Groove Master Slugg: Spinning Stories and Records

Mar 28, 2024

Photo of Michela Iosipov

Michela Iosipov

8 min read

Miami-born and Orlando-refined, Mateo Acosta, or Slugg as the dance floor knows him, is the real deal in a scene that never sleeps. Kicking off his journey into beats at just 15, Slugg has always had his finger on the pulse of what makes a crowd move. Drawing deep from the wells of 90s hip-hop, his music is a fresh mix of nostalgia and new-school cool, a blend that's earned him nods and playtime from the big guns in the house music scene.

When Slugg packed up from Miami to Orlando, it wasn't just a change of scenery. It was there he linked up with the House Keepers collective, a move that sparked a whole new level of game for him. Not one to just ride the wave, he launched his own label, Getbusy, a playground for his own releases and a spotlight for emerging talent that's starting to make some serious noise in the scene.

From epic festival sets that people can't stop talking about, like his unforgettable nights at Okeechobee, EDC Orlando, and his international debut in Costa Rica at BPM, to starting his own label, Slugg's story is about doing what you love and letting that drive take you places.

In an up-close chat, Slugg spills on everything from those early Miami days that lit his fire, the evolution of his sound from hip-hop-infused beats to a more refined vibe, the art of DJing that's got him hooked all over again, and the highlights that have made this ride unforgettable. Plus, he shares the scoop on Getbusy, the label born from a dream to do things his way and shine a light on the next wave of house music heroes.

What first got you into DJing and production? Was there a particular artist, track, or show that sparked your interest?

What got me into DJing and music production was definitely my love of music overall. My music taste has varied all my life, but once I got into house music, I knew this was the one I wanted to rock with. In particular, there was one event, “AMF” Miami, which was an all-ages event back in 2010 (I was 14 years old, having no business being there), and ended up seeing a bunch of Miami legends. This really sparked my interest in the scene, and I started producing music shortly after that.

Your sound has definitely evolved over the years. How would you describe your style now compared to when you first started?

My style before was definitely taking old hip-hop records and trying to replicate that feeling of when I first heard those boom bap beats in hip-hop records. Got to have that bounce! Now, I’d say it’s definitely matured a bit, with sound/instrument choice. I’ve come to terms that not everything has to be a #1 hit.

Balancing the DJ and producer roles must take some juggling. Which do you find is more your creative outlet these days?

It started with production because my gigs were not rolling in yet. Once I started getting some recognition for my releases and I started headlining events, it really made me fall back in love with the art of DJ'ing.

There’s nothing like blending some songs together and throwing different effects/acapellas on top of those and making a whole new meaning to the music. Seeing the people react too it is an INSANE feeling.

Looking back, any festival sets really stand out as career highlights so far? What made that moment so epic?

My first Okeechobe festival set was definitely a game changer and very memorable. I was the headliner on the House Keepers takeover at Incendia, and a larger act had just wrapped up at the main stage. Within 15 mins of my set, I had a crowd of over 2,000 people. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.

My biggest crowd at a festival to date. For the duration of my set, I was able to hold the crowd and converted a lot of fans that night. My other two memorable ones I’d say would be opening up Neon Garden at EDC Orlando for Factory93 & my first international gig at BPM COSTA RICA. I’d say those are my top three for sure!

Moving cities was a big change. How'd you get linked up with House Keepers collective in Orlando?

Moving from Miami to Orlando was a HUGE part of my success. You would think me leaving Miami for a smaller city like Orlando would be counterproductive; it was legit the complete opposite. I was attending the HK events because of the talent they were bringing through the city and eventually got introduced to Austin Hammer, who took a shot on me by signing my music to the label, which in turn got me playing the parties. From that point forward, there was no looking back. I owe my success so far to the scene in Orlando.

What led to the decision to start your own label, Getbusy? Was it important to have that creative control? What are you hoping to achieve this year with your imprint?

Starting my label, Getbusy, was definitely something my partner Leo and I have dreamed of doing for a very long time.

I started gaining some hype around the Slugg project, and we thought it’d be right to start the brand/label early in my career so that I could let it grow with me from the early stages. This year, our focus is on quality and showcasing emerging talent, not only in the US but internationally as well. We are very excited about the music that is already signed, and our BUSYTOOLS (free download/edits) series has been making a lot of noise with the most recent releases.

Which artist that released on Getbusy is someone we should keep an eye out for?

It’s hard to choose one artist; this is like choosing your favorite kid as a parent. But I’ll give you three artists that I think everyone should be on the lookout for: Nate Chapman, Gian Carlos, & Brayden Terzo. Big stuff coming from these guys. Productions from them are always top-notch.

There are so many legends in the game - any producers, past or present, who still give you inspiration?

There are so many producers that give me inspiration; to name a few, I’d say Rossi., Inland Knights, DJ Premier, RZA, BUTCH, Jesse Perez, Phil Weeks, DJ SNEAK, GUTI, the list can go on forever.

You’ve played a lot of sick venues these past couple of years. Which one has been the most memorable and why?

The sickest venue and by far my favorite to play every single time is Floyd Miami, the basement right under Club Space. There’s something about that room that brings the best out of me every single time. Smaller, intimate room and phenomenal sound… I can't go wrong with that!

Which city has the best crowd energy?

This might be biased because I’m from there, but Miami has to be my favorite crowd to play so far. Maybe it’s just because every time I play down there, it’s like a homecoming. I see all my friends from when I was growing up down there. Energy is always at an all-time high.

If you could spin back-to-back with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

MARCO CAROLA is the only answer for this haha.

If music wasn't your path, what other career path would you take?

To be completely honest, I have no idea what I would do if I wasn't in music. I’ve been taking an interest in the kitchen lately, so maybe a chef? Haha, who knows.

Without fail, what's the one track that is considered your secret weapon?

I have a couple, but definitely Ben Williams - Drop It Like It’s Hot. Please go look that up and thank me later. Been in rotation since I started my career in music.

If you could revive one classic from the 90s hip-hop era, what album are you bringing back?

ENTER THE 36 CHAMBERS BY WUTANG, without a doubt!

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