“Hey, want to come over and listen to records?”
When I was a kid, this is what we did. Video games didn’t exist yet. Nor did VHS, DVDs, CDs, Blu-ray, Apple TV or Netflix. Neighbors walked or rode bikes to each other’s houses to do what we now call “hang out.” For entertainment, we relied on imagination, AM radio and vinyl on record players.
The memory made me smile as Mikey LaCroix thumbed through his personal album collection. “Here’s a good one,” he muttered, placing the album on DentonRadio.com’s old-fashioned record player. I closed my eyes and relished the sweet, soft scratching sound of diamond needle meeting vinyl.
I sat in on Mikey’s weekly DentonRadio.com show “Off the Record” last Monday. It’s a show about exactly what it sounds like it should be about: Mikey invites us over to listen to records.
A paisley blue and white bandana held shaggy auburn hair out of blue eyes bright with energy even as he relaxed his lanky frame into a chair. Just like old times, we sat comfortably talking, enjoying the album music.
“I created this show because I love music, and it’s a way to show people the kind of music I like,” Mikey said.
Michael Christopher LaCroix grew up in Southlake, Texas loving music from his earliest recollections. When he was four years old, he walked into the living room where his parents were watching a Garth Brooks special. Mesmerized, he danced in front of the TV playing air guitar. “That’s my first musical memory, and I’ve loved Garth ever since,” he laughs.
Mikey was 15 years old, however, before he picked up a real instrument with genuine intention. He began teaching himself to play on his dad’s guitar, and did the same later on with keyboard. He’s never had formal training and plays totally by ear. "So you’re a musician?” I asked. He replied definitively that while he does make music, he's not a musician.
Mikey is a music producer, collecting sounds and employing musicality to create original music. Mikey turned to the computer, opened his sound library and selected a recording he made of humming locusts to demonstrate. It sounded like a summer night. Then he played the opening bars to one of his pieces, eager for me to identify the locusts layered within the music now that I knew to listen for them. Beautiful! From nature’s sounds to everyday noises, Mikey amasses them and turns them into music, usually with a theme. His recordings include titles like “Music to Cuddle By,” “Music to Shake To,” and “Music to Look Out Your Window To” among others.
With a penchant for entertaining audiences, Mikey has always excelled at public speaking and performing. On stage, it’s just him, his guitar, a keyboard and his sounds collection. He creates live audience experiences building musical pieces right before their eyes, layer-by-layer, sound-by-sound and note-by-note.
The same leaning to delight a crowd makes him one of the most fun DentonRadio.com deejays to “watch.” Passersby on the sidewalk outside the Discover Denton Welcome Center studio stop to enjoy Mikey’s action and antics while he’s on the air. To say he gets into the music is an understatement. He loves music with his whole body!
Besides “Sound Values” on Monday nights from 7-8 pm when he and a musical guest talk about life, love and “what’s always in your freezer?”, Mikey produces "Off The Record" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Then from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays, he plays great music of no particular genre on "Sunday Brunch,” for taking it easy and hanging out with friends.
Mikey’s young life has been a colorful journey thus far. He deejayed in California, guided tours in Grand Teton, Wyoming, and made snow in Vail, Colorado. After stops in Vermont and Chicago, he landed finally at UNT to study history, tend bar at LSA Burger, and play music on DentonRadio.com. He calls Denton home now and will also be teaching 8th grade U.S. History at Myers Middle School starting in August.
“I want to teach kids to love learning again,” he said. “I want to give. Denton’s been really good to me, and I want to be good to Denton.”
Find Mikey on Facebook as Kind Beats, a name he chose because kind is a word that makes people feel good. Spreading happiness through music is what his shows are all about, too. Tune in to the original, independent DentonRadio.com or stop by and meet Mikey at the Discover Denton Welcome Center studio Saturday and Sunday mornings and every Monday night.
Listen in to Mikey's shows
Sunday Brunch: Sunday, 1 p.m.-2 p.m. Sound Values: Monday, 7 p.m.-8 p.m. Off the Record: Saturday, 10 a.m -2 p.m.