DJ Steve Porter still shining after Moss mashup


DJ Steve Porter still shining after Moss mashup

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
HOLYOKE - Shaq peers over Steve Porters left shoulder and motionlessly awaits his mashup.

The Big Retirees retirement press conference and the kid contestants in last months Scripps National Spelling Bee are perfect fodder for Porter. The smirking words of the basketball leviathan and the wide-eyed nerdiness of the pre-pubescent spelling savants will be smushed on top of each other and set to music.

The result will cause the corners of more than a million mouths to curl north.

But for now, Shaq hangs on the computer screen in Porters cave. Porter better known as DJ Steve Porter is hearing first-person feedback. And hes flattered to learn that at least in the Curran house he is revered. His One Clap mashup of Randy Moss is the modern-day equivalent of the 70s TV jingles I grew up with; the ones you can start singing and know someone else will join in to finish.

I say Moss this, Moss that one of my boys will answer Mossthis, Mossthat from another room. I say, I dont shine shoes . . . I know Ill hear, I dont tape ankles, I dont cut checks . . . Straight cash, Homey.

The scene makes the angular 32-year-old grin, rock back in his chair and turn his palms up as if to say, I had no idea!

Im always in the cave, Porter says, referring to the 25x15 studio nestled in a red brick warehouse in this proud, working-class city on the banks of the Connecticut River in Western, Massachusetts. Im always here just grinding away on stuff, so hearing those stories is amazing to know people are moved while listening to this stuff. Im either here, traveling or working with clients directly so its rare that I get out and touch anything outside the fishbowl.

The uploads on Porters YouTube channel have been viewed more than 25,663,000 times. The Slap Chop remix, Press Hop (1 and 2), Charlie Sheens Winning (and more!!), Blake Griffin.

Strewn across the Internet landscape are millions more views of Porter creations. Once an underground DJ spinning techno and dance in clubs from Boston to Ireland, Porter is now very much above-the-surface. Shaq and the spelling bee kids are going to be part of a monthly mashup he does for ESPN. He did the house ads for the NBA during the 2010 playoffs. Youll soon be seeing his latest creation for Wheaties featuring Kevin Garnett and Peyton Manning. Theres a Hyundai commercial, a Puma account featuring Usain Bolt, a gig DJing at Comic Con, a date to DJ in and out of breaks for ESPNs Sports Nation and mashups for NBCs Community.

Porters company, Porterhouse Media, is blossoming and his marketing directormedia specialistspokesperson Bethany Daley is straight out trying to manage Porters schedule.

Despite proof of his success, Porter is endearingly self-conscious about the fact people really, really like his stuff.

I have no way of fathoming (the number of people whove watched his work) and thats probably a good thing, he professes. Its just reassuring that people are checking out the videos. Its impossible to get your head around the numbers. But multiple elements make it go viral.

The son of two UMass professors his father Roger started the Polymer Science Program at UMass, his mother is currently the ombudsperson at the university Porter started on this road when he was at Willison-Northampton, a prep school in Easthampton. He joined the DJ club there. It became his passion and he was a prodigy. Spinning at raves in Boston and New York led to gigs in Europe.

For about 10 years he was immersed. His crossover began with, of all things, the Slap Chop. Noodling at his computer one night, he mashed up Vince Offers infomercial and uploaded it to YouTube. Within hours, it had gone viral. Its been viewed more than 12 million times. Before long, Porter a diehard sports fan - was sampling from press conferences and working his magic there.

Now his world is mashed up between underground DJ and burgeoning business titan as companies come to him to help themselves get edgy and go viral.

The transition wasnt easy.

It took me a long time to get to this point as an artist, he explains. When I first started making music and creating things I was doing it a lot more for myself because I wanted to see what I could do. Now, Ive reached a point with becoming more confident with my skill set. And when I became more confident, I became more comfortable working with other people and letting people into my world.

Its a personal world when you make something and then invite people in to look at it, he adds. It takes some strength and courage. And it wasnt until I reached a level of maturity that I could allow that. And now its what I want. Let me know if were going in the right direction.

The most daunting account so far?

Definitely working with the NBA, he says. Theyre very image conscious and rightfully so and I did my very best to honor their consciousness of their own image with the playoff ads. Thats something I really enjoy doing, drawing within the lines. If you tell me you want to go this direction, thats the most fun part of doing these videos is to draw within those lines.

"To make something that (the customer) will love but is still dynamic and fun. With the NBA it was a great challenge because youre upholding their tradition and image. But thats how you make awesome things, with cooperation. Thats a difficult thing for an artist to get through and get over is to allow other people to critique their work.

How has the underground DJ community reacted to his success? He says hes heard sellout accusations.

I did nothing but keep it real for 10 years, he explains. I think the only thing keeping me from being completely massacred is that Im doing something new and fresh and people offer me respect for that in that Im treading new ground. If I started making completely cheesy commercial pop music, theyd say, Steve, whats up? but I havent. Still, there will always be people out there who are critical and as the notoriety has come theres been that kind of criticism. People have said some really mean stuff.

The reason that criticism doesnt really stand is that Porter is creating something he likes that he hopes others like too. The fact a broad audience enjoys it is not his fault.

Porter is most proud of his work for the NBA. But his favorite mashup may be the Moss one, released last fall when the mercurial wideout returned to the Vikings.

The amount of amazing content was already there, he points out. To make a solid beat and solid track around that was easy compared to the content that was there in the first place. You cant get that from every athlete. What he was saying was gold. There was a comedic value but a catchiness to it as well. Theres a little comedy, impact-full moments. You can combine different elements to them and tint it with some cinematic tones with the highlights then go to the personality stuff.

With the Moss video, that wasa perfect storm, he recalls. The soundbites were great, the track came out well and he was on the tip of everyones tongue. Everyone was already all over the guy. We had planned to do the Moss video a month before everything went down and then it exploded. Thats viral in a nutshell. You have to have a perfect storm where everyone is already talking about it and then something kicks it even harder.

Porter is in the eye of the perfect storm now. A modern-day alchemist in a Holyoke warehouse.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Felger: Broncos’ Elway and Kubiak the only NFL braintrust close to the Patriots


Felger: Broncos’ Elway and Kubiak the only NFL braintrust close to the Patriots

Before I make the following point, I'd like to make one thing clear to my sensitive readers: I do not believe the Denver Broncos are better than Patriots. I do not believe they have “passed'' the Pats. Please, Patriots fans, when New England goes into Denver and wins on Dec. 18 and/or the Pats beat them again in the playoffs, save your emails and calls. Don't get your panties in a bunch. You're still the best.

However, as we assess the pathetic state of brainpower across the NFL, the Broncos are one of only a few teams that deserve mention alongside the Pats. Perhaps they're the only one.  As their recent handling of their quarterback situation shows, especially from a coaching standpoint, Gary Kubiak and John Elway have proven they know what they're doing -- and how many teams in the league can you say that about?

In Denver, Brock Osweiler actually looked like a quarterback with a future. In Houston, he barely looks like he belongs in the league. That's about coaching, scheme and culture. It seems that somewhere between the silly letterman jackets in Houston and his second crack in Denver, Kubiak got a clue. Last year, he managed Osweiler to a 5-2 record before sitting him and somehow winning a Super Bowl behind the noodle-armed Peyton Manning. This year, he has another marginal talent, Trevor Siemian, off to a 5-1 start in his first season under center.

There are many NFL coaches who didn't hit their stride until their second job, and you have to wonder if Kubiak falls in this camp. I actually saw him put down his playsheet with his offense on the field the other night and thought, maybe he's starting to get it. He looked more like a head coach and just a little less like an offensive coordinator. 

Either way, Kubiak has displayed an excellent touch with a string of mediocre quarterbacks. And from the original decision to shut down Manning, to the insertion of Osweiler, to the reinstatement of Manning, and then the ultimate handing of the job to Siemian, he and Elway have pushed all the right buttons. If Paxton Lynch turns into a player down the road, look out.

Of course, Kubiak hasn't had much to do with his defense, which has been the domain of Elway, the architect, and to a lesser extent, Wade Phillips, the coordinator. Elway remains one of the few executives to build a championship team largely through free agency, and some of his moves have been so cold-hearted, so debated at the time, that only Bill Belichick could relate.

Who else fires a coach who led you to four division titles and a Super Bowl berth (John Fox), and then follows that up with a title? Who else lets go of BOTH quarterbacks who led you to a title and follows that up with a division lead?

It's moves like those that led ESPN to display a stat montage late in the game on Monday depicting Elway as ``the Don.'' (Wonder where they got that idea from?). Think about it.  Who else in the league -- what coach, executive or owner -- gets that kind of ``mastermind'' treatment? I don't think anyone else deserves it other than Belichick and, in second place, Elway. Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore would be a distant third; or perhaps Pete Carroll and John Schneider in Seattle deserve mention.

Regardless, as the ESPN graphic showed, the Broncos' record since Elway took over in 2011 is now 63-24, second in the league over that time only to the Pats (67-20). Denver is also one of just four teams to make the playoffs every year during his tenure (the Packers, Pats and Bengals are the others). Like the Pats and Seahawks, he's been to two Super Bowls and won one. And like the Pats, he has won his division five straight years.  

Perhaps that all comes to an end this year, and it sure looks like Denver will be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to earning home field over the Pats come December. But for now, in a league where there are no equals to Belichick, it's almost refreshing (to me, anyway) to consider someone who at least belongs in the conversation. 

Email Felger at Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN New England.


Belichick: A lot of teams around the league are 'kind of reluctant to trade'


Belichick: A lot of teams around the league are 'kind of reluctant to trade'

FOXBORO -- It's not easy to pull off trades in the NFL around the deadline. Just look at how many are completed in the final days leading up to the deadline every year. Yet the Patriots have worked two already, and they have until Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. to execute another.

One of the trades they pushed through earlier this week saw them send a sixth-round pick to the Lions in exchange for a seventh-rounder and linebacker Kyle Van Noy. What helped that deal cross the finish line was the relationship between the front offices in Detroit and New England. 

Lions general manager Bob Quinn spent the majority of his professional career working for the Patriots under Bill Belichick, serving most recently as Belichick's director of pro scouting until being named to his current position in Detroit. 

Belichick acknowledged on Wednesday that there are times when having a long-standing relationship with someone can help a trade get done.

"I mean it could, yeah," Belichick said. "I mean, you know, there are a lot of teams that don’t . . . they seem kind of reluctant to trade -- this time of year, especially. But it’s one of those things that came up fairly quickly and just worked out. It wasn’t something we had talked about or anything like that previously. As I said, it kind of came up so we were able to work it out.

"Look, Bob's great to work with. But we made another trade with another team in our conference so if it’s there to be made, it’s there to be made. If it’s not, it’s not."

That other trade saw the Patriots send tight end AJ Derby to AFC rival Denver in exchange for a fifth-round pick. 

Belichick doesn't seem to care much about who he's trading with -- "We’re trying to make our team better," he said, "that’s what we’re trying to do" -- but because of the league's reluctance to deal, it seems that if the Patriots are looking for help at tight end, along their offensive line, or at pass-rusher, they may be more likely to find it by calling old friends in Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Houston or Atlanta, where former Belichick proteges are now employed.