Steve is a 20+ year veteran of radio & DJing. He started his professional career spinning in Army clubs before he came home to Chicago in 1991. He joined WGCI alongside Mike Dunn in 1993 & quickly became the go-to guy for Club 107.5, Hot Lunch Mixes & Old School Mini-Mixes. His work has been requisitioned by Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley, Tom Joyner & Doug Banks. He is also syndicated through SuperRadio with 30+ stations airing his Old School mixes.
Steve is currently mixing Monday through Friday on Soul 106.3 at 6PM. He is also the owner of MMP Records, an independent imprint that specializes in quality House & Stepper’s music. He also remains as active playing House in various clubs in Chicago. Check out Steve’s exclusive Q&A with S&S below.
S&S: What’s your style of music? How do you describe it?
SMM: I do so many styles. I get bored really quick so I like to go all over the yard when I make or spin music. But I do a lot of House & Steppers because I am a fan of dancers.
S&S: Who or what was most instrumental to you when it came to music?
SMM: 2 parts to this question. A) My parents. They both had a large range in different genres so I know I got it through osmosis. Vinyl was the first thing I gravitated to as a baby. You know how strong babies are? Could you imagine your baby boy scratching up your vinyl with his fingers? Yet every time he beat my butt, I would go right back & do the same thing. My parents put me in musical lessons to learn guitar & piano. Bass & drums I picked up listening to Prince’s “1999”. And of course my dad was the family DJ so I was automatically his apprentice. B) Ralphie Rosario was the first person I heard blending two records together. I was already a radio head but after that I stopped buying comics & got my vinyl collection in order.
S&S: What drives you creatively?
SMM: Different things drive me to create. It can be anything. Sounds from outside, complete silence, a conversation, any noise drives me. Especially when I play something unreleased for a friend & they like it, that drives me to create more. When I pass a DJ a new joint & they play it live or on their radio shows, that’s definitely a drive to go back in the lab.
S&S: How much does your audience influence you and your music selection?
SMM: I would say 50/50. Most times I pick songs from the ether and the energy of the crowd. Sometimes the energy is already there & I just guide it between classics & new stuff. Sometimes they wait on me to bring it. I try to keep my ego out of it & just let it happen.
S&S: What artists or genres do you listen to when you’re not working?
SMM: Man, right now, I’m listening to a new friend I’ve made recently named Makaya McCraven. I guess you could call it jazz. His album is called “In The Moment”. Basically, he took 3 or 4 years of live recordings he did with a couple of virtuosos & edited, looped & spliced it to what is is today. Brilliant!!!! I like to listen to things out of the box to see what I could do differently on my own projects.
S&S: Do you have any favorite memories of growing up with your family?
SMM: The best memories for me when my grandmother was alive. She kept the family glued together through our family get togethers at her house. I was always amazed how she was able to fit 30-40 people in this 1 bedroom apartment, little kitchen, little bathroom & the living room. This was also where I learned crowd control from my Dad, & he only had 1 turntable!!!!! But he ran so many cuts back-to-back, he would wear you down!
S&S: Is there anything you would like people to know about you?
SMM: I would want people to know that I’m really a nice guy, a little aloof sometimes so don’t think I’m being arrogant and that my life & everything surrounding me is art so my outlook is a little different than most.
S&S: Are there any charities you are working with or excited to tell us about?
SMM: I really don’t have any charities at the moment but I teach in the hood(123rd & Normal) where they need it the most. I just started teaching beat production this past September for grades 2nd through 8th. It was a little challenging but some of the kids took to it like fish to water, others it took them a minute to overcome their fear but they started to get the hang of it. I think the thing for them was they told their parents I was teaching them & I’m sure they had heard of me so it kinda legitimizes what I was teaching to them. I will be teaching DJing for a special summer class as well.
S&S: Are there any questions that you wish people would ask you?
SMM: Nah, not really. They can ask me anything musically.
S&S: And on the flip side of that, are there any questions or references you wish people would stop asking or using?
SMM: You know, I try not to get into what other people say, ask or what they use because I’m not them!! Everybody is different. Everybody rows their boat at a different speed & it would arrogant of me to ask them not to do or say something because my opinion is different.
S&S: What artist(s) have you been the most excited to work with?
SMM: I have worked with/for Janet Jackson, George Clinton, Faith Evans, Tyrese, Erick Sermon, Joe Smooth, Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley, Mike Dunn and a lot of others & I’m actually excited to work with them all.
S&S: Are there any artists that you dream of working with on a collaboration?
SMM: You know, any artist that is worth their salt & will make it about the music, not the artist him/herself. At the end of the day we are all people & I like to get to know the person before we do the music.
S&S: What can we look forward to next from you?
SMM: I have an EP coming out on my label, MMP Records. It’s called “The Adventures Of The Magic Soundbender”. It’s a deep house EP. I had come up with the term ‘soundbender’ after noticing an large influx of DJs over the past 5-10 years. Some are good & some not so good. So I felt the need to separate the difference between the two. Not many people are or can be soundbenders. I am dropping an EP from Detroit DJ/Producer Tink Thomas, his will be Jackin’ House. I am also in the studio with my wife, Lady Laronda, working on her follow-up single. Hers will be Soulful House (See what I mean?)
S&S: What legacy would you like to leave?
SMM: Great work in whatever field I’m in. Whether it’s a record, DJing, onstage performance or even conducting a symphony, I want to make my mark so my great-great-grandchildren will say to their peers, “My great-great grandpa was Steve Miggedy Maestro & he was THAT DUDE!!!”
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