With DJ equipment readily available a click away and easy streaming online, it's not uncommon to see a bunch of wannabe DJs heading up the scene. But Luis Mario is a pioneer disc jockey with more than 44 years of experience under his belt.
He's also the founder of the Legends of Vinyl, which he describes as "a national institution providing global leadership in education, recognition, and celebration of excellence in the art of creative spinning of record vinyl."
Of those involved in the org, he says, "We are the originators, the springboards, of the art of spinning record vinyl that has laid the foundation and has paved the way for the latest and currently changing dance music avenues of today."
Though you might have been lucky enough to have caught him spinning house sets in 1984, this weekend, he'll be playing disco favorites at Fort Lauderdale's newest dance studio, FaMa. We got the chance to chat with the man behind the turntables.
New Times:You've been a DJ for over 44 years. That's a long time.
Luis Mario: As I always say, I think I'm one of the fortunate people who selected my professional career while still in high school, and not once have I regretted selecting my profession to this date.
Being part of this industry from its inception, I can honestly say that I'm in a unique place to have achieved the status of a pioneer and legendary DJ that has paid his dues and continues to strive for greatness at 62 years old, and to be in the LOV Hall of Fame at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
What is the most valuable lesson you learned over those years?
Never give up. I chose to be a DJ as a profession, not just as a hobby. There have been good times and bad times and those "no job" times in between times. I have a passion for music, and it shows when I deliver a performance. People get my energy as I get theirs.
And always remember a very important saying: You better be nice to people on the way up, because you gonna meet the same people on the way down.
What advice would you give to young, up-and-coming DJs?
If you have this passion of becoming a professional DJ, please learn the history of our industry and the heroes that have paved the way for you today. It is important to know your past in order to know where you are going. That's why I founded the Legends of Vinyl.
Describe your style.
As an old-school DJ, all forms of music are attractive to me. Growing up absorbing so many different genres of music, I have learned to adapt accordingly. I can range from the '50s to today's charts without missing a beat. Each legendary and pioneer DJ are like Rembrandts. I have a unique style; my audience is the canvas, and music is the brush.
You used to spin house music.
As far as growing up spinning house, yes, I am one of the originators of the art of spinning record vinyl that laid the foundation and paved the way for the latest and currently changing dance music avenues of today -- from the birth of house music in the early '70s as an underground cult that only club DJs would play to the audience. I'm actively touring and continue to play for a variety of audiences that are starving for the nostalgia of the '70s, '80s, and the latest in house music.
What are your favorite genres to mix?
I would be lying if I told you that I have a preference to a particular genre of music. I love music, any kind of music, sweet, sweet music! I'm a professional DJ to the full extent of the word.
Tell me what you're looking forward to the most about the FaMa event this weekend.
I'm looking forward to our third Saturday each month, '70s and '80s Classic Night at FaMa. I am delighted that I have teamed up with two iconic dancers such as Billy Fajardo and Katie Marlow. They have built a fabulous dance studio with a gorgeous professional dance floor. My partner, another legendary and pioneer DJ, Jimmy Yu, and I will engage the audience with a diverse and unique selection of dance music. This in turn will make for dancing your ass off.
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