The hot autumn air rises to the third deck of Kyle Field. 12th Man towels drape over the necks of students, alumni and t-shirt fans. Yell Leaders sprint across the sideline, pointing, screaming at the crowd.
And now, in 2017, a new voice joins them over the loudspeakers: "Jaaaaaaason Derulo."
It has finally happened and (depending on which forum you frequent) it is glorious: Kyle Field has finally moved into the 20th century and begun using a game day DJ.
That man is DJ Mike.
For fans of Aggie Basketball, DJ Mike is a familiar, goateed face. He’s been a part of the Reed Arena experience for four seasons, helping fans to stay excited during four quarters of Aggie Basketball (sometimes a tough task), and reminding alumni that they are at a basketball game.
Michael Kaska is a saint and you should all worship the ground he spins on. He kindly took the time to answer a few questions that some of the Good Bull Hunting writers had for him.
This interview has been edited for brevity, clarity and to remove a brisket joke that I did not fully understand. I also had to Urban Dictionary a lot of the words he used.
GOOD BULL HUNTING: How did you first get involved with Aggie Athletics? It's been a long road for you since you and I were just a couple kids messing around on headsets on the Aggie Basketball court.
DJ MIKE: In the summer of 2013, the athletic program reached out to my former company because they had decided that they needed a young, energetic student to pump up a crowd of students during both Aggie Basketball games.
I guess my boss figured that I listened to enough Drake and Jason Derulo in my free time that I would be a good fit for the position. I am now currently going into my fifth year DJ'ing for Texas A&M Athletics for now both Men’s and Women’s Basketball, as well as Volleyball and Football.
GBH: What's the difference between DJ'ing basketball games and football games?
DJ: During basketball games, it's all about no dead time and high energy.
Football games are more geared toward to just specific moments that need music to help out the game day atmosphere when we aren't leading yells or using the Aggie Band.
Basketball games are very fast paced with a ton of high intensity moments. Within Reed Arena, the strategy for home games is to get the student section into an almost-frenzy, causing a chaotic environment that can ultimately disrupt the opposing team. So the overall environment and music selections focus primarily around high-tempo house and trap music, as well as any new, upbeat hip-hop or rap.
When going over ideas for football this year, we knew this would be an entirely different environment. The primary focus for music during game days at Kyle Field is for the student section, the heart of Kyle Field. Throughout the game, we also mix in a variety of fan friendly music to cater to our fans on the west side of the stadium.
GBH: What has the process been to set up a DJ booth in Kyle Field? When was this first pitched?
DJ: Officially, we began conversations about bringing me over to Kyle Field during this past summer. It's been a busy few months with this new addition. I've been heavily involved with parts of the Game Day Task Force, but I quickly found out that I had no clue what the heck I had got myself into.
We constructed the new DJ booth just a couple weeks before the season opener, ensuring we had time for some run-throughs. But, thanks to Twitter, the cat got out of the bag a little early.
GBH: Walk through the people reading how the actual "DJ'ing" works during a football game ... when can you play? How do you decide what to play and at what points of the game?
DJ: Well, it all really depends on how well my iPod is working that day (kidding.)
A lot of my pre-game-day hours are spent searching for that "one song" that will really get the students / players / fans pumped up and ready to run through a brick wall. I usually have a good idea of what I'll play during the game before it happens but it's all about just feeling out the moment and what the environment needs.
My main goal is filling in during timeouts when neither the Band or Yells are happening. This season, they've been given the freedom to start whenever, as long as we aren't doing any type of fan recognition. The other times when I get a chance to "spring into action" are during kick-offs and crucial defensive downs, when momentum really needs to be at an all-time high.
GBH: What's your favorite part of the Aggie Game Day?
DJ: Duh, tailgating before the game. (Sike, I don't get to do that anymore.)
It has to be the team entrance. As a DJ, of course I get super pumped when POWER starts, but that's not the part I'm actually talking about. The moment that really gets me going is right when the stadium goes silent and you hear the drums of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band start up, leading the team down the tunnel, the whole stadium clapping to the beat. Goosebumps.
GBH: What do you want the future of Aggie Game Day to look like? A lot of people might have been a little skeptical when this was first introduced but, so far, it apparently is going great.
DJ: The idea that I like is to bring "controlled chaos" to an environment.
During the first game, we nearly tripled the amount of yells and band songs, thanks to taking out a lot of in-game sponsorships. It really helps enhance an already fantastic atmosphere at Kyle Field. I want to be able to bring in a variety of music that appeals to all fans during the game. While, realistically, not all 102,000 Aggies will have the same taste of music, I am by no means trying to take away from the overall game day experience, only to enhance it during key moments.
GBH: What is your go-to playlist for game day? What songs are going to be staples of Kyle Field?
DJ: Of course, we will still open with POWER for every game. But you'll hear a good rotation of songs for key third downs, such as:
· Ante Up- MOP
· It's Goin' Down- Yung Joc
· Bend Ova- Lil Jon
· Turbulence- Steve Aoki
· Humble- Kendrick Lamar
We'll have some other lit songs for the season, but we haven't rolled them out yet.
GBH: What is the biggest pump-up song you know?
· Outta Your Mind – Lil Jon
DJ: Actually, anything by Lil Jon or Steve Aoki. They go hard on every song. It's a scientific fact you can't help but get crunk when listening to them.
GBH: What is one song that you want to play more than anything else that you probably will never get the clearance to, if any ...
DJ: This is a tough one, I always double check to make sure all my songs are clean and edited for game days. As of late, there's been a lot of trap remixes that would make everyone go nuts, but, sadly, there aren't edited songs of them yet.
GBH: Now let’s speak directly to our Twitter … community. What are the funniest / worst tweets that you’ve seen about yourself since the announcement?
DJ: I'll do a few for each, when thinking death threats, because … you know Aggies are … redass about protecting tradition.
· "I hope you walk in front of a bus & die"
· " Ideas to improve the game day atmosphere: Step 1. Kill the DJ."
I also once had an …older fan tell me " I'm gonna throw your trash computer on the court if you play anymore of that rap music"
GBH: How do you stack up against D.J. Durkin?
DJ: Well, he definitely has me beat in the whole coaching / resume thing and also by having a real job. The guy is rocking gray hair before forty like a boss. I've got some time on my clock before I pull of the silver fox style.
But I just sleep in every day and eat pizza, so you tell me who is winning at life. Does anyone really win at life being in Maryland? I don’t know.
GBH: Lastly, CuppyCup is making a seventy-five minute road trip without the wife and kid. He needs playlist suggestions.
DJ: So what you're going to want to do is start off with some Drake, to really set the tone. And none of that "in your feels" Drake. I'm talking WATTBA, some Drizzy and Future rager hits.
Then mix in some Migos, Kendrick, Chance the Rapper and some DJ Khaled. Really get the trip started right.
Follow that up with some Aerosmith, cause honestly who doesn't get crunk listening to Steven Tyler. Shuffle in some Turnpike Troubadours (either something from Diamonds and Gasoline or Goodbye Normal Street, those albums have all the hits.)
But then we are going to dive into the real stuff, the music that'll put you in a trance and make you forget about the rest of this seventy-five minute drive: some straight house and trap music.
Let the beat take you away.
Thanks, DJ Mike. Good luck this season. Everyone under the age of 35 is counting on you. (And, as a quick, final disclaimer: Good Bull Hunting does not condone falling into a trance while on a seventy-five minute road trip.)