At 3 Point Productions, we believe the soundtrack to any event is extremely important in providing a first-class fan experience. Our Sports DJ Sound Off series is designed to help you better soundtrack your game nights and understand the impact a DJ can have when producing an event, building on in-game momentum and developing a home court advantage.
Recently, we produced the Coyote Logistics Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field which featured four powerhouse collegiate hockey universities including Michigan, Michigan State, Western Michigan & Miami (OH). It marked our first hockey production and given my role as the DJ for the event, I needed to do some research on how to properly soundtrack a hockey game. I was able to connect with Rich Meyers, the Director of Event Presentation for the Edmonton Oilers, and he shared some helpful tips:
- Be ready with A LOT of drop-in options for stoppages in play.
- When dealing with collegiate neutral site hockey events, use positive or upbeat songs as a default. For instance, rather than playing prompts for a penalty, play a prompt that celebrates the power play.
- Vary your drop-ins between high-energy tunes, clap-tracks, fan prompts & organ fills.
Since the Hockey City Classic was a one-off event which featured out-of-state teams and played in an outdoor setting at Soldier Field, I went with a cold-Chicago theme for a lot of my music selections. Regarding genres for walk-in, I stuck to modern and classic rock, Chicago-style blues & modern pop and hip-hop. I ramped up the playlist leading into each game but typically started each set with some classic Chicago blues. Here are a few example selections:
1. "Mannish Boy" - Muddy Waters
2. "Chicago Bound" - Jimmy Rogers
3. "Super Bon Bon" - Soul Coughing
4. "I Gotta Rokk" - DJ Shadow (Irn Mnky Swagger Mix)
5. "Gotta Get Away" - The Black Keys
6. "Come With Me Now" - KONGOS
7. "Who Needs You" - The Orwells
8. "Jungle" - Jamie N Commons & X Ambassadors
9. "Uptown Funk" - Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
10. "Ain't Messin 'Round" - Gary Clark Jr.
Stoppage in Play Prompts
As mentioned earlier, in hockey there are a lot of stoppages in play due to icing, a saved puck or a puck out of bounds. These stoppages can last anywhere between 20-60 seconds and can really range in tempo. For the Hockey City Classic, I reached out to a friend and industry standout organist, Sir Foster, and worked with him to produce a dozen custom organ fills ranging from recreations of "Latch" by Sam Smith to "Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac to "Ms. Jackson" by Outkast. The fans really seemed to enjoy them, often singing the lyrics over the organ instrumentals. Sir Foster's recordings definitely added a unique element to the event. I also filled with fan prompts, alternate organ fills and high-energy cued electronic tracks. Here are some examples:
1. "Organ Donor (Extended Overhaul)" - DJ Shadow
2. "Swoopin" - Baauer
3. "Minestrone" - Fujiya & Miyagi (Organ instrumental only)
4. "Bootcamp" - Jay Hardway
5. "Monarch" - Lumberjack & Havel B (edited version)
6. "Fire in Our Hearts" - Swanky Tunes Feat. C Todd Nielsen (Original Mix)
7. "Ping Pong" - Armin Van Buuren (Hardwell Remix)
8. "Boom Boom Boom" - The Outthere Brothers (edited version)
9. "Heart It Races" - Architecture In Helsinki (Trizzy's Rusty Tin Can Mix)
10. "NRG" - Duck Sauce Feat. Skrillex
In producing the Hockey City Classic, we didn't avoid the "cold" subject but rather embraced it. The temperature swayed throughout the 30's and dipped later in the evening. So, to have some fun with the crowd who toughed out the weather, we debuted a few new fan cams including the Freeze Cam which we'd take shots of the coldest fans and report the current temperate at Soldier Field and followed that with the Tropical Island Cam which we'd report the current temperature in places like Bermuda. I also dropped in a couple Chicago themed tracks here and there. Here are some of our themed song selections:
1. "Ice Ice Baby" - Vanilla Ice
2. "Do the Funky Penguin" - Rufus Thomas
3. "Hot Hot Hot" - Buster Poindexter
4. "Everybody Loves a Carnival" - Fatboy Slim
5. "Chi-City" - Common
6. "Homecoming" - Kanye West Feat. Chris Martin
A well soundtracked game is sure to improve your overall fan experience. Outside of the songs I've highlighted here, there are plenty of opportunities to be creative and come up with customized sounds for your presentation. Hockey is a fun sport to DJ and leaves a ton of room to be witty with themed prompts. If it wasn't a neutral site game, I'd have spent hours coming up with penalty cues! Remember, a great audio experience is built in pre-production - not on game day. Build cues for every possible in-game scenario.
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