It was, indisputably, the busiest night of the year so far. Equally inevitably, Erick Morillo
’s Wednesday night “Fuck Me Jesus Dies Again
” gig was at Pacha
. This sense of impending quality was not just due to the Subliminal
label boss’s long association with the world’s most pervasive club brand, but also Pacha
’s status as a community institution to rival the church.
The early bird tourist congregation must have been congratulating themselves for sensibly timing their visit to coincide with the delightful holiday period that is Semana Santa
. It’s been warm enough on the beach, though probably not in the water just yet. But it’s not only the clemency of the meteorological elements which have put la primavera into one’s step, it’s the company. It’s people like Erick Morillo
, in town for a one-off gig to plug his summer Subliminal residency. We followed him around like a lost puppy as he undertook his promotional duties, until he gave us 15 minutes of his obviously very valuable time to talk about the "milking" of the dance industry and even retirement.
exudes good times to an almost unhealthy degree. He glows, literally giving off a perceptible light.
“I love pleasing people,” he says, perhaps redundantly, sitting in the bar downstairs at the Pacha hotel
. “I get such a buzz from the energy of people that I make sure I do what I gotta do to make people scream or jump. Because once I get that, then I give it back to them. It turns into a tennis match of energy.”
It might sound like mere hyperbole, but it is like totally one hundred per cent true. To deny it would be hating. And Erick
doesn’t need your hate, he wants your love and has done at least since a visit to the mighty Ministry of Sound
“The one memory that sticks in my mind most… is listening to David Morales
. It was just amazing seeing 2,000 people just living on his every record and looking at the dj as if he was a god.”
was impressed: “‘What the fuck is going on here?!’ Because in New York
there was no such thing, there was no dj culture. The Dj was like a bartender. I come to England
and the Dj is a god, MTV
’s playing house music, radio stations are playing pure house music, there’s like four dance music magazines. I’m like ‘What the fuck? Am I in the twilight zone?’ It was fucken weird but that was when I decided I wanted to be part of that scene, I wanted to conquer England
, I want this. What I saw with what he had and that vibe going on. I want this.”
And get it he did. But he isn’t going to have it for too much longer. Erick
’s retiring in two years. Well, kinda.
“I’m gonna stop djing, well, not stop but slow it down when I’m 35. I’m gonna not travel anymore. I’m probably going to do Ibiza
still. I just turned 33. As far as killing myself travelling the world, I don’t wanna do that anymore. I’m gonna start thinking about family. But spending four months out of every year here is not a bad life, whether you have kids or not.”
I read somewhere you are now living in England? How’s that going?
Erick:No I was just in England doing some meetings yesterday but I actually live in New Jersey.
Do you get any grief from UK immigration being Columbian?
I was raised in Columbia but I was born in New York so I have a US passport.
Where’s really rocking in the world at the moment?
Actually the only parties I’ve had recently has been the Winter Music Conference in Miami at Crobar, the Subliminal Sessions on a Sunday night and it was absolutely incredible. It blew up. Probably one of the best parties at the Conference this year. And I’ve also been playing an afterhours in New York at a club called Discotheque Saturday night, Sunday morning, I did a birthday party there last week. Started at seven in the morning, went to eight pm at night, it was amazing.
What’s so great about Pacha?
Pacha’s a very unique venue in that it’s a large club but it feels very intimate. You can squeeze 3,500 people in there and still feel comfortable. It’s a unique place, the vibe is amazing and I have a really good relationship with everybody there.
Should people even try to create a “new” Ibiza or should they just concentrate on their own scene?
There’s no such thing as a new Ibiza. Ibiza is Ibiza because it has a culture stepping back 30 years. The Ibiza thing didn’t just happen overnight. So other places if they become anything they will be other places. Ibiza is Ibiza.
[There is a brief pause while Erick sorts out some urgent money transfer issue, and the recording equipment is turned off. The amounts referred to in the conversation sound stressfully large but at no point does Erick raise his voice. His equanimity is reassuring.]
Has there really been a big sea change in the industry, or is it business as usual?
Obviously everything changes, but I would say within our own industry I see clubbing actually getting bigger and bigger, the business of dance music getting smaller and smaller. I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing I think that’s going to weed out all the fluff and the true people will stay and we’ll take dance music where it needs to go. We’ll build this industry instead of people milking it and trying to sell records on hype not on content. I think that’s been the problem to date. There’s definitely a change going on, but not for the worse.
What are you and Subliminal doing differently now as compared to five years ago?
We’ve actually been growing the last years, we went from being strictly a vinyl label for djs, to doing compilations, to putting on events, and this year is set to be our biggest year yet. We have label deals all around the world. Everything is going really well at our parties. I’m really really happy.
How did you find out what makes people go absolutely mental? What’s your secret?
For me it’s a feeling thing. You either feel it or you don’t and I’ve been very fortunate that I got something from my mother which is feeling music. For me it’s a feeling thing, I love pleasing people and I get such a buzz from the energy of people that I make sure I do what I gotta do to make people scream or jump because once I get that from there, then I give it back to them and it turns into a tennis match of energy.
Do you care about what’s underground or what’s mainstream?
I don’t give a fuck. As long as it sounds good, I’m gonna fucken play it.
If you could go back and do your Reel II Real days again, would you?
No not really. Everything I’ve done to date has been exactly how I wanted it to go. Looking back now I’m glad my career’s taken this sort of turn. I’ve accomplished everything I wanted accomplish. I wanted to have a hit record, I had a hit record. I had a hit group, I travelled the world, I got to see England for the first time that opened that door up. Then after that I wanted to go back to the underground scene and created one of the biggest underground labels in the world. Now it’s about being an artist. I wanted to become one of the best djs in the world, I’ve done that too. Now, it’s about being an artist, reinventing myself as an artist, so here we are. I have my album coming out, I’ve got people like Puff Daddy on it, I’ve got people like Dj Rap, Audio Bullys, Shawnee Taylor, Leslie Carter, Boy George. I’m really really happy, can’t wait. We’re shooting the video next week for the first single, called Break Down The Doors, coming out the second week of June, the album’s coming out in the last weekend of June. I’m just over the moon, you know. The hard work is paying off.
What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you as a direct result of your fame? Pushy paparazzi?
No, it’s part of the game. You know if you ask for those things certain things are going to come with it. They say be careful what you ask for, because everything you want comes with a price. So I can’t tell you that there’s anything I regret. You know maybe that one time when I took that one too many tequila shots and the world just started spinning you know but as far as the way everything has gone I’ve been very fortunate.
I’m into girls so if girls wanna stalk me it’s alright. I don’t mind. I’ll take care of you sweetie. But then you gotta get off.
What’s your take on the CD vs vinyl debate? What do you prefer? Which has the best sound?
It’s just different. For me I play CDs because I love remixing on the fly. I think vinyl definitely sounds better than CDs, no doubt about that. It’s about having both, it’s a balance. I also enjoy playing with CDs a lot more because I travel. If I could take all my vinyl on the plane, I would do that but unfortunately they don’t let you take all that stuff. Airlines lose records and I get paid too much money to lose records. I haven’t had a problem since I started playing with CDs. That was the biggest reason why I made the full change. It’s kinda funny because I own this big vinyl label but I don’t play no vinyl. I still go to record stores and buy vinyl I just burn it to CD right away.
How old is too old? Is Pete Tong too old?
There’s no such thing. If you still feel it, if you still enjoy getting up there and doing your thing. If you wanna be 70 and playing music and that makes you happy, then fucken play music. There’s no such thing. I hate spending my energy on negative things like thinking about things like that. I don’t wanna be 70 and thinking ‘I don’t wanna go somewhere because I’m too old’.
The party is I believe Wednesday June 16. We’re having Choo Choo Romero, and Shawnee Taylor, it’s gonna be a great team. We got a lot of surprises planned for everybody. Every year always passes my expectation and this year’s gonna be no exception.
One last shout out?
I just wanna thank everybody around the world, I know this is a website so everybody around the world who logs in and checks this out, thank you for all the support you’ve given me and Subliminal Records, lots of love and I will see all you lovers real soon. Ciao.
Later that night Erick
played to a crowd of summer proportions. One had to park one's ride at least ten minutes away from the venue, but the balmy breeze made the stroll to the Pacha
's glittering entrance very enjoyable. Inside hip 'Spics and farmers' kids from the hills mixed with the tourists both long and short stay to form one pulsing mass in front of the pulpit-like dj booth. Inside it Erick
was dancing, and the beats were pounding around him like the hooves of celestial horses.
Subliminal Sessions Announce Their Riotous Return To Pacha, Ibiza
June 16 - Blowing it up on the "OPENING PARTY" night
are Erick Morillo, Harry "Choo Choo" Romero, and featuring a live performance by Shawnee Taylor, Subliminal’s dynamic dance diva. So far Wednesday nights are looking like this:
Erick Morillo, DJ Heather
June 30 - "SUBLIMINAL meets BAMBOSSA"
Erick Morillo, Harry "Choo Choo" Romero
July 7 - "SUBLIMINAL meets OVUM"
Erick Morillo, Josh Wink & Pete Moss
July 14 - "Seb's Birthday Bash!"
Erick Morillo, Seb Fontaine
July 21 - "MORILLO -“MY WORLD” Album Release Party"
Erick Morillo, Audio Bullys
July 28 - "SUBLIMINAL meets BAMBOSSA"
Erick Morillo, Harry "Choo Choo" Romero
August 4 - "SUBLIMINAL meets YOSHITOSHI"
Erick Morillo, Deep Dish
August 11 - "SUBLIMINAL meets OVUM"
Erick Morillo, Josh Wink & D'Julz
August 18 - "SUBLIMINAL meets BAMBOSSA"
Erick Morillo, Harry "Choo Choo" Romero, Melvin Moore
Erick Morillo, Jose Nunez, and featuring live performance by Shawnee Taylor
September 1 - "SUBLIMINAL meets SUBUSA"
Erick Morillo, Jorge Jaramillo (Who Da Funk)
Erick Morillo, Alex Alicea (Who Da Funk), Tom Novy
Erick Morillo, Benny Benassi, Behrouz (TBC)
September 22 - "SUBLIMINAL meets OVUM"
Erick Morillo, Josh Wink
September 29 - "CLOSING PARTY"
Erick Morillo, Harry "Choo Choo" Romero, Jose Nunez, Who Da Funk (CLOSING PARTY)
And this year, the Second Room hosts a bad-ass old school NY hip hop night with many guest artists and DJ’s still to be confirmed.
SUBLIMINAL SESSIONS with Erick Morillo and Guests
every Wednesday launching June 16th and closing September 29th
Times: 12am (Midnight)-7am
Venue: Pacha - Avenida 8 De Agosto, 07800 Ibiza