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A Sit Down With DJ Erick Morillo

14:08 Apr/19/2018

Erick Morllo's long and storied history within house music could have set him up as this sort of cloistered star, but the reality of talking to him was far more welcoming. The New York-born DJ and producer comes across lively and open-hearted, willing and ready to talk about anything—from addiction and rehab, to rediscovering his love of dirty, funky house music. High up in his home studio in the Hollywood Hills, the Colombian-American DJ—whose biggest hit, "I Like To Move It," has captured a new generation of kids via its use in the Madagascarmovies—has undoubtedly lived the good life.


"I think the most difficult thing I ever did in my life was overcoming my ketamine addiction."


When & how did you first fall in love with house music?

Growing up 15 minutes outside of New York City, I spent countless nights listening to the best House Music DJs of the early 90’s. It was their sound that inspired me and allowed me to cultivate a love for house music and DJ’ing. The clubs were my sanctuary during my late teenage years. I would literally venture into nightclubs on school nights and enjoy the sounds of the likes of Louie Vega, Junior Vazquez, Danny Tenaglia, David Morales and others. I would just spend hours studying them, taking mental notes of how they worked the room, the vibe they created and when and how they played a certain record. It was easy for anyone during that time to fall in love with house music.

Do you prefer the old way? Or do you embrace the new paradigm?

Honestly, one of the best things I did, which was like a prayer being answered, was joining forces with Armada. They have been doing this for a while! I was out of the game for a minute but this was like going back to school. Now, I know the main guy at Spotify and our song with Kryder just got on Sirius. You need to embrace all the new media and you need to know the people who can help. I have never done anything half-assed. Everything needs to be done full on. Armada is like a new mentor. They are teaching me all the tools needed to manoeuvre in this new landscape. I am all in right now! There is nothing else I should be doing!

You’ve announced a series of remixes of classic Subliminal tracks from artists like Pirupa, Nic Fanciulli, The Martinez Brothers, etc. How did you select the artists and what made you release those remixes now?

Kolsch did a really good remix and Pirupa and all these guys. I thought it was important to re-introduce a lot of the classics. Why shouldn’t the younger DJs and the younger generation that were not in the scene back in the day not have an opportunity to hear these records that touched so many people in the '90s and the early '00s? That’s what we’re doing by bringing in some of the younger generation guys that people like at the moment.

Do you think there is a difference between the sound of Subliminal now and the sound it used to have?

Absolutely. Before we were very focused on filtered disco house. We took chances, we did techno records, a lot of different things, but we were definitely known for the disco filtered vocals. I think now we're quite melodic, tech house, techno at times, but quite a way from that disco sound.

Coming to the Festival you have fans coming from all over the world that are very knowledgeable about House and Techno, when you`re building out your sets do you take that into consideration in comprasion to your larger club or festival sets?

Absolutely. I take everything into consideration. But I don’t really like – I’m one of the few DJs that doesn’t prepare because y’know all I do is I listen to music and I put it together, I have my own arsenal of music but I know coming here that this is known for underground techno. I think it’s only been the last couple of years that they’ve been kinda letting house kinda move into this thing which I’m really excited about. But I definitely think about it when I’m headed to the gig. But I definitely prepare mentally for that. And I’m really excited about it, to be honest, I played here but it wasn’t a sanctioned party for BPM many years ago and I played at a club at the time was called Pink Elephant. Great party, it was rammed, such a great vibe. But I’m really excited now to come and kinda do a BPM party and be part of the whole thing because, y’know, I’ve sort of been at a place in my life now where I’ve been sort of switching my sounds to what I used to do back in the day. And I’m really excited about it.

Other than Ibiza, where is your favorite place in the world to play?

I love playing anywhere in the world where the people are really into the music and give me as much energy as I give them. When the energy and the vibe are right, it does not matter where I am performing, those nights become unforgettable. Having said that, if I had to pick a favorite place, I truthfully can’t just pick one place. I have had some amazing nights in Brazil, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, UK and of course at home in Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

What is the sound that inspiries you these days? What gets you excited about making music?

For me, there isn’t a face for house music at the moment. There’s a lot of tech-house guys, there’s a lot of techno guys, but as far as house there really isn’t. And I kinda wanna become that, but still encompass all that stuff. Because really at the end of the day, isn’t it? All of it’s house music. But what’s turning me on right now, I like that melodic, y’know, atmospheric kinda deep sound but I wanna bring in some really cool vocals. Nothing diva-ish, nothing poppy, more like Björk-y kinda melancholy, kinda vocals.

What have you got coming up in the foreseeable future in regards of the label and your own productions?

I have a record called 'Gone' with Junolarc, Chris Child and Ora Solar that's just come out. Danny Howard just premiered it on his show the other Friday. I hope it's going to be a big summer record in the clubs. I have another record with Andrew Cole featuring Kylee Katch 'Cocoon'. I have two vocal records coming out this summer with a girl called Bella Hunter, the first is a Latin thing. There's a lot of records plus the relaunch of Sondos and the relaunch of Subliminal Soul, so no shortage of projects.

What are the future goals for Subliminal?

We have three labels and one that we will relaunch again next year. We have Subliminal, that encompasses any style; Subliminal Soul, which is for Deep House; SONDOS, which is our Techno/tech-House/Tribal imprint; and then Subusa, which is a little more mainstream. For me, it is still about quality music and continuing down that path to be a label DJs go and check because they know the quality is good. I also want to mold younger, up and coming talent as well. We are really focusing on that next year. Then, we will have a bigger presence at events again, and in Ibiza.


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