If you think that the United Center's musical selection during the players' pregame warmup has taken on a little different flavor lately, your ears are not deceiving you. Throughout the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the music that plays when the Blackhawks and their opponent take the ice has been selected by honorary DJ Kris Versteeg, pulled from his personal playlist.
The Blackhawks Blog caught up with "DJ Steeger" at practice to discuss how he chooses the best pump-up tunes, his teammates' reaction and more.
How did this arrangement come about?
Kris Versteeg: Well, they wanted to switch up the warmup tunes at home, and I just threw a list together. It took a few subtractions and additions because of what they could play in the building, but I think it’s been pretty good.
What has the reception to the new track list been around the locker room?
I don’t know… Boller? How would you answer? [Looks over to Brandon Bollig].
Brandon Bollig: A-plus!
Versteeg: A-plus! But seriously, I think the guys really like it. I’m a huge fan of EDM (Electric Dance Music), and it seems to usually get the boys jacked up.
Were you listening to this mix during pregame before they started playing it in the UC?
It’s not necessarily those songs, but those are just the ones that we’ve chosen right now. It’s easy to change them up. But I do usually listen to something like that.
When you were coming up with this playlist, were you just trying to pick out some of your favorite songs, or did you consider some of the other guys in the room?
Yeah, you try to come up with songs that you think could pump up the guys, get them excited. Warmups are usually about trying to prepare yourself for the game, but the right music can really help.
The team is undefeated at home in the playoffs to date. Now’s your time to claim credit for that.
[Laughing] I don’t know… Obviously, we can’t credit anything to pregame music. But I do think it gets us pumped up. I know Kaner’s a fan of EDM, and a lot of the European guys are too. I think they enjoy it.
Since you mentioned it, there does seem to be a contingent of your teammates who prefer country to dance music…
Well, I’m a country guy too. Country is really the music that’s close to my heart. I’ve learned to really love electronic music now, especially because I have Dutch heritage and a lot of the biggest DJs come from Holland. We tend to listen to country in the dressing room during practices or before the morning skate; you keep it light so that your head isn’t pounding all day.
Are there any tracks that didn’t make the cut that you wish would have?
There are a lot of songs that we might still try later. There are a couple of songs by Shotek, Sebastian Ingrosso and guys like that. But right now the songs seem to be working, and we’ll stick with that. We can change them up when need be.
Where do you find your music?
I tend to be a little ahead of the curve on music because I have my brothers and my buddies back home who are always sending me new songs. I have a whole DJ system at home and I get new updates on music, and if I like a song I’ll put it on my list. Sometimes you might not like a song at the start, but then it can grow on you.
Versteeg's current United Center warmup playlist:
1. "Bad" by David Guetta and Shotek (feat. Vassy)
2. "How You Love Me" by 3LAU (feat. Bright Lights)
3. "Ready for Action" by Alvaro and Joey Dale
4. "Born to Rage" by Dada Life (feat. Sebastian Bach)
5. "Unicorn Zombie Apocalypse" by Borgore & Sikdope