Olympic Snowboarders Groove To DJ Naka G

It's hard to tell on TV, but in person, the Olympics are loud.

Every competition has its own DJ, and for the snowboarding, Russia has brought in a little help from the USA: Mike Nakagawa, better known as DJ Naka G.

The men's snowboarding team is hitting the halfpipe Tuesday in Sochi, and it's Naka G's job to pick the song for each rider.

"We're really providing the soundtrack for a story," he says. "We're making it dramatic. We're making it exciting. We're making it just pure fun."

Who pumps up the crowd as Shaun White throws down in Sochi? DJ Naka G. i i

hide captionWho pumps up the crowd as Shaun White throws down in Sochi? DJ Naka G.

Sergei Grits/AP
Who pumps up the crowd as Shaun White throws down in Sochi? DJ Naka G.

Who pumps up the crowd as Shaun White throws down in Sochi? DJ Naka G.

Sergei Grits/AP

Naka G used to play the clubs in Aspen, Colo., and then he got tapped for the X Games. He discovered a network of producers, directors and DJs who travel the world working these extreme skiing events.

"Since the Olympics has kinda taken on action sports like skier/boarder cross, ski slopestyle, snowboard slopestyle and pipe, I've kind of come along with it as well," he says.

The Olympics are strict, though. Naka G was given a hard drive with 5,000 Olympic-approved songs, most of them without lyrics so the music feels international.

Before each competitor's event, Naka G talks with the athletes to see what they want. To halfpipe skier Maddie Bowman, that makes a difference.

"I love when it plays in the background," she says. "Keeps the vibe light. Keeps the crowd excited, which keeps you excited."

So what's Bowman's soundtrack? "Night Crawler" by Judas Priest, "G-Code" by the Geto Boys and "Run to the Hills" by Iron Maiden.

Like any DJ, no matter your venue, you have to read the crowd, Naka G says. When it's cold and miserable, pump it up. When there's a crash, keep it mellow. And sometimes, you can send a message to the crowd.

This is where snowboarder Shaun White comes in.

DJ Naka G was planning to go with some harder rock, such as a little AC/DC for White's early runs today on halfpipe. Later, when White hits the big air way up high, the DJ will kick in with The Black Keys' "Lonely Boy."

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: