A funny thing happens when you tell a professional athlete that you’re willing to interview him about whatever he wants. Without pressure to talk about a recurring and nagging knee injury, a recent bad play Chris Berman probably called him out on repeatedly, or some negative slant the media is currently overanalyzing, what happens is pretty awesome: they usually loosen up and show a really fun side; sometimes an unexpected one.
That’s what happened when I sat down with Owen Daniels, tight end for the Houston Texans. The 6-foot-3 Naperville, IL native who rocked an awesome dirty blonde side-part and dressed head-to-toe in Jordan was given the green light to talk about whatever his heart desired. His 7-year tenure with the Texans, his recent engagement to a gorgeous Houston attorney, what his chances of a second Pro Bowl are, any riffs on the team, etc, but Daniels chose to gush about his love for house music.
Coming from the charming former Wisconsin Badger, you can understand my shock, and ultimately my delight, at his choice of topic. As soon as Daniels uttered those two words, a schoolboy grin appeared on his face as he told me why house music was just “so good.”
Having lived in Miami for two years, I blame my recent findings of a wee-sized heart murmur on house music. One’s body is not meant to suffer the hardcore beats that finagle their way into your bloodstream and make your heart beat to a completely different drum.
“It’s not for everybody,” Daniels admits. “When people think of house music, they think of techno, but I don’t like techno and I’m not a fan of every artist.”
Speaking of techno vs. house music, this may be the first time in history that Urban Dictionary has supplied a somewhat accurate and non-snarky distinction:
Daft Punk – Around The World (HOUSE)
Dj Isaac – Go Insane (TECHNO)
I really just can’t stand it, I told Daniels.
“Yeah, I used to hate it too. I don’t know if it was a trip to Vegas or what happened, but something clicked and I started liking it,” he said. “There are different flavors of house. There’s really hard stuff like dub step or huge bass – I don’t love that stuff. I do love Kaskade – I’m a big fan of Kaskade and Swedish House Mafia,” he added.
In utter ignorance, I asked if Girl Talk was considered house music. To make matters worse, I then referred to Girl Talk as a she, whereas it’s a guy. Daniels corrected me informing me it was more of a “mashup,” where songs are mixed into other beats, most often house music.
“I like both sides of it – the lyrical and the ‘boom-boom’ as you call it. House music is good because you can listen to it in different moods. Kaskade is a more relaxing, happy music and Swedish House Mafia and Hardwell are a little more intense,” he said.
When I asked Daniels to describe house music to me in his own words, he replied, “Something that makes you want to move and put a smile on your face.”
Make you move? So that means you can dance? “I think I’ve got rhythm. All my friends love my dancing,” he laughed, leading us directly into talks of his endzone dances. A quick Google search of “Owen Daniels Endzone Dances” will leave you in stitches. Bloggers and analysts everywhere wonder what he’s actually doing. “They’re all premeditated and it’s always an inside joke between me and my brothers. We’re all really close and it cracks us up,” he said.
If you haven’t seen one of Daniels’ many variations of his endzone dance, where have you been? He’s been in the endzone more than any other receiver for the Texans (yes, twice as many as Andre Johnson, although only half as many as RB Arian Foster), and it seems he may not be as coordinated or “rhythmic” as he once thought. But then again, he’s clearly having fun and that’s really what matters, right? Well that and putting up big numbers to win football games.
In my last attempt to understand house music, I asked Daniels to use my beer analogy. I used to hate beer – they were all so bitter and hoppy, but I knew the rest of the world loved it so I started asking bartenders which beers were less hoppy and “more girly,” to break me in, if you will. I was directed to Sam Adams Cherry Wheat and then a few Belgium Pale Ales and before I knew it, I was hooked and now often prefer a good craft beer over wine. I asked Daniels to apply said booze analogy to house music asking how I too can learn to love it. “Start by listening to Kaskade,” he said. “There are words, so you can sing along if you want. I don’t see how someone wouldn’t like Kaskade. That’s a great place to start,” he added.
OD’s playlist: Kaskade, Hardwell, Swedish House Mafia and anything Kanye and Jay-Z related.
OD’s current favorite song: Angel On My Shoulder
Number of Times OD mentioned Kaskade during the interview: 16
Disclaimer: Owen Daniels does not wear glittery attire or dragon emblems, nor does he fist-pump while listening to house music. Not usually anyways.
Jayme Lamm is a freelance sports and travel writer based in Houston and is currently in a full-court press writing her hugely opinionated sports column, The Blonde Side. Follow her travels for sporting events and check her out on Twitter.