There really is very little in the world of music and entertainment that Erick Morillo hasn’t turned his hand to. He’s a platinum-selling artist, he’s topped the charts worldwide as the producer behind Reel 2 Real’s hit “I Like To Move It” (used in both Madagascar movies, reaching millions of viewers worldwide and covered by Will I Am in Madagascar 2) and he’s been responsible for a bewildering array of dance- floor tracks including ‘Reach’, ‘Believe’, ‘Do What You Want’ and ‘I Feel Love’ – under pseudonyms including Ministers De La Funk, The Dronez (with Harry ‘Choo Choo’ Romero and Jose Nunez) and Li’l Mo Ying Yang. He’s remixed everyone from Whitney Houston to Basement Jaxx and continues to run the legendary Subliminal Records house music empire. On his debut album he collaborated with Puff Daddy and Boy George alike.
For almost two decades, Erick has remained one of the most in-demand and instantly recognizable DJs in the world. From the instant success of his weekly ‘Sessions’ parties in New York, to hosting events like the annual road-blocking Subliminal Sessions parties in Miami at Winter Music Conference, to his coveted residency at Ministry of Sound (he’s still one of the only American DJs to ever hold one) and of course his now legendary Subliminal Sessions parties at Pacha Ibiza, Morillo just doesn’t stop. His non-stop DJing schedule at one point saw him straddling the globe playing up to a whopping 30 gigs a month, particularly in the summer months where he’ll play everywhere from Naples and Mykonos to London. He’s also become a familiar television personality through his appearances on MTV and MTV Ibiza two years in a row whilst starring in a seven part series for UK TV station Channel 4.
Raised in Colombia, then New Jersey, Erick was weaned on a musical diet of Latin rhythms, reggae and hip-hop. He started DJing at the age of 11 and after securing himself DJ sets at several local gigs decided to take a studio engineering course at the local Centre of Media Arts. He was soon inducted into the house fraternity through his friend Marc Anthony (the Salsa King), whilst he was working with the now legendary Louie Vega and Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez on “Ride On The Rhythm”. “Louie’s watched out for me since the beginning,” he says of the Masters At Work legend. One minor detail: in the booth at Pacha last time they played together was a certain supermodel called Naomi Campbell and beside her was one of Erick’s musical heroes, the legendary Quincy Jones. “Can you believe it? Quincy Jones came to my party,” he says, still in shock. “When we saw him there, Louie and I decided to play a bunch of his classics, like Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough’. He told me he loved my bass lines,” smiles Erick. “One of the proudest days in my life.”
In 1997, after spending almost a year of meticulously planning everything from logos to packaging, Morillo took it that one step further and launched Subliminal Records with his production partners Harry Romero and Jose Nunez. Guided by Morillo’s ear and studio presence, the brand has gone on to become synonymous with a funk-fuelled, soulful house sound. And in 2004 Erick released his first artist album worldwide, entitled “My World” it featured heavyweight collaborations from the likes of Puff Daddy, DJ Rap, Boy George and even a reunion with the Mad Stuntman. The lead single ‘Break Down The Doors’ featured The Audio Bullys, and in the years that followed, further singles and club tracks followed. After ‘Live Your Life’ and ‘Stronger’ came Erick’s collaboration with Skin and Eddie Thonieck, “If This Ain’t Love”, quickly followed by ‘Elephant’ featuring Alexandra Burke, a Top 5 UK smash. The global touring continued, as did his dominance at clubs from Pacha Ibiza and Ministry Of Sound in London.
After a well-documented break from the scene, Morillo returned to his spiritual home of Ibiza in 2014. But unlike previous seasons, he only took on one show, at Space: “I decided to take a step back and I really got to see the industry changing. I did one party at Space for their 25th birthday; two sets, one outside and then I did the last 4 hours of the terrace, which brought back a bunch of memories! I loved playing and it was a great statement to make.” Fast-forward to the summer of 2017 and things are right where he wants them to be, with Subliminal having successfully re-launched in the digital sphere with a whole raft of releases that have topped the dance charts. Tracks like ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ and ‘Shiny Disco Balls’ are ripe for remixing, but Erick promises that the focus will remain on the new as much as the classic catalogue. “It’s going to be great music from house to techno – a little bit of everything,” he says. “We’re going to be releasing lots of records from different people.” “Thus far the reception from DJs and the label fans has been amazing. Looking forward to their reaction when they hear all of the new releases.” Having played key sets at the opening and closing of the legendary Space last summer, Erick will be returning to Ibiza several times this summer, with sets at Amnesia, Pacha and Blue Marlin to follow on from his recent much-hyped Mixmag Lab session, which proved the producer is back to his untouchable best.
Starting as he means to go on, 2017 has seen Erick drop several original productions and key collaborations, teaming up with Junolarc and Ora Solar on big-room house anthems ‘Blinded’, ‘Don’t Belong’ and ‘Gone’ to excellent effect. What’s more, with the likes of Kolsch, Harry Romero, Danny Howard and Pirupa having turned out for Subliminal since its relaunch, the labels resurgence and creative knack in continuing to showcase new and exciting club music further reinforces its status as one of the most important labels in house music. With a relentless tour schedule and a plethora of exciting releases to come, it looks set to be yet another landmark year for Erick and his Subliminal imprint.
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