DJ Mr. Mauricio has been shaking up the scene since he first hit the decks at Liquid nightclub way back when. We recently caught up with the Miami veteran to discuss his unexpected start, his years on the airwaves, and playing with Outkast.
What has been the best part of being with the SKAM family?
The fact is that SKAM is the leader in DJ management, period. Sujit Kundu (SKAM founder) and I always say, "We are the Yankees of this game.” I say this coming from other management situations prior. Sujit runs SKAM like a family, and we are all friends. There’s no fuss and fighting about work, we all work and we all eat. Plus, Sujit is one of my closest friends so to me it’s definitely not a "work" thing! I see it as “my boy runs his company and gets me paper at same time”! It’s a win/win in my eyes.
How did you get your start in Miami?
Well, I started DJ-ing when I was 9, but didn't get my first big break until I was 17 working the door at the infamous Liquid nightclub. You can say it was all by coincidence or fate. My friend and the biggest hip hop DJ in Miami at the time, DJ Radamas, was sick and they didn't have anyone to fill in for him at the last minute. Chris Paciello, the owner, knew I DJ-ed and just told me, “Hey you're spinning”. No, he didn't ask. So I went in there and played with DJ Radamas' records. Long story short, I played so well that night I became the resident on Fridays at Liquid. Playing there [at Liquid] opened the doors for every new club to want me to play for them. Thirteen years later, I have played every major club including Lua, Crobar, Opium Garden, Privé, Mansion, and Cameo.
What do you love most about living and working in Miami? What has been your favorite gig of all time?
Miami is paradise - everyone loves to come down here to vacation and party. I got blessed enough to be born, live and work here. In the last 15 years Miami has changed so much. There used to be a huge fashion scene, but in the last 5 to 8 years Miami has become more of an urban playground where hip hop reigns supreme. My favorite gigs aren’t anything special, overall just DJ-ing in Miami Beach in the late 90’s. [It was] such a different scene, that was so incredible and made me appreciate it more years afterwards.
Your radio shows have been huge hits. How do you feel about working on the radio?
Radio has been great for me in Miami. I did radio for like 8 years. I started off by doing a small mix on Y-100 during the Michael Yo show, and a year later Clear Channel started 103.5 The Beat, and I was their first mixer. My 5 o'clock mix show "The Beatdown" became No. 1 rated after a year. Slowly “The Beat” started to impact Miami. I eventually left “The Beat” when the station started to switch formats and I ended up working with one of my mentors. I moved to Power 96 to do the morning rush hour mix on "The DJ Laz Show". That was a great experience, too, but with time my travel and club schedule got too much for me to do steady radio. Radio has been great to me and you never know when I will hit your airwaves again.
Who have been some of your favorite celebrities to spin for?
Hmm, I have done parties and events for just about everyone, from Madonna to the cast of The Hills. You can fill in that big gap - I don’t have a favorite celebrity, but one [memory] that always sticks out was getting to DJ with Outkast at a show in Miami.
Where do you see the future of your career heading?
My future? I mean, who knows? If you told me I’d be DJ-ing from a laptop without records 8 years ago, I would have laughed in your face. Who knows where I’ll be? I love to DJ for people. That’s what has kept me DJ-ing for so long. The money is always a good thing, but nothing gets me higher then controlling a mass of people to what I play. I’m working with my artist Cheyenne, from Australia, she’s going to be huge. Plus I’ll be coming to a city and club near you.
Follow Mr. Mauricio on Twitter @mrmauricio and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mrmauricio