Mario Caldato, Jr., or as he is known in some circles, “Mario C,” is a Brazilian record producer. Mario was immortalized in 1998 by Mike D of the Beastie Boys in one breath, “Mario C likes to keep it clean…” The song was Intergalactic, the album was Hello Nasty. I have always been interested in individuals mentioned in the liner notes of albums, and now here is one of those names getting a shout out by Mike D. I didn’t fully understand the role of a producer at that time, or how important they were. Since Mike D called attention to this mysterious man behind the scenes, I’ve become very aware, if not obsessed, with producers.
Around here Mario is best known for his work with the Beastie Boys. He engineered Paul’s Boutique, then co-produced Check Your Head, Ill Communication and Hello Nasty. That’s only one sentence, but let’s take a moment to think about the weight of it- how many incredible songs are in those four albums produced. From High Plains Drifter, Egg Man to Body Movin… there are 77 songs, not including bonus tracks, added import singles and remixes.
But Mario has had quite the diverse career. Over the years I’ve stumbled upon Mario’s name in numerous liner notes of all genres including artists like: Beck, Jack Johnson, Tone Loc, Young MC, Zee Avi, Seu Jorge, Sergio Mendes, Flobots, Diplo, Money Mark, Moby, John Lee Hooker, DJ Green Lantern, Donavon Frankenreiter, G. Love, Bill Cosby, Handsome Boy Modeling, School, Blackalicious, Scapegoat Wax, Ozomatli, Mix Master Mike, Los Lobos, Blur, Butthole Surfers, Yoko Ono, The Cult and Björk, to name a few.
I caught up with the genius from the liner notes in his Silver Lake studio to discuss life and other important things.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
An astronaut at first, and then a racer of cars and motorcycles.
How did you get where you are today?
Just trying to follow my natural path in life, which music played a big part in paving the way. Also with a lot of good friends to help one another discover our dreams and make things happen, not just imagining them, but putting in the time and love to see it though. Some good luck and timing also helped.
What do you LOVE?
I love life and give thanks everyday for all the things that go with it, good and bad. I love my family and friends, without them there is no one to share with. I really love my wife and our kids, they are our future. I love listening to vinyl records, it’s something I grew up with and still have a lot of pleasure finding something cool and rare and DJing on special occasions. I love working with my hands and building things from wood or metal, I use to work in a machine shop for years and loved all the possibilities.
What is your process like?
Yes I do like routines, because you know what to expect but sometimes it’s better to work out of your comfort zone and get inspired by something really different, the thing is to always be open and free. I don’t need a lot of things but some good food and a nice vibe can really drive a idea or good song or melody.
What is something you had to learn the hard way?
That nothing is forever, so enjoy the things you really love, while you can.
What is your greatest fear?
Not sure I know it yet?
Best advice you could give to someone coming out of college.
Just love what you do and do it anyway you can, if you have a idea or dream, follow your heart and you will find and make your way. Hang in there is might take sometime, things need to align and happen naturally, just be ready when it happens, it usually will happen when you least expect it or don’t even realize it’s happening because you’re having so much fun doing it.
Who are your favorite authors?
I don’t have any, I never really read a lot of books, I do love autobiographies and true stories.
What is one thing most people would be surprised to learn about you?
I used to race motorcycles when I was 15 to 18 years old, and worked in machine shop for ten years from 17 to 27 years old, while I played around and did music on the side.
Which living person do you most admire?
How do you define success?
Being able to be happy and enjoy life with my family and friends, all from working with music.
Words to live by?
Keep it simple and enjoy.
How do you think we can make the world a better place?
Be true to yourself and others, respect and love others, we only have one life on this planet so let’s make the best of it for all to enjoy in the future.
I’d like to mention that Mario has also produced many incredible Brazilian artists, including Planet Hemp, Marcelo D2, Seu Jorge, Bebel Gilberto, Marisa Monte, Vanessa da Mata, Nação Zumbi and Mallu Magalhães. He also mixed during 2008 the debut album of Banda de Turistas titled Magico Corazon Radiofonico. In 2008, he produced the 2nd album of Joseph d’Anvers, a talented French songwriter, “Les Jours Sauvages”, featuring appearances by Money Mark, Vanessa Da Mata, Moreno Veloso and Kassin & Domenico.