When Chivas USA traded Heath Pearce to the New York Red Bulls in May, the team lost not only a defender but also its DJ. Along with his on-field talents, Pearce took his turntables with him to the East Coast.
The trouble is, his new Red Bulls teammate Jan Gunnar Solli also never goes without prematch music.
“We’re going to have to battle it off to see who gets to make the game-day mixes,” Pearce joked.
Solli’s response? “Ok. It’s on.”
So, as the the regular season wraps up and the Red Bulls get set for a playoff run to the MLS Cup, who should be the team DJ? We let the two candidates make their cases.
Background: Now in his fourth MLS season, Pearce’s first albums were by DJ Skribble and The Crystal Method, which he purchased at a San Luis Obispo, Calif., music shop as a teenager. The 28-year-old was already playing drums and piano when he decided to teach himself to DJ. “The first thing I learned was how to beat-match and mix with true vinyl,” he says.
Trick: “Recognizing how your crowd feels.”
Tools: Two Technic 1200 mk2 turntables, Rane 57SL mixer
1. “Silenced By the Night” (Alesso Mix) by Keane
“There is unbelievable emotion in this track, and beautiful vocals by Keane.”
2. “Another Star” by Gianni Coletti vs. KeeJay Freak
“This is a fantastic seasonal track with happy summer vibes and a splash of up-tempo house.”
3. “I Follow Rivers” (The Magician Remix) by Lykke Li
“This artist has an amazing voice. Add that to the Magician mix, and you have a great balance of the vocals and beat creating a smooth blend of music.”
4. “Allein” by Pryda
“The drop packs a punch, and the song goes on and on. And DJ Solli is Norwegian, so I had to counter his selections with a Swedish DJ to get under his skin a bit.”
5. “Dangerous” (Deniz Koyu and Johan Wedel Remix) by James Blunt
“I chose this song on pure energy alone. The drops give you no choice but to dance and enjoy.”
Jan Gunnar Solli
Background: The Norwegian midfielder started performing at 15. “I didn’t have a mixer or turntables,” he says. “It was more like two CD players, and when one song stopped, making the break on the dance floor as short as possible.” Now 31 and the founder of his own label, Sweet Harmony, Solli has opened for David Guetta and Calvin Harris and took a three-week tour last December.
Trick: “Save some of the highlights for the end.”
Tools: CDJs and Ableton Live, Cubase, Logic Pro software
1. “Say My Name” (Calvin Harris Remix) by Spectrum feat. Florence and The Machine
“The tender but still powerful vocals give this song the perfect harmony, and what Calvin Harris is doing is nothing less than admirable.”
2. “Trojan vs Possession” (Solli Mash-up) by Asalto & Kamil Pankowski
“The original version is beautiful, but I played around with the vocals to make it even sexier.”
3. “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)” vs. “Silhouettes” (Solli Kick-Off Mix), AC/DC Vs Avicii
“I looked for something that would light up the rockers out there, especially to create some fireworks before our games.”
4. “Sweet Romance” by Solli vs. D´Ártagnan feat. Carolyn Harding
“D´Ártagnan and I wanted to reinvent the original, sexy vibe of this song by adding vocals by Carolyn Harding, whose energy can reach the core of your soul. The original tune is around 105 beats per minute, but we pumped our version up to 120 bpm.”
5. “Breaking Daylight” by Solli vs. D´Ártagnan
“This track has really grown on me and turned into a great flow of positive energy.”