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Go BackERICK MORILLO - Subliminal leader on re-energizing NYC nightlife and his Pacha´s love affair!

Posted: 20/12/05 12:38

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 You had to empathize... In the days leading up to it, Erick Morillo was all aflutter and giddy about Pacha’s opening night in the Big Apple. Being shut down on Dec 9 at 2 a.m. by New York’s Finest must have been quite the buzz killer.

Pacha, the super brand and super club is the latest addition to a night on the town in NYC. While Morillo says the clubbing climate in the city is as good as it’s been years, current New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration seems to be picking up the torch from former Mayor Rudy Giuliani in maintaining a tough policy on clubs.

Twilo, where Sasha and John Digweed made their U.S. breakthrough, eventually succumbed to its excesses, being closed down because of drugs and, in turn, a few seizures for good measure.

The new Pacha is itself in the same space as the infamous Sound Factory. You can’t help but think maybe Morillo’s enthusiasm got the best of them with Pacha’s opening. Clearly, the powers that be are still paying attention. According to club owner Eddie Dean, police were conducting a routine opening-night inspection and were concerned about the large number of people waiting on West 46th St. to get in.

The police cited safety concerns, but there were unconfirmed reports Pacha was visited because of drug use… one person was said to have collapsed. And underage Sopranos star Robert Iler was indeed busted for illegally drinking – the New York Post had a picture of him doing so in the paper the next day.

However, the club re-opened the next night without incident and according to owners it was a hit.
Morillo would probably sooner not talk about what went wrong and instead focus on what’s right about the club, his role as part owner and re-invigorating New York nightlife.

“About five years ago, I started doing my own event at Pacha in Ibiza every Wednesday called Subliminal Sessions,” recalls Erick. “When I got approached about opening up a club in New York City, I thought about including Pacha in it. I spoke to them and they were really gung-ho about it. We’ve had a long relationship and I know their philosophy on running clubs.”

One thing Morillo appreciates is Pacha’s hallowed history, first founded 36 years ago by Ricardo Urgell in Sitges, just south of Barcelona. Based on the brand’s breakthroughs in markets like Ibiza then London, it’s gone global – encompassing a hotel, restaurants, a record label, a radio station, magazine, merchandising and more than 20 franchises. You couldn’t do that, notes Morillo, unless you were maintaining quality. Clubbers are too finicky.
Pacha loves taking care of the clubbers,” he explains. “They love creating something new for people to see: decorations, production. They really go all out when it comes to those scenarios. For Ibiza, they brought in someone from the U.K. to help them get their lineups together and they managed to secure some of the best house talent in the world. Now, they’re busy seven nights a week, which is just incredible.”

Pacha NYC promises to be just as busy. Morillo will definitely be the man at the club, but he also wants it to have a range of nights to reflect the vibrancy, diversity and vitality of electronic music right now.
He hasn’t been at a loss for finding talent, with DJs like Doc Martin, Josh Wink and Steve Lawler lined up for gigs. He’s even landed the big man himself, Carl Cox, for a New Year’s Eve party. Look for other events featuring Seb Fontaine, German techno kingpin Sven Väth and San Francisco’s Om Records.

“We want to be the place that does a little bit of everything,” Morillo says. “Because I’m travelling all over the world, I know what’s happening out there. Everybody knows the top 100 DJs, but not everyone knows the up-and-coming guys in the little places doing cool, little parties ... that’s where I come in.”

No matter who you hear at the club, assures Erick, they’re going to sound good, thanks in part to Pacha’s killer system.

“We have what I consider to be the best sound system in New York City. We have one of only two Alpha Dynacord Systems in the U.S. It’s the same sound system that’s at Space in Miami and that one speaks for itself – it just pumps, it’s clear and the technology of it is one we can control every aspect of with a laptop. We can check every single component, every tweeter, to see how it’s reacting. We’ll never have a night where the system isn’t at 100 per cent.”

Subliminal head honcho´s making a sale pitch, certainly, but New York’s club clientele needs to be persuaded. And getting the right mix of people entails knowing where to find them first. That’s where the sometimes unsung street promotions expert Rob Fernandez comes in.

“If you want a flyer distributed in New York in the right places... there’s a lot of companies that do it, but Rob is so in the street. He’s been doing this for so long, he knows every event that’s going on, he knows how to hit the right parties and the right people. He’s also a promoter, so he knows what’s going down.”

The 30,000 square foot monster club will indeed bring a lot of people together, thousands upon thousands of them. Expect to see stars like Sean ‘P Diddy’ Combs and even to rub elbows with them.

“We got the right building for it. Where the VIP tables are, it’s part of the dance floor. You can basically touch each other. That’s what Pacha in Ibiza is able to do, as well. Even though it’s a VIP, it doesn’t feel like a VIP.” 

Like Pacha Ibiza, Pacha New York will have an outdoor patio of its own when weather is fair this coming spring, Morillo adds. It all just adds up to one more option for a fun-filled night out that New York sorely needs.
“For the two years after 9/11, it was rough; it was not a party mood in the city. People were more concerned about other things. But now people are going out again. Clubbing is not going to go away as long as people want to escape on the weekends. If you’re working Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, that’s what the weekend is all about. It’s had its dips, but right now we’re riding a wave. I’m not saying it’s the best time ever for clubbing. What I am saying is it’s a very good climate right now.

“Pacha is a super club in the sense that it’s a worldwide brand. Having said that, the one thing where other big clubs and brands went wrong in the mid-’90s is the head got too big for the body, if you will. They thought they could do no wrong and they started treating people like shit. They did a lot of things that didn’t help them, like chasing only one style of music and it killed their vibe.

“I’m not going to talk too much about it, but they didn’t take care of the things they needed to take care of. But Pacha and I have had a long relationship and I know their philosophy on running clubs. We sort of want to take a page from their book with regards to promotion, with regards to being able to mix a VIP crowd with the music lovers and to put on some incredible shows with the best talent.”

Words by Yuri Wuensch