Growing up in a mixed neighborhood during the ’60s and ’70s had a significant influence on Mario Caldato Jr.’s musical style. Living in the golden age of music, he delved into the many different types through his AM radio, which eventually led him to start playing in his first band. The rush he experienced playing live cemented his passion for the art form, and he continued experimenting with different sounds and instruments. As he got older, he became interested in the technical and production side of music, and it is all history from there.

Today, Mario Caldato Jr., is a music producer, engineer, record collector, and selector who owns and runs MCJ Studios. He is most renowned for his work as a producer for Beastie Boys, which catapulted his career. He has since worked with many more top names in the industry, such as Young MC, Mellow Man Ace, Tone Lōc, and many more. Mario and Beastie Boys struck a bond, becoming close friends while working together, something he is incredibly grateful for. Mario is continually sharing his musical talents with other artists to help elevate their work and get them on the path to success. In our conversation, he gives an overview of his life growing up and his professional journey to where he is today.

We start our conversation by hearing about his musical influence growing up, how his neighborhood impacted his taste in music, his love for AM radio, the experience of his first concert, and why headphones changed his appreciation for music. We’ll discuss the message in the music of the ‘60s and ‘70s, when he first became interested in the technical side of music, what it was like playing gigs in the early days, what he learned from playing in a club, and his first co-production. We also talk about how hip-hop brings music together, setting up recording studios with almost nothing, when to use musicians for recording, and how he helped find an incredible collection of tapes. Adjust your antennae, sit back, relax, and tune in for a one-of-a-kind conversation with Mario Caldato Jr.!

Key Points From The Mario Caldato Jr. Episode:

  • We start by finding out about the type of music Mario was exposed to in his childhood.
  • Hear about his background and what his life was like growing up.
  • How his neighborhood influenced his love for music.
  • Whether the type of music he enjoyed changed when he got older.
  • Find out about the moment he got recruited into his first band and played live.
  • The musical instrument he played as a kid: the organ.
  • We hear about the time his dad took him to see Duke Ellington play live.
  • How music from the ‘60s and 70’s influenced his musical style.
  • Why using headphones for the first time changed how he listened to music.
  • When he first became interested in the technical and production side of music.
  • Who had the most influence on his interest in production and sound engineering.
  • The various ways Mario and his band were able to find equipment.
  • The musical influence behind the song Jungle Bugs-Night To Day.
  • His approach to equalization of the instruments for Jungle Bugs-Night To Day.
  • The lessons he has learned about the crowd from playing in a club.
  • Ways in which hip-hop brought different musical genres together.
  • What it was like designing and setting up a studio for Matt Dike.
  • He shares his journey starting his first record label.
  • How Mario decides when to use musicians and when to use samples.
  • Mario’s experience working with Money Mark and what Mario appreciates about him.
  • Hear about his involvement in acquiring a very special collection of tapes.
  • Find out about what projects he is currently working on.
Mario Caldato Jr.

Mario Caldato Jr. Tweetables:

“It was a very exciting moment to be able to make our own music and impress our friends and family with the music that we created.” — Mario Caldato [0:31:20]
“It was a really beautiful beginning for all of us [recording], to do this at the studio which eventually became Delicious Vinyl.” — Mario Caldato [0:45:52]
“[Recording] was an experimental, learning process that we slowly figured out and improved.” — Mario Caldato [0:49:30]
“[Money Mark] is still the same witty, wise-guy, inventive, genius, and difficult to read and understand at times, but he is always doing the right thing.” — Mario Caldato [0:50:42]