For the past 10 seasons DJ Bedz has been filling the Pepsi Center with the best beats in the league. At every home game I attended this season, I would walk by the DJ booth (Mt. Loud) and yell, "DJ Beeeedz!" I doubt he ever heard me, but I have been curious about what his job entails. I caught up with Cassidy Bednark in a question and answer interview over email.
Nate Timmons: DJ Bedz, you are the man behind the sounds at Pepsi Center. Can you tell us a little about yourself? How long have you been in Denver? Are you a big Nuggets fan? Favorite Nuggets memory or story?
DJ Bedz: I've been a Nuggets fan since birth. While I don't have one specific memory that jumps out as the most prominent, I can remember a number of things like yesterday: the Jumbotron graphic that showed "The Horse" every time Dan Issel scored a bucket, following Bill Hanzlik out to his minivan after a game to get an autograph, attending the Fat Lever and Calvin Natt basketball camp, trying to figure out how to steal one of those cardboard "3's" they put up around the perimeter of the lower bowl [at McNichols Sports Arena] when Michael Adams was on his consecutive games with a three-pointer made streak, and my first playoff game in 1987 where Mark Aguirre ripped my heart out by hitting a late three-pointer to propel the Mavs to victory over the Nuggets.
(This interview is all about music at NBA games, but notice in the following clip, where Michael Adams scores 31 points, there is no music at the Boston Garden ... weird.)
NT: How do you come up with the playlists for the games? Do you take requests?
DJ Bedz: Every game has certain consistencies and certain things that are variables from a musical standpoint. My boss (Director of In-Game Entertainment, Shawn Martinez) and I are in constant communication, during the off-season and during the season all the way up to right before tip-off. Things like the player introduction beats and the songs we play if we win tend to be premeditated.
Additionally, we have a meeting before each game where we discuss the best options for whatever elements may be going on for that specific game (Super Mascot Rocky's skits, special timeouts, halftime, etc.). Beyond that, they mostly trust my judgment after 10 years with the franchise.
I'm a little on the superstitious side, so I like to keep certain elements intact if we are winning. So, last year with the way we were playing at home that lent itself to a lot of reoccurring themes (when we won I‘d play "All I Do Is Win", "Celebration", "One More Time", and "September" like clockwork). But really, a lot of it is freestyle with structure.
The pre-game hip-hop mix -- as the players are warming up -- is completely off the top of my head. And yes, requests are welcomed. The players constantly want to hear songs. Guys like Blake Olson [Altitude Television Reporter and Host] and Ben Hochman [Denver Post] will reach out from time-to-time. And during games I'm constantly getting blown up on my phone and on social networking sites with requests, and I'll try to honor as many as possible within reason.
NT: Are there any rules on when you can play music vs. when you cannot play music?
DJ Bedz: You'd be shocked. In particular when the other team has ball. There's a list of nine pre-approved defensive prompts that you can play, if you choose to go outside the list you are only allowed to play things that imply an obvious cadence of "de-fense".
About seven years ago the Nuggets were playing a Lithuanian team in the pre-season and I accidentally played the beat from Nu Shooz, "I Can't Wait" while their team had possession of the ball. The Nuggets were hit with a $10,000 fine for that. It's crazy. The Nuggets let that one slide but have made it clear any fines I incur moving forward will come out of my pocket. I have to be very careful. The league also frowns upon doing anything to disparage the referees. So, "Three Blind Mice" is a no no.
(Here is that infamous song that may still haunt DJ Bedz's dreams!)
NT: Give us a suggestion(s) of what we should be listening to this summer?
DJ Bedz: Well, I saw the three-minute commercial for Jay-Z's new album during the finals like everyone else. It's not a stretch to think that a Jigga album produced by Rick Rubin, Timbaland, Pharrell, & Swizz Beatz will be pretty darn good.
NT: Where can we see you spinning records outside of Pepsi Center?
DJ Bedz: You can hear me seven days a week as a mixer and on-air talent on 95.7 The Party. Right now I also spin four weekly residencies at various nightclubs and a ton of private events in addition to that. Random tidbit, I also edit the music for the Detroit Pistons dance teams so you can hear my work in The Palace of Auburn Hills as well. I'm very lucky that I'm able to watch basketball and play music for a living, I never take it for granted. I'm a very fortunate person.
If anyone would like to reach out to me for any reason please do so. Like I said earlier, requests are welcomed. Just be polite and lay off the "Freebird" and we should be fine.
I have to say ... this was awesome! I appreciate Bedz answering these questions and if any of you have questions for him - leave them in the comment section and he may answer them or hit him up on Facebook or Twitter!
Nate_Timmons on Twitter