Michael Theodore Maurro Jr. was born in Brookyln, NY March 23, 1973 and despite being young when the Disco era started, one can for sure say he still grew up in it. As he explains himself about how he got biten by the Disco bug; "Being born in 73, I naturally missed out on all this music hitting the streets... that's my biggest regret... that I was born too late. I can only imagine the excitement that must have been in the air when some of these records broke out on radio and in the clubs.
I remember my dad had 'A Night At Studio 54' double mixed LP on Casablanca and they played it and that was the first time I got a taste of the Disco sound, in 1979/1980 I think. Then I naturally gravitated towards Dance music as I got older. But these days, as far as I am concerned, Dance music from early 70's thru mid 80's is all I can stand listening to."
So Disco runs in his veins.
[Discoguy]: How come you started DJ'ing? Was it something you wanted to do, or did it just "happen"?
"I used to tape the newest songs from the radio back in probably 1983/'84... the breakdance years. I remember waiting by the radio to tape songs like 'Jam On It' [Newcleus], 'Let The Music Play' [Shannon] etc. Then, by accident one night in '85/'86 I stumbled upon the Saturday Night Dance Party they used to play on Hot 103 in New York. 4 hours of non stop Dance music mixed by DJ's like Louie Vega, Scott Blackwell, Roman Ricardo, Glenn Friscia, Freddy Bastone and others. I was instantly obsessed with spinning records and started taping those every weekend. I was studying each DJ's style, running down to the local record store to find every song they played. They often played exclusive tracks off reel to reels, some of which I have just tracked down after all these years..."
So, when did you start DJ'ing yourself? Which was your first gig, how did you get it and how did it turn out?
"I officially started DJ'ing when I was probably 15 years old. I would go to gigs with an older guy who had a DJ business doing weddings, birthdays etc... So he would MC and I would spin. I believe it went smooth, we're talking almost 30 years ago so it's hard to remember. I remember people dancing so i guess it went well."
Dancing people is always good... Do you recall who was the first DJ you heard?
"First DJ I remember hearing was Louie Vega spinning on the air from club Hearthtrobs and the year might have been 85/86."
Did you have any DJ "mentor(s)" or someone who influenced you?
"Louie Vega, hands down, was my favorite DJ! I tried to mix like Louie, who probably had the smoothest transitions from one song to another. And some of those mid 80's Freestyle tracks were hard to mix over the over dubs and edits, but he was smooth as glass. I was also very into the editing skills of the Latin Rascals. But having every mix in my entire set on beat was an obsession of mine."
Could you name some of your personal favorite DJ's?
"Sure... As I said before Louie Vega. Jay Negron, who I first heard much later in life, is also a great programmer and mixer. Robbie Leslie, Tony Smith... umm... I know so many, I guess they all had an effect on me in some way."
Have you ever worked with something else - or has DJ'ing/remixing been your life?
"I worked different part-time jobs while I was going to high school and college. I have a degree in Accounting and I currently own a business with my Father and younger Brother, that's how I make my living. Making a living remixing and DJ'ing is a dream I always had, but given the state of the music business today it's pretty un-realistic for that to happen."
Which clubs have you played?
"I was mostly a mobile DJ and Radio Mixshow DJ. I have DJ'ed at the Harbor Club for a little bit, which was a tiny hole in the wall club in Queens.. I have spun a few times at local places mostly, like; Sly Fox Inn in Queens, Lemon Tree Lounge in Queens also. I've spun in a few topless bars too in Queens...
But I was never really into the whole being a Club DJ from 10-4am for $100 thing. I really wanted to do radio mix shows right from the start."
Would you say there was a different crowd in each of the clubs? I guess the topless bars had its own clientele, but were there songs that were floorfillers in one club that didn't work in another club?
Yes, some of them were 35 and older crowds who preferred Disco and Freestyle. The topless spots no one gave a shit about the music except the women dancing to it on stage. And then there were spots that want the same shit every week, which turns me off to a place quickly."
Can you name some special "anthems" for some of these clubs?
"Not really... Don't recall anything that was really an anthem in these places, but I DO remember playing 'Mandolay' [La Flavour] plenty of times at my mobile jobs though...Hahaha!"
Any comments or special memories from these clubs or any celeb's who used to frequent them?
"I was never a very social person, so being in the club was really just like a job to me. I met some nice people working in the Harbor Club who I unfortunately lost touch with over the years. But celebs, not many, although there were some who performed there..."
How did you land your first residency? Which Club was that?
"I never spun at one spot long enough to call it a residency, not because I wasn't asked to stay or work more. I just wasn't much of a club goer and I wasn't very social. I just love the music itself, that's why mix show and remixing is perfect for me. I can showcase what I can do without actually having to go out and socialize... Hahaha... But I did get my chance to spin at The Harbor Club when the resident called in sick, so my message to other DJ's is to get to work even if you are sick because there are a million geeks like me who will jump in your spot."
Can you tell which was your best gig ever?
"My favorite gigs I did were the homecoming and school dances in High School, just hanging with friends, having them all watching me spin. It was great! Also my first night spinning alone in a club was pretty memorable..."
Have you got any comments on how the DJ was regarded when you started and how it has changed during the years? Also, any comments on the techniques, equipment and stuff like that?
"When I started the DJ was the guy who played the music, in a booth, sometimes with the door closed so he could attend to his craft, not some asshole on a stage waving his arms up in the air and playing with knobs on these contraptions they spin with today. The equipment was the standard Technics 1200's a Urei or Bozak mixer, or sometimes a Rane MP-24, and that was it.
Today there is so much DJ gear I don't even know how people decide what to buy, maybe they pick the ones with the coolest light up buttons. I don't know. I have all but given up the DJ aspect of music, especially now that you have these celebrities becoming DJ's. 12 year olds DJ'ing with their iPads. Now every DJ you see has to have tattoos and look like an Abercrombie model. It basically disgusts me today."
Which music would you say is the easiest to mix?
"To beat mix? Definitely House music and Electronic Dance stuff of today. But Disco... I still don't think I'm technically great at it. Freestyle can be tricky too, but nothing is as hard as Disco!"
How would you describe your playing style? Any "trademarks" or any specific skills, special technics or...?
"I would always obsess on every mix being on beat. I would start a 90 minute tape all over again, 80 minutes into the mix because of a train wreck mix.
I had 'signature' mixes that all my friends would want to hear on my mix tapes. I used to have a wild setup with 3 Technics SL-1200 in my home DJ room and I used to use them for Freestyle mixes, using the dubs and acappellas to create different versions.
As far as I could tell I was one of the first DJ's to use a digital wave editor in a radio mix show when I started spinning for Joe Causi on WKTU in like 1997 when I was recording and editing on a laptop. I was also pretty handy with a reel to reel tape deck before that..."
Can you mention some of these 'signature' mixes you did?
"One was Joyce Sims - 'All And All', into Hanson & Davis - 'Hungry For Your Love', into Five Star - 'Cant Wait Another Minute'."
I think I can hear those mixes in my mind - cool! If playing today, what kind of music format do you use; vinyl, CD or sound files?
"I am strictly a sound file guy now, just for the ease of transport. Although I don't play out anymore. My buddy Louie Mangione got me into Serato. I had no choice... I showed up for a gig with him and there was no equipment in the DJ booth except for a laptop and USB controller. I saw that this was the future... so I jumped in..."
Do you know any of the DJ's of the Disco era?
"Hmm... I know a few who I have recently met via Facebook such as Jay Negron, Luis Mario, Louie Mangione, Bruce Forest, Victor Rosado, Jellybean.... From some of the stories I have heard from them I wish I was around back then to go on record runs looking for promos and stuff. They are all still very active in the DJ community."
Yes they really are... Which is nice to see!
Many Disco DJ's went into remixing as well - and that's really your specialty. What's fun to see is that you seems to have a special love in remixing classy Disco tunes, which by the way you do excellently... But all those tracks actually was released while you were still under 10 years old - what is is about them and Disco music that has got you hooked and wanting to give them new life?
"Whew... Remixing has been the reason I still am active in music. I had all but given up on spinning. I don't look at these records in terms of 'they were released when I was 10, 11, 12 etc', to me this music is timeless! The sound and feel of these records will never be duplicated with modern recordings, instruments etc. In a way I have accidentally stumbled upon remixing... I had a program on my computer, Ableton, which I was using to record my DJ sets. Someone mentioned that you could do multi tracking on there and I had no idea what they meant, so I did some research, found a couple of Stevie Wonder multi tracks on the net and started experimenting. Then I got some more multi tracks through a connection I had and - Boom... I was hooked! The biggest turn on to me was actually hearing the instruments separated.
Then I met Tom Moulton who helped me out more that anyone can imagine, teaching me what was technically and sonically correct... Without those lessons from him I don't think I would have come so far in so little time."
Yes, Tom is a great guy and what he doesn't know is not worth knowing... But how many remixes have you done 'till today?
"I think it's somewhere around 60-65 that I have officially finished... I have second versions, instrumentals and acappella versions I haven't given out to anyone."
Most of your remixes are credited to Mike Maurro, but you also use the alias DiscoPolice... Is there any difference in the works by Mike or the DiscoPolice? Also, have you got any other monikers?
"The Disco Police thing just started... Just to give some anonymity to some of the tracks I mixed that are floating around the web, but most are just 'Mike Maurro Mix'. I originally called my stuff MM Remix, but dropped that when I was informed that John Morales uses 'M&M Mix' for his projects."
How do you create and structure your remixes? Is there a difference in how you work if you have the multitrack or only the original version?
"I only remix with the full multi track, I don't do re-edits... I try to let the horns, strings and guitars shine a bit in my intro's, that's why I start a lot of my mixes without the drums. A lot of the orchestrations are magnificent and only by dropping the drums out do you really notice it.
When I remix I don't always remix with the DJ playing it or the dancers dancing to it in mind. I pretty much mix it the way I want to hear the song laid out. Sometimes I get feedback from DJ's asking to do this and that, but mostly I mix them the way I like them and hopefully more people will like them than not."
I know you'll have an upcoming album release with your remixes, please let me know a little more about it and what we can expect to hear...
"Well, the release is supposed to be coming out on Harmless Records in UK. Not sure when, or if it will ever happen at all. I have been very discouraged with the whole 'legit release' thing since it is impossible to get updates from the higher ups as far as the progress we are making in getting clearances and licensing... the licensing of the tracks is a killer. Major corporations like Universal, Sony & Warner Music are buying up all the music. Philadelphia International was just sold completely to Sony. Universal owns hundreds of smaller labels. So unless your project is gonna make some serious money, these companies just aren't into it. This is the reason people produce 'underground' remixes and vinyl. It has been about 3 years so far waiting on this project. I look at it this way... since the beginning of Disco/Dance music there have been bootleg mixes, so either you try and do it legit and wait for someone to pick it up and release it legit, or you just do it and put it out there yourself. I made my name so far by just doing them and putting 'em out there for the people to play and enjoy.
But if it does come out, there will be remixes of Ashford & Simpson, Evelyn King, NewBirth, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Johnny Hammond, Slave, Diana Ross, Willie Hutch, Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway plus a lot more..."
Wow, that sounds REALLY exciting. Finger crossed this release of yours will find its way to the stores.
In late October 2014 it's official that the triple CD (!!) will be released on Harmless in early 2015...
You're main thing has actually been being a Mixmaster for various radio shows. Can you tell me more about that and how you think when you create a mix set for radio...
"When I do radio shows all I do to come up with a set is I just think of jams that you remember from back in the day that don't get much airplay anymore... and also, when doing radio I like to mix and then do an over dubbing session dropping little samples and drops over the mix. I think a straight up Dj mix, 2 turntables and a mixer, 5 songs in a 25 min mix is boring on radio. I like to play the songs for like 2-3 min each and squeeze a lot into 22-25 min."
Which stations has used your mix sets?
"I have been on 103.5 WKTU, Mixx 102.7 in NYC, WCWP 88.1 and WCWP.COM on Long Island which is CW Post radio station. I have been on numerous internet radio shows, some I don't even remember the names of I am ashamed to say..."
CLICK to hear some Mike Maurro related songs;
One More Try
Ashford & Simpson
Ashford & Simpson
Tried, Tested And Found True
Ashford & Simpson
I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little Bit More
We're On Our Way Home
Young Hearts Run Free
I Know You, I Live You
Walk Away From Love
Evelyn "Champagne" King
Can't Wait Another Minute
Swearin' To God
I Want You For Myself
Hungry For Your Love
Hanson & Davis
Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
the Love I Lost
Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
My All And All
Los Conquistadores Chocolates
Jam On It
Darlin' Darlin' Baby
Hurt So Bad
Don't Make Me Wait Too Long
Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway
Let The Music Play
I'll Be Around
It's A Shame
Don't Leave Me This Way
That's Where The Happy People Go
Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart
Brother's Gonna Work It Out
Click to buy from
Spinners - I'll Be Around (Mike Maurro 10" Acetate Remix)
Harold Melvin & Blue Notes - The Love I Lost (Mike Maurro Lost In Philly Remix)
Blue Magic - Side Show (Mike Maurro Extended Magic Remix)
Harold Melvin & Blue Notes - Bad Luck (Mike Maurro Tribute To Sigma Remix)
Johnny Hammond - Los Conquistadores Chocolates (Mike Maurro Hot Chocolates Extended Remix)
Loleatta Holloway - Dreamin' (Mike Maurro Unreleased Test-Pressing 12" Remix)
Double Exposure - Ten Percent (Mike Maurro Mixed With Love Remix)
Candi Staton - Young Hearts Run Free (Mike Maurro 1976 12" Disco Remix)
Evelyn 'Champagne' King - Shame (Mike Maurro Shameful Peak-Hour Extended Remix)
New Birth - Deeper (Mike Maurro Deeper Down Extended Remix)
Trammps - The Night The Lights Went Out (Mike Maurro Summer Of 77 Remix)
Ashford & Simpson - Tried Tested & Found True (Mike Maurro Tried & Tested Extended Remix)
First Choice - Doctor Love (Mike Maurro Extended Love Remix)
Candi Staton - Victim (Mike Maurro Victimized Extended Remix)
Phreek - Weekend (Mike Maurro Peak Hour Garage Remix)
Dan Hartman - Vertigo/Relight My Fire (Mike Maurro Extended Fire Remix)
George Duke - I Want You For Myself (Mike Maurro Selfish Extended Remix)
Ashford & Simpson - Stay Free (Mike Maurro Tribute To Nick Ashford Groove Remix)
Change - Searching (Mike Maurro White Label Extended Remix)
Slave - Watching You (Mike Maurro Energy Flowin' Remix)
Imagination - Burnin' Up (Mike Maurro Burnin' Hot Reprise Remix)
What about Record Pools - Have you been part of any? Which and when (how long) were you part of them?
"I was a member of the New York Record Pool, which was located in Williamsburg Brooklyn till about 1998. By then I had plenty of connections to get new stuff and I was getting product direct from Atlantic, Arista, Tommy Boy, RCA, Warner, plus they always had the newest promos right on the walls in Vinylmania, Disc-o-rama, so paying pool dues to get 60% junk didn't make sense anymore. Most of the stuff I was playing was stuff that was popular, not many rare imports or anything like that. So I just went hunting a few times a week to get what I wanted. I was also a member of Masspool DJ Association for a few years getting cd's & digital music."
Which other DJ's was members of the same Record Pool, any one of them you are/were good friends with?
"There were a few local guys, mostly latin music DJ's. I did my pickups during the day when most of the other guys were working the 9-5 jobs, so I didn't hang much there. I did get along pretty well with the pool director, he would give me boxes of the extra 12's he had and I'd hustle them and make a few bucks."
Have you still got your DJ record collection? Or have you sold it off? What kind of music does it include?
"I do have a pretty huge vinyl collection, alot of it is the stuff I accumulated over the years while DJ'ing and it includes pretty much all the collectible and rare US promo 12" & 7" 45's from 1974 right through the late 90s when I stopped getting vinyl promos. The earlier stuff I have collected as a hobby over the years. Getting stuff from Disco DJ's collections, Discogs, Ebay, etc.
At one point I had probably 20,000 records about 5,000 in my apartment and the rest in my parents basement. I eventually went through those and weeded out the pool junk and stuff I didn't want anymore and kept just the stuff I like. I'm 'down' to about 7,000 12's & LP's at this point, plus about 5,000 7" 45's."
That's still quite a massive collection...
Since my web-page is mainly Disco oriented, could you name some of your favorite Disco songs? Like some kind of Top Ten or likewise...
|1-Harold Melvin||"The Love I Lost"|
|2-O'Jays||"Darlin Darlin Baby"|
|3-Ashford & Simpson||"One More Try" (the drums are killer)|
| 4-Side Effect||"Always There"|
|5-David Ruffin||"Walk Away From Love"|
|6-Frankie Valli||"Swearin' To God"|
|7-Brainstorm||"We're On Our Way Home"|
|8-Trammps||"Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart"|
|9-Barry White||"I'm Gonna Love You (Just A Little More)"|
|10-Philly Devotions||"Hurt So Bad"|
Which is/was your "essential track" - the one that you always brought to gigs?
"None specifically. I had no secret weapons. I just played what I liked to hear & what was popular and hoped the people would like it too."
If you would choose one Disco track that would describe you, which track would it be?
"Possibly 'Disco Circus' [by Martin Circus], my basement seems like a circus sometimes with all the gear, records and computers all over the place... Hahaha!"
Can you name one Disco track that define the essence of Disco to you?
"Well I would say, the track that defines the essence of disco would be probably something like; 'That's Where The Happy People Go' [the Trammps]. Basically anything mixed pre 1977 by Tom Moulton, with his signature mix style and sound... to me is THE Disco sound of the mid 70's...
Honestly there are very few tracks post 1978 that I actually like. Once Disco went commercial it was ruined..."
What kind of music do you personally prefer?
"Honestly, I listen to a lot of 70's music whether it's Ambrosia, Carole King, Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, Earth Wind &Fire, Queen...
I am a big fan of the 70's sound, whether it be Rock, Disco, Soul / R&B, Slow jams... they all had that analog tape feel and warmth, something that unfortunately has been lost in todays recordings. Everything today is loud and in your face - no depth, no warmth, no space... compressed and squashed. Total crap. I haven't listened to a new track in possibly 2 years... other than the couple I remixed of course."
Have you got any special memories as a DJ you wanna tell about? Or any other special memories?
"My best memories were the trips to Manhattan to hunt records and just spending time with my other record hunting buddies. That was what I remember. Sad to say the actual DJ'ing part was work to put money in my pockets and I treated them as jobs. I was never a big drinker or club goer, so the recognition I got from the radio shows was cool, getting the free promos in the mail was cool... but the best was definitely the vinyl hunting!"
With all your remixes of classic Disco tracks, have that got you in contact with any of the old Disco acts/divas/DJ's from the late 70's early 80's?
"Honestly, not really. I have met a few 70s DJ's & remixers through social media, but the artists don't really socialize in the group pages, I assume they don't like people remixing their work - which is understandable from an artist's point of view. But truth is, fans of this music crave different and new versions... In my eyes, my remixes are keeping their music alive and fresh...
The artist I am MOST impressed of today with is Nile Rodgers... This guy has an amazing resume, cancer survivor, out on the road touring and just living life... an amazing guy!
I have met a lot of remixers as well, Tom Moulton being the nicest one of the group."
Anything else you can think of that you wanna tell me about? All information is very welcome, some fun happenings....
"Thank you for the opportunity to be listed among the Disco greats you have on your site... I have been a fan of Disco-Disco for many years..."
Thank you Mike and keep up the great work with your remixes - Keep 'em coming!
Mike Maurro is the DiscoPolice!
Through his remixes he makes sure there's no parking on the dancefloor
and that the floor will keep moving.
You better keep your eyes (and ears) open for his remixes
as it's topnotch quality music.
Keep it up and THANK YOU...