I met my Miik Martorell (DJ Miik) in 1998 when I was managing the Club Omni, and I hired him to spin on Thursdays. Shortly thereafter, a friendship developed that has now lasted over 20 years. It was my pleasure to sit down with Miik to talk about his career and life just a few weeks before he celebrates his 25th anniversary of DJing.
Who was the first DJ you ever heard spin?
I remember hearing DJs at Uncle Charlies in Miami back in the early 90’s, but I never knew their names. In 1992, Ralph Falcon, a friend who I was in college with at the time, played a gig at the Cameo Theater in Miami Beach. I remember standing up in the DJ booth while he played “Homeless” by Crystal Water. That song just stuck in my head and I realized how much I enjoyed house music. Ralph and Oscar G are the production team MURK that have made some amazing music and still inspire me today.
When did you realize you wanted to be a DJ?
Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved music and dreamed on working in radio. I’d make many mix tapes announcing the songs and basically playing DJ at home. In 1990, I worked in retail music promotions and later became and on-air personality at WKLG, a country radio station in the Keys. I went to radio production school in Miami Lakes and while I enjoyed radio, realized it didn’t pay that well. While I was working as a manager with Best Buy, in 1994, I started to gravitate to all the amazing dance music that crossed over to radio. I noticed that we weren’t carrying these in the store so I did some research on what was hot in the clubs and contacted the Hitz Records pool in Miami Beach. Record pools offered DJs a place to get new music that the labels wanted to promote. Hats where I met DJ Bugie, who ran the pool and was such an inspiration to me. Still, to this day, he is my best friend and I am truly fortunate to have him in my life. Watching Bugie spin at Twist was what made me realize that DJing is what I want to do.
What was the first place you ever DJ’d?
My first few DJ gigs were parties for friends, but my first consistent nightclub gig was in 1994 on South Beach at ReBar and the Comedy Zone. It was there that I met DJ Buddah who had worked with the 2 Live Crew. I loved his style of blending hip hop, rap and house and the way he always kept the energy up in the club.
What was your first residency, and how did that feel?
While ReBar and Comedy Zone was my first residency, it wasn’t until I started working in gay clubs that I realized that this was something I wanted to do long term. My first residency in a gay club was Copa in 1997. Thanks to DJ Paulie and Gregg Bernard, I got the chance to audition. Things didn’t really go to well though, in the beginning of my audition which was while the club was open, my nerves got to me and my thumb hit the back of the tone arm on the record player making the needle skip along the record. Looking back, it was actually kind of funny, but not at the time. I knew that failure was not an option so I pulled it together and somehow got the gig. In 1998, Gary Santis, who was managing the Saint offered me the chance of a lifetime to work there. He then took me with him to Coliseum, where I was a resident DJ every Friday from the day they opened to the day they closed. Years later he brought me to Manor, where I still spin. In addition to these residency’s, I have spun at dozens of other clubs here in Florida and around the world.
Who are your mentors in the DJ and music world?
DJ Bugie was and continues to be someone I look up to and love. For all these years he has put up with me and at times my crazy. Over the years, I have been fortunate to meet some amazing DJs who I truly appreciate for not only their body of work but their style. DJ Deanne, DJ Abel, Ralphi Rosario, Chris Cox, Tracy Young, Tony Moran, DJ T-Pro, DJ JPS, DJ GQ and DJ Sushiman are all people I dearly love and admire. Since becoming a Billboard Magazine Music Reporting DJ, I have had the great fortune to meet some amazing and legendary music promoters like Bobby Shaw, Brad LeBeau, Orlando Puerta & Frank Cerallo who together have played a huge part in just about every dance song you’ve here heard. Getting to know them over the years has been such an honor and a blessing.
What separates you from other DJs?
Nothing. It’s not a competition for me. But I will say that unlike some, I do take requests. LOL!
What are some memorable moments from the DJ booth?
One year I was working the Black Fort Lauderdale Party for Gary Santis at Voodoo Lounge and Revolution Live. I was playing the outside area going on right after Tony Moran. The plan was to open the inside of Revolution Live right after I went on, where Manny Lehman would DJ. The outside was packed with what looked like 2000 people and Gary came up to me and said, make sure you play something high energy. I had this great updated house remix of It’s Raining Men from the Weather Girls so I started my set with it. Not less than a minute into the song when the thunder came in, the heavens opened up and the there was a torrential down pour. Of course, everyone ran inside to escape the rain and now it was my job to bring them back. Over the next hour, I pulled out every song that I could think of, and finally got the crowd back on my dance floor. I remember Gary coming up to me and saying “Gurl, you’re on fire!” I don’t think I’ll ever forget that day.
Other than DJing, what do you like to do for fun?
Work! I love working but I have found that volunteering has been so rewarding. I’ve been volunteering with Pride Fort Lauderdale for the last 6 years and became president of the organization about 4 years ago. Over the last almost 4 years, I have volunteered at 68 Pride festivals all over the world from New York to Argentina where I have learned so much about our LGBT community and the wonderful people who organize these Pride festivals and events. Meeting these people, and being there to help and show support and solidarity has been the most important thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.
Describe yourself in three words?
Caring, Crazy, Genuine.
What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully many more years DJing her in South Florida and beyond. I also have to thank Gary Santis for trusting and believing in me, and giving me the guidance I needed to grow. Without Gary, I wouldn’t be here today!
Are you excited about your 25th Anniversary and what can our readers expect from your set that night?
I’ve been looking forward to this night for a while. I’ll be bringing back some of the classic songs that everyone knows and loves. Think of the songs you would hear on Fridays at the Coliseum and that style is what you can expect.
If you want to celebrate DJ Miik’s 25th anniversary of DJing, Bubble Gun Fridays at the Manor Nightclub will be having a Coliseum Reunion/DJ Miik’s 25th Anniversary extravaganza on Friday, December 6.
For more information on DJ Miik go to Facebook.com/DJMiik.