Interview with Michael Divinity Mannino


Q: How long have you been making music?

A: I have been creating music since middle school. Analog modeling synths and drum machines filled my room at a young age. I still only feel like I’m scratching the surface of music, I have so much to learn, yet I always feel like I’m breaking through to another level. I really feel as if I am only starting my journey as a music producer.

Q: What do you take away from music?

A: Balance. Emotion. Energy. Music to me is like a supercharge zone for inspiration. A song can fill me with tears of emotions and in the next moment leave me full of inspiration. Only music can take me to all those places at once… it’s really beautiful.

Q: Where do you see yourself career wise in the music world?

A: Believe it or not I always wanted to be a conductor of an orchestra. I kind of get to do that when I DJ haha. I love performing and mixing live, there is nothing like it. I am also involved in the industry in other ways. I work with a music label called Street Ritual based out of Northern California. I aid and assist in brand development and get to work with our amazing team in the other departments. I’m also an artist on their label! I love to work with hospitality and production as well, all of my experience behind the scenes have really helped me communicate with other artists, and create friendly relationships.

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I grew up in Staten Island, New York. I have been in California since I was 5, surfing in OB and skateboarding all around SD. I thank my parents all the time for moving to California, I love the culture here. Since I’ve been going to school here my whole life, I’m excited to get out and do some exploring. Maybe move to CO? Puerto Rico? I’m excited to see where the wind takes me.

Q: What inspires you?

A: My family inspires me. My incredible friends really inspire me. Positive people. Kelly Slater surfing haha. Any master at his craft. The Children. The Underground. My Angels.

Q: What are some of your limitations/obstacles do you have with your music? How are you overcoming these limitations?

A: Very recently some of my closest valuables including my laptop, music, and all of my virtual gear I use for producing were stolen. It reminds me that material things can be replaced. Starting over sometimes is a blessing in disguise. If you consider yourself conscious and a creator then you must OWN the fact that you and your subconscious calls EVERYTHING to you. Sometimes the biggest challenges will be the best opportunities from which to grow.

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Q: Are you involved with your community? If so how?

A: I host art and music events around SD as Realeyes Events. I like to build events around conscious living, great music & art, workshops, and collaboration. I also work setup and breakdown of stadium staging locally around San Diego. I’ve setup stages for the Backstreet Boys, Lady Gaga, Drake, and the list goes on. I love doing events with a specific drive or intention towards giving back to the community.

Q: What are some of your major accomplishments you have acquired in you career?

A: I feel like I have accomplished a lot behind the scenes. I’ve met some of my biggest inspirations and asked them my most curious questions. I would have to say that solidifying my degree in Hospitality Tourism Management is a major accomplishment. I am almost done with my BA and I’m really excited to see where it takes me.

Q: What is your biggest fear?

A: Settling for something that I don’t believe in. I would say failing is fearful, but I don’t believe that. I really believe that failing is part of success. Do it for YOU. Stay true to what you believe in. That’s worth fighting for.

Q: Whats your favorite thing to do with your time off from life?

A: SURF!!! my absolute top favorite thing to do is hang in the tropics and surf some good waves… but also among other things in life I like to work on new ideas, read books, make music, & contemplate and share life moments with friends and family!!

Q: If you could have coffee with one celebrity who would that be? and why?

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Reggie Watts. I would really love to have some coffee with him, preferably a Costa Rican blend. Our conversation would not be dull. We would beatbox and talk about the future.

Q: What trend would you like to set or have set?

A: My best friend Preston Grover was said to have played some of the very first dubstep beats for Electric Cocoon back in 2011. I’m not saying that we started dubstep or bass music in the desert or anything. We were just not afraid to switch things up throughout our sets. We play to the vibe, the time, the environment. People have told us they absolutely loved the energy we brought to the dance floor… we saw it as much more than playing a set, it’s musical storytelling.

Q: Who are your role models?

A: My Mom & Dad, Sofia & Brendan Thom, Yaygon Lamagaia, Preston Grover, Neo. These are some people who take the extra step to ripen their fruits of life. Thank you for your wonderful support and guidance. I always give thanks for the many reasons and inspirations you’ve helped me seek out and understand. There are also many more of you. Thank you ALL for the inspiration and your delicate motivation!

Q: Have you always felt comfortable on a stage?

A: Not always! When I was in high school I was in a play and not too keen on saying the script right. As far as playing music though, I absolutely love it. I feel comfortable when I’m focused, motivated, and prepared. I put a heaps of heart into any opportunity to play- this keep me grounded and focused. Sometimes there are unexpected variables that are a challenge! Broken monitor, quiet headphone jack, blinding lights, people twerking upside down and doing yoga on the speakers, you never know.

Q: Why do you want to make music?

A: I want to make music because I REALLY love to create and mix new ideas and sounds!! Among reasons deeper than the surface of enjoyment- I feel emotional toward intentions with music. I believe that it’s a great source for transformation, as it reaches people on so many levels. It takes sadness in dark places of the world and turns it into light. I make music because it’s MY way of fighting back. Abbey Hoffman was on the front lines of schools informing the masses about not going to war to die for nothing, I CHOOSE music.

Q: What do you do to stay fit and healthy?

A:I like to do core workouts. Pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups, squats and weight training. I absolutely love hitting the speedbag when I’m charged, I eat healthy and stay active.

Q: What do you do to stay calm and focused?

A:I take a moment. Deep breath, tall glass of water, remind myself, I am ALIVE!!

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Photography by Danielle Herzog


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