A GoPride Interview

Tony Moran

Tony Moran interview with ChicagoPride.com

Wed. December 22, 2004  by DJ Plez

Tony Moran
His reputation long established in the music industry (since the mid 1980s) as a professional who can surely deliver on the production end of the business, Tony Moran has teamed up during the past several years with his first musical love: DJing. Not surprisingly, this New York City boy has proven to be just as successful playing the music as he is producing it. Moran has been praised by dance floors all over the world as he has ascended to the top of the DJing profession, garnering gigs at the largest parties on the circuit and at some of the most famous clubs in the world.

His new mixed compilation CD, a 2-CD set called Tour De Beats (Tommy Boy - Buy CD), has been flying off the shelves during this holiday season.

No stranger to Chicago’s DJ booths and dance floors, Moran took time out to answer a few questions to better acquaint him with his Chicago fans.

CP: Where are you from originally?

TM: I’m from New York City. Born and raised in Brooklyn and I’ve always lived here in the city. Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time in Miami and kind of increase the amount of time I’m down there as the weather gets colder up here.

CP: When and how did you pick up the DJing bug?

TM: Back in high school.

My parents definitely wanted to keep me off the streets and away from the violence out there and so music was a means to that end. I started DJing block parties and house parties in the neighborhood and even formed a DJ team with a friend and we called ourselves the Latin Rascals.

CP: How then did you get into the production and remixing game?

TM: Back when I was like 18 years old, I taught myself how to edit music using reel-to-reel tape players. And so from very early on I was involved in the production aspect of making music, moving from my bedroom and into the studio using my skills and talents there. Despite starting out as a DJ, most of my music career in the 1980s and 1990s was behind the scenes; writing and producing my own music, working with other artists, and doing remix projects.

CP: So when did DJing return to being a major part of your life:

TM: Well, I always had DJ equipment at the ready at my place and never lost my love for spinning. But it was about 2 or 3 years ago I found myself getting burned out with the production world I had so long been a part of.

At that time Matthew Harvat, you know him in Chicago as Circuit MOM, convinced me to get back to DJing and hooked me up with a gig at Crobar Chicago. Since then, it’s been a fantastic journey filled with DJ gigs and appearances all over the world. So now, I’m doing about equal parts DJing and production.

CP: How did this new mixed compilation CD, Tour De Beats, come about?

TM: I’ve done a couple of Centaur CDs in the past and they were based off of circuit party events I’ve spun at, such as Winter Party in Miami. The tracks on those CDs are more in the line with what’s being played at those particular parties or during the previous months leading up to those parties. When Tommy Boy approached me about this project I wanted the tracks – we started out with about 70 potential songs – to be more of a look forward and much more representative of me. It captures my high-energy style with good quality vocals that I play during peak hours at a club.

CP: How do you get most of your new music? Do you still go to record stores and dig through crates or is most of it sent to you by other DJs, remixers, and producers?

TM: I get my new music from a wide variety of sources. While I do get a lot of stuff sent to me by record labels, I like to shop for music online and go to various record stores in New York with my friend DJ DeMarko. As well, I get tracks sent to me directly by other producers, remixers, and DJs: from Abel and Ralphi, Paulo out in Los Angeles. And then of course, I’ll just make my own personal edits of certain tracks to use during my sets.

CP: Do you currently have any club residencies or other regular gigs?

TM: I keep pretty busy and usually am somewhere DJing a couple of nights each weekend.

I regularly spin at Roxy here in New York, Space in Miami, Coliseum in Fort Lauderdale, as well as Crobar in Chicago.

I also have been down to DJ in Brazil on several occasions. It is absolutely amazing down there! I DJed during Carnival and it was probably the DJing highlight of my career.

CP: How has the digital age influenced you as a live DJ? Do you use a lot of the on-board FX capabilities of the new CD players and mixers that are out now?

TM: I get kind of nervous using too much of the new technology in a club environment, especially if I’m not that familiar with a particular nightclub’s DJ booth. There’s a lot that can go wrong.

As for using CDs and CD players, when I travel I’m taking less and less vinyl with me as most of my stuff is now on CD. It’s easier to carry CDs from a physical standpoint, and I don’t have to worry as much at airport baggage claims, wondering whether my records made it safely during the plane ride.

CP: Name three favorite dance tracks that have emotionally touched you?

TM: The old classic “Romeo and Juliet” by Alec Costadinos; “Relight My Fire” by Dan Hartman; and the David Morales remix of Mariah Carey’s “Dream Lover.”

CP: If Brazil represents your DJing career highlight, what moment is the most memorable from your production work?

TM: There was this time when I worked with Celine Dion that was just incredible. I was in the studio with her and all these Sony executives were around, and there was a film crew for some reason and I remember being really, really nervous. Anyway, I had to sing this song to Celine and then she started singing with me.

Wow! Even though the track we were working on was never released, it was such a terrific and special experience for me that day.

I will never forget that one.

CP: What’s the one club and/or party that you’ve never spun at, but is #1 on your wish list?

TM: I’ve never DJed up in Montreal and so I would love to spin at Black & Blue. Not necessarily the main event, but probably an after-hours party or recovery party.

CP: Other than one you’ve been involved with, what’s your personal favorite dance track of 2004?

TM: I just love “Luv 2 Luv” by Suzanne Palmer. And with each remix that there is of that song, I seemingly can find a place for it in my sets.

DJ Tony Moran makes a post-Christmas appearance in Chicago, DJing at Crobar on Sunday, December 26, 2004. (Event Details)

Interviewed by DJ Plez