This is the premiere entry in our “Rebounds and Sounds” series where we highlight the official team DJs of the NBA and are provided a behind the scenes look on how these masters of in-game entertainment control the energy of some of the best homecourt advantages in sports.
Our 1st interview is with Cassidy Bednark, or as he’s affectionately known in the Mile High, DJ Bedz. Bedz will be entering his 9th season with the Denver Nuggets and you can also hear him on 95.7 The Party Denver & Magic 98.9 Colorado Springs. When he’s not filling the airwaves with the latest party tracks and hyping the crowd at the Pepsi Center, you can also find him collaborating with the likes of Dev and LMFAO to create the most successful mixtapes in Colorado history or spinning at the most popular clubs in the Denver Metro area.
Bedz is also a 3rd party financial contributor and a spokesperson for Safehouse Denver, an organization that helps protect women and their families from domestic abuse.
Bedz took a few minutes out of his hectic schedule to answer a few questions for us and provide us with a realistic look of what his average gameday looks like:
1. How did you first get into DJing?
My mother got me a turntable for Christmas in 1994. I had always been hugely passionate about hip-hop, but the funny thing is that technically I never expressed any interest in DJing. I guess she just knew.
2. There’s only a few DJs in the NBA – how did you break into the in-game entertainment scene?
My chance to get to DJ with the Denver Nuggets came because of a couple of factors were working in my favor. The Nuggets decided on their own that they wanted to be progressive and ahead of the curve and incorporate DJing into their in-game presentation, and a guy named Harlan Hendrickson was a big part of that. DJ Chonz was actually the team DJ during the 2001-2002 season, but upon completing his first year I don’t think he was enjoying the gig as much as he hoped, so he asked me if I’d want a referral. Of course I said yes. At the time it also didn’t hurt that I was mixing for KS107.5, who was a sister-station to flagship station on the Nuggets, 950 The Fan. So between the politics and the referrals, I was in a pretty good position. I interviewed and got the job, and I’ve been doing it every year since.
3. What is your role in planning the pre and in-game entertainment for Nugget’s games?
We have weekly meetings to discuss all things related to in-game entertaining. Typically during the off-season or before the season starts we mutually decide on the important things like what songs we want to use for the intros, what songs we want to use in the 4th quarter, etc. It’s a team process, but they do defer to me on a lot of decisions on the music simply because we’ve build up that trust over the years. Then on a game-to-game basis we’ll sit down and talk about situational things for that particular game. The music for a promotion, the music for Rocky (official team mascot), those sorts of things.
4. What does your typical game-day look like?
Arrive at the arena about 3 Hours to tip-off. We typically have a in-game entertainment meeting about 30 minutes prior to the doors opening. Once doors open to the public I’m dialed in playing stuff for about the next 3-4 Hours non-stop.
5. How do you come up with the in-game music? What makes the perfect beat for when the offense has the ball?
We collaborate on ideas about those sorts of things. We discuss tempo and feel, we try to stagger stuff that’s more upbeat and energetic late in games. We try to program the beats in a way that lends itself to the crowd clapping along with the track and getting involved. Sometimes it’s as simple as playing something because it’s popular/hot at that time. I guess the overall goal is to strive for balance, but to always engage the crowd as much as possible.
6. What is your favorite experience from your travels as an NBA DJ?
I’ve been fortunate enough to get in with the NBA through my position with the Nuggets, and because of that I’ve been invited to DJ at 7 NBA-All Star Games. That’s been pretty cool. I’m not sure I could pinpoint one specific event, but I did get to DJ with Chris Paul at the Los Angeles All-Star Game in 2011. Surprisingly, he wasn’t that bad. He told me his roommate has CD-Js in college, and he got to mess around with them.
7. Is there anything you would like for us to know that we haven’t discussed already regarding preparation, your in-game work, and what motivates you to go to work every day?
Don’t get me wrong, there are days when my job feels more like work than fun, but at the same time those days are really far and few between. I mean c’mon, I get to play music for a living and watch basketball. I try to remind myself of how lucky I am constantly and take more granted my situation as little as possible. It truly is amazing that I get to do a job that involves the two things I love the most in the world, music and sports.
8. You’re definitely not shy about promoting your work with Safehouse Denver, an organization that helps protect women from domestic violence. Can you discuss what work you do for this organization, why this is important to you and how we can all help this cause?
I’m a 3rd party financial contributor (a fancy way of saying I give them money) and a spokesperson for Safehouse Denver. The crux of the fundraising is that when you go into Independent Records in Denver or Colorado Springs and buy a DJ Bedz Mix CD, I donate 100% of that money to Safehouse Denver, a non-profit that deals with protecting women and their families from domestic violence. It’s a severely underfunded entity that doesn’t get as much publicity as it deserves, so I’m very passionate about my work with them. Colorado and Georgia are also the only 2 states in the US that do not allocate funding for women’s shelters, so the contributions that people make to them become that much more significant. Their website is safehouse-denver.org if you are looking for more information or how to get involved.
9. Where can we connect with you online?