Saturday, March 25, 2017

David Morales: Lovin’ is the message!

David MoralesIf ever asked about the first thing coming to my mind when thinking of David Morales, I guess I would say humanity, as it embraces everything from thoughtfulness to friendliness, accessibility and fidelity, when so many around would tend to confine themselves behind a sort of prefabricated character where attitudes prevail. With the same needed to be said about all his colleagues at NYC famous Def Mix, be it the late Frankie Knuckles, Hector Morales or company head Judy Weinstein who I came to meet regularly in Miami or in the Big Apple. This bringing me back to the day when, while on my way to pay a visit to Louie Vega and Kenny Dope at their label HQ located on the 5th Ave. at the time, I saw myself interrupted in my thoughts by someone who hailed me from the other side of the street, then crossed it to say hi, with this buddy being no one else but… David Morales!
Just little things, although meaning so much, that would get David Morales accepted and appreciated by so many who’ve crossed his path along with time. With his statement on the Def Mix site – “I am creating a place for people to forget their troubles for a while. It is important in the world we are living in today…” – aptly speakin’ for itself…

“The more sexy is House Music, the more it attracts a beautiful crowd. Meanwhile, the more music is tough and fast, the more it would tend to attract a young crowd giving the feeling they want to lose their looks!”

Hard to believe 32 years have gone since David Morales, a young Puerto Rican DJ hailing from the hoods, got the opportunity to join For The Record, meeting the one – Judy Weinstein – who would become his manager while giving birth to Def Mix. “For The Record was the place to be for any DJ”, he explained. “There was such a waiting list when I joined. It was the who’s who of DJ’s, remixers, producers. Anybody who was making records at that time was in that pool. Shep Pettibone, Larry Levan, Tee Scott got there from the very beginning.”

Filled with influences inherited from The Loft and The Paradise Garage, David Morales developed his DJ skills at some of the most popular clubs in the city throughout the eighties, teaming up with Frankie Knuckles and Judy Weintstein for the creation of Def Mix Productions. A structure meant to handle artists business affairs, but also help manage remix requests, with many of them standing as an evergreen signature, prior to eventually giving birth to a label later on…

I couldn’t help myself telling David Morales how, as a foreigner (an outsider), I got impressed by the diversity one could feel whenever coming to the Big Apple as opposed to o many other parts of the world… “We’ve been raised in a unique atmosphere here. Therefore diversity, be it when DJing as when producing is not necessarily easy, due to the people’s expectations. My productions have a Dance Music orientation. I could eventually play downtempo, some Reggae or faster things in clubs, but that remains Dance Music to me. I suppose we gotta stick with our time…”

Many promising structures (labels) have unfortunately disappeared along with time. Like Strictly Rhythm back in 2002 (although its catalog would later on by acquired by Defected Records)…
“Strictly had decided to sign a deal with a major company (Warner). This was quite a challenge, simply because of the difference of their respective approaches. Besides, the one who signed the deal left his job soon after, letting Warner with no one interested in Strictly. Let’s not forget neither how the economy got way harder along with the mass duplication of CD’s then the arrival of the mp3 which have allowed people to get music for free. And here’s how the whole record industry, from the authors to the producers has got f….d by the technology and Internet!”

And we haven’t found the antidote…
“It’s only a matter of conscience left to each of us. Because by keeping on acting like this, we’re leaving a sector without incomes and condemn it in the end…”

The New York scene and the local nightclubbing…
“I’m often abroad, meaning that I may not in the best position to properly talk about the subject. This said, there are always new places which are launched here an then, despite harder politics by the likes of the municipality and the government. Everything has gone slower after September, 11. It’s really hard to run a club in the city nowadays …”

The evolution of nightclubbing on a worldwide scale…
“Nightclubbing has never been so established. It has become a culture on its own, with more and more sponsors joining. The scene has grown up too with places opening earlier to welcome teenagers. Besides the level of the DJ fees gives another idea of the phenomenon…”

Your view as far as the European production is concerned…
“The Brits have always come up with interesting things. But they’re not the only ones anymore. Check the Spanish, the Italians and also the French with people like Daft Punk, Bob Sinclar or Dimitri from Paris for instance…”

Would you tend to think European production influences the Americans the way American production has influenced the Europeans???
“As far as i’m concerned, I’ve always kept an ear on what’s happening in Europe. Simply because when I started doin’ remixes this would essentially be for European labels and therefore for the European crowd. I’ve also had a residency in the UK – the Red Zone – and even though I would be playing US and NYC House Music, it went way beyond that. Because I also used to be sent British productions. And since my reputation as a remixer has started from England, I’ve started blending influences. On the opposite, I remember I’d been the only one in NYC playing KLF’s ‘What Time Is Love’ by the time of its release back in 1990 with the same applying to Longsy D’s ‘This Is Ska’. Travelling is definitely a source of influences…
The situation has also evolved in NYC. That said I tend to think promoters would be well inspired to book DJ’s who’re more oriented into House Music. I’d like to make a little remark about this: the more sexy is House Music, the more it attracts a beautiful crowd. Meanwhile, the more music is tough and fast, the more it would tend to attract a young crowd giving the feeling they wants to lose their looks!”

You’ll probably not make only friends while saying this…
“This is just something I came to notice. Take an event with two line ups in different rooms for instance. Chances are great you’ll see more girls in the House room than in the Trance one for instance. And the fact is that whenever spinning in a place populated with men, they want harder music, because there’s nothing else around, which contributes creating aggressiveness. I’m not saying all girls are allergic to Trance, but a girl comin’ to listen to House Music will certainly not get dressed the same way as the one in the Trance room. I suppose it’s just something some people have to get through before embracing something else…”

Chosen few
David Morales – 2 Worlds Collide (Ultra Records)
David Morales – Changes (Ultra Records)
David Morales – The Red Zone Project Vol. 2 (Def Mix Music)
David Morales – Mix The Vibe (Past – Present – Future) (King Street Sounds)

You might also like…
Frankie Knuckles: And House Music was born!
Masters At Work: House Masters!
Tony Humphries: Magic Sessions!
Robert Owens: (House Music) Visions!

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