The Rise of The Santa Cruz Warriors & Why I Love Being An Arena DJ
By Andrew Rivas
I’m Andrew, the events production manager for Sound In Motion and the in-house music director or DJ for the Golden State Warriors D-League affiliate Santa Cruz Warriors.
As a proud Santa Cruz native and huge Golden State Warriors fan, the moment I heard Santa Cruz was being thought of to have a D-League franchise, I was excited. When it became official I really wanted to be a part of SC History. Sound In Motion had already been the Official Music providers for SF 49ers, SJ Sharks, and SC Roller Derby Girls. So I thought alright, let me leverage the companies name to get myself involved. I had DJ’d plenty of events and done smaller sporting events before but nothing close to this level yet I was very confident I could deliver.
Less than 2 weeks before the season we got the call that we had gotten the gig, and an hour after that we were rushing up to Oracle Arena in Oakland for a play by play by the music team up there. It was exhilarating to be watching a game from the box and seeing how they musically accompany the games to maximize the fun and excitement of the game.
From there on out myself and Adrian worked on musically prepping our computers for the inaugural season. From the day we got booked to the day prior to the first game I was watching as much basketball as there was televised, playing music and "pumps" to the situations. By the day of I could accurately tell you what pump was going to play next for multiple franchises.
Night before we went into the newly built Kaiser Permanente Arena (built in an impressive 3 months from a parking lot) and did our first sound check. They were still installing parts of the arena as we were doing it.
The first game was a blur. I had no idea what to expect I knew I was prepared but hadn’t played in front of a sold-out crowd of 2,505 before let alone in front of the owners of the Golden State Warriors. The crowd was pumped, the team played great, and I hadn't single handedly embarrassed myself in front of everyone in my town.
The biggest difference from dj'ing dance floors, and possibly my favorite part of a sports gig, is the sense of team. While I am the one playing the music, the mascot is dancing, the announcer is doing a read, graphics are showing the sponsor and video guys are capturing the moment, all in a seamless way that each part makes the other part better. I really enjoyed that aspect of what I do in the arena.
A tragic incident in SC was the shooting of 2 police officers, Butler and Baker on Feb 26th. The organization could not be run by a more classy individual in Jim Weyermann who understood that this isn’t a sporting team but a part of the community. That night he said a few things and had a moment of silence. The next game all players had ribbons on there jersey with fallen officers badge number and later retired those same numbers in the highest part in the arena.
The team itself was a great team to be the music director of because all they did was win, win, win. The team made the playoffs and the excitement kept ratcheting up. All in all, it was a great experience and I'm looking forward to being a part of the next season.