Andre Peterson, 34, is the in-game audio operator for most of the Gwinnett Braves games. A graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta, Peterson is originally from Indianapolis, but has lived across the country from Texas to Utah. In this installment of "Getting to Know ..." staff writer Ben Beitzel talks with Peterson about player's walk-up songs, how he became a DJ and bad answers in team trivia.
BB: How does one become the music guy for a sports team?
AP: I met the guy that does the music for the Atlanta Falcons named Nathan Skipper, so he was the one that originally told me about the opportunity.
BB: So I guess you are a music guy to want to do this.
AP: I am. I am a DJ by trade actually. It comes natural, but as with anything, if you are having fun with it, it is going to show. I feel fortunate because I am doing the Braves because there are worse things you could be doing. It is just great, I am at the ballpark, playing music, enjoying the fans, that is what it is all about.
BB: Do you put a lot of thought into what you play, when you play it?
AP: Before every game there is a script meeting where we walk through everything and what I'll do is write ideas down, different songs and kind of have an idea in my head when I want to play certain songs.
BB: How do you keep up with not only music people like, but also new music people might like?
AP: I host trivia so that is a testing ground. Whenever I am there I'll play different songs to see what type of reaction I'll get. Typically, if something is upbeat, that is the direction that I'll go. It's tough because not everyone is going to like every song that you play, but typically I am safe with certain '80s songs or something that is upbeat that is kind of new. I try to sneak that in and see how people like it. That is what I do, I am at trivia playing different songs and if everyone likes it and it gets a good reaction then I'll try to bring that here and see how that works out.
BB: Before getting here, how did you become a DJ? That is not something you major in.
AP: I think I kind of fell into it by accident. I was a technical type of person and music was kind of my love, kind of a hobby. I started playing and started enjoying music and people started asking, 'Hey, will you DJ my wedding? Sure, I'll DJ you're wedding.' That is kind of how I started doing a couple more gigs and obviously led to what I am doing right now.
It's weird, I just love music and the opportunity came and I just started doing a couple of different gigs and here I am right now.
BB: It keeps you cool. You always are up on new music.
AP: (laughs) It's fortunate too because now I am part of a pro sports DJ network and they'll e-mail songs and say, 'This is a great song.' This is a network of probably 3,000 DJs across the country that do minor league baseball, football, basketball and all that jazz. Certain songs work for different areas but they say 'This is a great song, try this.' So that helps out tremendously.
BB: Do you get a lot of grief for your questions or your music doing trivia? The crowd can't be too different than at a baseball game.
AP: (laughs) Yeah. It's bizarre, I actually host it three nights a week when I am not doing Braves stuff and I'll probably ask 60 questions per week. People will ask, 'Do you remember that question you asked last week?' I can't remember what I did the night before. If you have a lot of useless knowledge you are great in trivia. It's fun, the same type of crowd as far as reaching different people.
BB: What kind of music do you listen to, just driving in your car?
AP: I am pretty eclectic. It just spans. I have to be that way, too. If you are a DJ you have to not be just one style. I am listening to Kayne West, T-Pain, some rock and some groups like the Zoontons, different stuff like The Ting Tings, something poppy. I really couldn't say there is just one style that I listen to.
BB: Do G-Braves players show you new stuff with the songs they pick?
AP: Some of the Latin guys, there are some songs I am not going to know. I am pretty much going to know a lot of the songs. Or at least the group. Like Brooks Conrad likes Linkin Park so there may be a Linkin Park song I don't know.
BB: Do guys sometimes surprise you by the songs the choose?
AP: Yeah. Brian Barton has a Damien Marley song, "I'll Be There For You" is this reggae song. I picked "Big Things Poppin'" for him because I had no idea. It's very low-key. You'd thinking coming up to bat you are going to pick something that is upbeat. It's kind of funny that he is like, 'I am going to be calm and chill.'
BB: So you pick the guys' songs?
AP: Typically. If they don't like it I know. They'll come up to me and say this is the song they request. Like (earlier this week) Boone Logan knew he was coming in and he wanted Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name," so I downloaded it and had it ready for him.