For Club, and Countries
The second week of October this year was a milestone for me as a soccer sound selector. Nearing the twilight of the 2016 season with the Fire, I got the opportunity to pair up with Soccer United Marketing to curate the matchday tunes for Mexico vs. Panama at Toyota Park. As part of their American Tour, and in preparation for World Cup Qualifiers and the looming match vs. USA next month, Mexico was pitted against a familiar foe in Panama. This match would be a “friendly” in name only. Last time these two played was in the Gold Cup, and questionable PK call cleared the benches in what will be remembered as a full out brawl.
Now under slightly less tense terms, they squared off in Chicago.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t off the wall excited for this game. DJing matches with the Chicago Fire has been a dream job for the last two years, but getting a musical “call-up” for lack of a better term is a true opportunity to take time, research, and create something special for an international game.
This was my first chance to do that, and it’s something I didn’t take lightly.
From a musical perspective, and unlike a lot of sports - soccer presents an incredibly diverse group of spectators and supporters. Different nationalities, languages, ideals and musical tastes converge in one 90 minute event. It’s the "world’s game" at it’s finest.
Over 19,000 fans piled into the stadium, most of them ardent Mexican National Team Supporters, and unlike their traditional sport experience, I wanted to do something that was above and beyond a regular international friendly - playing music that resonated with the primarily latino fanbase in a more dynamic way. Drawing on my experience and residency at downtown tropical hotspot Three Dots and a Dash, I combined popular latin artists with important musical influencers from both countries that were featured in the match.
Below are some of the select tracks in my playlist for the evening.
Earlier this year I also curated an “all latin” playlist for Hispanic Heritage night with the Fire - be sure to take listen to that as well! It was a big inspiration for the gameday tunes in this international match and one of my favorite recorded projects of the year.
My main goal overall is to create a transformative experience for people in attendance of these games (and all the nights I DJ in a holistic sense). I get that normal day to day life can often times be a frustrating, and stressful enterprise, but when you become surrounded and immersed in the atmosphere of a live event or social setting (especially in sports) it can be that temporary escape that a fan so desperately needs. I get that, and that's why the research and preparation I do is in an effort to provide a soundtrack for this transformation to occur.
That's why I am here. To improve peoples lives through music.
When you put these things out into the universe you never know who will connect with the projects, and so it's always particularly cool to see when others respond positively to your work. Thanks to the Univision Deportes crew - Luis Omar Tapia and Rodolfo Landeros for breaking it down at the match. Their energy and positivity is what makes events like these so much fun. Shout out to Lorely for pointing this video out to me! Check it out below.
In the end, the match ended as a 1-0 win for Mexico, with Oribe Peralta finishing a slot pass from fan favorite Giovani Dos Santos. An incredible matchday experience and something to build on for the future as an international in-game DJ.