Feb 17, 2022
5 min read
Miami-based DJ and producer Malóne has been a key fixer in the Miami house scene for the past few years, throwing parties and putting out releases under his Hurry Up Slowly brand. With his latest release sitting at the top of the Beatport and Traxsource Afro house charts, his rise looks set to continue. We called him up to hear about his journey so far and what’s coming next.
Malóne’s earliest musical memories, growing up in Miami in the ’80s and ’90s, reflect his Cuban roots. “Salsa was always a huge thing in our household,” he tells us. “It was literally every day, the only thing I’d listen to. Salsa and the Bee Gees, because my mother listened to the Bee Gees and only the Bee Gees when we were in the car.”
These twin threads of disco and Latin dance music were woven together thanks to an uncle, who introduced Malóne to DJing when he was still a kid.
“My uncle was a DJ in the ’90s in Miami and he had the first Visiosonic DJ software. He taught me how to use it when I was 10 years old and I fell in love with the idea of mixing music. He would book little parties, like high school dances and kids’ parties. He would play the Spanish styles of music and I would play hip-hop and contemporary stuff.”
In the late ’90s, Malóne discovered the US trance scene, going to all-age raves and daytime foam parties at the Miami institution, Space. But it wasn’t until the early 2000s, after college and a stint playing professional baseball, that he became immersed in electronic music.
“I went to my first Ultra when I was 23,” he says. “It was the early years of the EDM boom and all the Miami clubs started booking these massive headliners.”
Space reopened, and the Miami scene started to carve out its own identity. “Since then, it’s just built,” says Malóne. “And Space has always been at the heart of it. I think it’s the best club in the world.”
The club has played a significant role in Malóne’s journey. In early 2014, he wrangled a set in the ground floor room at Space, his first major DJ gig. “I showed up with my Traktor S2 controller because I had never even played on CDJs before. It was the first time I actually played at a club and I was nervous as shit, but it went well. Then fast-forward eight years to a few months ago, I had the chance to play the terrace [the main room] at Space. I jumped on about 3:30am and the next thing I know it’s 7am. I ended up playing until 9:30 am. It came full circle for me, playing my first show at Space eight years ago and then playing a six-hour peak time set in the main room. That made me realize how far things had come.”
“It’s my first number one and that’s a huge moment for me,” he says. “It’s a collaboration with two Cuban artists called PAUZA. They’re still in Cuba, like lots of my family, and everyone there is dealing with some really difficult circumstances.” Having found each other via Twitch, they worked on the track for two months, sending stems back and forth over Cuba’s creaky internet. “It was amazing to collaborate with these two local artists. I’m very humbled to see that happening, and very proud, too.”
Twitch streaming brought Malóne’s music and DJing to a much wider audience during the pandemic, thanks to a hook-up with BLOND:ISH and her ABRACADABRA crew. “A few weeks into the first lockdown, I wrote my track Bana,” he says.
“I was kind of depressed, like everyone, and the track was a lot deeper and more melodic than my usual sound. I sent it to BLOND:ISH because I knew a guy who was doing video work on her livestreams.” BLOND:ISH put it out on ABRACADABRA and asked Malóne to become a resident on her Twitch channel.
“That year and a half of the pandemic, when nobody was able to do anything and everything was closed, I was able to join this amazing, beautiful community of ABRACADABRA and play with them every week. My career took off in a really positive way. It was just because of that one track, which was influenced by that one moment. Music is a beautiful thing.”
Malóne’s label, Hurry Up Slowly, has just come off a huge party series during Art Basel Miami. “We did almost 10,000 people over four days, with Guy Gerber, Marco Carola, Rony Seikaly, and Diplo.” He says. “The brand is growing and we’ve got a lot of big things coming up."
Malóne also a release coming up on Saved Records, Nic Fanciulli’s label.
“It’s one of my favorite labels of all time,” he says. “And I’ve got pretty close to Nic. Just to be able to work with a legend like that who’s been around for so long, that’s a huge thing for me. I’ve just been amazed at how quickly everything’s grown in the past couple of years.”