Manny Cuevas aka DJ M-TRAXXX is Florida's original house and techno DJ. That isn't to brag, it's simply the truth, a statement that sets the record straight: he not only lived it, he helped shape it, all starting with a mid-eighties mixtape given to him through his cousin. On it was a WBMX mix show by Farley "Jackmaster" Funk and, more specifically, the song “Farley Knows House” which, as he puts it, "Still to this day, I can’t describe that feeling I got when I first heard it." House music has come a long way since the days of trading tapes and, in its nearly thirty year journey, what began as an underground Chicago movement is now global - a multi-million dollar industry complete with culture vultures looking to nibble from the vine of its success. In this age of compromised and commercialized house, Manny has taken the road less traveled, staying true, not to a point in time, but to that original feeling only some of us truly understand to be house music.
Originally from South Lorain, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, Manny settled in the unsuspecting City Beautiful in 1985. He quickly became a force for pushing the burgeoning sound of Chicago house and Detroit techno at parties, on the airwaves, and through productions. He and his two younger brothers started Kid Cuevas Productions (KCP) for the cause and gained a devoted following. Where Manny was perhaps most impactful during those days was through his radio shows, starting on Rollins College's local Orlando station, WPRK 91.5FM, and running from '89 until '97. Over that timespan, he would use his platform for spreading the gospel of house music, exposing more people to the sounds at home and abroad – sometimes hearing stories about his mixtapes being bootlegged as far away as Berlin. Expanding beyond showcasing himself, he'd host many world renowned DJs and producers throughout the years with guests like Carl Craig, Roy Davis Jr., Armand Van Helden, DJ Sneak, DJ Duke... the list goes on and on, including frequent mixes from DJ Pierre. Manny was a feature himself on terrestrial radio in Miami and New York, as well as worldwide online radio stations. To this day he's still spreading music to a global audience, maintaining a forward motion by keeping on top of his podcasts.
As DJ M-TRAXXX, Manny embodies the art form in its truest sense: "The bottom line is this, if you’re going to book me to play at your event, I have to play one hundred percent what I am feeling at that moment and throughout the entire night." This artistic determination has lead to floor-filling gigs at home and abroad. Covering the entire East Coast and stretching into the Midwest, Manny has played Detroit, Chicago, New York, Boston, and all of Florida. Internationally, he's carried the house sound with him to the UK, Germany, and both Central and South America, hitting cities like London, Amsterdam, and other major hubs as well as more quaint destinations like Edinburgh. If asked to describe DJ M-TRAXXX's mixing style, one could imagine Farley "Jackmaster" Funk and Junior Vasquez in a blender, the results infused with Manny's own bold ingredients and served with other unpredictable flavors.
On the production and label side of things, Manny played an integral role in helping the infamous Wild Pitch creator and acid house inventor DJ Pierre get his Afro Acid Digital label off the ground as head A&R. A highlight year for DJ M-TRAXXX, 2009 saw him remixing Louie Vega, DJ Pierre, and his mentor Junior Vasquez. He would also earn his way onto Vasquez's "Generation Next" compilation on Tommy Boy Record's (famous for early Afrika Bambaataa, LFO, and 808 State releases) Silver Label. Two years later his original production "House Thunda" was included in Snuff Crew's benefit compilation Snuff Trax for Japan, finding himself in the company of Laurent Garner, KiNK, Neville Watson, Legowelt, and more. Manny Cuevas' productions have seen support from Robert Owens, Farley "JackMaster" Funk, Roy Davis Jr., Tyree Cooper, and, of course, DJ Pierre and Junior Vasquez. Support has also come direct from modern mainstays as diverse as Hercules and Love Affair, with DJ-MTRAXXX sitting atop Andy Butler's chart to close out 2014.
A man of God, the glory for Manny lies elsewhere, "House music is, to me, sacred." His life has shined in devotion to this music and, more importantly, the Lord. For him, Psalms 150:4-5 says it all, “Praise Him with drums and dancing, praise him with harps and flute, praise him with cymbals, praise him with loud cymbals…” With an outlook that's eternal, the story is never over - there's always more to come from Manny Cuevas, better reckoned with as the DJ M-TRAXXX.