As a DJ, Jeremy Roueche (pronounced roo-SHAY) is accustomed to hearing all kinds of requests.
He got a new one this week when a message was relayed to him to play better music at Los Angeles Lakers games so they’ll win more.
“Yes, it’s all me, I take full responsibility for their wins and losses,” Roueche said, tongue firmly in cheek. “He’s absolutely right. I have no doubt I’ll get some blame for losses.”
Roueche also spins tunes for the Pacific-12 Conference football and basketball championship events and is the president of Vala Entertainment. But for 17 years, he’s probably best known for keeping beaches thumping as the DJ for the AVP.
“I had just started DJ-ing full time, I started my company in 2002 and in the beginning of 2003 I ran into a former co-worker,” Roueche explained. “We were just catching up and she told me that somebody she knew needed a DJ for some volleyball thing and that volleyball thing turned out to be the AVP.”
“Some things about DJ’ing for the AVP that stand out to me are, it’s not even really the plays, it’s more like the interaction with the players off the court, on the court. I always found it amusing that Dax Holdren toward the end of his career would literally talk to me from the court into the DJ booth. Now it’s Ed Ratledge. Some players just need those things to get themselves going.”
And DJ Roueche, as he’s affectionately known, keeps them moving with an endless song list and well-coordinated timing during the course of play.
More than once at each tournament, he is thanked by players for pulling out some of their favorite songs to fire them up.
But Roueche is more than just a song-player. Vala Entertainment is self-described as professional music consulting, producing, editing and DJ company.
His other venture is being a creative force for The Suicide Doors, which blends electro, hip-hop and dance hall sounds with their added “spin,” so to speak, on the music.
How does Roueche keep his body and mind right with all of these ventures? He’s got that covered, too. His wife, Nicole, is a health coach (yes, Southern California is a rather advantageous locale for that market) so Jeremy’s diet likely doesn’t stray too far from ultra-nutritional.
Yet the music always beckons.
“We have a new single bump called ‘Happy Days,’ hopefully it will be coming out in about a month,” Roueche said. “People have probably heard it at a couple events, I don’t tell people it’s me, I just put it on and then a couple people will ask me ‘Oh what song is this?’ and that way I know it’s good. I’ll try some things out at AVP events for sure.”
He’s been so proficient at his craft he was invited to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, which is hard enough to qualify for as an athlete. But he meshed with the Brazilians immediately.
“I learned that if you played a halfway decent song in Brazil, the fans would dance. Didn’t matter what it was. That’s what I learned,” Roueche said. “You feel like you’re the greatest DJ alive when whatever song you put on, they’re going to dance to. You feel like you can do no wrong.”
“The sport of volleyball is so much different than anything else to attract that kind of attention and that kind of fun atmosphere. I was part of the Olympics. Whether I do another one or not, it was an amazing thing for me and I’ll never forget it.”
Just as he’ll never forget the incredible winning streak of Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May, seeing Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers develop into Olympic champions, or the countless epic matches he’s witnessed on the sand from coast to coast.
He is a constant in a sport that relies on consistency. In his era, he has worked with only two mainstay public-address announcers, Chris “Geeter” McGee and currently, Mark Schuermann.
“Geeter, everyone knows he’s a once-in-a-lifetime talent,” Roueche said. “I’ve never compared the two. Their styles are very different. Geeter had been around longer than before I started and he knew all the players and was very comfortable and it was my job to come in and make sure I connected with his style as opposed to forcing my own personal thoughts. He was already there so I had to conform to him and I’ve been fortunate to be around two great emcees in my AVP career. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
As you’re approaching the next AVP event (maybe in New York City this weekend?) the first thing you’ll sense is the music. This is where it comes from.