by Nick Christophers
It is not rare that talent sometimes derives from the home and that would be the case for DJ Mike Thunder Penino. Coming from a musical household meant there was always music playing. Mike s father sang in a 50's accapella rock 'n' roll group and listened to oldies on a formatted radio. His mother listened to oldies as well but also liked the then current 80's urban contemporary. When Mike got a radio of his own he also tuned into the urban contemporary format which led him to discover the electro-funk style of dance music. Watching the DJ s spin the dance music I loved, using all sorts of electronic equipment, and getting enthusiastic crowd reactions made me start to realize that I needed to get involved in the dance music industry in some important way.
Mike was influenced by artist/DJ Roger S., also known as Roger Sanchez. As an intern at MPC Studios in midtown Manhattan in the early 90's is when he first met him. He amazed Mike watching how easy producing quality house tracks for Strictly Rhythm was for him. Roger S would start out with a basic beat and house rhythm and he would just flow from there and everything would just vibe. He never got stumped or stuck without an idea. Bassline, percussion, synths, pads, it all just flowed. He impressed Mike then and continues to do so today with quality house tracks almost 2 decades later.
The name Mike Thunder came from the way his first car stereo system sounded. I had 2,400 watt power amps and a MTX Terminator isobaric speaker box. You could hear me coming from 3 blocks away. People would say my car sounded like thunder when I passed by. So people started calling me Thunder. The name stuck and I was known as DJ Thunder. I modified it to Mike Thunder Pennino in 2002.
Mike worked in two clubs back in the late 80's. They were January's and Canal Street Cafe. Both were mid sized Long Island venues. DJing in Long Island clubs back then was very different than it is today. Dance music wasn't as widely accepted as it is today so a lot of times you had to play multiple genres of music. There were nights he played a set with Marshall Jefferson and Xavier Gold in it and the next set contained Bon Jovi and Poison. With the exception of a few Long Island mega clubs this is the way it was.
He also had the pleasure of working with Chris The Greek Panaghi as they dabbled in the studio since the early 90's. Together they would experiment with different ideas and concepts. As The Greek got more adept in the studio and more experienced with production he would pass some of his knowledge onto Mike.
At first he would do simple tracks just to teach me the basics. But as of recently we have collaborated on much more expanded songs that have full production and the capability to stand on their own.
Mike has recently worked on some productions to be released by the NY based label Amathus Music (www.amathusmusic.com). His first effort "Talk To Me" has been featured on the popular 50 Techno Club Tracks Vol. 1. For the first time he was involved in every step of production, making it a great experience. Mike is extremely excited to have even more releases coming out on Amathus Music in 2K10.
Currently, Mike is a key mixshow DJ for 24/7 Dance Radio (www.247danceradio.com). This came along though longtime friend Chris The Greek Panaghi and the GM of the internet radio station Peter K. 24/7 Dance Radio is an internet dance radio station dedicated purely to dance music with six DJ s doing mixshows on Friday and Saturday nights and regular dance music programming. Mike loved the idea. When he was asked to be one of those six DJ s doing mixshows he jumped on the opportunity. He presently does the Saturday night 10 pm mixshow slot. Mike plays mainly progressive and tech-house style dance music but he likes to throw in a little electro and trance along with the occasional throwback now and then.
In the near future Mike would love to gain a bigger role at 24/7 DanceRadio possibly doing a second mixshow bringing the first drum and bass show to ever hit New York airwaves. On top of that he would love to produce more tracks for Amathus Music and DJ in other countries enjoying the music with people from around the world. A versatile DJ with a mission in mind beware of the thunder.