Tucked away in the bottom levels of the Aratani Theatre in JACCC Plaza in Little Tokyo, sits a treasure trove of auditory amazement in an enchanting place called Margaux-Land. The high empress of this phonic paradise is DJ, activist for Transgender & LGBT workplace rights, and the Aratani’s lead production engineer Margaux “Mago” Morales.
Morales picked up the “mago” nickname for having the reputation of being able to fix anything audio-related, and if you play over 60 instruments as Morales does, people start to believe the legend.
Simply put, Margaux is magic, and magic is Margaux.
The 59-year-old has lived more than most of us can dream.
Grammy credits on B.B. King Records; she did it. Play with Guns N’ Roses; she did it. Have Flea ask you to DJ his events; she did it. Rescue a priceless vintage record collection older than most grandparents; she did it. Tour with Linda Ronstadt to sold-out stadiums; she did it. Successfully live your truth and transition genders with confidence; you better believe she did it!
At the Aratani, Morales and her sound staff found over 1,000 vintage 78rpm records that used to belong to Radio Little Tokyo, a now-defunct station that cast its last broadcast in the early ’90s. Morales and his crew literally saved large pieces of history as some records made it all the way from Japan and pre-date the Second World War. Morales will highlight the priceless collection in a podcast for JACCC called “Retro-Future.”
The versatile Morales is doing, as always, big things with music with a solo record, prog-rock record, speaking engagements on production, and multiple DJ gigs lined up. The 14-hour-days she regularly endures, and the many hats she wears, make it hard to pin her down or define her.
“I’m a simple person that looks complex, and that’s the way music is,” Morales said pensively reflecting on over 46 years in music. However, when asked, Morales struggled to define her career as well. “How do I put myself into one sentence?” There is one thing she is sure of though. “I’m as good now as I have ever been,” Morales affirmed.