Sports and music really aren’t separated by a huge divide. It’s all entertainment, with agents, managers, and various middle-men designed to keep hype built up. Game day for a DJ is the live concert, but that doesn’t stop scandals from happening outside the arenas. Deadmau5 caught hell from Ferrari for adorning his 458 “Purrari” with custom logos, and Marshawn Lynch got the “really, asshole?” treatment for putting velvet ropes around his Lamborghini in Seattle.
The analogies between sports and EDM/DJ-centric-music are a little easier to define, because DJs typically stay within a certain genre, music in the same way NFL football teams are known for certain schemes. The more I thought about it the parallels, the easier it got for me to rationalize. Even the fans are known for meeting certain criteria. Holy shit, this totally works. So I decided to undertake the process of correlating every single NFL team with a DJ that fits their “team personality.” Without further ado, if DJ’s were football teams …
San Francisco 49ers: Ta-ku
Unlike their counterparts across the East Bay in Oakland, 49ers fans are known for being the elitist, wine-and-cheese types. As a technicality, the 49ers aren’t even in San Francisco – they’re in Santa Clara. Their fans pay more for tickets, and their tailgates have soft Brie, paired with a classy red wine. Beer? Shots? No thank you.
Ta-ku fans aren’t here to “turn up”, they’re around because they’re better than you. They went to Stanford, work for Google or Apple, get paid more money than Oprah, and aren’t interested in your twerking, sir.
Their methods do pay off, despite having their noses in the air. For the past three years, under Coach Harbaugh, the 49ers have made the NFC Championship game, so you can’t argue with the product on the field. It’s damn good – just like Ta-ku’s music. He hasn’t quite reached the top yet, but no one doubts his ability to be one of the biggest DJ’s in the world.
Chicago Bears: Adventure Club
The Chicago Bears are always contenders, but then again, we always know what they’re going to deliver – much like Adventure Club. That’s a little of their failing, on both sides. If you saw Adventure Club five years ago, you know what you’re going to get today: Insufferable melodic electro-dub accompanied by a female vocal, a buildup, and a drop.
Speaking of drops, no one drops it at the wrong time quite like Chicago’s receivers. Every self-loathing Bears fan can at least recognize when it comes to drops, no one does it like Chicago. Whether it’s Forte out of the backfield, or just opportunities in general, the Bears are predictable, and usually play second fiddle to others in their division who simply do it better.
The Bears, like Adventure Club, have somehow succeeded, but I can’t figure out why. When Adventure Club was at their height, they were producing generic dubstep–much like when the Bears went to the Super Bowl with Rex Grossman at the helm. “Yeah, you’re popular, but you make yawn-worthy generic melodic dubstep,” is the equivalent of “Yeah, you’re in the Super Bowl, but your quarterback is Rex Grossman.”
Cincinnati Bengals: Nervo
Andy Dalton, the quarterback of the Bengals, is known for one thing: His bright red hair. Nervo, in the same vein, is the awkward ginger of EDM. Nervo isn’t just a single woman – it’s two. They’re good looking, competent, and deliver a solid live performance–but women in EDM have a quiet embargo against them. (I’ll cover this at another time in a more serious tone, because I do think it’s a little fucked up that women are highly successful in every single genre of music, except EDM.) Having a ginger helm your team is a bit like having Nervo headline your festival; I mean, you can let them do it, but let’s go with someone else, eh? People might look at us funny.
The Bengals, like Nervo, are good, but not great. They have a few bright spots, but their brand of fused-electronic has some heavy competition within the same division, which doesn’t really have a solid identity. Where the Bengals are usually outclassed by the Steelers and Ravens, Nervo gets beaten down by Bingo Players, Dirty South, Nicky Romero, and others. What Nervo does, others do better. The Bengals get to the playoffs, sometimes–but the Steelers and Ravens get to the Super Bowl. Nervo is competent, but Romero and Bingo Players can boast massive hits that Nervo has yet to match.
That isn’t to say Nervo can’t get there: The tools are there. It’s a bit like Dalton to A.J. Green, with a solid play action game–if they can get in synch, those two could, in theory dominate. It’s just about doing it long enough, and repeating those results.
Buffalo Bills: Carl Cox
You have to respect a team with a winning history, yet at the same time, it’s been a long time since the Bills were relevant. Back in the ’90s, the Bills were powerhouses, and they dominated, yet, for some reason never won a Super Bowl. Like the Bills, Carl Cox was there, every single year, at the top of his game, but always got outshined by someone else, having a freakishly good year. Just when you thought Carl Cox was about to break through, he’d get overpowered by Fatboy Slim or John Digweed.
Cox even chose to settle in a down that would be analogous to Buffalo–Frankston, Australia, which is a suburb of Melbourne. It’s a nice city, like Buffalo, don’t get me wrong … but uh … Frankston? Do what makes you happy Carl Cox, by all means, but as long as you’re sticking to a small market, you’re going to continue being small market compared to the heavy hitters.
You’ll see Carl Cox at a festival every now and then, and you’ll go, because he’s Carl Cox. It’s a bit like when the Bills have a football game: You don’t expect them to win, but you go, because they’re still entertaining enough to warrant the price of admission.
Denver Broncos: Bassnectar
Denver, the “Mile High City,” known most notably for marijuana legalization, is a perfect town for Bassnectar’s fanbase. Like Denver, most of Bassnectar’s fans are a mile high. A Bassnectar concert is best defined by white guys with dreadlocks in the parking lot asking you, “Hey man, you know anyone around here with blunt wraps? Namaste, bro.”
You can joke about the city and their fans all you want, but when it comes to the music, Bassnectar is a technician that makes everyone around him better. Bassnectar is the Peyton Manning of bass music–you want to do it like him, and you can study his style all you want, but he’s just one of those once in a generation kind of talents that has been so good, for so long, that his fans will follow him anywhere.
Every artist you know wants to work with Bassnectar–for instance, my old friend Donnis was a bit lost in the rap-fray recently. I mean, yeah, he was around, and he’s always been good, but it’s not like anyone was clamoring for him. Then, he hooks up with Bassnectar for “Noise” and holy shit he’s awesome. It’s like when Manning puts some steam behind … well, fuck it, name a receiver. In 2013, five receivers he worked with had 10 touchdowns or more. Denver, like Bassnectar, is dominant for knowing a system, and working it to perfection.
Cleveland Browns: Mimosa
If ever there was a DJ that everyone I know loves to hate, it’s Mimosa. The first time I ever met Tigran, I booked him at a show in Los Angeles at Exchange LA. I extended my hand to introduce myself, and he looked at my hand, before saying, “I’m busy.” Okay, dickhead, I just paid you to be here. Shake my fucking hand and say hello.
The next time I saw him, his agent Hunter Williams invited me to a secret show in Nashville at 308, where Mimosa would be performing. I sat in the back, in the VIP area, with Tigran. He tried and failed to hit on several young women before declaring them sluts, and told me that I should avoid bitches like that, because they probably have AIDS anyway. (Remember when literally no one wanted to coach the Browns? Same thing.)
Recently, Mimosa has come to be known as an insolent child who loves to swing vodka bottles at people because he’s unfamiliar with how to handle himself like an adult. His music is never particularly good, it sounds like he’s ripping off better DJs.
In fact, no one mirrors Mimosa more than Johnny “Football” Manziel. Sure, he’s got a lot of talent, but you’ll notice he’s mostly an asshole who doesn’t work hard. He’s known for partying, being a dickhead, and being an insufferable narcissist. If you’re looking for all things epic-fail, look no further than Mimosa and the Cleveland Browns.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Girl Talk
Go to any Tampa Bay Bucs game and you’ll notice one thing: No one is a Tampa Bay fan. That’s just the nature of Central Florida. It’s a ton of people from New York, Philadelphia and, fuck it, even Seattle. No one from Central Florida stays there, because have you ever read news headlines in Florida? In 30 years, Florida is going to be underwater, or maybe everyone will just fall into sinkholes and die.
A fan of Girl Talk is not a fan of Girl Talk–they’re fans of other people’s music, just like Tampa fans are fans of other people’s teams. If the Giants are in town, fully 75% of the crowd will be Giants fans. Everyone is a transplant, there to see something that isn’t Girl Talk, or maybe they’re just there for the spectacle of it all.
Does Girl Talk put on a hell of a show? Absolutely. Same goes for the Bucs. I really dig their pirate ship with the cannon that fires after touchdowns. It’s a nice touch for a team that really isn’t destined for greatness, and will forever sit in the cellar of the NFC South while New Orleans and Atlanta spank them.
Girl Talk/Tampa Bay Bucs: Go, enjoy the show, be entertained, go home, and drink yourself stupid, because why the fuck do you live in Florida/still listen to mashups in 2014?
Arizona Cardinals: Excision
Do you drive a lifted truck? Do you have tribal tattoos? Love wearing tank tops and pumping your fist in the air to mindless bass-noise? Excision and the Arizona Cardinals are calling you!
Excision is music for people who love brostep, and nothing says brostep quite like the Arizona Cardinals. What is Excision? Brostep–better known as the bass trash that everyone really loved in 2008. In case you’re counting backwards, that’s the last time the Arizona Cardinals made the Super Bowl.
Today, things have changed, and EDM fans have moved on to better music, but not Excision fans. The product sure does sound like it should when it starts, but then the drop happens and you’re like, “What the fuck is going on here? Who the fuck likes this shit? Have you changed anything since 2008” Answer? No. But people in Southern Arizona love the used shit you got tired of in 2008–that’s why they’re in Arizona.
You see, Phoenix is where deadbeat dads and former strippers go to buy McMansions, get lifted trucks, and slowly wither away in a desert shit hole. You live in Arizona because you’ve given up on life and don’t care about anything at all. People in Arizona don’t care about the quality of their environment–it just needs to look right, and you know, turn it up loud. Make the bass loud enough for me to forget that I live in a place where there is no water, and it gets 120 degrees in the summer time.
Excision boasts touring with a 100,000 watt PK sound system. That’s a bit how the Cardinals sell tickets to their games: “We have Larry Fitzgerald!” Alright, so who is passing the ball to Fitzgerald? Some junior college dropout quarterback with barely enough talent to make a Canadian team? That’s Excision. He’s the really bad quarterback with a great wide receiver.
(Side note: I genuinely tried listening to his music before posting this. I just can’t do it. Holy hell. It’s just a wall of bass and noise. How is he relevant and touring? Are there that many people with bad tribal tattoos and absolutely zero taste out there? Wait, nevermind. I answered my own question.)
San Diego Chargers: David Guetta
Reading through the comments on a David Guetta track is like reading through the deepest thoughts and text messages of a 17-year-old. “OMGZ whoa her3 cums the DROPPPP!” Guetta fits the mold of San Diego perfectly, because he makes music for people who like to listen to generic EDM. It’s not good. It’s not bad. It’s just, really uninteresting and predictable. It’s the kind of generic music playing in San Diego’s nightclubs, where young Marines go out and grind on girls with poorly color-treated hair and tits they’re financing. (Yes, you can do that.)
While I was living in Los Angeles, I realized that people from San Diego live in constant denial of their living situation. San Diego is like Los Angeles, but just a little worse, without any of the upside … and … well … actually, you know what … (takes gloves off) San Diego sucks. San Diego sucks for the same reason David Guetta sucks: It has the personality of whatever hair style is fashionable right now.
The Chargers aren’t a football team for the same reason David Guetta isn’t a DJ: Just because you look like a DJ/football team, doesn’t mean you are. I hate David Guetta’s highlighted hair almost as much as I hate seeing my friend Ryan Solomon say “Bolt up!” in his Facebook posts. San Diego has never been good. You always get blown away by teams that are better than you–just like David Guetta. You just think you’re good because you’ve been subjected to such a substandard product that you start believing your generic shit is actually good.
Also, one last thing: Stop having kids, Phillip Rivers. The last thing we need is more Chargers/Guetta fans. I know you’ve got David Guetta on your iPhone. Don’t lie.
Indianapolis Colts: Dillon Francis
The Colts are, for all intents and purposes, a brand new football team. After being helmed by super-serious Peyton Manning for years, Andrew Luck is now in the driver’s seat. Andrew Luck is the face of the Colts, he’s talented at what he does, but he’s also incredibly funny, well-spoken, and witty. It’s hard not to like Andrew Luck.
The same can be said for Dillon Francis. He’s obviously intelligent, personable and has a sense of humor about himself, but he’s not limited to just networking and being a social butterfly. Dillon Francis is actually really damn good at what he does too; the rare “non dickhead DJ”. Both Francis and Luck make you want to cheer for them, even if you’re not really a big fan. That’s sort of how the Colts work–you won’t meet many people who say, “The Colts are my favorite team!” just like not many people will say, “My favorite DJ is Dillon Francis.”
… but if you’re at a festival, and your favorite DJ isn’t playing in the same time slot, you better believe you’ll be on Dillon Francis’ stage. Sorry Dillon, we like you, but only as a friend. We’re sort of seeing someone else – but let’s hang out soon, alright? You’re really cool.
(Boom! Friend-zoned! … also, I know that I can write this with the full confidence that either Andrew Luck or Dillon Francis will read this and be able to laugh at themselves for being friend-zoned by a blogger who is straight, but I’d totally be gay-for-pay with either of them. WHAT?!)
Dallas Cowboys: Skrillex
This is a little personal to me, because I’m a Cowboys fan–but I need to be objective. Do you know who the worst football fans are? Cowboys fans. Our tickets are overpriced and not worth the cost of admission. Sound familiar, Skrillex fans? We haven’t been truly good in about six years, but that doesn’t matter, because we’ll trot out just about any bullshit project, put a Cowboys star on it, and boom, we’re there! Any Skrillex fans getting uncomfortable?
Skrillex fans suck because they’re everywhere, no one likes them, and if you tell someone your favorite DJ is Skrillex, they have to hate you. It’s like some sort of unwritten rule.
Skrillex fans, like Cowboys fans, are the battered spouses of EDM and football respectively. We’ll make up excuses for why everything is totally okay, even though we know deep down it’s not okay, and that we wish our favorite team/DJ would be good again–but for some reason, we just can’t bring ourselves to be honest about reality.
Yet, somehow, despite being average-at-best, it always sells out, in the biggest stadiums, in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans, illuminated by the biggest LCD displays, powered by the loudest sound systems, and the most freaky visuals–basically everything to distract you from the fact that what you’re seeing and hearing totally blows.
Fuck the Dallas Cowboys and fuck Skrillex.
Miami Dolphins: Steve Aoki
When most NFL teams want a new stadium or stadium expansion, they ask the public for grants, tax breaks, or threaten to leave town until something happens. They need your money in order to survive. In fact, asking your fans to fund your stadium is something of a tradition in the NFL.
But not for the Miami Dolphins. In an unprecedented move back in March, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said (and I’m paraphrasing), “No worries on paying for our stadium improvements. We got this.” That’s because Stephen Ross is worth $4.8 Billion–crazy rich, even by NFL standards. If he wants to do his own goddamn stadium improvements, it’s because he’s “rich as fuck.”
Born in Miami, but raised in Newport Beach, Steve Aoki is also “rich as fuck.” His father was the guy who started Japanese chain steakhouse Benihana. Aoki attended the University of California at Santa Barbara, and lived in Isla Vista. If you’re not familiar with the area, that means he floated his liver for eight semesters before somehow stumbling out of that motherfucker alive with a diploma in hand.
Dolphins fans are typically people who live in Miami–and if you live in Miami, you probably love nightclubs where you pay $15 for drinks (with dad’s money, duh), and listen to music made by guys who hire ghost producers (with dad’s money, duh). You don’t go to a Dolphins game to watch football; You got to a Dolphins game to tell people on Facebook what section you sat in. The more money you spent, the better.
You don’t go to an Aoki show because you like EDM. You got to an Aoki show because you want to tell people you went to an Aoki show. No one really likes the Dolphins, or Steve Aoki. They exist simply because they have enough money to be there, and why shouldn’t we enjoy our money, damnit? If you’re rich as fuck and want to run a football team/be a professional DJ, go live your dream.
Philadelphia Eagles: Avicii
“Play Levels!” Those are the famous words of the worst fans in EDM. No, really, I mean it. No one has worse fans than the Eagles, or Avicii. Eagles fans booed Santa Claus and cheered when Michael Irvin broke his neck. Who does that?
Avicii fans hate music so much, they won’t let “Levels” die. Cheering for “Levels” is like cheering while watching a dingo eat a baby. It’s like walking in on your grandparents having sex, and then feeling aroused. It’s like telling a child their parents will stop loving them if the song “Levels” is every played again … and then playing Levels. It’s wrong. It feels wrong. You know it feels wrong. Stop it.
Quit living in the past, Eagles and Avicii fans–it’s been a while since you did anything worth paying attention to, and now you trot out the musical equivalent of Mark Sanchez ... and holy fuck are you serious Philadelphia? You signed Mark Sanchez?
Avicii is metaphorically Chip Kelly’s spread offense: Sure, it was cool and exciting when you were in college, but now it’s not so impressive when you compare it to everything else on the field/in your iPhone. Stop living in the past. Come to terms with the fact that if you’re an Eagles fan, or an Avicii fan, you’re just a bad person in general.
Atlanta Falcons: Heroes X Villains
Nothing embodies the Atlanta Falcons better than local trap duo Heroes X Villains. Their music is “all the way turned up” (nod to Travis Porter), with absolutely no turn down, ever. The duo also perfectly describes the basic ethos of Atlanta: A black guy and a white guy teaming up to see how many women they can get to shake their ass on any given night.
Even the Falcons rallying cry “Rise Up” is basically a derivative of “Turn Up”–I mean, c’mon Falcons marketing department. At least try to pretend your fanbase isn’t ratchet as hell. It’s as if their marketing department sat around a table and just said, “Fuck it. This is Atlanta. Can we just replace ‘turn’ with ‘rise’ and go home now?”
Unfortunately, Heroes X Villains is a bit like The Falcons–they’re a hell of a team at home in Atlanta, but on the road, they’re not as strong. It’s not that their music is any less turned up, it’s just that trap music, like the Falcons air-attack, doesn’t travel well. You need the energy of the Georgia Dome or a small East Atlanta venue to really understand what it’s all about. It’s a complete experience that you just can’t replicate elsewhere.
New York Giants: Steve Angello
Let’s face some facts; Steve Angello was the odd man out when Swedish House Mafia split up. He’s supposed to be good, because he carries the Swedish House Mafia name, but then you realize that Ingrosso and Axwell are the more talented members of the former trio.
That’s what Eli Manning represents to the New York Giants. He lives in the shadow of his brother, even though he’s genuinely talented. The New York Giants just don’t have enough pieces to be successful, because, like Swedish House Mafia, they depend on a wealth of talent to make it all happen.
So when you’re watching a Giants game, it’s a bit like watching Steve Angello. You get this thought in your head that says, “Man, this dude used to be a champion. What the hell happened?” Then you realize, that without a supporting cast, some people just aren’t going to be great.
Jacksonville Jaguars: DJ Pauly D
If you’re looking for something to describe North Florida’s endless pit of despair and hopelessness, the Jacksonville Jaguars are a beacon of all-things-depressing-as-fuck. Everything about Jacksonville is horrible, and I don’t just mean the football team. My most memorable experience in Jacksonville involves a dinner, so just bear with me here.
I was invited to eat dinner with some surly dock-workers wearing Jaguars jerseys, and their wives. I knew them through friends of friends–and one of the guys was a horrible Top 40 DJ at the kind of bar your aunt likes to order Bud Light Clamatos at. Go figure. Through the course of dinner, they regaled me with a horrible story about how The Top 40 DJ liked to grab his wife’s muffin-top, and give it a shake … whilst they were fornicating.
Not to be outdone, the friend of the Top 40 DJ got drunk, and started bragging about how good he was getting at digging his sign out of his yard. “His sign?”, you ask? Yes, his sign. His convicted sex offender sign, that he repeatedly kept digging out, to the point where the county came and poured concrete so he couldn’t dig it out again. His wife defended him by saying, “Don’t think he’s a monster. He just got drunk and showed his penis to some kids outside a middle school.”
I was revolted, naturally. But wait, there’s more! You’ll never guess what happened next: Mr. Sex Offender Sign Digger Upper wanted to show me some stuff on his iPod. He stumbled over to an input cable on the home stereo and asked me, “Have you ever heard of DJ Pauly D?”
DJ Pauly D: The preferred DJ of guys who like to show their penis to children, and brag about how good they are at digging up their sex offender sign.
New York Jets: A very bad laptop producer who plays his own shitty trap remixes at a fraternity house party
Every ounce of me wants to compare the New York Jets to a professional DJ, but I can’t rightfully think of them as a professional football team, especially when they presently look like they’d barely compete against a Sun Belt team. I can’t compare them to a professional DJ, because that would mean I’m comparing them to someone that actually cares. The Jets don’t care.
Metaphorically speaking, the Jets are the drunk guy at a house party who wanders over to whatever music is playing, and loudly asks, “Hey, is it cool if I play some tunes?” You then discover that he’s a “DJ,” which is really playing fast and loose with the term, “DJ”. He then presses play on something he calls “dub-trap,” which “is a fusion of dubstep and trap, bro.”