distracting from the all important conversation and of course, the food. Too quiet or too slow when mixed with a few bottles of red and some mood lighting and you’re going to put your guests to sleep at the table. Go for the mid range here, its background music.
2. Mix it up
Try not to let your taste in music overpower your choices. Think of your guests, you’re the host and your job is to entertain them, not yourself. Also remember the idea is about creating complimentary background music that you can still have a conversation over the top of. Often this is why instrumental music is a good choice but definitely try to mix it up as too much pure instrumental can bore people. A mix of genres and instrumental plus vocal is a good idea this should allow most people to hear something they particularly like without alienating anyone. Try to not go too extreme between genres, jumping around a lot will unsettle people: for example jumping between classical and electronic could be jarring to the listener.
We recommend Spotify or another music streaming service for making eclectic playlists or iTunes if you want to make a list using music you already own, CD’s mean you have to keep getting up to change tracks and mean you are stuck with one album at a time.
3. Match the Dynamic
Try and match the dynamic of the night, think about the night as a journey with a start a middle and an end. Upbeat is great to start with, guests are on their feet and arriving, conversation is louder, people are catching up. Drop the volume and tempo as your guests sit down for the meal and as the courses pan out try and change and evolve your playlist. Towards the end of the night it depends whether you want your guests to stay and party or call a cab and leave. You can coax this in the direction you want using the music by upping the genre into more party style songs or having the list wind down into slower tunes.
4. Food and Music Pairing
Just as its always essential to pair the most appropriate wine with the food so too the music. Just as with matching wine, matching music can enhance the eating experience. Remember the more senses you can stimulate in a complimentary manner the more amazing the experience. Eating isn’t just about what you taste, food presentation and the environment make a huge difference and so does the music.
Think about a playlist with opera for Italian food, Spanish guitar for Mexican or tapas style food, Sitar or mellow Bollywood for Indian food and so on and so forth. Remember with this one, its fun but don’t overdo it, forcing people into one genre all night can get boring. So again as we said earlier throw some in but mix it up.
5. Our favourite artists
Nouvelle Vague is one of our favourites and we generally put it on at most dinners. They are a French band who play jazz style laid back covers of 80s punk and rock songs. It has a great vibe, her voice is amazing but the original versions that are being covered give it a really cool edge. All round a winner.
Jazz is another classic choice and a lot of top restaurants choose Jazz as background music for good reason, Miles Davis is awesome but can get a little crazy but any lounge style jazz is great.
Another of our favourites is Rodrigo y Gabriella, a Mexican duo who play a fusion of jazz, rock and metal on Flamenco style guitar riffs, you have to hear it to appreciate it and we love throwing that on over a meal.
We hope you found these tips interesting and we plan on sharing some of our favourite playlists soon here on the blog so make sure you come back for seconds.