Kustom Sounds Kauai celebrates 30 years in business

Kustom Sounds Kauai celebrates 30 years in business

By Alden Alayvilla – The Garden Island | Sunday, May 21, 2017, 12:05 a.m.

LIHUE — Kustom Sounds Kauai prides itself on always looking to make an event better.  And making memories, too.

“The father of a bride once came up to me and he wasn’t going to do a toast,” said Michael Dandurand, owner of Kustom Sounds Kauai. “I said, ‘You know sir, I really think you should. This is an important event.’ He got up on the mic and for the next 10 minutes, he had everybody in tears. He was that close to not doing it. He did it and the bride got to record it. It’s our job to see it and make it happen.”

If you’ve attended or been a part of a graduation, wedding or birthday on island, chances are you’ve heard the sounds that emanated from Dandurand and his crew, who are in their busy season.

In business since 1987, Dandurand said he’s worked at least 2,500 weddings.

“I don’t think I’ll see a wedding that will surprise me. Every one of them is special. Even if it’s the same room and I’ve been in there a hundred times, you go back and it’s always a different person,” he said. “I may have been there before and you may have played the same song before, but for the bride and the groom and the parents, it’s the first time for them.”

Zach Van Stratt, who has been a DJ at Kustom Sounds Kauai for three years, has enjoyed his time with the company.

“We have fun here, at the events. It’s the perfect situation. Every event, every position, every floor is different,” he said.

Van Stratt and the other DJs are proud of their preparation and professionalism.

 “We’re at that point, as a team, that we’re mastering the wedding business. I feel really comfortable we can do any wedding and do an excellent job,” Dandurand said.

Though weddings are his specialty, Dandurand was also instrumental in creating the first club on the island.

“The best club we ever opened up was Kuhio Lounge. Opening night, 350 people,” he said. “They didn’t know what to do with so many people. When we reopened, we got the numbers up to almost 600 people.”

Clubs, however, come and go and it is weddings that have the staying power for his business.

“For a bride and groom to invite us into their lives, I think that’s a blessing and we should be really honored we are there for them,” Dandurand said. “The most important for us is remembering the name of the bride and groom because that’s the hard part because it’s a new couple every night.”

There’s rarely a location Kustom Sounds Kauai doesn’t know.

“Last thing we want is surprises at a wedding. We want to know where everything is, everything going to happen smoothly, so we can do our job,” Dandurand said. “Because we have this much experience, we can prevent problems from happening because we know what to expect ahead of time.”

It all comes back to those memories.

“Our job is really creating moments in these people’s lives that are coming and spending as much money as they possibly can to get here to this island that they chose to have a destination wedding,” he said. “For us to go through there and create a moment or memory that lasts with them forever. They’ll talk about it.”

“A Mobile Party Central”

A Mobile Party Central - MidWeek Kaua'i

"A Mobile Party Central" Written by Coco Zickos in Midweek Kauai
"A Mobile Party Central" Written by Coco Zickos in Midweek Kauai

A Mobile Party Central - MidWeek Kaua'i
Coco Zickos on October 13, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Midweek Kauai Article Photo
Kustom Sounds Kauai has been in business for over 25 years.
Please tell us about your business.

Kaua’i Kustom Sounds is a mobile entertainment company that has been in business for 25 years. If you were to come up with an idea and you want to throw a party, you’re going to need entertainment, and we are the guys who come in and really make the show happen. Our equipment is top-of-the-line, and we’re not just guys who press a button and hit play. Our DJs are emcees, so when you hire us, we carry the function from start to finish. 

Do your customers select the music?

When customers get to the point that they are interested in booking us, we send them a conrmation in the mail with a form to ll out to give us an idea of what kind of music they want, how they want the program to go and, also, if they need any help putting the program together. Since we’ve been doing this for so long, depending on where it is and what kind of party they want, I can mold the perfect program for them. They tell us what they want and we customize it to their liking.

What sets your business apart?

There are many things, but the most important part is that we are entertainers. Anybody can order a DJina-box. Right now, with our technology, you can download all kinds of music and you can do it yourself on your iPod if you want. That’s not what we do, we’re not button-pushers. Our DJs are emcees, that’s really our focus. Anybody can play music, but our DJs can take the party and make it enjoyable and ow smoothly. We can guarantee that it’s going to be a great party if you hire our company.

How did you get started in this business?

When I was in grade school, I was the guy at the record player putting the records on while people were dancing, and I really enjoyed it. In high school, in 1978, a friend of mine and I did some DJ work, and did a weekend thing at the local gym and called it Boogie Down Productions. When I went to college at the University of Notre Dame, they were looking for a DJ at the local bar, and I sent them a cassette tape of my favorite songs I would play, and they hired me on the spot. After college, I worked at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu as a sales manager, and on the side I deejayed. So Kaua’i Kustom Sounds went from one guy with some records to a full-blown eight multisystem company.

MidWeek Article Photo Courtesy Michael Dandurand
Dandurand is a DJ as well as a business owner.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your business?

It’s at the end of the night when you look out there and everybody’s dancing and having a great time. There’s that one moment in their life, and as a DJ you are part of one of the most important days of a person’s or couple’s life. So you’re a part of that and you’re actually facilitating it to make it the most memorable part of their life, and it’s a special thing that you’re doing.

What kind of parties do you usually book?

About 80 percent of our business is weddings, 10 to 15 percent is the local baby party and grad party market, and about 5 percent is conventions.

Do you have a most memorable experience?

There was a wedding I was doing at the Hyatt, and the father of the bride was carrying his grandchild and everybody was eating dinner and no one was paying attention to it. I played this song by Elton John, and he had the baby on the oor by himself and he was singing to his granddaughter, crying. That sticks out in my head that a song can bring out that kind of emotion in somebody.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I envy sometimes the bartenders at Duke’s or the guys who do the zip-line tours or the people at Captain Andy’s. They’re out there working with people having such a great time on vacation and they’re doing fun stuff.