LOS ANGELES Since he started out as a DJ hobbyist in 2000, Michael Smith has gone on to make a name for himself, spinning professionally for luxury, fashion, media, and entertainment brands. Now he’s expanding his offerings with Michael Smith Event Music, which creates complete programs for corporate clients like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Vogue. Call it sonic branding: sound services beyond a traditional DJ’s purview that work with a brand’s specific mission.
“I’ve always been interested in creating a unique sound experience,” Smith says. “So you’re selling a car. What’s your objective for the event? Not just ‘Hey, here’s a cool DJ who can rock a party.’ It’s ‘What is your event about?’ It’s about working with a brand’s sonic identity. Everywhere that [a company uses] music, I believe it should be consistent with the brand.”
When Jaguar released its XF model last year, the automaker invited tastemakers for test-drives in San Diego.
Because the brand wanted to show off the car’s high-end stereo and surround sound, Smith’s group created flash drives timed to the course. The strategy highlighted the car’s features and enhanced the experience for participants, and the flash drives served as takeaways for guests to remember the day. Smith also spun music for Jaguar’s launches in multiple cities.
For the lavish reopening of the Coral Casino in Santa Barbara, Smith programmed music for the Louis Vuitton fashion show. He timed the beats to the runway looks, as well as the accompanying fireworks and fountain shows. While Smith spun, a live 10-piece orchestra played along to add some pomp.
“Smith has a global music [viewpoint] and can tune up any party environment with remarkable, effortless music range,” says Louis Vuitton North America’s director of events and special projects, Sandra Mariniello. “Isn’t that the perfect music equation?”