David Marshall can’t help but chuckle when he thinks about the first time he djayed for the Victoria HarbourCats.
It was three years ago when Marshall was hired to play music at a baseball game. While he had experience playing music for the Victoria Grizzlies hockey team on the West Shore, this was a whole new ballgame.
“It was terrifying,” said the Malahat resident with a laugh. “It was a learning curve for me for the first little while. I didn’t know a lot of the rules of when you play stuff and the timing. I had to learn that stuff because it’s a different way to see the game.”
Marshall admits it took him about half the season before he was hitting all the right spots, musically, adding he built his sound bank by researching what music MLB teams were playing.
But one song at a time, Marshall has fine-tuned his skills djaying at each of the 33 home games at Royal Athletic Park in front of thousands of baseball fans.
As the game-day DJ for the HarbourCats, Marshall is responsible for playing all the tunes during the warm up, to players’ walk-up songs, to all the music and sound effects in between.
For Marshall, who is a community support worker by day, playing music for others is a passion that began when he was a child.
Marshall’s step father worked for Molson Canadian and helped get him into dozens of concerts from Motley Crue to The Cure. As a teenager, he also played drums in a band before eventually making the transition from making music to playing it. Over the years, he’s djayed at more than 300 weddings in Vancouver, Williams Lake and Victoria.
“Music has always been a part of who I am ever since I was little,” said the self-proclaimed music fanatic.
Now, after three years of playing music for baseball fans in Victoria, Marshall believes he has hit the musical sweet spot — knowing exactly what songs to play in certain situations.
If it’s a tense game, he’ll play songs that are more aggressive, or if there’s a foul ball and there’s a few seconds in between the next play, he’ll put on If You’re Happy and You Know It.
If the HarbourCats are down a few runs, Marshall plays music that gets the crowd pumped like Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson, Boom by POD, and the home-run song Let Me Clear My Throat by DJ Kool.
With a list of roughly 250 to 300 songs to choose from every game, Marshall said the type of music he plays also depends on the energy from the crowd. Generally audiences respond well to music from the ‘60s and ‘70s, such as Louie Louie by the Kingsmen, anything by the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, and songs that are “bouncy and fun.”
“You have to have everything because there’s so many different personalities. You can’t just stick to one style of music because people will get bored and you don’t want that,” Marshall said, adding a crowd pleaser is AronChupa’s song Little Swing that one of the HarbourCats’ players walks up to the plate to.
“People are here for the ballgame, I’m just the colouring . . . to make it so they’re not bored and they’re having fun.”