For Eric Nystrom, the number 24 is more than just a few pieces of fabric stitched on to the back of his Nashville Predators sweater. Twenty-four represents a second job, a second job that the gritty forward takes very seriously.
“My DJ name is Two4. It’s the number two spelled out and then the number four,” Nystrom said with precision, assuring that his alias would be written correctly.
In the locker room, Two4 represents Nystrom’s role as the team’s DJ – a role that came naturally to the 31-year-old forward. As a hockey player, Nystrom understands what it takes to get the team’s blood pumping before a game, and when the current music was unable to excite his teammates, Two4 decided it was time for a change.
“It’s something that I just enjoy doing,” Nystrom said. “Sometimes it’s not the greatest choice in music, so you just have to come in and take charge. “
Nystrom’s ever-changing song mixes are played throughout the locker room before every game in an effort to energize and excite his teammates. In order to ensure that his team gets excited, Two4 mixes all of the music on the spot, turning each pre-game pump-up session into a live concert.
“Usually before the games, I’m putting on a live show of sorts in [the locker room],” Nystrom said. “I have an app on my phone that allows me to mix the music live, so I’ll do a live show. When they throw out requests, I’ll mix it right there on the spot. When the guys who requested the songs hear them, they get so pumped up.”
Two4’s phone app simulates turntables to allow him to mix his teammates requests into his own songs. Yet, while his teammates are enjoying the live show and getting excited for the night’s events, the self-proclaimed DJ is listening for any mistakes in his songs and figuring out how he can fix them later.
Regardless of how much Two4 changes and tinkers with his pregame show, there is one tradition that he, and the team, has decided to keep in place.
“The last song, we always keep the last song the same when we have a win streak going,” Nystrom said.
Nystrom’s affinity for being a DJ goes beyond the team’s locker room. In fact, the winger has an entire studio set up in his home, complete with turntables, a keyboard, mixers and more.
“I’m getting more into [the musical aspect] of it now,” Nystrom said enthusiastically. “I’m doing some stuff with the keyboard and have some electronic dance music – type stuff that I’ve been working on. It’s just a hobby, but it’s fun and I enjoy doing it.”
Nystrom has even gone public with some of his music. The winger has allowed Bridgestone Arena to play his musical creations during warm-ups prior to games. Fans who come to watch the Preds play at home in Music City are able to get a small taste of Nystrom’s biggest passions – music and hockey.
It comes as no surprise that with his passion for music, Nystrom has enjoyed his off-time in Music City.
“[My favorite concert in Nashville has been] Bassnectar on New Year’s Eve,” Nystrom said. “Nashville doesn’t know that [type of music] too much, but that guy was crazy.”
While the Syosset, N.Y., native may be more inclined to the likes of electronic dance music artists like Avicii and Bassnectar, Nystrom credits his love for music to a musician older than both of the aforementioned artists combined.
“I think [my love for music] started with my mom playing Billy Joel over and over throughout my whole life,” Nystrom said. “I’ve probably seen him 10 times.”
Unfortunately, any plans Nystrom had of reliving his youth and seeing Billy Joel in Nashville fell to the wayside as the team battled against Chicago in the Windy City while the Piano Man performed on March 14 at Bridgestone Arena. Nystrom may not have gotten to see his favorite musician, but he was able to enjoy a 3-2 over the Preds’ division rivals.
Whether Two4 is displaying his passion for the game in delivering hard hits against opposing teams, or his passion for music in putting together mind-blowing mixes to energize the locker room, fans can rest assured knowing that he is doing his part to contribute to the team’s success.