Sports

How a Boston band made ‘SportsCenter’

You might not know Northampton indie-pop band The Derevolutions’ super-groovy summer single “Yell It Out!” by name. But if you’ve seen ESPN’s massively-viral “SportsCenter” commercial — which features athletes like Russell Westbrook, Clayton Kershaw, Maria Sharapova, and Robert Griffin III making and reacting to “SportsCenter”-worthy plays while whistling the legendary show’s familiar “DaDaDa” — then you likely recognize the tune.

So how did the band score such a prime placement? Multi-instrumentalist and producer Brett Boucher, 26, is an ad man by day (he says if you’ve heard any radio jingles in Western Massachusetts that make you think that there’s something wrong with your radio, “they were probably mine”) and managed to get “Yell It Out!” in front of the brass at ESPN. The song has a sports vibe, thanks to coos and cheerleader “rahs” from vocalist Karina DaCosta, perhaps Boston’s most-cloned musician (28 Degrees Taurus, Slowdim, Bobb Trimble’s Flying Spiders, Bong Wish, among others). Turns out, her part in the song wasn’t that far of a stretch.

“I just time-traveled to when I was a junior high cheerleader,” DaCosta says.

ESPN loved it. No surprise, considering the sounds of The Derevolutions could be perhaps the sunniest and most uplifting to spring from the network’s offices in Bristol, Conn. But before it hit the air, ESPN paid for Boucher and DaCosta to remove uncleared samples.

“The original version had some vocals from instructional cheerleading videos I found on YouTube. I rewrote the lyrics to make my own cheer and Karina came over to record them,” Boucher says. For samples, he says he often relies on the video service. “There is a great wealth of unknown music that 70-year-old record nerds upload to YouTube that I mine.”

The commercial debuted on Sept. 20 to quiet fanfare, but since has exploded on the Internet, garnering over two million views on YouTube and counting. Just hearing the song featuring her voice on TV amazed DaCosta.

“That whole first week felt so surreal,” she says. “I know how many people watch ‘SportsCenter,’ so it blew my mind.”

Not bad for the man behind The Derevolutions, who says he never really thought that his music would connect with more than a chosen few.

“I’d always considered myself some rogue outsider musician until one of the largest media properties in the US decided to brand their iconic ‘SportsCenter’ with the sounds of my soul,” he jokes. “I was shocked at how awesome [the commercial] was because [ESPN] didn’t let me see it beforehand.”

So why does Boucher think ESPN picked the song in the first place?

“It’s got great energy,” he says. “And Sharapova looks great ‘DaDaDa-ing’ to it.”