Who is the Reel Erick Morillo-
Sunday, 15 July 2001Ever since selling millions of copies of his Reel 2 Real ragga/pop single 'I Like to Move It (Move It)' in 1993, Erick Morillo has maintained a high public profile. Initially building a parallel DJing career through a high profile Ministry of Sound DJ residency in London, his pop success delivered him music business status, while his residency brought him into direct regular contact with many in the London dance press. And before Reel 2 Real broke he'd already built his own New York studio where Barbara Tucker and Little Louis Vega recorded, which eventually led to him signing with Strictly Rhythm (whose first Morillo release was in fact Reel 2 Real). Gaining the nickname 'More' (apparently due to his love of multiple remixes) by 1995, he was superbly positioned to take advantage of dance music's growth as the scene really started going global.
But it was the British media, particularly a then new dance magazine called Muzik which really helped his career, making him one of their number one DJ heroes, as Reel 2 Real faded down the inevitable pop hole. These days, his New York house label Subliminal is equally (sometimes over-enthusiastically) critically endorsed and Erick's reputation is that of a champagne quaffing, sex-God superstar DJ. In fact, as Skrufff's Angie Ng found out when Erick arrived in Kuala Lumpur recently, he's a hard-working, friendly, self-deprecating sweetie, with a surprising habit of qualifying every opinion with 'I think', 'kind of' and 'sort of'. He also remains clearly a man with something to prove.
Skrufff: Your biography calls you the 'hardest working man in dance music; what drives you to work so hard-
Erick Morillo: "I really don't know (getting a little flustered) I..er..I..I..take on goals and challenges when people think I can't do it or when I think I can't do it. I guess I take the work on to prove to myself or other people that I CAN do it, and I just love doing what I'm doing."
Skrufff: How does your DJ fame compare to when you were a pop star with Reel 2 Real-
Erick Morillo: "It's completely different, but without that experience I don't know if I would be where I am today. A lot of people got to know me through Reel 2 Real and because my name was in their heads it's been that much easier to succeed as a DJ. But at the same time, it's completely different being a mass-market pop star to being completely credible. They're two different things and two different kinds of fames. If I had to choose one, I think where I am today is where it feels really good because a lot of my peers like what I do. With Reel 2 Real, it was more about people thinking you're doing it just for the money."
Skrufff: Whatever happened to the Mad Stuntman- (the rapper on R2R's biggest hit 'I Like To Move it')
Erick Morillo: "I still see him once in a while, I think he has a recording studio in Brooklyn and he's recording hip hop and reggae. I have to see him once every six months because he wants to pick up his royalty cheques. I don't blame him. (smiles) But yeah, he's still around, he still does shows and still does his own thing."
Skrufff: You said in Jockey Slut recently; 'In America, women can't go to a club and just dance with a guy and it not mean anything'; really-
Erick Morillo: "Absolutely. In America, it's really different. In America, many men always go out to pick up women, so if a woman approaches a man and says 'come on, let's dance', you're already like 'Yes, OK, I've got this one'. But that's not the case in Europe, where things are more relaxed. Just because men are dancing with women, it doesn't necessarily mean anything, Girls can hang out with guys all night and go home the next day and just be friends. That's possible."
Skrufff: The UK dance press are always linking you to the ladies; have you had many encounters with irate fathers or jealous boyfriends over the years-
Erick Morillo: (laughs) "Jealous boyfriends, yes, irate Tags