Heffernan balances his life as DJ Liam with coaching
March 8, 2014
Liam Heffernan is a man with many skills.
Since 2010, the German-born, England-raised Parkite has been heard on KPCW and called Park City High School sports for KPCW.
He loves soccer and not only coached youth teams in Park City for the past 11 years, but is also a FIFA World Cup correspondent and a coach for the Utah Youth Soccer Association.
In fact, his UYSA team finished first in the Metro Division this past season.
Heffernan also has an artistic side.
He loves music and has made a name for himself as DJ Liam, the musical director for a series of shows and parties for New York Fashion Week.
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During the past eight years, Heffernan has been the local DJ who has spun tunes at the Sundance Film Festival’s Bing Lounge and other private parties including weddings and bar mitzvahs.
Some artists he has worked with include Macy Gray, Paul Oakenfold, Questlove from The Roots, Biz Markie, LCD Soundsystem, Calvin Harris, BT and Eric Prydz.
He has played in Park City at the Montage, Waldorf Astoria, Hyatt Escala, High West Distillery, Silver, Park City Live, Cisero’s, the Sidecar and other private events including a rally for Park City Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Ski Team Alumni Party.
These days, Heffernan has a regular gig as a DJ at Rock and Reilly’s every Friday and Saturday night. He’ll also be providing the beats for the Park City Polar Plunge, a fundraiser for the Special Olympics Utah, at the PC MARC on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., he will be at Epic, 268 Main St., later that evening.
"Being a DJ is a fun pastime, but I didn’t realize how much I loved music until I attended college," Heffernan said during an interview with The Park Record. "Being brought up in England, I was so addicted to soccer and music ran as an undercurrent to that."
Heffernan does remember one day when he and his brother first heard Michael Jackson’s "Bad."
"We were sitting in the living room and my mother had just bought the album," he said. "She slides over and puts it on, and you have never seen two little white boys suddenly dance around the room like we did."
When Heffernan came to the United States to play soccer in New York, he had been raised on a diet of the U.K.’s indie music such as Blur and Stone Roses and the whole Manchester Scene from the 1989-1990.
"I also listened to what my cousin was listening to at the time like Depeche Mode, OMD and New Order," he said. "I didn’t have the best knowledge of British classic rock ‘n’ roll. I would get harassed about not knowing Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin.
"My friends would say things like, ‘What do you mean you don’t know them? You’re English!’" Heffernan said smiling. "So I got my education in all the classics and spent most of my disposable income on CDs to catch up."
Electronic music came into his life in the 1990s.
"I found it on my own," Heffernan said. "I remember that I listened to Daft Punk’s first album in my room by myself as a freshman."
Those beats stuck with him when he moved to San Francisco in 1999 to play soccer.
"I developed a love of house music," he said. "There were artists such as Basement Jaxx, the End Up and people playing bongos on the side of the dance floor."
Eight months later, Heffernan found himself in Park City and, in 2005, began his new life as a DJ.
"I remember 10 years ago, there were probably five to 10 DJs in town," he said. "There are now 30 to 40, which I really appreciate."
Since he performs at different types of events, Heffernan has cultivated an eclectic collection of music.
"I found you can never have the greatest hold on your classic-rock collection," he said. "One day it’s Pink Floyd, the next it’s the Doors and then the Doobie Brothers."
Still, a DJ has to have the scope to bring in some new remixes and indie rock, Heffernan said.
"Right now, I have more than 2 ½ days worth of songs in my catalog, and I have set playlists for certain occasions," he said.
The reason why Heffernan DJs is simple.
"I love music and thoroughly love making people dance," he said. "That old quote that says ‘dance like no one is looking’ is true. When a person begins to dance because of what I play, it’s a joyful moment because they’ve lost their inhibitions, and to be able to produce that feeling in someone is a wonderful thing. "
That realization came to Heffernan during one Sundance Film Festival gig at the Bing Lounge.
"It was a film party and Colin Farrell and Alan Rickman, these great Irish actors, were there," Heffernan said. "I’m playing what I had, which was my limited stash of house music at the time, and I see over on the side of the stage a woman who looks like Debbie Harry of Blondie.
"Somehow, towards the end of the set, I find Eddy Grant’s ‘Electric Avenue’ and put it on and this slender Debbie Harry look-alike stands up and begins to sing the words and dance," Heffernan said. "I learned that there are certain people in the crowd that I take as a personal challenge to get them grooving and moving."
One drawback to being a DJ is sifting through a bunch of throwaway music to find the gems.
"I think it’s also important to get them out dancing, without sacrificing your musical integrity," Heffernan said. "Electronic music is coming to the forefront of culture, but there is a lot of awful stuff out there where major recording artists are basically stealing song melodies and beats.
"So I do a little profiling in the most polite way and look at people and try to think about what would get them on the dance floor," he said. "I feel the music is the soundtrack to people’s lives and if I can bring a little joy to someone by playing their favorites, it’s great night for them and for me. Sometimes winging it is a lot of fun."
Although Heffernan has immersed himself in being a DJ, he still balances his night job with his love of sports and has come up with a concept that mixes the best of both worlds.
"If I could be a DJ at soccer games Yankee Stadium someday, my life would be complete," he said with a sly grin.
Liam Heffernan, also known as DJ Liam, will appear at Rock and Reilly’s, 427 Main St., Friday and Saturday nights, and at Epic, 268 Main St., on Thursday, March 13. For more information, visit liamheffernan.wordpress.com.