Masters of The Decks: Mars Miranda’s Journey To The Top Comes Full Circle
“DJing was a hobby for everyone before, no one ever thought of making a career out of it. DJs were just at the back of the bar playing music, you just had to set the mood and play music, no one cared who you were,” Mars Miranda reminisces about the time when he was still starting out as a DJ. He started tinkering with music since he was 16 and never really saw making something out of his music when he was younger. “Now things are different. DJs are the focal point of a party, there’s a lot of popularity and status that comes with it.”
Mars Miranda is a huge act, both locally and abroad. Any party-goer knows this DJ’s name but before the fame and recognition, Mars was a corporate marketer for ABS-CBN. He would play gigs after hours and eventually his side hustle was turning more into a lucrative job than his day job. “It eventually became my thing, it switched places with my day job,” he remembers. “But I wasn’t that cliche who wanted to be a DJ since he was a little boy, things just happened and I went with the flow.” While most freelancers and sideliners consider this to be the dream, Mars admits that switching tracks (pun intended) was scary. “With a full time job, you have security, you have structure, you have benefits. But at the end of the day, it becomes routinary but I’m here now, doing what I love and it’s great.”
Being part of what can be considered as the “OG batch” of DJs, Mars Miranda shares that he has seen the great evolution of DJ-ing. “I was lucky enough to be there, to see the whole evolution from the 80s, 90s, Vegas DJs, EDM and rave festivals, and so on. It’s really different to actually be there, to see the skill of the older DJs and how they play music, from just seeing it online,” he shares. Mars points out that these were major influences to his musical growth as a DJ.
The resident Palace Manila DJ also points out DJ AM is one of his major music heroes for his career. Aside from DJ AM’s amazing skills and musical tastes, Mars shares that DJ AM was really about mixing it up and keeping the vibe alive. “He would play hip-hop, rock, then pop—you never could tell what he was going to play next. He was one of the best at putting all genres together and creating his identity out of it.”
Mars also looks up to DJ AM because he was more than just a DJ, DJ AM was a brand. From playing gigs to releasing fashion collaborations and staring in movies, “ He was really the guy who changed the boundaries of what DJs should be.” And for Mars, DJs now are really more than just moodsetters who play the Top 40 Hits in clubs, they’re personalities and brands in their own right. “DJing now is really making the most out of your brand and see how much you can grow it.”
When asked about his personal brand and what makes him different from all the other DJs out there, Mars Miranda says his brand in one word: FUN. “For me, I want my sound to be fun. If you come out to see me play, I want you to have fun. I want you to go home thinking it was the best time of your life. I want you to feel like it’s worth dressing up, braving the traffic, lining up at the club, all that stuff… People, club owners and club-goers, pay you good money to play so make it worth their time.”
“At the end of a night, there’s a thin line between being an entertainer and an artist. If you’re able to mix those up, you’re lucky. That’s the end goal: to play what you want to play and to make people happy.”
For every night, Mars aims to always create what he calls the “Oh Shit Set”. It’s when people go “Oh Shit, I can’t believe he’s playing this!” Or “Oh Shit, I’m hearing this in a club?” And if you’ve heard him play, he does this successfully 99% of the time. 1% of the time, Mars admits that you can’t please everyone. “One song can be an anthem in one club but it won’t be in another. Half of the club can be dancing but the other half can just be there drinking, it happens. You can’t please everyone but that’s where you learn. You go home and study what worked and didn’t.” However, Mars also points out that DJing shouldn’t be taken to extreme seriousness. “Musically, there’s a time and place for everything so don’t stress about it.”
Mars shares that the secret to his nights, aside from all the pieces of advice he mentioned, is in his choice of liquid confidence: Belvedere vodka. “If you’re going to drink, you might as well drink the good stuff!”
“Don’t take it too seriously. If you stop having fun with it, it’ll show in your sets. This is one of the funnest jobs in the world. If you’re already DJing, even if it’s just small gigs, enjoy it. You’re already lucky enough to be doing it so enjoy it because nothing lasts forever, Don’t stress out on the small things.”
Being in the game for so long, Mars keeps up his nightlife career with a healthy lifestyle. “I’m trying to be heathy, I ride bikes, I work-out.” For the DJ, it’s all abut striking that balance. After all, beinga DJ requires a ton of energy, you can’t just stand there pressing buttons, you have to match or surpass the crowd’s energy if you want to have a kick-ass night. With more and more gigs pouring in, Mars points out the importance of having a healthier routine to have more energy to deliver at sets.
During the day, Mars is also a family man. “I spend time with them in the morning and when they sleep, I leave the house for my gigs.” When asked if there was any difficulty with balancing both, Mars shares that his wife’s father was also a DJ so the weird work schedule (night shifts, working on holidays, etc.) is nothing new for her. For Mars’ little girl, she sees her dad having the coolest job ever. “She’s into all the pop-stuff. She listens to Dua Lipa and Cardi B. And she wants to learn it,” he smiles.
Being a house name in the industry for so long, we asked Mars on nuggets of wisdom for younger, aspiring DJs out there. “Practice your craft before anything else, build your brand, and don’t quit your day job.” Ironic advice coming from someone who did but Mars shares what DJing has no assurances. “You’ll never know if it will work out or not. You can be on top not but next year things can be different. Always have a plan B, have a side gig from DJing.”
Catch DJ Mars Miranda on the Xylo at the Palace stage on November 8, 2019 for ECLIPSE. Contact +63917 680 8888 for inquiries and reservations.
Photography by: Mike Gella
Produced by: Vani Altomonte
Creative Direction by: Nigel Garcia
Production Coordination by: Stevie Eigenmann
Layout by: Ripley Abrea
Article by: Patricia Herbolario
Hair and make up by: Janel Alano of Maquillage Professionnel School of Makeup Artistry
Special Thanks to Maquillage Professionnel School of Makeup Aritstry