My interview With Erick Morillo

I’m starting to believe that we are more than a bit spoiled here in
the UK. I think we can be forgiven for being envious of the toastier
climates of other countries and the beautiful panoramic’s and exotic
settings of their festivals, but we must take a moment to recognize the
strength of our music events and scenes. I’ve lost count of the amount
of times an international star has recalled a career highlight which has
happened to have taken place during one of our summer festivals, or an
artist who was inspired to pursue a career in the competitive music
industry because of a world changing movement that originated in our
small country. When I spoke to Dance legend Erick Morillo this week he
was quick to remind me how lucky we are in the UK. It can be easy to be
distracted by the allure of clubbing mecca Ibiza, with it’s combination
of beauty and hedonism, but the influence of the vast amount of clubs
that decorate our relatively compact land shouldn’t be ignored either –
nor should their ability to pull the big hitters (scratchers). While
recouping from his hectic stint in Miami, which involved performances at
Ultra Festival and Amnesia alongside his SYMPHO NYMPHO comrades Harry
Romero and Jose Nunez, we discussed why he wanted to unite with his two
musical buddies and his excitement now that his US homeland seems to be
catching up after its extreme delayed reaction when it comes to Dance

Now if you already have your flight booked or plan to escape the
office drear and jet off last minute, Erick and his army of musical
collaborators have various offerings to get you in the party mood. It
would be utterly foolish not to download SYMPHO NYMPHO ‘The Beginning’
which features the vocal talents of Skin, Alexandra Burke and Craig
David to name but a few.  You should also keep your eyes and ears peeled
for ‘Beautiful Reality’ featuring Segarra. If Twitter stalker is deemed
reliable we should be seeing a visual accompany for the stunning track
in the near future.

If you can’t escape to the White Isle to see Ericks residency return
and in turn experience the multi- sensory wonder that will be the
Subliminal Sessions at Pacha, you’ll have just one chance to catch the
legend in the UK at London’s Premier Electronic Music Festival,  SW4.

Now, I’ve not attempted to try and cover the achievements of the
maestro’s  lengthy career in this intro for it would be impossible to do
them justice, but during our chat I made sure to find out what on earth
he still wants to do?!  Having a lot of fun seems to be a large chunk
of it….and why not!!

You’ve had a busy time in Miami. Do you ever get accustomed to the lifestyle?Are you a now a nocturnal creature?

I definitely have learned to balance it out a little bit more, I’ve been doing this for quite a while. I don’t need a lot of sleep, so on three or four hours I can function really well. But I have definitely learned how to balance it out, learned to relax and learn how to do day stuff too. I try to keep a good balance between my night time and day life.

Are there any remedies that you have found over the years that help?

(Laughs)…. Can’t say that I do! A lot of water and sleep.

You’ve have been going to Miami for a number of years now. Does it get better or does it just change?

It definitely changes, especially WMC and the whole week. It used to be a very intimate industry week, where people from different labels, DJ’s and clubs would go and meet and see what’s hot and who’s hot. Now its straight up a one week festival. It doesn’t really have anything to do with industry, it’s more about promoters DJ’s and brands. It’s the biggest dance week in the world. Ultra has turned into one of those big festivals – one of those places you have to be you know, like Ibiza, but it’s one week. I have done three events in the space of one week, it was very hectic but a good hectic. Miami is fun, it’s great weather, you can’t get a much better place to do it.
I love it, people do change, its a much younger demographic…a lot of US people. Dance music has just exploded in the US. A lot of people definitely flying in from other countries too. It’s just the biggest week in dance music period.

I believe you played your first live set as Synpho Nympho?

That is correct. We did a party at Amnesia on Tuesday night, we did our first thing together, myself Harry and Jose, it was really really good…. we also had Chuckie, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, Norman Doray, Carl Kennedy, Shawnee Taylor, Segarra, Danny Tenaglia. It was a full-on night.

After the performance did you review each-other’s performance – I liked it when you did that, you got in my way then etc?

Obviously you have your…absolutely…… it’s the first time we’ve done it live. We are still figuring certain things out. We are going to have a lot of music coming out over the next two years and we have a lot of records coming out. We are going to be taking this show on the road if you will. We are still working out the bugs. We had a really good time, it’s just flowing naturally – that’s the good thing. You can plan all you want but as long as the chemistry there, that’s what it’s all about. That’s the one thing we do have, we kinda know each-other, the chemistry is there and it is only going to get better in time.

Was it the chemistry that made you want to do this project or were you looking for something new and exciting?

Umm, for me it was really it was about wanting to put the old gang back together if you will. Really have fun with it. What the three of us create when we are together is pretty ridiculous. I thought ‘I have a lot of fun with you guys, it’s always fun, always playing around, it’s a good atmosphere to be in. These days I’ve got nothing to prove. I’m not doing it because I’m trying to do anything. My life has been spent tying to get somewhere, trying to accomplish something, but right now I’m just about having fun, and it shows with the music we’re doing. In the last year we have probably written over 160 songs, its pretty insane, and we’re working with some really incredible artists.

We have a new one coming out with Segarra called ‘Beautiful Reality’, a new Wyclef record coming out. Dizzee Rascal –  we have two tracks with his album – really excited about those records. Busta Rhymes… the list goes on with the records we have coming out. Some on Subliminal, some on other labels. But is going to be a really exciting year, I’m just excited for people to hear what we have been up to. What people have heard so far, it’s the tip of the iceberg, so far we’ve just put out the covers and the remixes just to wet peoples appetites.

Do you have a preferences when it comes to who you collaborate with – do you prefer to work with established artists over the emerging talents for example?

I love working with talented people, there is nothing better than going into a room and seeing people who are great at their craft. You know some songs you work with some people who just go in the booth, they hear the track a couple of times and ‘boom’ they just lay a song down. You’re like ‘Wow where did that come from!’

Some of the more established guys, woah it’s just incredible to see them do their craft.
For me it’s a learning experience it’s always great to get into a room and see what they do. I know what I do, I know what Harry and Jose do, and what we do as a collective, but when you go in with a vocalist or a singer who knows what they are doing it’s great.
That’s the good thing, we are picking and choosing who we are working with these days, you know we are working with a lot of really talented professional people and that’s why I’m really excited because everyone is doing their bit. People are always like ‘What kind of  music do you make?’ As far as I’m concerned, there is good music and bad music. I do good music. There’s no style. – the stuff you’ve heard so far there’s Dance, Reggae, some Dubstep, some Drum and Bass, Electronic, Techno you name it, we have a little bit of everything in there. There’s no boundaries, not nothing. I’m not trying to prove anything, its just fun! 

Do you ever have power struggles, particularly with established artists who are used to having such control?

I think musically no, as I think everyone knows what sounds good. We haven’t had any experiences where somebody likes something and we don’t like it. Sometimes things get a bit mind boggling at times, you know when you are trying to make the deals. I try and stay away from the legal stuff, that’s where everything takes a bit more time and becomes a bit of a struggle sometimes. You have managers talking to agents, and this and that. So many chefs in the kitchen, it takes a lot of time to get everything done. But creatively, no, it’s all good. hen you do something good people like it, and when you don’t they let you know The more established people are more vocal about what they do and don’t like. But everybody seems to love what we are doing we haven’t had any complaints yet.

Dance music is now a genre represented on the likes of MTV, but are you happy with how it’s being represented?

Are you talking about England? Haha, you guys are spoiled, please. You have a channel called MTV Dance! In America we are happy right now because they are finally playing Dance videos between the hours of three and seven in the morning.That’s a big deal for us and it’s taken us twelve years. You guys have had dance music represented on TV for a long time. It’s funny when I hear you complain about things that for us here in the US that we are just starting. Regular radio stations are playing Dance records, that’s just happened for us, you guys have had that since 90, 89. So whenever I hear you guys complain I kind of just laugh.

You have spoken before about your first time in London and how you were blown away by our club scene. Is it still as vibrant in your opinion?

I think what is happening in England…
Well the energy I felt in the clubs back in the early 90s, it felt like a movement, well now its turned more into a business.There’s so many clubs, so many people trying to do things, there’s a lot! It’s staggering how many clubs you guys have per how big the country is, I mean it’s not that big! You guys have I don’t know have how many clubs….

I hear you guys always complaining…. you guys have a lot of stuff going on over there.
From where I stand I think that you guys have done it and you are looking for the new thing. I don’t know, I love the scene in England, I love going there and playing there. I’m looking forward to SW4 in August. Every time I play in England its a great experience.

But definitely think that back in the early 90’s that energy you felt was a movement and that is what I’m feeling in the US. It’s new, it’s just starting. All these kids are going bonkers over the music. It is going to come with time, as far as the quality and people figuring out what they like. In england I think you know what you like now (there are so many style within dance music). It’s not a hype thing, everyone knows what they are going for. 

You are back in Ibiza this summer. You are renowned for your ability to bring the party vibe. How do you achieve that?

I mean for me it starts with the DJ. If the DJ has good energy its going to transcend to the crowd. When they look up at the DJ they want to see something, they don’t wanna see someone standing there looking down at their CD player.
I think I gravitate to DJs that put on a show. That’s why this year we have residents like Chuckie, Dirty Dutch, Danny Tenaglia.. of course Harry and Jose and assortment of guests all Summer along.
But for me its about creating a vibe, and this years team Subliminal Sessions about creating a whole new reality within Pacha.We have a company from the UK transforming the the club, putting different installations in the club to kind of bug people out.Im really excited about the summer and can’t wait to get back to ibiza.

I know that you began with really basic equipment, a Scott Turntabls and a Gemini Mixer.
Do you update consistently or do you find what you like and stick with it?

I stick with it. Like restaurants…I am a creature of habit. I’m still Dj-ing with CD players, most people have moved onto computers. I still need to feel like it’s spontaneous. I need the feeling that I’m choosing the records. I still need to have that feel. Moving to CDs was big move for me. It was not something I took likely. I didn’t just jump on the bandwagon immediately. It just became necessary because vinyl was so heavy and so crazy to transport around, the damage was incredible.I definitely stick with technology. Once I’m comfortable I have fun with it. As the saying goes ‘it is not the bow and arrow, it’s the indian.’The more you know any gear… you can make the cheapest gear sound like magic if you know what to do with.

You have earned legendary status, but is there anything you still really want to achieve and tick off?

I want to crack America (laughs).  Finally the music I love to make, the
music I travel the world playing, has finally broken through America.
For me my goal is….
Obviously I love what I do, and making music and that’s what it’s all
about, but one of the things I want to accomplish is to have success in
America and have some huge records here in America. So I am excited
about that.

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