“DJ Mondo: The DJ You All Want to See on the 1’s and 2’s”
DJ Mondo has honed his unique blends and applied the signature Chicago stamp on his style, not to mention utilizing his charismatic personality that’s carried him throughout his years as a DJ. Mondo stands amongst a rare group of individuals in the music industry, being that he is one of the few nationally syndicated DJs as a member of the Super Radio Network. Here I was taking time out of my day to promote the career of one of the hottest mix show DJ’s alive and his name is DJ Mondo! What took place was a candid interview with Mondo as he discussed his roots and inspirations, his perspective on the music and entertainment industry and future projects to give you an idea. Get to know the man behind the turntables and what’s made DJ Mondo the man he’s become.
Take us back to when you were younger and tell the people where you grew up and what classics you heard that turned you on to music.
I have to go back to the late 70’s and early 80’s. I was raised in Chicago during the era when House music was really popular. I learned how to DJ from listening to the DJs on the radio and I paid attention to how they blended tracks. I had this friend who had the equipment, so I’d come over and he knew how to work the turntables and mixer. I’d listen to the mix shows on radio and then go to his house and practice mixing, eventually teaching myself how to DJ. Chicago House music is what I was really brought up on.
DJs are known to have a huge supply of records to spin, so I’m asking what was your very first piece of vinyl you ever bought to start your collection?
It was an old House cut named, “That Young Man Put Us Under”.
If you could change anything about mainstream radio, what would it be?
I’d change how political it’s become. It’s so hit heavy and it doesn’t give a wider variety of artists a chance to get their music played.
What’s your perspective on the practice of “pay to play”? You could come across an artist and they pass you hottest track you never heard before, but they’re struggling with their finances and can’t pay you for spins. If you play it then you might end up breaking the next hit record. What’s your word on that?
First of all, I’m not a DJ who’s out here just for the pay. If I play a new track it’s because I stand by it and the artist who made it. Regardless, it’s my name that’s behind it. It’s not like you always have to pay me, but it helps to contact me and develop a rapport with me. Let me know what’s going on with your movement and how serious you are. Make sure you’re registered, so you can reap the benefits of getting radio spins. That “pay to play” thing really stops a lot of great artists from coming up. It’s a lot easier to come up with cash than it is to come up with true talent. That makes it so there are a good number of garbage artists that get spins and exposure, when a deeper, more talented artist with a message doesn’t get on without the money.
How did you get the opportunity to become syndicated on Super Radio Network and how has that experience been a benefit to your career?
DJ Pharris, the Heavy Hitter, Ciroq Boy from Power 92 Chicago/Hammond is someone who helped me out a lot. I actually came up under his wing and had known him for years. I used to watch him spin and mix records, so later on in my career I sought him out. I progressed with my skills to the point where I began doing mix shows for Hot 105.5. The Network saw where I was going with the mixes and decided to put me on. Just this last year, they got rid of a couple DJs and kept me. That increased my exposure on the radio! Along with that, understand that when you’re in my shoes you can’t settle for making a mix that’ll please one market, because now your mix has to be HOT in various markets abroad. I’m now one of the only nationally syndicated mix show DJs here in the states. Shout out to the Baker Brothers who are syndicated as well!
What’s been the best part of being part of the staff and mix shows at Power 92 and Hot 105.5?
The best thing has been being able to fulfill my dreams, because I had always wanted to do that. It’s also meeting all the people involved from the personalities to the DJs and the others more behind the scenes. Everyone has their own style, responsibility and in some cases their own way to grab the audience. It helps me continue to appreciate the art of DJ’ing and music itself, also refine my craft on a regular basis.
Have you pursued track production, or just stuck with DJ’ing? If you got into production, who have you recorded with and who would you want to record with?
I’ve been dabbling here and there with making beats and it’s ironic you mentioned that, because recently I’ve been making more beats as a way of getting rid of the monotony of just doing mixes all the time. I have a buddy/producer named Mouth Piece and we’ve been making beats for a young, up and coming artist named EM Dubai who I’m currently managing. I’d work with Jay-Z, Kanye, Ludacris, T.I., KRS One, Rakim to name a few.
Aside from Hip Hop, who are you favorite musicians of all time?
Stevie Wonder is number one on my list with the way he plays his instruments and sings as well. You could even say John Coltrane and I can relate to that from a musical aspect even though I wasn’t living in that era where I could fully appreciate Coltrane’s music, from a historical perspective too.
Aside from you, who is the greatest DJ of all time?
I’d have to give my guy DJ Pharris the nod, not just because he’s a legend in DJ’ing and Hip Hop. He helped teach me certain aspects where I could take my craft to another level. Secondly, I’d have to say DJ Jazzy Jeff. There are other great DJs out there like Flash and JMJ (R.I.P.), but I’m speaking on the ones that reached out to me and personally touched me. Kid Capri, Roc Raida (R.I.P.), DJ Craze too.
Tell the readers one story that you consider to be funny or inspirational?
I made an appearance at a school and all the kids wanted to take pictures with me. There was one kid that had cerebral palsy and just seeing the look on his face to be as excited as he was, it was like he couldn’t contain himself. To see the impact that I had on the kid showed me how I can have an influence on the kids. It made me feel like I was a superstar! This experience also helped me realize how many people I had the capability of reaching in different areas. It makes me feel good and able to appreciate the things I have more. It’s also a reminder to watch my actions, because the younger kids do see and catch on to what people like I do.
What’s your biggest aspiration for the future?
That would be teaching English as a professor at a distinguished college. I have plans of going back to school to get my PhD. I want to live my elder years as a professor teaching subjects like African-American literature, or maybe just English 101, because I like grammar as well.
Are there any up and coming tours, shows and projects that you want your supporters to know about?
Catch me on Hot 105.5, Monday through Friday at 5pm. I’m also mixing on Hot 105.5, Saturdays and Sundays at 7pm. You can catch me every Wednesday night on Power 92 Chicago at 1am. Call in and make music requests. If you listen online, or in your car then that’s me and my mixes!
To contact DJ Mondo and listen to his mixes, go to the following links:
Article written by: Bill Oxford, 3-12-13
Courtesy of: Jacque Schauls, CEO of Coda Grooves Ent.
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